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Learning Outcomes for M.S. in Applied Data Science with a Specialization in Crisis Informatics

Crisis Informatics Specialization

  1. Evaluate the role of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the challenges they face.
  2. Evaluate how legislation and regulations have influenced FEMA and DHS and their development.
  3. Evaluate the lessons learned from past disasters and how this has influenced current disaster management.
  4. Assess natural, human caused, and technological hazards as they relate to a community’s vulnerabilities and capabilities.
  5. Analyze the influence of social constructs within each of the four phases of emergency management.
  6. Evaluate a comprehensive emergency management plan (CEMP) as it relates to the community’s level of emergency preparedness.
  7. Analyze the interdependency among government (local, state, and federal) and nongovernmental organizations during each phase of emergency management.
  8. Differentiate emergency management strategies in the United States from those of other countries, both developed and developing, and the role of the U.S. globally.
  9. Find and access selected sources of GIS data.
  10. Query and select data by attribute and location.
  11. Perform operations associated with geographic profiling.
  12. Create new GIS data by applying a variety of techniques to map locations of buildings and events by geocoding address data.
  13. Discover and explain patterns by analyzing data using buffers, spatial overlays, hot-spot analysis, density surface maps, and other techniques.
  14. Analyze data to identify hot spots.
  15. Create a variety of finished maps, suitable for presentation, including thematic maps and density surface maps.
  16. Evaluate an application of GIS to a particular field for public safety and crisis management.
  17. Synthesize different sources and types of information to make recommendations.
  18. Incorporate knowledge and skills of geographic information systems into practice and research.
  19. Extract information from sources of remotely sensed data by various software-based methods and interpret the information visually.
  20. Apply remote sensing methods in a variety of contexts, such as measuring biophysical characteristics of the Earth’s surface and human impact on the environment.
  21. Assess critically the strengths and weaknesses of different remote sensing systems for a variety of applications.
  22. Develop remote sensing workflows to solve problems in a variety of application areas.
  23. Solve problems with appropriate remote sensing data and processing methods.
  24. Communicate findings from the analysis of remotely sensed data clearly and concisely through written and graphical products.
  25. Frame research questions or hypotheses motivated by a geographic or other kind of spatial problem.
  26. Design an experiment or other quantitative procedure for spatial knowledge discovery.
  27. Collect and analyze spatially relevant data and draw empirically supported conclusions.
  28. Communicate by means of a report research findings to an audience in the spatial sciences.
  29. Compare the purpose, capabilities, and limitations of geospatial hazard models.
  30. Evaluate the impact of a disaster on the natural, built, and social environment by appropriately selecting and analyzing data sources.
  31. Assess the validity of model output.
  32. Formulate questions to guide the development of geospatial models suitable for addressing hazard risk.
  33. Differentiate between requirements for models that estimate risk and those that describe the impact of events.
  34. Evaluate the relative effectiveness of model visualizations, such as dashboards, maps, charts, 3D graphics, and animation, for communicating to a given audience.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Core

Students will demonstrate competency in data analytics.

