NAU’s SICCS continues to grow with launch of new bachelor’s degree program

Oct. 31, 2019

Northern Arizona University’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS) has launched yet another degree option for students interested in natural sciences: the bachelor’s of science in informatics (BSI).

The BSI will integrate cutting-edge tools and skills from data analytics, data science, computer science, statistical analysis and modeling with fundamental knowledge from program emphasis areas in biology, health, ecology, environmental science and astronomy. Until now, only a doctorate and master’s degree were offered to students interested in studying informatics.

“Computing, informatics and data science careers are frequently mentioned among the best—and best-paying—jobs, and the BSI major will provide the professional and scientific skills students need to thrive in today’s information-centric professional workplace, while pursuing their passion for the natural sciences,” SICCS assistant professor Christopher Doughty said.

Since SICCS was launched in 2016, the informatics program has continued to grow, attracting internationally-known faculty from Harvard, Arizona State University, Oxford and the Woods Hole Research Institute, among other elite research institutions.

“The bachelor of science in informatics is a unique research-intensive program where students are integrated into world-class NAU research labs as part of their junior and senior year undergraduate research projects,” said Benjamin Ruddell, director of SICCS. “Through these research projects, students learn modern, relevant skills that will boost their future career prospects.”

Ecoinformatics research projects that undergrads can join include: NASA-funded projects using new global satellites that can measure forest structure (GEDI) and plant stress (ECOSTRESS); NSF-funded projects to understand how phenology (leaf timing) might change in the future; how food, water and energy systems can be better managed; and how cities can better track their carbon emissions. In bioinformatics, students can participate in NIH-funded projects on mosquito and bat transmission of diseases, metagenomics and the development of cancer. Astroinformatics projects include simulating the galaxy to understand where life and intelligent life could be and detecting active asteroids in near real-time.

To learn more about this degree program, visit the SICCS website or email informatics@nau.edu.