The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is expanding its open education offerings in the area of data science, with a structured and comprehensive Data Science Specialization offered through Coursera, a provider of Massive Open Online Courses.

The series of nine MOOCs are now open for enrollment and free to anyone, according to the university. 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, allowing students to complete the sequence at their own pace. Those students 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.

“Our goal was to step back and build a program that didn't focus on specific tools,” Jeff Leek, assistant professor of biostatistics at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a statement. “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.”