Bachelor of Arts in Data Science

Computer-based information systems facilitate, enable and often define the relationships between corporations and consumers, buyers and suppliers, businesses of all sizes, social networks, and citizens and their governments. Understanding these relationships and effectively addressing the collection, flow and distribution of information is vital to the effectiveness of any modern organization, enterprise or government agency.

The Bachelor of Arts in Data Science is a cooperative degree program involving the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Students complete 128 units, including at least 70 units of courses in Dornsife College and at least 38 units of courses in Viterbi School of Engineering. Units completed in Viterbi include the basic programming and data science requirements while units completed in Dornsife College include the general education and writing requirements, the Dornsife College foreign language requirement and an adviser-approved disciplinary specialization of at least 24 units.

This specialization must form a coherent focus on a discipline that provides students with insight into a domain in which informatics can be usefully applied. No more than 8 units may consist of lower-division course work.

The specialization can consist of courses constituting another departmental or interdepartmental major for the BA degree, permitting students to satisfy most or all of the requirements for a double major.

See Undergraduate Degree Programs for rules governing the overlap of course allowed for a double major.

The program teaches students to understand, design and implement effective solutions to meet organizational, societal and management needs for information and decision support.

All students undertaking this degree program must have knowledge of the following areas (the core):

  • Information systems and technology fundamentals
  • Programming basics
  • Statistics
  • Data management
  • Machine Learning

In addition to the core courses, students complete additional elective courses in in data science.

In addition to the core courses and concentration area, students complete at least 24 units of courses in an adviser-approved area of disciplinary specialization relying on course work in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The disciplinary specialization must form a coherent focus on a discipline that provides students with insight into a domain in which data science can be usefully applied. No more than 8 units may consist of lower-division course work.

Admission
Admissions are made by the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Students normally apply to the program in the spring of the freshman year.

Prospective USC students cannot apply directly to this major. Data Science majors are required to pair the program with another Bachelor of Arts degree within Dornsife. We recommend that prospective students interested in this major apply to the major they would like to combine with Data Science. After beginning their coursework at USC, they may meet with a Data Science advisor to discuss how they will use its concepts to explore data within their current major before officially adding the Data Science major.