Rationale

Big data is transforming almost every aspect of science, engineering, geography, and medicine, from mapping genes to exploring galaxies. In the study of human affairs, there is an emerging ‘data society’, in which increasingly comprehensive aspects of human behaviour and the economy are quantified through data.

Data science is a discipline concerned with the processes and systems required for extracting knowledge and insight from data sets, which are then translated into meaningful action. This data can come in many forms: it can be structured or unstructured, and its scope and scale can vary dramatically. The theoretical foundations of data science often lie at the intersection between statistics, mathematics and computer science.

As data science becomes increasingly influential, inevitably there will be significant levels of national and global debate over how best it can be used for the understanding and development of economies, governments and societies. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), with its distinctive range of globally recognised specialisms across the social sciences, is perfectly positioned to lead this debate.

LSE’s Data Science Initiative will serve as a research nexus for social scientific study that addresses the central problems of the emerging data society, how data science, communications, sociology, economics, politics, law and policy studies can work in partnership, and how to position data as a force for good in society.

With the means to connect technical skills with social science expertise, LSE is perfectly positioned to harness the big data that will revolutionise our understanding of society’s most important questions and provide a scientific basis for data-informed decision making.

We also see a huge market for education in data science and analytics, and believe the LSE is well-positioned to capitalize on this potential. We see scope for new degrees in:

  • Management: A possible new Masters of Business Analytics
  • Inter-departmental: Executive education programmes in data science and business analytics
  • Summer School: Data Science methods intensive two-week (already held since 2015) and one-week executive courses

Further to the above, we are launching an MSc in Data Science and an MSc in Operations Research and Analytics commencing in September 2017. The MSc in Applied Social Data Science will commence in September 2018. Further information can be found on the Study page.

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