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Online M.S. in Informatics Creates Pathway to Tech Careers

UL Online -- Tue, 03/02/2021 - 3:58pm

Knowledgeable, highly-skilled computer and information system professionals are in demand in Acadiana and across the country. 

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is working to equip students with diverse educational backgrounds to fill these roles through its 100% online Master of Science in Informatics program beginning August 2021.

Online student works in a Lafayette coffee shop. UL Lafayette offers online bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

“The work force demand in applied computing is enormous in the state of Louisiana. We realized that the need is higher than we have been able to produce in computer science and informatics,” said Dr. Azmy S. Ackleh, dean of Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. “We created this online degree, specifically, to try to help meet that need.”

The Louisiana Board of Regents approved the graduate degree program in January.

The online degree program is an extension of the established M.S. in Informatics offered on campus through the School of Computing & Informatics. Informatics graduate program coordinator Dr. Michael Totaro says online delivery satisfies growing industry demand for skilled workers and student demand for flexibility.

“Most of our students are working professionals and many of them have their families already underway,” Totaro said. “From the very beginning, they were asking for the possibility of when might we roll out an online version of this, because while they are able to come to campus, it is a bit challenging for them.”

The M.S. in Informatics is the only degree of its kind in Louisiana and is a unique opportunity for students looking to explore new careers. The program is open to students with an accredited bachelor’s degree in any field — whether that’s engineering or liberal arts.

Its focus is the information technology aspect of enterprise computing, said Ackleh. Enterprise computing incorporates analytics, reporting, database management and other software solutions systems.

“By definition, informatics is applied computing across multiple domains – business, health sciences, engineering. So we train students to have applied computing skills," Ackleh said.

The 33-credit-hour program offers thesis and non-thesis tracks and allows students to tailor their degree to their professional interests and goals. 

Core courses in informatics and computing explore cutting-edge research in human-computer interaction, network infrastructures, systems development, IT security, data analysis and visualization, distributed databases, cloud computing and big data applications.

“Informatics is quite focused on solutions,” Totaro said. “If a person has interest in technology, computing, information, and data, and how all that can be wrapped together, bundled together and used for specific purposes, informatics is certainly worth looking at.”

Students who enroll in the new online graduate degree can take advantage of reduced, flat-rate tuition, saving $900 or more per semester. 

For more information about the program, email online@louisiana.edu.