Chicago’s DePaul University has introduced what is thought to be the nation’s first Masters of Science degree program in the fast-growing field of predictive analytics.

The program will be available in September and will be offered from a newly established Center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics at the university.

The center includes faculty from DePaul’s School of Computing and its Department of Marketing and will focus on research involving the application of predictive analytics in marketing, health care education and transportation. IBM will provide predictive analytics software, data sets and guest lecturers in support of the center.

The impetus behind the new graduate program comes from the growing interest in predictive analytics — especially in areas such as marketing, medical informatics and urban studies, said Suzanne Fogel, chair of DePaul’s department of marketing.

“Predictive analytical skills are in high demand” in all areas of business, Fogel said. A growing number of organizations use predictive analytics tools to better understand issues such as customer relationship management, customer churn and the impact of social media on consumer shopping and purchasing, she said.

“We realized that no one offers this kind of business-focused predictive analytics program,” Fogel said. “There are some business intelligence degrees, but there is no degree in predictive analytics,” she said.

DePaul plans to apply to the National Science Foundation for status as an industry research center, she said. As part of the process, the school will work with other industry partners in addition to IBM on research projects involving the application of predictive analytics, she said.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar’s RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com .



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