Bachelor of Arts in Data Science

Program Director: Emilio Ferrara, PhD

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 offered by the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. 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 foreign language requirement, and an advisor-approved disciplinary specialization of at least 24 units (including at least 16 units of upper-division coursework). This 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; this is normally 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 courses 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
  • Data visualization