Online Learning

Capella Works With SAS on Online Data Analytics Degree

Capella University has introduced a new master of science degree focused on data analytics, developed with curriculum input from analytics software company SAS Institute. The institution has also developed a doctorate program in information technology. Both are being offered through the university's School of Business & Technology.

The online analytics program is intended to help students develop skills in data sources, statistics, data mining, applied analytics and modeling, leadership, reporting, forecasting and visualization. They'll also work on soft skills such as collaboration, communication, presentation and negotiation. Participants will use virtual software that gives them the opportunity to practice working as data analysts within a fictitious healthcare company dubbed Vila Health.

The degree requires 48 credits, of which 12 credits may be transfers. Course length is 10 weeks, and tuition is $662 per credit.

While SAS provides free software to students and faculty through its academic program SAS Analytics U — and has launched degree and certificate programs at multiple institutions — the Capella partnership marks the first time the company has been involved in delivering an analytics degree entirely online.

"There are not enough high-quality graduate programs to meet the high demand for talent in the data and analytics space," Capella President Scott Kinney said in a prepared statement. "Capella University is proud to be partnering with SAS to help solve the skills gap in data and analytics."

Although the university already offers a doctor of philosophy in IT (Ph.D. IT), it has also chosen to introduce a new doctor of IT (DIT) degree program. The former focuses more on developing theoretical models; the latter will concentrate on best practices and practical applications.

"Both sides are motivated by real-world issues, but take different approaches to solving them, explained the school's Faculty Chair Tsun Chow in a blog post. "The Ph.D. IT wants to contribute to the overall understanding of the field, while the DIT wants to use that understanding and apply it to specific situations. For example, a Ph.D. IT learner may be interested in how users adopt technology in general within healthcare systems, while a DIT learner is interested in applying such understanding of adoption to see how it impacts the adoption specifically of electronic health records."

The "big" difference, Chow noted, was that the DIT would lean more toward the practitioner and the Ph.D. IT would cater more to the IT scholar. Both programs follow the same core course sequence and could lead to careers in graduate teaching and consulting. Specializations for either include general IT, project management, information assurance and security, and IT education.

The new doctorate requires 82 credits, of which 12 may be transferred from another school; the Ph.D. IT calls for 120 credits, of which 48 may be transferred. Costs also vary: The DIT is $4,548 per quarter and the Ph.D. IT is $4,665 per quarter. Without transfer credits or other tuition savings, the new program would cost a total of about $55,000; the Ph.D. IT would be about $100,000. Both require the candidate to possess a master's degree with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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