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Learn about our B.S. in Data Science, which has a dual emphasis on the principles of both statistics and computer science.

The undergraduate Data Science major has a dual emphasis on the principles of both statistics and computer science, with foundational training in statistical and mathematical aspects of data analysis, as well as in the broad principles of computer science (including algorithms, data structures, data management and machine learning). The program teaches students how to utilize their knowledge of statistical and computing principles to analyze and solve real-world data analysis problems. The major is suitable for students interested in either a career in industry or who wish to pursue more specialized graduate study.

The Data Science degree, the first program of its kind in the UC system, will prepare students for a career in data analysis, combining foundational statistical concepts with computational principles from computer science. In the first two years of the program, students will take core courses in both the Statistics and Computer Science Departments, providing a strong foundation in the principles of each field. In the third and fourth years of the program, students will take more specialized courses on topics such as design of algorithms, machine learning, information visualization and Bayesian statistics. A major component of this degree is the final year capstone project course, which is a two-quarter course that teaches students how to apply statistical and computational principles to solve large-scale, real-world data analysis problems.

Learn more…

Undergraduate Data Science Association

The purpose of the Undergraduate Data Science Association (UDSA) is to connect all undergraduate students with an interest in Data Science to the myriad fields within Data Science and to build relationships with companies in order to introduce the members of UDSA to new opportunities and resources, as offered by the company. Check out our listings of Events and Job Opportunities.

Data Science in the Real World

Web Search – How do search engines like Google or Bing rank search results?
Shopping – How does Amazon forecast how many items it needs to store in its warehouses?
Astronomy – How can we process terabytes/day of telescope data?
Physics – How do you write software to search for new physics particles?
Medicine – How can researchers use genomics to make personalized medical recommendations?
Sports – How can we visualize and understand massive amounts of game sensor data?
Social media – How does Facebook recognize people in images?All of these applications use Data Science! These applications are built on combinations of ideas from:

  • Database systems
  • Algorithms
  • Machine learning
  • Probabilistic models
  • Statistical forecasting
  • Data visualization
  • And more…


What are the Change of Major Requirements for Data Science?

  • Cumulative UC GPA: 2.7 or higher.
  • 3.0 or higher average GPA and no grade lower than a C for ICS 31, ICS 32, and one of the following: Math 2A, Math 2B, Math 2D, ICS 6B, or ICS 6D.
  • Students with more than 60 units will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may not be admitted to the major.
  • Students will not be able to complete the degree in Data Science prior to Spring 2018.
  • If you are a freshman, contact an ICS Student Affairs Office Counselor at or (949) 824-5156.

What can I do with a Data Science Major?

  • Careers in “Data-Oriented” Companies and Organizations:
    • Computing/internet companies: Google, Amazon, Facebook, IBM
    • Engineering companies: Intel, Samsung, Boeing
    • Finance/insurance companies
    • Medical/pharmaceutical companies
    • Government/national labs: NASA, NIST, DoD
    • Many, many more
  • Option to specialize with a Graduate Degrees (MS or PhD):
    • Computer Science: specialize in a topic such as machine learning, databases, etc
    • Statistics: specialize in a statistical topic, e.g., computational statistics
    • MS/PhD degrees lead to a wide variety of careers

What can I do with a Data Science Major?

Indeed Job Trends Chart

Acording to the 2011 McKinsey Global Institute Study on Big Data, “The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings. The shortage of talent is just beginning.”

Do I need a Data Science degree to do Data Science?

  • Technically No. Many people currently are “data scientists” with backgrounds in quantitative degrees that are not data science
    • Some with statistics, some with computer science, some with a combination
    • Some with other quantitative degrees
  • Advantages of the DS major
    • Puts you on the “fast track” to becoming a Data Scientist
    • Ensures that you will know the fundamentals of both Computing and Statistics
    • Provides you with skills that are likely to have lasting value (as technology changes)

What are other degree options?

  • Computer Science with a Statistics minor?
    • More classes in “systems” aspects of computer science
    • Fewer classes in statistics
    • No capstone data science project class
  • Another degree like Math or Economics with a Statistics minor?
    • Far fewer classes in computer science
    • Fewer classes in statistics
    • No capstone data science project class
  • Statistics undergraduate degree (e.g., at another UC)?
    • More classes in mathematics and statistics
    • Far fewer classes in computer science
    • No capstone data science project class

More generally, you can contact an ICS Student Affairs Office Counselor at or (949) 824-5156 if you are interested in changing your major to Data Science.