What are the benefits of establishing data science programs as an independent discipline rather than creating data scientists in different fields? (for students, universities and the society as a whole)

I am authoring a book on data science and I have mentioned some university programs as models for establishing data science programs in bachelor's, master's and doctorate level. I am thinking of some reasons to compare this model with enriching well-established programs and adding data science skills.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any ideas to start the discussion? $\endgroup$ – Spacedman Oct 2 '15 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ I edited my question. Take a look. $\endgroup$ – Hamideh Oct 3 '15 at 15:48

Advantages of setting up a dedicated data science as an independent discipline, which I can think of:

  • There would be more and more data scientists who can cater to the growing demand for them, in companies and industries in almost every domain.
  • The concept of statistics, algorithms (ML would be included in this), and Big Data don't need to exist as chapters in separate domains. Now, they can exist as part of the data science workflow in this program.
  • Data Scientists would be more aware how data science would be applicable in the domain of business. The concepts of business knowledge for data scientists is often found wanting. Data scientists with a knowledge of Business Statistics is in huge demand, and a domain dedicated program would help serving the needs.
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  • $\begingroup$ Disagree. Statistics as an independent discipline is a boring, dull, theoretical enterprise (say my students). An applied "Statistics for Environmental Science" degree is much more popular (say my application counts). Similarly for DS. I posit that "DS for Domain Y" courses would be more popular than "DS" courses. Skills transfers are still possible, as with stats, but most students have an idea of the field they want to work in at their age. $\endgroup$ – Spacedman Oct 4 '15 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with you @Spacedman. The lack of context really makes the curriculum meaningless. Do you have any formal reference so that I can mention that in my book? For example, a paper or website saying that Statistics as an independent discipline is boring, dull and theoretical? and context and domain knowledge should be added to these programs? $\endgroup$ – Hamideh Oct 14 '15 at 15:42

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