MS in Data Science: self-paced, 10 months, under $10k

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Seylan, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Okay, I laughed. :D
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    If you ever heard me play, Steve - you'd know I was serious. :)

    "He got the action, he got the motion, but no... the boy can't play!" -apologies to Mark Knopfler & Dire Straits
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  3. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    WGU is fine, it would be like any other non ivy school in the US. I would say, go for it... BTW, I checked WGU and the Big 3, along with the other recommended competency based degree providers, they are all mainly in the top 10-15% for ROI in the nation. For example, Excelsior/TESU/WGU are in the top 500, Brandman/COSC are in the top 1000 and this is in a list of over 4500 schools on payscale. I would rank them in a similar fashion and also come up with similar numbers.
  4. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I applied to Eastern. They have been wonderful. Application process takes about 15 minutes, and then they take your transcripts and a resume. No reference letters or personal statements required. They need to confirm if I need an evaluation for my Canadian Bachelor's degree but said they suspect I probably don't. Classes start around every 7 weeks so they have admits in January, May, July and September. I can't get a sense of the rigor yet, but the program is designed for people with no previous programming experience. They don't have a math requirement.

    I think for $10K it's a good deal no matter what. I could easily spend 10K on a Data Science boot camp and walk away without a credential. I'm still holding out for Quantic's (free) MBA, but if I didn't get in that would tilt the equation strongly in favor of Eastern as far as grad school in the next 12 months.

    What I can't really figure out is that they say "self-paced", but they also have you take courses in sequence. So I think it might be more fair to say that it is "asynchronous" but not self-paced, since I don't think you can "miss" courses or take longer than the 7 weeks, which seems very short for a course length. I've done 8 week courses and they were a whirlwind. I really prefer 12 weeks, and I've gone as long as 16.
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  5. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    That was quick! They called me right back to say that yes, my transcript is fine for admission purposes without needing to be evaluated because it is RA. (I got the sense Canadian schools in general might be acceptable because but I can't be sure.)
    Seylan likes this.
  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Ummm .... I think that shows exactly WHY Athabasca decided on RA. US students were expected and welcomed. Degrees had to work in US with no hassle. For everything.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  7. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    That was quick! They offered me admission. I haven't gotten an email or anything, I just happened to login and the status changed from "See Your Application" to "View Your Decision." Apparently I'll get an admissions letter in the mail shortly.

    Attached Files:

  8. Seylan

    Seylan New Member

    Well done! Let us know how it goes when you start. Wishing you all the best.
  9. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I originally applied for the September intake, but decided to move it up to March. It's a 10 month program which feels fast (10 courses that run every 7 weeks so I'm not sure exactly how the math works out on that), but it's also possible the courses are intensive.
    nomaduser likes this.
  10. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Update: I got emails a few hours ago welcoming me, and providing my email address, username and password to get into the relevant systems. I need to pay my enrollment deposit and then register for classes.
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  11. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I should mention: despite being a Christian university, I ticked "Agnostic" on the part of the application that mentioned religiosity. The other questions were optional and it included a range of faith communities (I didn't check for Atheist, sorry.)

    Nobody mentioned it and it didn't affect my admission.
    innen_oda likes this.
  12. sube

    sube Member

    This is very interesting. Is this Eastern Univ in PA? I used to live right near there and would pass it on my way to work. Let us know how you like it. I may apply!
  13. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is the same Eastern University, located on Philly's "Main Line" area. Eastern is historically Baptist, but it's on the liberal side of Baptist theology. (It's part of the American Baptist Churches denomination, which many fundamentalists consider to be heretic. They are way to the left of, say, Southern Baptists.)

    Eastern's big claim to fame: Anthony Campolo, professor of sociology who retired a few years back. Tony was a superstar in the Jesus festival circuit and was known as the "spiritual advisor" to then-president Bill Clinton. Other than Tony, Eastern essentially has a mediocre reputation (IMO).
  14. newsongs

    newsongs Active Member

    Tony Campolo is an amazing guy... (thanks for the reminder Steve). I think the video below is worth the six minutes out of your Christmas eve day... entitled "A Party for a Prostitute".

  15. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I originally opted for March but decided to move up my start-date to January. I've registered for the first course, starting January 11. They use Ellucian for the admin, very simple and easy to follow. They use an LMS called Brightspace. It's created by the same people who make D2L (Desire to Learn) which I have used, I'll have to see if it's any good. The professor for the first class (DTSC-520 Fundamentals of Data Science) is Gregory Longo, who has a PhD in Psychology from Virginia Tech.
  16. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Update: I haven't actually registered for the first course. Instead, I submitted a student enrollment form. They have an admissions or enrollment counsellor do your registration for you for the first course, and after that you can talk to advising to plan your degree if need-be, but I think I'm on my own to register my own classes (which is similar to Athabasca and I like.)

    They still need an official copy of my transcript (apparently Athabasca emailed a copy from their account but it came without any encryption so they still consider it unofficial...) I've got until the end of January to get that arranged. They have my FAFSA and are working on my financial aid offer. I'm not expecting any aid, just access to government student loans. I could pay cash (in fact I'll probably begin paying down the balance as soon as I can), but I'd like the additional flexibility that student loans provide, especially while I'm enrolled.

    My enrollment advisor is very communicative. I've gotten a reply between 2 minutes and one hour after emailing, whether they were asking me for something or I was providing them an update. I'm really satisfied with the customer service to date.
  17. sube

    sube Member

    Thanks for the updates. I look forward to your impressions of the courses once you get started. Are you taking one class at a time? Do you have a background in data science? I do not, so that makes me a bit scared to try this, but it is a topic I am very interested in.
  18. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I'm doing one class at a time, yes. I'm overscheduled as it is!

    I don't have a real background in data science. I'm pretty good with Excel, and I did a single Jupyter notebook from UpLevel (medium difficulty), that perhaps was 10 hours of work in total. Programming is not new to me but I've never done it professionally. I've never done any calculus courses. So I think I'm well-suited for this program which is designed for beginners.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  19. sube

    sube Member

    Ok, thanks. I've done very little programming but I am good with Excel and I love data, so I'm seriously considering this. My employer will not pay because it's not directly related to what I do, but a master's at this price is rare, so I may take the plunge. I'm looking around online to get somewhat familiar with Jupyter and R since I've never used either. I'll see how that goes and maybe I'll apply to start in February.
  20. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I'll let you know as soon as I have access what the course material looks like. I doubt much of the hard stuff in the first 2 courses (Intro to Data Science and Intro to Stats with R) will be new material to me, so that will give me an opportunity to evaluate it more critically.
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