Data Science, Bachelor of Science

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

Data science is systematic way to discover, quantify, and understand relationships hidden in data. A data scientist is an expert in acquiring, storing, accessing, and manipulating data; visualizing and modeling relationships in the data; and drawing actionable conclusions from the data. Data science is a tool applied to other areas of study such as biological sciences or business, and emphasizes the holistic process of “thinking with (real) data.”
The required course work is in statistics and computer science with the upper-division statistics courses utilizing the program competency acquired. Students are encouraged to pursue a minor in another field of interest in order to gain deep understanding of the challenges and needs that can be addressed by data science.

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 58 units of major requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • For this major the liberal studies prerfixes are MAT and STAT.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 216
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

Because the amount of global information collected is increasing rapidly due to technological advances, businesses and organizations that can utilize that information stand to benefit. Those organizations need people with the unique skillsets to store, access, and manipulate large sets of data; visualize and model relationships present; and draw actionable inference to make data-informed   decisions.
Our students learn the fundamentals of computer science to facilitate the automation of tedious tasks, data storage, and algorithmic problem solving. They also learn statistical science foundations to inform data collection methods, model linear and non-linear relationships, and create predictive models. Students will be exposed to real data drawn from many different fields and have hands-on experience in how data insights are made.
Students with a Bachelor of Science degree in data science could pursue jobs as a business analyst, actuary, and data scientist for both public and private organizations in a diverse set of fields such as research, engineering, finance, marketing and public health.

Student Learning Outcomes

1.  Technical Skills: Graduates will demonstrate breadth and depth of knowledge of statistics and computer science necessary to continue onto graduate training or technical careers.

  1. Students will demonstrate mathematics competency by:
  1. Applying calculus concepts regarding rates of change.
  2. Applying matrices, matrix manipulations and related concepts (e.g. eigenvalues) to a statistical model.
  3. Selecting appropriate probability distributions to model a process and apply rules of probability to derive basic quantities.
  1. Students will demonstrate practical coding competency.
  1. Creating code scripts that solve a given problem and serve as documentation of how the solution was calculated.
  2. Applying common coding techniques (loops, user defined functions) to create complex software programs.
  3. Having proficiency with modern software development tools (e.g. debuggers, version control, profilers, IDEs).
  1. Students will demonstrate competency in data wrangling techniques by:
  1. Accessing data presented in a variety of formats (e.g CSV, Excel, SQL, JSON, HTML).
  2. Performing complex transformations and summarizations.
  3. Reshaping data into equivalent formats for use in subsequent analysis procedures.
  1. