Big Data Using Spark | Certificate Program | Online

Big Data Using Spark 

Big Data Using Spark Certificate Program

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An eleven-week certificate program covering Apache Spark and how it fits with Big Data

DePaul University’s Big Data Using Spark Program is designed to provide a rapid immersion into Big Data Analytics with Spark. Apache Spark® helps data scientists, data engineers, and business analysts more quickly develop the insights that are buried in Big Data and put them to use driving customer interactions, product development, and more. Apache Spark takes users beyond Hadoop, simplifies development and data access, and helps data professionals develop a wide range of algorithms. 

IT professionals will be given a broad understanding of the different leading Big Data/Spark technologies along with the technical skills required to successfully implement and maintain Spark clusters. The program begins with an introduction to the Spark cluster and teaches the ways to interact with the Spark Resilient Distributed Datasets (RDD), Data Frame, and the job process using different shells. The topics also include different higher-level interfaces and tools to manage data processes in the Spark cluster, such as SparkSQL, R, etc. The program consists of an effective mix of interactive lectures and extensive use of hands-on lab exercises. Students will build their own Big Data applications using different Spark platforms from commercial-level distributors such as Cloudera, Hortonworks, Databricks, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and others.

Classroom lectures and demonstrations will be complemented by hands-on labs, reading assignments, case studies, and projects. In order to maximize learning, students will be required to bring their own laptop computer to every class session. While access to most cloud services explored in the program will be provided to students in class, there may be some cloud services that are only accessible via the use of a student’s own credit card. Students should expect to spend a small fee to access these services.

Students in this program will learn:

  • Big Data technologies and trends
  • Spark ecosystem
  • How to perform typical ETL, queries, joins, and aggregations on datasets using Spark and SQL
  • Spark RDD and Data Frame as a programming model for distributed processing of large volumes of data
  • How to build and deploy applications that utilize the Spark platform (on-premise and Cloud) using different programming languages (Python, Scala, R) and tools (Notebook, Jupyter, Pandas, etc.)
  • Showcase real-world Spark usage patterns that are commonly used in industries

For a complete program description, download the program's brochure.


Spring Quarter 2023

  • Application Deadline:Mar. 9, 2023 *Still Taking Applications*
  • Tuition Deadline:Mar. 16, 2023
  • Classes Begin:Mar. 29, 2023
  • Classes End:June 7, 2023

Meeting Pattern

Online: Async Section

These classes do not meet at a specific time on specific days. Content will be delivered via weekly pre-recorded lectures. Students follow a weekly agenda of topics and assignments, but they can view the course material at a time of their own choosing. Structured opportunities for interaction with the class and instructor are provided asynchronously.

This program has weekly course content equivalent to three hours per week. For every hour of course content, students should expect to spend two additional hours for studying, homework, labs, and other assignments.


Spring Quarter 2023


  • $2,665.00if registering for the undergraduate-level section (IPD 341)
  • $3,485.00if registering for the graduate-level section (IPD 441)

Full payment of tuition must be received before the start of the program. Students who elect to pay tuition using a credit or debit card will be assessed a non-refundable 2.75% convenience fee.

Refund/Cancellation Policy: DePaul reserves the right to cancel any program before that program’s first scheduled meeting, in which case tuition fees (but not convenience fees) will be refunded. The university's refund policy allows a return of 100% of tuition if the student drops the Big Data Using Spark Program by April 12, 2023 (convenience fees will not be refunded).

Notice for Current DePaul Students

  • This program is available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; however, you will only be able to be admitted to, and enrolled in, the level that corresponds to your degree program.
  • Undergraduates: Please be aware that the tuition fee for this program is not included in the university’s full-time term package pricing.

Application Fee

  • $40.00non-refundable

Each program requires a $40.00 (non-refundable) application fee that can be paid online (via credit card) during the online application process. If you need to pay this fee by check or money order, please make the check or money order payable to DePaul University and send it to:

DePaul University Institute for Professional Development
243 S. Wabash Avenue
Room 301
Chicago, IL 60604


Textbooks are a separate purchase to be made by students.

