Economics and data science degree among NTU's new interdisciplinary offerings

NTU said the four-year programme will give students a strong foundation in economics and prepare them to handle big data. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Students enrolling in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) this year can apply for a new Bachelor of Science degree in economics and data science.

This degree is one of 13 new offerings announced by the university on Monday (Feb 15), a move it said will expand students' options for interdisciplinary study.

Other new options for undergraduate students include a double degree in accountancy and data science and artificial intelligence. There will also be 10 new double major combinations in the arts and humanities, and a second major in entrepreneurship for students in certain disciplines.

Professor Ling San, NTU deputy president and provost, said the new options are in line with the university's recently announced five-year strategic plan to transform learning.

"Through the new interdisciplinary combinations and degree programmes, students will enrich their disciplinary training, gain an appreciation of taking different perspectives, and maintain intellectual and learning flexibility," he said.

"This is so that they will be better prepared to respond to the changes and challenges brought about by rapid technological change and uncertainties in the post-Covid-19 world."

Those in the new economics and data science degree programme will study three subjects - economics, mathematics and data science.

NTU said the four-year programme will give students a strong foundation in economics and prepare them to handle big data.

Through the course, the university hopes to develop future data scientists, economists and industry analysts.

Also incorporating data science is the new double degree in accountancy and data science and artificial intelligence, a 4½-year course which will see students graduate with two degrees.

Prof Ling said: "Combining data science with accountancy, or economics, can be powerful."

"Increasingly more organisations are recognising the value of data scientists and experts who have a strong theoretical and empirical foundation in economics and mathematics."

Meanwhile, students at NTU's School of Humanities can now apply to study any two subjects taught within the school as a double major, a move which has created 10 new double major combinations, like Chinese and English, or history and linguistics and multilingual studies.

NTU said that unlike a second major, which supplements a single major, the double majors are two full majors taken in a single course of study.

This requires students to take 10 per cent more academic credits than a single major, while giving them the freedom to still read elective modules that pique their interest.

Finally, a new second major in entrepreneurship will be offered to students reading accountancy, business, and engineering, as well as those taking a double degree in accountancy and business.

Offered by NTU's Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre, the second major helps students to build a strong innovative and entrepreneurial mindset, said NTU, adding that the course will also plug students into Singapore's entrepreneurship ecosystem.

NTU's announcement on Monday comes amid moves by other local universities to increase their interdisciplinary offerings.

In December last year, the National University of Singapore (NUS) launched its College of Humanities and Sciences, which will admit its first cohort this August.

Explaining the move then, NUS president Tan Eng Chye cited the current uncertain, complex and volatile environment, and said future graduates must be prepared to solve problems on multiple fronts.

Correction note: In a previous version of this story, we mistakenly referred to Professor Ling San as a woman. We are sorry for the error.

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