Code School Runner Galvanize Offers Data Science Degree in San Francisco

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business models, especially for degree programs in computer-related fields where the new schools can reasonably claim that their coursework could lead to desirable jobs. Udacity of Mountain View, CA, is creating “nanodegree’’ programs in skills like Web development through partnerships with Silicon Valley companies such as Google. The corporate partners will approve “industry credentials” for nanodegree graduates. Udacity is also working with AT&T and Georgia Tech to offer an accredited online master’s degree in computer science at a cost of $6,600.

It’s a fascinating time, when players ranging from for-profit edtech companies to universities themselves are deconstructing the university experience, repackaging the elements, and often shedding many of the traditional trimmings.

The Minerva Project has created a virtual college community where undergraduate students meet with their faculty online only, in seminars grounded in critical thinking skills. The new college’s Nob Hill residence hall is the only campus building—students can take their laptops to a park or cafe and attend class. The college was formed under an alliance with the Keck Graduate Institute, and its full name is The Minerva Schools at KGI.

Deters has meetings set up with Minerva CEO Ben Nelson to talk about the possibility of joint programs. “I think the Minerva Project is super exciting,” Deters says. He says he can also envision future collaborations with traditional universities such as UC Berkeley.

Right now, though, UC Berkeley’s School of Information is one of GalvanizeU’s direct competitors. Berkeley’s “I-School” welcomed the first students to its new Master of Information and Data Science degree program in January. The UC Berkeley program, conducted almost entirely online, costs about $60,000 for a 27-unit sequence that students can complete in 12 months or more.

Deters says GalvanizeU’s program is a better bargain. Unlike many edtech entrepreneurs, Deters does not see online courses as key to the future of university education. Rather than remote learning, he counts on the power of proximity. Gathering students, faculty, and employers together in urban campuses to work on real problems will deliver a “return on community,” he says.

“You must have shared experiences if you want to be an entrepreneur,” Deters says.

GalvanizeU could be the entry point to well-paid jobs in data science for university liberal arts graduates who haven’t yet gotten a toehold in the job market.

“There needs to be a new on-ramp to this world of abundance,” Deters says.

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