Ohio State University (OSU) will offer a data analytics undergraduate major beginning next fall — an undertaking projected to cost $5-7 million per year to hire and train up to 60 faculty in the field of Big Data.

undergraduate-big-data-degreeUnder the Discovery Themes initiative headed by the provost, the interdisciplinary major will cross departments from medicine, engineering, history, and the arts.

Discovery Themes will focus on three core issues: health and wellness, energy and environment, and food production and security.

Students will learn to use Big Data to address these issues on a global scale. OSU is using Discovery Themes to maintain its place as a leading public university.

This will be the first undergraduate degree in data analytics awarded in the United States.

“In addition, we are likely to invest $25-30 million in one-time equipment and infrastructure and around $55 million in renovation of an existing building for a data analytics building,” said Joseph Steinmetz, executive vice president and provost at OSU. ” This big data effort will also involve over 150 faculty members who already work in this area on campus.”

The Discovery Themes initiative is recruiting faculty from various disciplines including statistics, computer science, and behavioral psychology. It will be headed by senior administrators appointed by the provost.

The campus’s data headquarters would include research on a number of fields, including security, healthcare, food production, and energy.

“We have a new undergraduate major in data analytics, which is already generating a fair amount of attention,” interim OSU President Joseph Alutto said in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch. “It also gives us an opportunity to renovate and really retain two of the iconic buildings on this campus, but use them for a very different purpose than what they were originally designed.”


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