  1. Differentiate between research fields, theoretical concepts, epistemologies, and qualitative and quantitative methods.
  2. Analyze critically and speak publicly about field-specific scholarly research, projects executed in class, and data management issues.
  3. Design, implement, test, and debug extensible and modular programs involving control structures, variables, expressions, assignments, I/O, functions, parameter passing, data structures, regular expressions, and file handling.
  4. Apply software development methodologies to create efficient, well-structured applications that other programmers can easily understand.
  5. Analyze computational complexity in algorithm development.
  6. Investigate research questions and designs by loading, extracting, transforming, and analyzing data from various sources.
  7. Test hypotheses and evaluate reliability and validity.
  8. Implement histograms, classifiers, decision trees, sampling, linear regression, and projectiles in a scripting language.
  9. Decompose and simulate systems to process data using randomness.
  10. Employ supervised and unsupervised machine learning for functional approximation and categorization.
  11. Display, interpret, and explore data using descriptive statistics and graphs.
  12. Explore assumptions about the data, including normality, skew, and kurtosis.
  13. Use random variables and probability distributions.
  14. Determine whether and how to perform statistical inference.
  15. Perform parametric (e.g., t-test, ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA) and nonparametric (e.g., chi-square) hypothesis testing and correlation.
  16. Fit linear regression models and interpret their parameters.
  17. Analyze datasets with supervised learning methods for functional approximation, classification, and forecasting and unsupervised learning methods for dimensionality reduction and clustering.
  18. Explore, transform, and visualize large, complex datasets with graphs in R.
  19. Solve real-world problems by adapting and applying statistical learning methods to large, complex datasets.
  20. Identify, assess, and select among statistical learning methods and models for solving a particular real-world problem, weighing their advantages and disadvantages.
  21. Write programs to perform data analytics on large, complex datasets in R.
  22. Analyze datasets from case studies in informatics-related fields (e.g., digital media, human-computer interaction, health informatics, bioinformatics, and business intelligence).


Students will demonstrate competency in data management, infrastructure, and the data science life cycle.

  1. Design and implement relational databases using tables, keys, relationships, and SQL commands to meet user and operational needs.
  2. Diagram a relational database design with entity–relationship diagrams (ERDs) using crow’s foot notation to enforce referential integrity.
  3. Evaluate tables for compliance to third normal form and perform normalization procedures on noncompliant tables.
  4. Write triggers to handle events and enforce business rules and create views within a relational database.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the data lifecycle, including data curation, stewardship, preservation, and security.
  6. Evaluate the social and ethical implications of data management.


Students will demonstrate competency in client–server application development.

  1. Design and implement client–server applications that solve real-world problems.
  2. Create well-formed static and dynamic webpages using current versions of PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript or their equivalents.
  3. Implement the model-view-controller software pattern in web and mobile user interfaces.
  4. Apply client-side and server-side programming skills including design, coding, implementation, and integration with relational databases.
  5. Extract data from JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and Extensible Markup Language (XML) documents.
  6. Transmit objects between the browser and server by converting them into JSON.
  7. Evaluate a given web application based on different criteria such as structure, dynamics, security, embedded systems, and interactivity.
  8. Diagram the phases of the secure software development lifecycle.
  9. Demonstrate the techniques of defensive programming and secure coding.
  10. Design user-friendly web and mobile interfaces.


Students will demonstrate competency in the management of massive, high-throughput data stores, and cloud computing.

  1. Research the main concepts, models, technologies, and services of cloud computing, the reasons for the shift to this model, and its advantages and disadvantages.
  2. Examine the technical capabilities and commercial benefits of hardware virtualization.
  3. Analyze tradeoffs for data centers in performance, efficiency, cost, scalability, and flexibility.
  4. Evaluate the core challenges of cloud computing deployments, including public, private, and community clouds, with respect to privacy, security, and interoperability.
  5. Create cloud computing infrastructure models.
  6. Demonstrate and compare the use of cloud storage vendor offerings.
  7. Develop, install, and configure cloud-computing applications under software-as-a-service principles, employing cloud-computing frameworks and libraries.
  8. Apply the MapReduce programming model to data analytics in informatics-related domains.
  9. Enhance MapReduce performance by redesigning the system architecture (e.g., provisioning and cluster configurations).
  10. Overcome difficulties in managing very large datasets, both structured and unstructured, using nonrelational data storage and retrieval (NoSQL), parallel algorithms, and cloud computing.
  11. Apply the MapReduce programming model to data-driven discovery and scalable data processing for scientific applications.


Students will demonstrate competency in data visualization.

  1. Assess the purpose, benefits, and limitations of visualization as a human-centered data analysis methodology.
  2. Conceptualize and design effective visualizations for a variety of data types and analytical tasks.
  3. Implement interactive visualizations using modern web-based frameworks.
  4. Evaluate critically visualizations using perceptual principles and established design guidelines.
  5. Conduct independent research on a range of theoretical and applied topics in visualization and visual analytics.

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