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UC Berkeley School of Information celebrates the first graduating class of its online Master of Information and Data Science Degree program

The UC Berkeley School of Information (I School) welcomed graduates of the inaugural class of its Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program at commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 16, 2015. The first graduates of the MIDS program, offered only online, include 23 students from eight states who came together in Berkeley to celebrate the significant achievement alongside graduates from the I School’s on-campus programs.

“We’re extremely proud of the inaugural MIDS class, as they have far exceeded our expectations,” said AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of the I School. “This impressive group of graduates will now join a strong network of UC Berkeley and I School alumni across the globe as they work to shape the future of data science, a field in high demand with unlimited opportunity.”

MIDS launched in January 2014 in response to a national shortage of data-savvy professionals. With a multidisciplinary curriculum that draws insights from social science, computer science, statistics, management and law, the online program prepares students from around the world with the skills needed to lead in increasingly complex and interactive data-driven business settings.  

“Mid-way through the degree program, I was able to land a new job at PepsiCo,” said new graduate Elizabeth Peters. “I know the skills that I acquired during the MIDS program were key in getting this job and have proven to be valuable to the company every day. I’m looking forward to growing my responsibilities even more after graduation.”

Graduates have an average of ten years of work experience in their respective fields, with backgrounds that include economics, operations, astronomy, and neuroscience with advanced degrees ranging from M.B.A. to J.D. and Ph.D.

Graduate Rahul Bansal lives in Washington, D.C. and works as Director of Data Acquisition Services for The Advisory Board, a healthcare research company. “While contemplating graduate studies, I applied to a number of graduate data science programs. The MIDS curriculum, small class sizes and stellar admissions support I received made my choice an easy one,” said Bansal. “The program was rewarding from start to finish. I now look forward to advancing my professional career in data analytics, a field that is in high demand within my company and others in the D.C. area.”

Utilizing the technology-enabled services and online learning platform provided by 2U, Inc., MIDS students experience live, face-to-face online classes, interactive coursework featuring videos, case studies, and collaborative activities that foster teamwork. Courses are developed and taught by I School faculty, with small class sizes of 15-20 students. Students also meet on-campus for a required immersion experience that provides opportunities for community-building with faculty and classmates, attending workshops, and participating in networking events with industry leaders in the Bay Area.

For more information on the MIDS program, visit datascience.berkeley.edu, call (855) 678-MIDS or follow the program on Twitter at @BerkeleyData.

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