Science & Technology

UWF to add graduate programs in data science, athletic training

The University of West Florida is launching two new master’s degree programs to meet current and future workforce demands. Beginning in Fall 2019, UWF will offer a Master of Science in Data Science and in Summer 2020, the University will add a Master of Science in Athletic Training. The UWF Board of Trustees approved the programs at its quarterly meeting held on June 19, 2019.

Dr. Jeffrey Simpson monitoring UWF exercise science students running through various fitness routines in the biomechanics lab.

“UWF is at the forefront of meeting workforce and community needs by continually assessing educational needs and establishing degrees that align with UWF’s mission, workforce opportunities and student demand,” said Dr. George Ellenberg, provost and senior vice president. “We are excited about the opportunities these new programs will bring both students and area employers.”

The master’s program in data science will be housed in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. It will be offered using a blend of asynchronous online courses and traditional face-to-face courses that use a synchronous online format. Students in the program will be able to participate in class sessions remotely.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects national demands for individuals with data science skills to be among the fastest growing occupations through 2026. Statisticians and mathematicians are the seventh and tenth fastest growing occupations over the 2016-2026 period, respectively, with a projected growth rate of 33% each. Financial institutions, healthcare providers, marketing firms, manufacturers and government entities, among other employers, hire data scientists with mean annual wages ranging from $72,800 to $85,900 through 2025, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Data science is a high-demand field because of the modern era we live in,” said Dr. Jaromy Kuhl, interim dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “UWF is now positioned to retain and attract students who will graduate and enter this fast-growing, high-paying industry.”

Beginning in Fall 2022, graduation from a master’s level athletic training program and a passing score on the Board of Certification exam will be required for licensure by the Florida Board of Athletic Training to work as an athletic trainer. UWF’s new master’s program, offered through face-to-face courses by the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health’s Department of Movement Sciences and Health, is designed to follow the standards established by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Graduates of the new program will be prepared to sit for the certification exam.

The addition of the athletic training graduate program will meet local, state and national needs for licensed, qualified athletic training professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of athletic trainers to grow by 23% from 2016 to 2026. The profession also anticipates a 22% growth for athletic training careers in the state of Florida by 2026, projected by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“The field of athletic training has grown exponentially in recent years and UWF strives to produce graduates who exceed industry standards,” said Dr. Denise Seabert, dean of the UWF Usha Kundu MD, College of Health. “Students who graduate with a master’s in athletic training are an important part of the healthcare team and will contribute to improving the health of our community.”

For more information about the UWF Department of Mathematics and Statistics visit To learn more about the Department of Movement Sciences and Health, visit