Courses

The fall term and winter term curriculum consists of set of “core” courses, a set of “specialty field” course electives, and Personal Career Management (PCM) classes and activities. Currently, the MDA program offers the following three specialty fields for students to choose from when applying to the program:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Finance, Banking and Insurance
  • Generalist

The core courses are common across the different specialty fields, focusing on developing fundamental data analytics and professional skills. The specialty field courses target a specific application area. The courses are offered by the Department of Statistical & Actuarial Sciences and the Department of Computer Science, and are commonly taught by faculty who develop and apply data analytics and data science methods as part of their research program at Western. The Personal Career Management classes and activities are coordinated by the MDA program’s Career Services Officer and are embedded into the program over the fall and winter terms. The PCM classes and activities consist of lectures, presentations, panel discussions, and workshops that will help you understand and have the skills required to chart an effective course for your career. In addition, the Career Services Officer is available to provide support on securing your summer experiential learning opportunity. Through developing your professional skills, connecting with relevant industry partners, and developing your professional network, you will learn how to effectively position yourself to pursue your future career as a data analytics professional.

Core Courses – Required for students in all specialty fields

  • Personal Career Management classes & activities – compulsory attendance
  • 7 courses (0.5 FCE each) required courses:
    • Business Skills for Data Scientists
    • Data Consulting
    • Databases
    • Introduction to Data Science
    • Statistical Modelling I
    • Statistical Modelling II
    • Unstructured Data

Students who can demonstrate sufficient background in any of the above required core courses (e.g., scoring a final mark of 78% or higher in a similar course during their undergraduate degree with sufficient documentation to demonstrate mastery of the topic, such as a detailed course outline) may be permitted to substitute any such course with another graduate level course with a significant data analytics focus from either the Department of Statistical & Actuarial Sciences or the Department of Computer Science. Any such substitutions are subject to the approval of the Director of the MDA program.

The Data Analytics Core consists of courses that combine technical skills drawn from both statistical and computer sciences with complementary professional skills. This Core curriculum emphasizes fundamental data analytics skills, including managing and working with large data (big data programming models and platforms, e.g., MapReduce, Hadoop, etc.), statistical modelling, and algorithmic modelling. Where appropriate, professional skills are threaded into such data analytics-oriented courses through written and oral assessments and group work. These and other professional skills are further developed in two additional courses that develop business, ethics and consulting skills.

In addition to this Core training, the Specialty Fields provide domain-targeted training, where data analytics plays a large role.