Master of Science in Communication Data Science

Program Director (Data Science): Yolanda Gil, PhD
Program Co-Director (Communication): Jessica Neff, PhD

The Master of Science in Communication Data Science is a cross-disciplinary joint degree program offered by the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Students will complete a core set of courses to provide a foundation in data science and communication and choose electives to optimize their preparation for their preferred career path and unique professional opportunities. They will be experts in the emerging field of data science for communication. Graduates will learn about theories and principles underlying human communication and the ways in which people utilize and engage with communication technologies. 

The curriculum is designed to be accessible to students with any background, including students with a communication background and no computer science knowledge as well as students with a computer science background and no communication knowledge. Students with undergraduate degrees in computer science, engineering, science or mathematics will acquire the necessary knowledge to analyze health data with diverse sources and purposes and can request to replace introductory data science courses with more advanced ones.  Students with undergraduate degrees in communication, journalism, and related disciplines will acquire formal and practical data science skills and can request to substitute introductory courses in communication with more advanced ones.  There is no requirement of prior knowledge of programming or computer science, as the curriculum is designed with special introductory courses that are accessible to students with diverse backgrounds.

Students will learn a range of data science skills such as developing scalable data systems, using state-of-the-art software and infrastructure for data science, designing data analyses with statistical methods, and working in multi-disciplinary data science teams. They will also understand the technical underpinnings of emerging communication platforms, ranging from social media to enterprise collaboration platforms to virtual and augmented reality. Students will have the capability to build these technologies and effectively manage teams that do so. They will also master the theoretical and technical tools to investigate and analyze large volumes of data generated by digital communication platforms using machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Prospective students can refer to the Annenberg website for more information about the program.

All information contained here is summarized from the USC Catalogue and is considered non-official. For all rules, regulations, procedures, and outlines, please see the current academic year USC Catalogue. The USC Catalogue supersedes all other publications.

Current students follow degree requirements in effect for the academic year they began their studies at USC.  If you are a current student, please refer to your STARS report or the appropriate USC Catalogue for your year.  Students seeking to advance their catalogue year to follow updated curricula may contact their department advisor.

Published on April 27th, 2017

Last updated on June 15th, 2022