Columbia University Announces New Online Graduate Programs

Compiled by Ryan Garner
February 25, 2013

Columbia University has established two new online graduate degree programs, a Master of Arts in Statistics and a Master of Science in Actuarial Science. Launching in the fall of 2013, the programs will offer students the option of earning a degree through instruction delivered on campus, online or in a hybrid format. These programs were developed through the joint efforts of Columbia’s Department of Statistics, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Continuing Education.

“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.

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Each online course aims to foster a sense of community, keeping students connected through the School of Continuing Education’s online learning platform. Courses are structured around weekly lectures by faculty members, which help to supplement and reinforce concepts learned through independent online study. Students are encouraged to communicate regularly through the university’s unique social network.

“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,” said Kristine Billmyer, Dean of Columbia’s School of Continuing Education.

Offered by Columbia’s Department of Statistics, the Master of Arts in Statistics program aims to give students advanced knowledge of statistics, teaching them how to analyze large datasets using innovative technology. The Master of Science in Actuarial Science program, offered by Columbia’s School of Continuing Education, focuses on business principles and communication methods, teaching key quantitative skills.

The new online graduate programs aim to help fulfill growing employment demand in these specialized areas. According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s 2011 report “Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity,” the insurance, consulting, manufacturing and finance industries face a shortage of individuals who possess the ability to interpret large amounts of data. The report estimates that there is a shortage of 1.5 million managers and data analysts in the United States.

"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.


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

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