Frequently Asked Questions

Advising & Requests for Information

Q: I am a declared Social Data Science (SDSC) major and have advising questions.

A: If you are a declared SDSC major with advising questions, please contact an SDSC Academic Advisor. During our hours of operation, a current student (Student Ambassador) is also available to answer questions related to coursework, internships, and careers. Contact Us.

Q: I am a current UMD undergraduate student, but not in Social Data Science (SDSC) major – how can I get more information?

A: If you are a current UMD undergraduate student, but not in the Social Data Science (SDSC) major, please attend one of our Information Sessions. Attending an Information Session does not mean you are committing to the Change of Major process – it is an opportunity to learn more about SDSC and have your questions and concerns addressed before making a final decision.

Q: Is advising mandatory for undergraduate students in the major?

A: Depending on your entry point into the SDSC major, you will have mandatory advising at least once during your academic career. Students will be notified via email if they have mandatory advising, and the process they need to follow to meet that requirement. During the semester(s) a student does not have mandatory advising, students may need to visit the SDSC Student Services Office prior to registration to receive permission access to restricted courses.

Q: Where is the SDSC Student Services Office at College Park?

A: Our office is located in Hornbake Library North, Ground Floor, Suite 0217.

Q: I am a parent of a student in the SDSC major and would like access to my student’s course schedule, grades, and account balance.

A: Students can grant parents and/or legal guardians limited access to their student information from Testudo. You can find more information on this by following this link.

Curriculum & Program Length

Q: I recently changed my major to Social Data Science and I am trying to complete all degree requirements in a timely manner. How many semesters will it take for me to graduate?

A: The SDSC program requires successful completion of Core courses and Track courses. Many of our courses are sequence-based; (that is, you must complete a course before starting the next course, which has the former course as its prerequisite). Considering the number of courses required, and the sequence in which they must be taken, the vast majority of SDSC students will need four or more regular semesters (Fall/Spring) to complete the program.

Q: Can I take Benchmark courses and Core courses in the same semester?

A: It is recommended that SDSC students successfully complete (grade of C- or higher) all Benchmark courses before taking SDSC Core coursework.

However, one semester of overlap is allowed between Benchmark 2 courses and SDSC Core courses. Failure to successfully complete remaining SDSC Benchmarks in an overlap semester with a minimum grade of C- or higher will result in the student being unable to progress in SDSC Core courses in the following semester. Students will need to successfully complete any remaining Benchmark courses, if they have the ability to repeat it per the University repeat policy, before continuing with SDSC Core courses.

Q: What grade is required for benchmark, major, and track courses?

A: All benchmark, major, and track courses must be passed with C- or better. Every student is given two attempts for each course.

Changing Your Major to SDSC at College Park

Q: How can I change my major to SDSC?

A: Changing your major is a mandatory process that can take up to ten days. Visit Declare SDSC Major.

Transferring to SDSC at College Park

Q: I am transferring from a Maryland community college and would like to know the process for applying to UMD.

A: To transfer to the University of Maryland, please visit the Pre-Transfer Advising website, which will provide you with the required information on the transfer process for undergraduate students. You will also want to check out The Articulation System for Maryland Colleges and Universities (ARTSYS), which is specifically intended to help students transferring from Maryland community colleges to the University of Maryland.

Current Students - Taking Courses at Other Colleges/Universities

Q: I want to take a Benchmark or Core course at another institution. Is this allowed in the major?

A: No. Please visit the Academic Policies page of our website for guidance.

Q: I want to take a Summer or Winter course at another institution. What is the process?

A: If you wish to take a course at another institution over the Summer or Winter, you should discuss your interest with an SDSC Academic Advisor, verify the course can transfer through the Transfer Course Database, and complete a Permission to Enroll Form (use “College of Information Studies” form). Be sure to read the Academic Policies page to make sure you understand which courses you can take at another institution.

Internships & Careers

Q: What are some career paths for graduates of the SDSC program?

A: Please visit the Career Paths page on our website.

Q: Does the program or college offer resources for obtaining internships and careers?

A: Both the college and the university offer robust internship and career resources, including job and internship databases to browse, job interview preparation, resume and cover letter guidance, networking opportunities, and more. Please visit the Career & Internship Resources section of our website to learn more.

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