Corporate Cohorts FAQ

A: While any individual employee can apply for and gain admission to the iSchool’s degree and certificate programs, some organizations prefer to have their employees take courses together in sections that are exclusively for that firm. These exclusive cohorts allow course work and project teams do coursework aligned with company priorities. Employees who participate in exclusive course offerings may feel more comfortable discussing industry-related information among themselves. Employee cohorts can study customized content. The iSchool and the organization can forge an agreement to conduct these exclusive course offerings in a sequence that is preferred by the organization. Typically, cohorts must contain a minimum of 15 employees.

A: Depending upon the size of a cohort and the amount of course customization that is needed, it is possible to provide a partial scholarship that covers all students in the cohort. Generally speaking, larger cohorts whose classes require little or no customization would have greater eligibility for scholarships that would reduce the overall per-student cost of attendance. Smaller cohorts and/or more substantial course customizations would tend to reduce the extent of scholarships. In all cases, the final financial arrangements for a cohort are subject to the approval of the dean.

A: When an organization sends a cohort of employees to participate in coursework, it is sometimes desirable to modify the standard contents of courses to focus on skill and knowledge areas of special interest to the organization. Some customizations, for example to the homework or project assignments, are relatively straightforward. Other customizations, such as changing technology platforms used in teaching or substituting new areas for the course to cover, require much more effort on the part of the professor who is preparing and teaching the course. The total costs of sending a cohort through a degree or certificate program will depend on the amount of course customization that the school needs to accomplish on behalf of the organization.

With only a few minor exceptions in areas related to Library Science, all of the iSchool’s graduate certificate and degree programs can be taken online or with a combination of online and brief residency formats. Depending upon the geographic distribution of employees, we encourage corporate cohorts to engage in one or more brief residencies during their program of study. These residencies build team cohesiveness and help to ensure that students excel in online coursework. The location of a residency can also be flexible. Some organizations may prefer faculty onsite while others prefer to use the facilities of the iSchool at Syracuse University. SU also operates buildings in New York City and Washington DC which can support instruction.

A: When an individual student applies to a certificate or degree program, the faculty and staff carefully evaluate each student’s application to ensure that the student will achieve success in the program, given their background and skills. In the case of the corporate cohort, the iSchool and the organization collaborate to develop criteria for selection into the cohort. The organization then selects the employees they want to send to the program. The iSchool conducts an expedited application process that only includes those application elements required under the terms of the university’s accreditation (e.g., a transcript showing completion of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent). Application fees are built into the cost of the contract between the iSchool and the organization so that employees do not have to cover the costs.

A: The agreement between the iSchool and the organization generally covers all lab, activity, and facility fees. Employees are generally responsible for their own textbook purchases. For programs that include a residency component, employees are responsible for their own travel expenses. Organizations may decide to support reimbursement for these travel expenses at their own discretion.

Certificate of Advanced Studies in Data Science (CASDS)

Many organizations are eager to enhance staff skills to leverage the value of large data sets. Organizations interested in the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Data Science (CASDS) are able to utilize their own data sets in coursework to enhance their productivity. The remaining questions address the CASDS specifically.

A: The Data Science CAS is a graduate certificate that can be taken in any mix of part-time or full-time as well as online or face-to-face. The certificate requires a minimum of 15 credits, which for most students means five three-credit courses. Two required courses set the stage: IST659 (Data Administration Concepts and Database Management) and IST687 (Applied Data Science). The former course provides essential concepts of data definition, development, and management, as well as example technologies for designing and deploying enterprise-scale databases. The latter course considers the professional domain of data scientists, introduces analytics tools such as the R open source analysis environment, and examines the whole data life cycle from acquisition to curation. The three remaining courses in the certificate are electives, and most students choose to take their electives in one or more of four major areas: data analytics, data visualization, data storage and management, or general systems management.

A: Absolutely. We have found that some employees have extensive work-related experience or knowledge in some areas that can make the content of a particular course redundant. The CAS program director has the capability of providing course sequence waivers that make it possible to make substitutions in place of designated required or elective courses. These waivers should be planned in advance and described in the agreement between the iSchool and the organization.