Undergraduate Data Science

Did you know… the University of Utah is home to the Utah Center for Data Science?

To learn more about becoming a member, research and mentoring, and upcoming events, visit:

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Data Science is the emerging field that manages and makes sense of data to solve important challenges in science, engineering, and society.

While a data science relies on technical skills from computing and mathematical modeling, the key to its success is the ability to choose among the techniques, interpret them, and connect them with the data domains.

Most of todays cutting edge work relies on the efficient and informed collection, management, and analysis of data. If you want to become a data scientist or work with one, the School of Computing offers several degree and certificate programs towards helping you learn the skills necessary to be at the center of these modern grand challenges.

Undergraduate Program

Bachelors of Science in Data Science

Additional information, flowcharts, and approved elective options for the major can be found by accessing the above link

School of Computing Undergraduate Tutoring Center

Undergraduate Certificates

Certificates in Data Science and Data Fluency

Additional resources and forms for those wishing to pursue either of the undergraduate certificates can be found by accessing the above link

Major Elective Evaluation Request

Undergraduate Data Science advising: DS-ugshelp@cs.utah.edu

Looking for graduate information? Visit the current graduate handbook to learn about the Data Management and Analysis track and our resource for the Data Science graduate certificate.

BS in Data Science

We have created one of the first comprehensive Data Science bachelor’s degrees in the Mountain West.

This program will prepare individuals to develop and apply knowledge of basic computer science and software engineering sufficient to be able to build, modify, or use software tools for data analysis. These students will also learn fundamentals of data analysis and processing in order to be able to effectively, efficiently, and ethically make decisions based on the information within various data sources.

Graduates of the proposed program will fill a growing demand for data scientists and work in a variety of industries including health care, finance, and the internet. They will typically work with consumers of data in order to analyze, manage, and augment large data sets or work in industries that require automated forms of decision making and analysis. In situations that require large and sophisticated software development for data analysis, these graduates may work with or lead teams of computer scientists or software developers in a joint effort.

Looking for the Data Science or Fluency Undergraduate Certificates? Visit https://www.cs.utah.edu/undergraduate/data-science/#certificates for details and resources.

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In recent years, Data Scientist is commonly listed as one of best jobs in the United States. For instance, a Forbes article from January 2018 based on the hiring website “Glassdoor.com” reports
“Data Scientist has been named the best job in America for three years running, with a median base salary of $110,000 and 4,524 job openings.” Related jobs “Analytics Manager,” “Data Engineer,” and “Data Analyst” rank 18, 33 and 38, respectively, on this list. Note that all of these jobs are listed as distinct from more traditional Computer Science jobs “Software Engineer,” “DevOps Engineer,” “Mobile Developer,” “Front End Engineer,” etc.

The Utah Economic Data Viewer does not include an explicit category for “data scientist,” with the closest being “Computer and Information Research Scientists.“ This is likely related also to a Computer Science degree, but likely includes data scientists. For this field, the annual median state-wide wages are $91,090 and there are expected 30 annual openings statewide and 600 in the United states. While the listing notes that many of these jobs expect a “Doctoral or professional degree,” the data scientist panel we hosted in August 2017 provided some insight into why an applicant with a BS in Data Science may be competitive. Many entry level jobs are labeled as “Data Engineer” and “Data Analyst” whereas jobs titled “Data Scientist” often expect some seniority and include some management component. At least among those on the panel, they mainly obtained this necessary experience on the job.

Undergraduate Data Certificates

Data Science Banner

We believe any student at the University of Utah wanting to incorporate data into their degree plans will be able to do so — regardless of major!

What is data science?

The worlds of science, engineering, and business are now reliant on data-driven analysis and decision making. Data Science is the 21st century discipline formalizing this process, and making enormous impacts in new scientific discoveries, engineering how the world works, and driving business decisions which power much of our economic growth. A data scientist is one who can weave a complete story with data, from its humble and messy beginnings, through its maturation via sophisticated analysis, and concluding with an explanation of its real-world impact.

According to a June 2021 Forbes article, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sees strong growth for data science jobs skills in its prediction that the data science field will grow about 28% through 2026.”

Data is everywhere, and so are the opportunities with data in multiple fields!

The University of Utah offers two undergraduate certificates related to data science:

The Undergraduate Certificate in Data Science is meant for students seeking to learn the basics in data understanding, processing, and analysis, and was designed for those pursuing degrees in a STEM program. Calculus experience is assumed for this certificate.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Data Fluency is meant to provide students a basic understanding and exposure of areas within data, and the ability to relate these topics to their main focus of study.

