Boston or Providence? Brown or BU? If you’re torn between New England options, skim through our guide to earning an RI data science degree. It has details on everything from research & scholarships to meetups & careers. Committed to the Ocean State? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Rhode Island.
Studying Data Science in Rhode Island
Rhode Island is like a data science chick breaking out of its shell. It’s strategically located between two big birds (NYC and Boston). Real estate is affordable. Its universities produce strong graduate pools. With 4.3% of the workforce employed in tech in 2017, the map of CompTIA Cyberstates ranked it #23 in the country.
But it has a way to go before we’re willing to call it Silicon Rhody. Major data-driven companies are few. Venture capital can be tricky to source. The state has succeeded in attracting offshoots of Johnson & Johnson and GE, but that’s no guarantee that other big names will follow.
The Providence Innovation & Design District, with its Wexford Science & Technology and Johnson & Wales Science and Innovation Centers, should help a lot. So, too, will booster groups like Tech Collective and Providence Geeks, investors such as the Slater Technology Fund and Angel Street Capital, and the coworking community Founders League. Watch this space!
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Rhode Island Universities
As the state’s signature Ivy League, Brown has a well-established reputation in data science. U.S. News & World Report frequently ranks it in the top 20 of Best Computer Science Graduate Schools and the top 50 of Best Statistics Graduate Schools. It’s also generous with its student funding!
- The Data Science Initiative draws on expertise from multiple departments, and encompasses all kinds of research projects. In addition to traditional areas (e.g. science), this research includes partnerships with the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Cogut Center for the Humanities, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.
- The Department of Biostatistics has a number of fascinating research projects on the burner and a tight relationship with the health-focused Center for Statistical Sciences. The Department and the Center co-host regular Brown Statistical Seminars for students and researchers.
Over at the University of Rhode Island (URI), you’ll find active research groups in the Department of Computer Science and Statistics and…
- The Environmental Data Center, a GIS and spatial data analysis laboratory in the Department of Natural Resources Science. Areas of expertise include remote sensing, spatial data modeling, ecological mapping, and data integration for environmental applications.
- The Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed): iCubed’s chief scientists are concerned with the creation of new & safer vaccines, predicting & treating adverse immune responses, and studying infectious disease (e.g. Dengue fever, HIV, etc.).
We should also mention Bryant University’s AACSB-accredited Business School and its Advanced Applied Analytics Center. Founded by professors of Computer Information Systems and Mathematics, AAAC is deliberately aimed at helping New England businesses and organizations make sense of big data. It organizes an annual data analytics symposium and maintains very close ties with the SAS Institute.
Online Data Science Programs in Rhode Island
As of 2017, Rhode Island wasn’t offering any distance learning options in the realm of data science. Nil desperandum! Our directories of online graduate certificates and online master’s degrees have lots of programs offered by top-name schools (e.g. Stanford) around the country.
Data Science Scholarships in Rhode Island
For this section, we chose to focus on university aid that directly applied to degrees in our directory. But your Office of Graduate Studies will have plenty more info on outside scholarships, low-interest loans, and the FAFSA.
- Department of Biostatistics Graduate Scholarship: This scholarship covers roughly 25% of tuition for students in the MA or SCM in Biostatistics. Most funding is merit-based.
- Department of Biostatistics Research Apprenticeship: Apprenticeships cover a larger portion of tuition than scholarships and include a monthly stipend. Most funding is merit-based.
- Kanellakis Fellowship: This graduate fellowship is awarded to two PhD students in the Department of Computer Science (e.g. PhD in Big Data). Preference is given to students from Greece.
- PhD in Big Data Funding: The Department of Computer Science offers students full funding for the nine-month academic year through fellowships, assistantships, and the like. This includes full tuition, health insurance, and a generous stipend. It also guarantees five years of financial support to students in good academic standing. Though teaching assistantships are occasionally available, students are largely supported on research assistantships.
- PhD in Biostatistics Funding: All PhD in Biostatistics students are fully supported through research & teaching assistantships, traineeships, and fellowships. This funding includes a stipend, health services fee, and health-insurance.
