Banner img
Banner img

Data Analytics

PROGRAM OVERVIEW The most in-demand careers right now involve effective use of data. Companies and organizations are increasingly seeking professionals with the technical knowledge to find new and unexpected relationships in large data sets. Using techniques rooted in Artificial Intelligence, these professionals are able to provide recommendations for decision-making and exploring opportunities. Recent studies estimate that by 2018, between 290,000 and 340,000 jobs in data analytics will be created in the U.S. alone—more than half of which are predicted to go unfilled.

Before the advent of “big data,” analysts would solve a problem such as determining what to charge for car insurance by looking at claims and calculating the average. But all drivers are not equal. By delving into vast amounts of data and looking for new correlations between various factors (say, credit card habits and driving records), data analysts can help companies accurately project cost, risk, and other factors—and craft sound business strategies.

With a major in Data Analytics, you could build a career in many diverse arenas including insurance (predictive modeling, underwriting, evaluating risk), computing (machine learning, computational modeling), mathematics (creating complex operations to examine real-world problems), sports (evaluating player performance), politics (forecasting election results), business (targeting social media advertising), health care (anticipating epidemics), education (individualizing lesson plans), and other areas. 

PROGRAM STRUCTURE The Drake Data Analytics program is anchored to two objectives:

  1. Students will gain not only a common foundation of knowledge about data—in particular how it is stored, accessed, analyzed, modeled, scored, and applied—but also an understanding of how it should be used ethically and how to communicate with stakeholders before and after performing analyses.
  2. Students will have the relative freedom to personalize their experience in the major by selecting an area of specialty. Here, objective one is put to application. Students will have the opportunity to successfully apply core knowledge to a discipline of their choosing.

Professional preparation is also an important part of the major. Drake is forging partnerships with businesses and organizations in the Greater Des Moines area for student internship opportunities. Students will learn by applying principles of data analytics to topics they find personally fulfilling, be it biology, marketing, actuarial science, computer science, economics, finance, or other fields. 

Students will also be challenged to complete both a major-specific case studies course and a disciplinary capstone in a chosen area of specialty.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR Data Analytics is a joint program of the College of Business and Public Administration and the College of Arts and Sciences. The program offers integrated study in mathematics, statistics, and communication, and is designed to prepare students for a broad variety of research-oriented careers in just about any field. 

A few degree options are offered. The Data Analytics major is available as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from the College of Arts and Sciences and as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.) from the College of Business and Public Administration. Students are required to complete 30 hours of major coursework for these majors.

The Data Analytics major core consists of 30 credit hours, with the specialty requiring 9–12 hours. Specialties include: finance, eCommerce, biology, marketing, mathematics, computer science, insurance, actuarial science, and economics. 

The Major Core:

  1. IT Applications for Business (exposure to the statistical languages R and SAS)
  2. Introduction to Computer Science I and II
  3. Ethics in Data Analysis
  4. Probability/Statistics
  5. Statistical Modeling and Data Analysis II
  6. Machine Learning
  7. Cloud Computing and Database Systems
  8. Data Analysis: Generalized Linear Models and Data Mining
  9. Case Studies in Data Analytics and Big Data

The Data Analytics minor requires 21-22 credits in major coursework. 

Minor Coursework:

  1. IT Applications for Business
  2. One of the following: Statistics for the Life Sciences; Statistics I; Probability/Statistics
  3. Introduction to Computer Science I
  4. Business Calculus (Math 28 or Calculus I)
  5. Data Analysis OR Generalized Linear Models and Data Mining
  6. Cloud Computing and Database Systems OR Database Management
  7. Generalized Linear Models and Data Mining (if not taken as Option 5) OR Machine Learning

CAREER OPTIONS The Data Analytics program is designed to prepare students for data analytics careers in any field in which data is needed to help steer decisions—insurance, biology, marketing, actuarial science, sports, computer science, health care, economics, finance, and more. Drake is partnering with employers who are eager to extend internships to students in this discipline. These employers will also be a rich source of future jobs for program graduates. Professionals in this field are in extremely high demand in a variety organizations and industries throughout the world. Data Analytics can be the factor that separates a student from the pack when it comes time to find a job.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION If you like manipulating data and using math and statistics to explore the stories they can reveal, you may enjoy a successful career in data analytics. To succeed in the program, students should have a strong interest and aptitude in mathematics as well as statistics. 


September 22, 2017
Drake University hosted a special luncheon to announce and celebrate the winners of the 2017 John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition, which encourages and promotes entrepreneurial activity and create greater awareness of the resources available to entrepreneurs in Iowa.