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Columbia University Launches Online Graduate Programs to Meet Global Demand for Big Data Careers
[February 25, 2013]

Columbia University Launches Online Graduate Programs to Meet Global Demand for Big Data Careers

NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--

Columbia University will offer online versions of its Master of Arts in Statistics and Master of Science in Actuarial Science programs beginning in fall 2013. For the first time, students around the world can further their quantitative knowledge with a degree from Columbia while continuing to reside in their communities and advance their personal and professional goals.

Starting in the fall of 2013, students will have the option of completing these two innovative programs on campus, online or in a hybrid format (a combination of on-campus and online courses). These programs are the result of collaboration among Columbia's Department of Statistics, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Continuing Education.

Columbia's new programs will be offered using the School of Continuing Education's online learning platform, which is designed to encourage "knowledge networking" through cutting-edge social technologies that create a sense of community among students and faculty. Similar to campus-based classes, each online course is anchored by weekly "live" face-to-face lecture sessions conducted by University faculty. Between the live weekly sessions, students and faculty communicate regularly through a unique social network that extends and enhances the impact of traditional learning experiences. All online courses include a combination of live events, asynchronous community-driven activities, and self-study.

"We are delighted to be able to bring the experience of a rigorous Columbia graduate education online," said Carlos J. Alonso, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Vice President for Graduate Education. Dean of Columbia's School of Continuing Education Kristine Billmyer noted, "Highly qualified students from around the country and all over the world who may not be able to relocate to New York to enroll in these programs will now have the opportunity to engage with our faculty and each other in a unique online learning environment."

Columbia's initiative comes as domestic and foreign organizations face a severe shortage of employees with the analytical skills to effectively interpret large amounts of data, according to the McKinsey Global Institute's 2011 report "Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity," which estimates a need for 1.5 million managers and analysts in the United States alone. Industries with the greatest demand include insurance, consulting, manufacturing, and finance.

"We live in an increasingly data-driven world in which the ability to access data and to conduct sophisticated and value generating analyses of those data opens up myriad exciting career possibilities. This trend is unstoppable," said David Madigan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Statistics.

Furthermore, the worldwide demand for skilled actuaries is expected to grow exponentially, given the continued and significant global growth of the insurance and financial services industries-two sectors which rely heavily on actuaries to measure and evaluate risk.

Students in the Master of Arts in Statistics program, offered by Columbia's Department of Statistics, will gain advanced knowledge of statistics, with an emphasis on fundamental business applications and how to use innovative technology in order to analyze large datasets. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to learn from and network with faculty members who are leaders in the fields of statistical methods research, financial mathematics, and data mining. Graduates may also use the master's degree as a foundation for further study in a doctoral program.

The Master of Science in Actuarial Science, offered by Columbia's School of Continuing Education, is ideal for three types of students: recent college graduates seeking a career as an actuary; associate actuaries planning for future advancement through exam preparation; and professionals interested in transitioning into a growing field. In addition to teaching key quantitative skills, the curriculum incorporates an emphasis on business acumen and communication techniques, vital abilities in the workplace. Students can also choose from a selection of electives to tailor their studies toward their particular interests in insurance-including health, enterprise risk management, and property and casualty.

To learn more about Columbia University's Master's programs in statistics and actuarial science, visit

About Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences:

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences oversees the education of graduate students in the departments of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University and, accordingly, is central to the larger University mission of advancing knowledge through research while providing a distinctive and distinguished environment for academic instruction and professional development. The Graduate School confers degrees to students in 61 doctoral and 50 Master's programs. For more information, go to, email, or call 212-854-2861.

About Columbia University's School of Continuing Education:

The Columbia School of Continuing Education offers innovative and rigorous programs that integrate knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, combine theory with practice, leverage the combined expertise of our students and our faculty, and connect global constituencies. Through its 14 professional master's degrees, courses for advancement and graduate school preparation, certificate programs, summer courses, high school programs and program for learning English as a second language, SCE transforms knowledge and understanding in service of the greater good, defined as a just, sustainable and compassionate global society. For more information, go to, email or call 212-854-9666.

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