Have questions? Email DS-ugshelp@cs.utah.edu for assistance.

Undergraduate Certificate Forms and Resources

The current electives approved to satisfy certificate requirements can be reviewed by accessing our online resource.

Need some help with your introductory programming courses? Visit our FREE tutoring center!

Express your Interest in one of our undergraduate certificates! This will allow us to keep track of, monitor, and advise your progress.

Think you have completed the requirements a data undergraduate certificates? Fill this out after you have enrolled in your final semester of courses.

Students, is there a data-rich U of U course you discovered, but it’s not on the pre-approved list? Complete this form to have it evaluated!

Faculty and staff, if you would like to have one of your department’s courses evaluated for the Data Science Bachelors or Certificate, or the Data Fluency Certificate, please submit this form.

Data Science FAQ

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Q: Can I double major in Computer Science and Data Science?
A: Yes. However, keep in mind, this would require completing 2 senior projects/theses.

Q: Can I apply for a BS/MS degree with the BS in Data Science, and the MS in Computer Science or Computing?
A: Yes. note that if one chooses the MS in Computer Science, then CS 6810, Computer Architecture, would be required. For that course, it is recommended to take Cs 3810, Computer Organization, during the BS portion of the degree. The MS in Computing does not require CS 6810, Computer Architecture.

Q: How do I apply for full major status (FMS) in Data Science?
A: The pre-major requirements and application are currently the same as those pursuing Computer Science. The application for Fall 2022 admission is now open! If you are ready to apply, please click here for access.

Q: Can I take MATH 1210 and MATH 1220, Calculus I and II, instead of the Engineering Calculus sequence, MATH 1310 and MATH 1320?
A: Yes. Engineering Calculus can be replaced with MATH 1210 and MATH 1220, however, you are strongly encouraged to complete MATH 2210**, Calculus III, in order to learn that missing material you would have covered in MATH 1320.

Students are recommended to take MATH 2270, Linear Algebra, as soon as possible because it is part of a sequence of important prerequisite chain, building upon each other. The MATH 1310 and 1320 sequence better prepares students for MATH 2270 and to enroll in it sooner, allowing students more flexibility in their timing to take other advanced data science courses.

** A recent update to the prerequisites of MATH 2270 allows students who earn a B or higher in MATH 1220 to enroll in the course without first completing MATH 2210. Those who do not meet this threshold will be required to succeed in Calculus III in order to enroll in Linear Algebra. There are no exceptions.

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Q: Is there a Minor in Data Science?
A: There may be one in the future, but there are currently no concrete plans for which courses would constitute a minor. However, we do offer two different data-related undergraduate certificates, Data Science and Data Fluency. Learn more about these options and available resources by clicking here!

Q: Can I take Electives (either Data Analysis Breadth or Data Domain ones) other than those provided on the approved lists?
A: It is certainly possible! Those are the pre-approved courses, but there are potentially many more that would qualify. Students are able to submit their requests by submitting the form linked here.

The Data Analysis Breadth electives are meant to provide a broader picture of the array of techniques in data science.

The Data Domain electives are meant to expose students to a data rich domain (e.g., in Engineering, Science, Medicine, etc) where the other skills learned in the degree would be applicable. These courses may be billed as “technique” or “technology” courses in their own disciplines, but from the perspective of a data science student, the working through of the in depth application of those techniques in that domain will be the desired aspect. Indeed each domain often has its own specific data challenges, and being exposed and aware of these issues is an important outcome of taking such a course.

In both cases, the courses do not need to be a specific sequence within a single data or technique domain. They should suit the students interests and their overall educational and career plan.

Q: I cannot figure out how to register for the Data Wrangling course.
A: Currently, DS 2500 is a spring-only course. Make sure you are planning your semester schedules carefully with your School of Computing undergraduate advisor!

Q: Does the DS 3390 Ethics in Data Science course satisfy the Social/Behavioral Science (BF) requirement? If I already completed both of my BF courses, will I need to take another course to satisfy that requirement?
A: No, it does not. We had planned to try to allow this, but it was not possible. Make sure to complete at least 2 BF courses to satisfy this university general education requirement.

Q: My question was not asked/answered here. How can I ask for clarification?
A: If a policy is not explicitly stated here, or answered in this FAQ, but there is a relevant one for Computer Science, as listed in the handbook, then the DS policy will default to that one. This includes policies on Academic Misconduct, Non-Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct — which conform to the University of Utah guidelines. The undergraduate handbook for Data Science is coming soon!

Please email DS-ugshelp@cs.utah.edu to contact the SOC undergraduate advisors or the Director of the Data Science Program with additional questions.