Reading materials for certificate programs consist of textbooks and supplementary handouts. Textbook readings are considered preparatory in nature and are typically assigned prior to lectures; supplementary handouts are frequently distributed in class to provide additional information.

Textbook information to be announced.

Other Fees

While access to most Cloud services explored in the program will be provided to students in class, there may be some Cloud services that are only accessible via the use of a student's own credit card. Students should expect to spend a small fee to access these services.

CTA U-Pass Fee: Any IPD certificate program student who enrolls in a full-time course load (8 graduate or 12 undergraduate credit hours) and where at least one course is taught at an on-campus location will be automatically enrolled in the University’s CTA U-Pass program. The CTA U-Pass program provides unlimited rides on CTA transport and it requires that all eligible students participate in the program. The cost of the CTA U-Pass is $105.00 per quarter. Students who meet the eligibility criteria will have this fee added to their student accounts. Students are responsible for this fee regardless of benefit use or card pick-up. Students who are taking courses exclusively online do not qualify for this program. Further information about the U-Pass program is found at

Payment Options

Fees are payable by check made out to DePaul University, or by credit card. Students who elect to pay tuition using a credit or debit card will be assessed a non-refundable 2.75% convenience fee.

Applicants who are eligible for a tuition reimbursement program offered by their employer and are interested in deferring their tuition payment using the university's Employer Tuition Deferral Plan must return the Employer Tuition Deferral Plan application to the Institute for Professional Development Office. Submitting this application to any other DePaul office may delay the student's registration process. Information about this plan, along with an application form, is found here .

Applicants who wish to use the university's Single Term Payment Plan or a third-party billing arrangement should contact the Institute for Professional Development office at (312) 362-6282 for details.


The Institute for Professional Development is pleased to announce the continuation of a need-based financial award, the Chou Family IPD Scholarship, to provide funding for students interested in our certificate programs in Spring Quarter 2023. Applications for this scholarship will be accepted through March 10, 2023.


Admission Requirements

Applicants should have basic programming experience and an understanding of Windows and Linux commands. A basic understanding of Big Data and Hadoop would be a plus. No prior Spark experience is necessary.

Course Credit

The Big Data Using Spark Program is an accredited course of DePaul University, which follows the quarter system (as opposed to the semester system). Credit hours are awarded to those who successfully complete the program's academic requirements. Academic requirements may include reading and homework assignments, written assignments, labs, projects, and other assignments. No midterm or final exams are conducted.

  • Course #: IPD 341; 4 undergraduate credit hours
  • Course #: IPD 441; 4 graduate credit hours

Applicants select to register in either IPD 341 (undergraduate level) or IPD 441 (graduate level), unless they are currently degree-seeking students of the university. In that case, they are required to select the level that corresponds with their degree program. Additionally, applicants interested in enrolling in the graduate section must have completed a bachelor's degree.

IPD 341 and IPD 441 are combined courses, with students attending the same lectures or viewing the same lectures (for those completing the program online). However, students in the graduate section are required to perform additional coursework than those in the undergraduate section.

Once the program begins, a student cannot switch from the undergraduate level to the graduate level or vice-versa and must remain in the level chosen or withdraw from the program. Please contact the Institute office for advice on which academic level to select.

The ability to apply these credit hours to a degree program is always determined by the college granting the degree. To view course transfer guidelines for DePaul's College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM), click here.

Application & Registration Procedure

All interested parties should apply for admission using the Institute for Professional Development's online application; or, download and complete the Application Form and email the form to Upon admission, the Institute office will contact the prospective student with information and instructions about the registration process.

You do not have to be an existing DePaul student to take this certificate program. Registration is restricted to individuals who apply for admission to the program and receive an acceptance letter. IPD staff will register applicants upon receipt of payment and registration form.

Regular DePaul students cannot register themselves via the university's registration system. If interested in enrollment, regular DePaul students should begin by submitting an application for admission. Students must meet the program's admission criteria.

programmers working together

Learn about the new, need-based financial award, the Chou Family IPD Scholarship.


What Our Students Say About IPD Programs

"Professor was great. He's very knowledgeable & it is good to know that he's also working in the field. Professor deserves more than 10s."

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