Requirements, Plans, and Forms - B.S. in Data Sciences

Options within the Major

Within the Data Sciences major, students must select from one of three options to further focus their studies:

This option focuses on the principles, methods, and tools for assembly, validation, organization, analysis, visualization, and interpretation of large and heterogeneous data, to support data-driven discovery and decision-making, with emphasis on addressing pressing scientific, organizational, and societal challenges. A combination of required and elective courses provides students with the training and skills needed to develop advanced tools and domain-specific analyses that yield actionable knowledge from data. This option also provides critical analytical skills needed to assess the benefits and limitations of data analytics across a broad range of applications involving big data.

This option focuses on the computational foundations of the data sciences, including the design, implementation and analysis of software that manages the volume, heterogeneity and dynamic characteristics of large data sets and that leverages the computational power of multicore hardware. Students in this option will take upper-level courses in computer science and related fields to develop the skills necessary to construct efficient solutions to computational problems involving Big Data.

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This option focuses on statistical models and methods that are needed to discover and validate patterns in Big Data. Students in this option will take upper-level statistics and mathematics courses, learning to apply the theoretical machinery of quantitative models to the solution of real-world problems involving Big Data.

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Entrance to Major Requirements

To enter the Data Sciences major, students must meet the entrance to major requirements below based on the semester that they entered the University. Once all entrance to major requirements have been met, learn how to declare your major.

  • Achieved a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA
  • A grade of C or better in each of the following courses:
    • CMPSC 131
    • CMPSC 132
    • MATH 140
    • MATH 141
    • DS 200
  • Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA
  • A grade of C or better in each of the following courses:
    • CMPSC 131
    • CMPSC 132
    • MATH 140
    • MATH 141
    • STAT 200
    • IST 210

Suggested Academic Plans

Suggested Academic Plans are based on a student’s semester of entry to Penn State and serve as a guide when scheduling courses. Students should work with their academic adviser and run “Academic Requirements” and “What If” reports in LionPATH to ensure that they are staying on track for graduation.

Application Focus Areas

Within the Applied Data Sciences option of the Data Sciences major, students must take a series of courses in one of the application focus areas listed below or work with their academic adviser to create a custom focus. Application focus areas allow students to develop more specialized knowledge in a specific domain. Course requirements and additional information for each area can be found on the University Bulletin. Please note, that Application Focus Areas can be found under the Effective Spring 2020 drop-down on the Suggested Academic Plan page.

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