UPD offers PhD in data science

Applications for the new UPD program, PhD in data science, this first semester of AY 2022-2023, are now accepted until Aug. 22. 

According to the announcement on the UPD College of Science (CS) website, data science “is a multidisciplinary approach that studies data as a vehicle of information throughout its natural cycle of production, storage, retrieval, processing and purification, analysis, and presentation including visualization, in relation to the scientific questions connected to it.”

Approved by the UP Board of Regents on July 28 at its 1372nd meeting, the program “aims to produce PhD graduates equipped with a good scientific mindset, with adequate technical skills, and a professional perspective of expanding the science of data, with data as carriers of information.”

The UP System and UPD officials at the launch in 2021 of the UP Data Commons, the computing facility that supports the PhD in data science program. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

Computational Science Research Center director Johnrob Bantang, PhD said the program is supported by the UP Data Commons. This is a computing facility that includes several units of high-performance computing (HPC) machines that can be utilized for research such as HPC tasks, programming applications/software, systems and web application development and deployment, data repositories and database systems development, and many others.

Bantang is chair of the graduate committee of the CS Data Science Program.

He added that the new program is implemented independently by the CS, UPD College of Engineering, and the UPD School of Statistics, but has a coordinating data science graduate committee to maximize the many opportunities available in the University such as access to domain experts in UP.

“There is only one program of the University implemented by the three colleges. To ensure a uniform implementation, the Data Science Graduate Committee coordinates these units in terms of the policies and requirements of the program,” said Bantang.

The PhD in data science has three program track options: option 1 is straight PhD, option 2 is regular PhD, and option 3 is PhD by research.

Straight PhD track is intended for students with a bachelor’s degree in sciences, engineering, or in other fields relevant to data science. Those admitted to this track are required to take graduate courses in mathematical, computational, and statistical methods. These courses will serve as foundational courses for the students to acquire the necessary minimum competencies to do advanced studies in data science.

Poster. Image from the UPD Data Science Program Facebook page

The regular PhD track, on the other hand, is for those who already have a master’s degree. Applicants for this track are expected to already have the necessary competencies to do advanced studies in data science. They must also have the necessary background and skills in the practice of data science, particularly in their domain of expertise. Applicants without the appropriate level of mathematical, computational, and statistical background may either opt to take option 1 or enroll in non-degree courses to attain the required level of competencies. The PhD by research track is for those who already have a master’s degree, with research experience beyond the master’s or equivalent degree, and with at least three published papers about data science and related fields (one of which should be as lead or primary author). Admitted applicants are required to have a research plan prior to enrollment in the program.