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Why Major in Data Science?

Information is everywhere. Our increasingly global and digitized world produces huge amounts of data, and understanding it is essential to all organizations, whether they are in the public, private, or nonprofit arenas. Data science and analytics help organizations harness their data and use it to discover knowledge, identify opportunities, and develop solutions, ultimately leading to smarter policies, more efficient and equitable practices, better services, and more inclusive societies.

Leading to a bachelor of arts degree, data science at Clark is an interdisciplinary major with courses taught by faculty from computer science, economics, geography, management, and mathematics. Students learn approaches and techniques that are widely applied to quantitative analyses in almost every discipline, with particular relevance to Clark’s academic programs in computer science, mathematics,  geographic information science (GIS), economics, business analytics, environmental science and policy, international development, biology, chemistry, and physics.

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Why Study Data Science at Clark?

  • Learn approaches and techniques that are widely applicable to quantitative analyses in almost every discipline.
  • Gain the expertise and knowledge to produce high-quality work, secure jobs at top companies or admission to leading graduate schools, and change our increasingly data-driven world.
  • Study this emerging field in a small liberal arts research university with diverse participating programs and strong interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Benefit from a wealth of opportunities to apply your learning in a professional setting right here on campus.
  • Join an expanding network of students and alumni who will help each other succeed.

The Major Path

As a data science major, you’ll learn how to formulate problems; design data collection strategies; process, analyze, and extract information from data; and use that information to make sound decisions. You’ll also become familiar with the social and ethical issues surrounding data science, and the code of conduct observed by data science professionals.

Fourteen courses are required to complete the major, which offers five tracks of study: computer science, economics, geography/GIS, management, and mathematics.

  • Two mathematics courses
  • Two computer science courses
  • Four data science courses (at least two at the 200 level)
  • Six electives
    • Four from one track, including at least one at the 200 level
    • Two elective courses from any track

As a data science major, you also will complete a capstone, which draws on all you’ve learned during your time at Clark. Your capstone may be in the form of a 200-level course (counted toward your 14-unit major requirements) or another approved activity.

  • If you wish to take a 200-level course to satisfy your capstone requirement, you must arrange to do so with the instructor within the first two weeks of the course. The course instructor will serve as your capstone adviser and certify the completion of the capstone requirement.
  • Alternative capstone experience may include any of the following, if the experience includes a significant data science component and is approved by the Data Science program:
    • Faculty-guided research
    • Self-designed project
    • Academic internship
    • Study abroad courses
    • Practices for and participations in data science/analytics contests and hackathons

Skills you will learn include:

  • Formulating problems
  • Designing data collection strategies
  • Processing, analyzing, and extracting information from data
  • Making sound decisions using the data collected
  • Recognizing the social and ethical issues surrounding data science
  • Understanding the code of conduct observed by data science professionals

Faculty and Programs in the Department of Computer Science