May 27, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Data Science and Computing

Nearly every feature of our society has been touched by the accumulation of data at different scales and, data science — the analysis and extraction of knowledge and meaning from data — has become an established field and highly sought-after career. The ability to collect, model and analyze vast volumes of data has transformed scientific, commercial, and humanitarian enterprises and institutions, bringing significant advances such as individualized cancer therapies and facial recognition-based security technologies. However, the abundant use and sharing of data and algorithms raise pressing ethical challenges.

The Data Science and Computing Program major and minor inclusively empower UC Merced undergraduates to creatively and ethically apply data science mastery to any scientific domain of study at UC Merced, as well as to the academic, commercial, and humanitarian pursuits of their dreams.

Graduates will be prepared to tackle real-world problems with foundational skills and knowledge in communication, ethics, computing, statistics, machine learning and domain applications. Graduates will be prepared to enter careers in technology, public service, academic research, and many other fields where rigorous and ethical analysis of large data sets is crucial to success. The program’s curriculum is tailor-made for data scientists, providing the specific core skills and knowledge that are sought after by employers seeking to hire data science graduates.

The Data Science and Computing Major includes domain specializations for every major program within the School of Natural Sciences as well as programs in other schools. Students may also design their own custom domain specializations. The Data Science and Computing Minor provides a calculus-free path to Data Science education that can be flexibly combined with any other major on campus.

Data Science and Computing Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates completing the B.S. Major or Minor in Data Science will demonstrate proficiency in:

  1. Communication: Graduates will be able to create and interpret communications describing analytical data in a variety of media including verbal and statistical summaries and visualizations appropriately and accurately for professional and lay audiences.
  2. Computing: Graduates will be able to reproducibly solve and document solutions to data science problems using computing, programming, IT and database skills and knowledge.
  3. Statistics and Machine Learning: Graduates will be able to employ statistical and machine learning approaches to the analysis of data and be able to critically interpret the estimates and inferences made by these approaches.
  4. Ethics: Graduates will be able to assess and evaluate the potential risks and biases of different data science algorithms and machine learning modeling practices, ethically criticize data scientific productions, appropriately and securely use and document sources of data and code and adhere to ethical practices in their own data scientific productions.
  5. Application: Graduates will be able to integrate knowledge of data science with at least one domain area of specialization of their choice and be able to apply data-science approaches to real world questions and problems in that domain area.


    Undergraduate DegreesMinors