Department of Statistics and Data Science at SUSTech launches a newly approved undergraduate major in Data Science and Big Data Technology, a monumental achievement to strengthen its academic program

Recently, the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (MOE) announced the application results of new undergraduate majors in universities for 2020. With the ample support from the MOE and the Department of Education of Guangdong Province, the undergraduate major in Data Science and Big Data Technology applied for by the SUSTech Department of Statistics and Data Science in 2020 was approved by the MOE, an indication of a major breakthrough and achievement in the department’s commitment to provide quality education. With the newly approved program and the existing program (major in Statistics), the department now offers two undergraduate programs.


The major in Data Science and Big Data Technology will start accepting applications in September 2021. The core courses include Mathematical Analysis (or Calculus), Linear Algebra, Probability Theory, Fundamental Statistics, as well as courses in Data Science such as Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis, Operational Research and Optimization, Distributed Storage and Parallel Computing, Statistical Computing and Software, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analysis Software and Application, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Projects and Presentation, Data Visualization. Upon the completion of the curriculum requirements, students would be awarded the Bachelor degree in Science.


The Department of Statistics and Data Science, one of the “young” departments of SUSTech, was established in April 2019 and had grew rapidly since. The department currently has 12 full-time faculty members and 4 joint-appointment professors. Their areas of research include mathematical statistics, biostatistics, financial statistics, applied statistics, data science, etc. The department has established a complete educational system to cultivate undergraduates, postgraduates and doctoral students. In addition, it has two undergraduate programs, major in Statistics and Data Science and Big Data Technology. Furthermore, the department is authorized to reward master’s degrees and doctorates under the first-level discipline of Mathematics. There are currently 134 undergraduate students, 26 MSc students, 19 PhD students and 3 Postdoctoral Fellows.


According to existing reports, besides Data Science and Big Data Technology (080910T), there are three other new majors in Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) that were approved by the MOE: Industrial Design (080205), Offshore Engineering and Technology (081902T) and Intelligent Medical Engineering (101011T). SUSTech’s education structure comprises four main areas, namely, science, engineering, medicine, and business, which are complemented by courses in humanities and social sciences. To date, SUSTech’s undergraduate majors have increased to 34, covering five areas, including 13 majors in science, 16 in engineering, 3 in business, 1 in medicine, and 1 in management.


Promising career prospects under the big data era


The aim of the undergraduate program, Data Science and Big Data Technology (major), is to cultivate high-level all-rounded talents in the field of big data, which is currently in tremendous demand in all sectors of our society. In recent years, big data, as a new force of innovation and technology revolution, has gradually become the focus of academia and industry. Nurturing talents for big data is definitely an important ingredient of the national big data strategy.


As big data expands and plays the function that enhances vertical integration of academic disciplines, the demand for talent in statistics, mathematics, data analysis, data mining, and artificial intelligence is rapidly increasing. Big data is leading an unprecedented evolution on new emerging industry and at the same time stimulate much more intense competition. Shenzhen, as a pioneer arena for China’s reform and open policy, had nourished numerous world-known hi-tech international corporations such as Tencent, Huawei, and ZTE. Data science talents are greatly needed in the aforementioned corporates, as well as many other firms in related industries. These innovative hi-tech companies, together with all their talented employees, will play an essential role in the flourish of all technology-related industries in the Greater Bay Area.


Furthermore, big data and data analytics can facilitate and optimize the decision-making process of government bodies. The launch of a major program in Data Science and Big Data Technology will drastically improve the efficiency in the public sector, and as a result, boost economic growth. 


Over a hundred universities nationwide offer programs majoring in data science and big data technology. Particularly in Shenzhen, the demand for data science talents with mathematics and computer science background has been increasing dramatically. The new SUSTech major in Data Science and Big Data Technology will undoubtly inject additional energy to the society and all technology-related industries, with a steady provision of high-level talents.


Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration


With the arrival of the era of Artificial Intelligent (AI), statistics had gradually become an integrated and interdisciplinary subject and an indispensable influencing factor to many industries and the development of big data and AI.


In the near future, Head of Department Prof. Shao Qiman asserted that the Department would continue to attract and cultivate a distinguished faculty, to establish a world-class interdisciplinary and innovative statistical research platform, to build a unique first-class discipline of statistics and data science, and to nurture top-notch innovative talents in related fields.


Associate Chair of Department Prof. Tian Guoliang emphasized his hope that the launch of the new major would better promote interdisciplinary collaboration between statistics and data science. The newly approved major also enables better integration among data science and related subjects such as mathematics, statistics and computer science. Consequently, the study of statistic serves as the foundation of interdisciplinary development and subsequently, further promotes collaboration in many different academic areas. In summary, the new program offers a “new force” to technology innovation and meets the strategic needs at the national, provincial and city levels.


Group Photo of Faculty and Staff Members of Department of Statistics and Data Science, SUSTech (taken in Nov 2020)