Microsoft’s Professional Degree in Data Science

Microsoft Data Science Structure


The program consists of some required courses with a few electives.

  • Data Science Orientation
  • Querying with Transact-SQL (banged this out in a few hours given my dev background)
  • Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel (Could have chosen Power BI as a replacement)
  • Introduction to R for Data Science (Choose between R or Python)
  • Data Science Essentials
  • Principles of Machine Learning
  • Programming in R for Data Science (Choose between R or Python)
  • Developing Intelligent Apps (Elective)
  • Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics (Truly deep Stats course taught by Ivy League professors – spent the longest time here)
  • The Final Project

For example, one of the electives in the Develop Intelligent Solutions module offered hands on labs in Machine Learning, Creating Bots and Stream Analytics

Screenshot from the Microsoft Professional Degree in Data Science page, showing the 'subway map' of course options. Graphic: Microsoft

Alison Cunard announces the Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program, which she describes like this:

The first program of its kind to offer employer-endorsed, university-caliber curriculum for professionals at any stage of their career. MPD is a Microsoft-led initiative, built on the Open edX on Azure platform, providing professionals with real-world knowledge and hands-on experience to grow their skills in critical fields. The initial curriculum will focus on the Data Science Degree program providing targeted skills and experiences in the rapidly evolving data science industry.

The program provides a “subway map” that shows choices for specializing your degree. The classes cover a lot of ground, from statistics to machine learning to data analysis and visualization. You can take classes in the listed order, in a custom order, or simultaneously. You can audit any classes, including the associated hands-on labs, for free.

It’s a worthwhile undertaking, because:

Microsoft consulted Data Scientists and the companies that employ them to identify the requisite core skills. We then developed a curriculum to teach these functional and technical skills, combining highly rated online courses with hands-on labs, concluding in a final capstone project. Graduates earn a Microsoft Professional Degree in Data Science—a digitally sharable, résumé-worthy credential.

Testing your knowledge


For more details on the Data Science Professional Degree