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Major in Data Science

Data Science is a rapidly growing field providing students with exciting career paths, and opportunities for advanced study. The Data Science major gives students a foundation in those aspects of computer science, statistics, and mathematics that are relevant for analyzing and manipulating voluminous and/or complex data. Students majoring in Data Science will learn computer programming, data analysis and database systems, and will learn to think critically about the process of understanding data. Students will also take a capstone experience course that aims to synthesize the skills and knowledge learned in the various disciplines that encompass data science. The Data Science major is a rigorous program that covers the practical use of Data Science methods as well as the theoretical properties underpinning the performance of the methods and algorithms.

The Data Science major is open to students in the Colleges of LSA and Engineering. This document is intended for students pursuing the Data Science major in LSA. Students in the College of Engineering who are interested in Data Science should visit Undergraduate Program in Data Science site.


The LSA Data Science program office is located in 323 West Hall. Appointments with Data Science program advisors can be scheduled through the Undergraduate Advising Page

Program Requirements

The Data Science major in LSA consists of a total of 42 required credit hours, not including pre-requisites or pre-major courses. All courses must be completed with a minimum grade of C. Note that the EECS department limits students to two attempts for EECS 203, EECS 280, and EECS 281.

Program Prerequisites

  • EECS 183 (4 credits): Introductory programming 
  • Math 115, 116, 215 (4 credits each): Calculus 1-3 
  • Math 214 or 217 (4 credits): Linear algebra

Program Core

  • EECS 203 (4 credits): Discrete Mathematics. Acceptable alternative: Math 465. 
  • EECS 280 (4 credits): Programming and Elementary Data Structures.
  • EECS 281 (4 credits): Data Structures and Algorithms. (An average GPA of 2.5 must be earned across EECS 203 and EECS 280 in order to register for EECS 281.)
  • STATS 412 (3 credits): Introduction to Probability and Statistics. (For other accepted ways to fulfill the STATS 412 requirement, please refer to the Undergraduate FAQs)
  • STATS 413 (4 credits): Applied Regression Analysis (F16)

Additional required courses

  • Machine learning and data mining elective: EECS 445 or STATS 415.
  • Data management and applications elective: EECS 484 or EECS 485.
  • Data science applications elective (3 credits): The current list of courses that meet this requirement is available here.

Advanced Technical Electives

Eight credits of Advanced Technical Electives for Data Science. A list of the courses that meet this requirement are available here.

Capstone experience

A capstone data science course of at least 3 credits must be taken, typically during the senior year. A list of regular courses meeting the capstone requirement is available here. Another way to meet the capstone experience requirement is to take an independent study (EECS 499 or Stat 489). The latter option will normally involve research in a core aspect of data science or research in a domain area making use of data science methods, possibly as part of an honors degree. The independent study may also document an internship experience that involved substantial activities relating to data science. Any path to meeting the capstone requirement other than pre-approved regular courses must be pre-approved by a Data Science advisor. The course grade for an independent study must be based on a final project report documenting the activities undertaken, and the report must be provided to the DS program office.


Students can declare Data Science by visiting the Data Science program office in 323 West Hall. In order to declare the major, students should have already completed EECS 183 and Math 215 with grades of C or higher.

Students must complete the linear algebra prerequisite requirement, but can do this after declaring.


Any LSA Data Science student with a current grade point average of at least 3.4 may apply for admission to the LSA Data Science Honors major program. Such application is made through a Statistics Department undergraduate advisor. Students in the Honors program must complete the regular major program with an overall GPA of at least 3.5. In addition, LSA Data Science Honors majors must elect the Senior Honors Seminar (STATS 499) and complete a project or a thesis under the direction of a member of the Statistics Department or EECS faculty.


Minors and Double Majors

Most combinations of a Data Science major in LSA with other majors or minors is permitted, consistent with the LSA rules, except for the following combinations:

  • Data Science major with a Statistics or Applied Statistics minor 

  • Data Science major with a Computer Science minor