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Johns Hopkins Offers Nine-Course Specialization in Data Science Through Coursera


Data Science is a rapidly accelerating field that combines expertise in the management, analysis and visualization of large-scale and complex data. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is expanding its open education offerings in this area with a structured and comprehensive Data Science Specialization offered through Coursera, a leading provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The series of nine MOOCs are now open for enrollment and free to anyone. Instruction in the first three courses will begin on April 7, 2014; all nine courses will be open for instruction by July 7, 2014. Eventually, all nine MOOCs will be offered concurrently every month, enabling students to complete the sequence at their own pace. Students who wish to earn verified certificates can join the Signature Track for a fee. Those who earn verified certificates in all nine Data Science MOOCs will be eligible to participate in a culminating project-based course to earn a Specialization Certificate by demonstrating the mastery of acquired skills.

The Data Science Specialization ( will be taught by professors Brian Caffo, PhD, Jeff Leek, PhD, and Roger Peng, PhD, of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Biostatistics. The initial 4-week-long MOOCs include:

  1. The Data Scientist’s Toolbox (Jeff Leek)
  2. R Programming (Roger Peng)
  3. Getting and Cleaning Data (Jeff Leek)
  4. Exploratory Data Analysis (Jeff Leek)
  5. Reproducible Research (Roger Peng)
  6. Statistical Inference (Brian Caffo)
  7. Regression Models (Brian Caffo)
  8. Practical Machine Learning (Roger Peng)
  9. Developing Data Products (Brian Caffo)

“Our goal was to step back and build a program that didn't focus on specific tools,” said Leek. “Instead, we wanted to give people a set of skills to be able to ask a quantitative question, get the data out of whatever database it’s in, clean it up, explore it, analyze it, and communicate the results to a broad audience. By delivering it through a MOOC, we hope to dramatically expand the pool of qualified data scientists.”

“What makes the specialization unique is that we cover the complete set of skills for data science from soup to nuts,” said Peng. “After taking this course series, you'll have everything you need to start answering questions with data.”

“This program is primarily for anyone who wants to build competence in data science with a leaning toward statistics,” said Caffo “However, the MOOCs are broadly applicable and useful for anyone who wants to strengthen or refresh their skills in data science and statistical analyses. The barriers to participation in the series are minimal, so we anticipate students from many different walks of life. Also, the open source nature of the material and code will allow students to extend and adapt the skills gained from these offerings to their needs.”

Further, individuals who have received a certificate of completion from these Data Science MOOCs are eligible for a 1-credit reduction in tuition for their first course taken at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. This one-time, 1-credit tuition reduction is a value of up to $950 dollars.  It is limited to one Bloomberg School course (minimum of 2 credits) offered during the regular academic year prior to December 31, 2014. Individuals must comply with existing admissions requirements for non–degree seeking students ( Additionally, the Coursera certificate of completion must be obtained prior to the start of the Bloomberg School course. Students currently admitted to any Johns Hopkins degree program are ineligible.  Tuition reductions have no cash value, cannot be used for another purpose and cannot be refunded. Learn more at:

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has long been a pioneer in online education and open educational resources (OERs). The Bloomberg School has offered for-credit online courses since 1997, an online part-time MPH degree program since 1999, and MOOCs since 2012. Beginning in 2005, the School joined the OER movement by launching JHSPH OpenCourseWare, a repository of OER from more than 100 courses taught at the School. Information about the School’s online courses and offerings is available at

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health media contact: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or