- ScM in Data Science Financial Aid: Brown’s Data Science Initiative notes that “there will be a limited amount of financial help available to support ScM students,” but doesn’t specify how much.
- Graduate Alumni Council Scholarship: This scholarship is open to College of Business graduate students who have maintained a cumulative 3.5 (or better) GPA. The candidate must have financial need and work & community service experience.
- Kenneth R. and Janet MacLean Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded to a College of Business graduate student demonstrating superior academic performance and proven financial need.
- MBA Scholarship: All MBA applicants are automatically considered for a merit-based scholarship when they apply. (Students aiming for the fall term must apply by April 30th to be eligible for preferred consideration).
We also wanted to let you know about the Wavemaker Fellowship. This state-funded program will defray student loan payments for up to four years for graduates pursuing careers or starting businesses in technology, engineering, design, and other key sectors. Any graduate working or going to work in Rhode Island is eligible, regardless of their alma mater.
Data Science Events in Rhode Island
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Rhode Island
Providence is the obvious epicenter of tech meetups (see Providence Geeks), but Boston tends to have more targeted options. If the thought of hours on 95 makes you shudder, here are some friendly local groups.
- Future of Data: Providence: This hands-on meetup is designed to give data scientists & developers the chance to work with open source and open community Apache tools.
- Mojo Tech Meetups: Every quarter, this Providence-based software company holds some interesting talks & events in its downtown headquarters.
- Narragansett Bay Area R Users: Unlike big New England groups, this meetup is specifically tailored to R users in the Providence RI region.
- Rhode Island Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group: This small meetup and SQL Pass Chapter is dedicated to BI and all kinds of related subjects (e.g. SQL Server database, cubes, big data, non structured data, and reporting). See also: Rhode Island SQL Server Users Group (RISSUG).
- Tech Collective Meetups: Tech Collective organizes a number of meetings & events throughout the year, including meetups devoted to Women in Tech, hackathons, and industry overviews.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Rhode Island
- Bryant University Northeast Entrepreneurship Conference (BUNEEC): Billed as “one of the region’s largest entrepreneurship events,” BUNEEC is a good chance to connect with fellow innovators.
- Information Governance Conference (InfoGov): Information governance is defined as the umbrella strategy for an organization’s information, so data science and cybersecurity play significant parts in this event.
- SHARE Providence: Geared toward enterprise IT professionals, SHARE offers 500+ technical sessions in areas like big data, the Cloud, cybersecurity, and analytics.
- Startup@Brown: Brown’s day-long conference in September is a chance for innovative startups and talented students to mix and mingle. There are workshops, informal gatherings, and a startup fair.
Data Science Jobs in Rhode Island
Although the largest employers in Rhode Island are healthcare providers, financial institutions, and universities, the state has gained two major tech offshoots in recent years:
- Johnson & Johnson, which has planted its health technology center in the Wexford Science & Technology Center (~75 employees in the short term).
- General Electric, which has created a GE Digital IT Center in Providence (100 employees in the short term, with expectation of more).
All of these examples, including Brown University itself, are often on the look-out for data scientists.
In addition, Providence has its own small but feisty tech sector. Upserve is perhaps the most famous of the bunch, but names like Splitwise, Utilidata, Atrion, MojoTech, Vertikal6, and Envision Technology Advisors will also crop up in local conversations.
Data Scientist Salaries in Rhode Island
As of 2017, Glassdoor was listing the average estimated salary for a data scientist in Providence as $101,932; data analysts could expect an average of $65,543.
These are strong figures, but we should caution that Glassdoor was working off a very limited number of salary listings. If you’re being headhunted by a big financial firm, you can probably expect offers in the range of Boston numbers.
The good news? Providence’s cost of living is pretty reasonable – utilities are expensive, but housing is not. And PawSox tickets are a lot cheaper than a trip to Fenway!
We found 3 universities in Rhode Island offering Masters of Data Science programs (and/or closely related programs, like MS in Analytics / Masters in Business Analytics).
If you represent a university and would like to contact us about editing any of our listings, or adding new programs, please send an email to info (at) mastersindatascience.org.