Data Science

The Data Science Program

The goal of the Data Science program is to prepare students for careers that explore patterns in large data sets and identify potential trends and insights. The program will teach students skills in programing, modeling, machine learning, data visualization, and database structures, and to assess how data can be used to solve novel problems. Students will also learn about the ethical, moral, and societal implications of data science. The program will focus on teaching students to uncover insights through manipulation of large datasets. Graduates will know how to effectively expose complicated problems related to the management, analysis, and dissemination of vast amounts of information; and once exposed, how to define, discuss, and solve problems.


Societal Implications of Data Science : Going Beyond Methods

Data Science at W&M provides a novel learning environment. We push students beyond methods and towards critically considering the implications of big data and algorithms on our society. 

Topics in Data Science are constantly evolving, and so do our courses. Example issues drawn from previous coursework have included:

  • How big data and algorithms are influencing sentencing in the legal system.
  • How algorithms choose - intentionally or not - who to save in a car crash.
  • How websites such as match.com are impacting the future of human genetics.
What about Coursework?

Data Science has four core courses that every student will take:

  • An introduction to Computer Programming designed for non-CS majors with no or limited computer coding experience.
  • An introduction to Modeling designed for Data Science students
  • A philosophy course - options include those considering the moral implications of data
  • An applications course, in which students apply their skills to solve problems of interest to them.

You will work with a faculty advisor to select relevant upper-level coursework to complete the degree. You can also opt to take a capstone research course.