A regular session program is funded by the State of California and a special session class is funded by student tuition. Thus, for a regular session program, the State of California will carry partial tuition of a student with the status of California resident. However, all students taking a special session class will pay the same tuition. A student will receive exactly the same degree within a program, whether it is offered through a regular session or a special session.
In order to accommodate the high demand from both the industry and students, the MSDA program was developed by faculty members from five SJSU colleges and industry experts from prominent Silicon Valley companies. In December 2017, the president of San José State University approved this program to be launched in fall 2018. The Chancellor of California State University (CSU) approved the program in May 2018. The College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE) is hosting this program due to its interdisciplinary curriculum. In addition, CPGE is the hosting college of Silicon Valley Big Data and the Cybersecurity Center.