Bachelor of Science in Social Data Science at College Park (SDSC)

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Leveraging data science techniques to solve social challenges


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The Colleges of Information Science (INFO) and Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) are pleased to offer the undergraduate major Bachelor of Science in Social Data Science (SDSC) at the University of Maryland. For detailed program information, please see the SDSC program website.

The major will build expertise in the complex skills needed to create and work with information that captures aspects of human behavior. Social data science encompasses all elements of the data life cycle, including measure conceptualization, data gathering, management, manipulation, analysis, presentation, archiving, and re-use. Further, effective and appropriate construction, analysis, and use of social data requires understanding social science theory and domain expertise. This program will combine the expertise of BSOS and INFO faculty members to prepare students to effectively, ethically and efficiently create high quality information products, such as datasets, visualizations, and models, about human activity and behavior.

The University of Maryland has extraordinary faculty, research, and education expertise in Social Data Science across all of the partner colleges as well as in research centers, including SoDa and START.

The Program

Students take a set of core courses housed primarily in the INFO College and BSOS’s Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM). They then select a track discipline in which they train in relevant theory and methods, from among the following options: African American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Government and Politics/International Relations, Geography/Geospatial Information Science, Psychology, or Sociology.  Students may not enroll in a double-major or double-degree with the Social Data Science major and the major of their track area because of the significant overlap in coursework. Learn more about the curriculum on the Major Requirements page.

Why consider this major?

The University of Maryland’s Colleges of Information and School of Behavioral and Social Science have identified valuable synergies to support the new social data science major. This major will teach vital technical skills in the field of data science, combined with theory and method for making sense of data, empowering you to effectively analyze and process datasets to derive insights. Furthermore, it will prepare you to handle data about people and the nuances that come with analyzing, exploring, and understanding it. Explore opportunities for careersinternships, and research within the social data science field.

What is social data science?

Social data science is an interdisciplinary field of study that leverages data science techniques to address social challenges. Let’s say you wanted to use a machine learning model to identify infants and adolescents most in need of social services. This task is perfect for a social data scientist, who would not only be able to apply critical modeling techniques but also possess the research and policy knowledge to holistically address this issue from a social perspective.

Learning Outcomes

Understanding data science is becoming increasingly important in a variety of fields as data sets grow larger and larger. Just as important is understanding the ethical, legal, and social responsibilities at all stages of the effort. This program’s core courses will prepare students to work with data science practices, technologies, tools, and sources across disciplines and industries, while the track courses will provide students with opportunities to apply these skills while gaining expertise in a particular social science context.


Diverse Students Walking Together on CampusThe UMD INFO College, with a history of activism, continues today to champion accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and democratization of information. Our faculty, staff, and 2600+ students come to us from over 63 countries and create a welcoming and encouraging environment. 45% of our students identify as female and 63% of our students identify as Asian (28%), Black (23%), Hispanic/Latino (8%), American Indian or Alaskan Native (<1%), Pacific Islander (<1%), or Biracial (4%). Diversity and inclusion are central to the mission of the college, with many of our courses, research projects, events, and community partnerships designed to address challenges and promote inclusion of historically excluded communities. Visit our Academics home page to learn more about UMD INFO College diversity and student life.

The Bachelor of Science in Social Data Science (SDSC) is a STEM OPT certified program.

SDSC courses are offered as a combination of in-person and online. However, if there are social distancing restrictions, all courses will be offered in appropriate spaces or online.


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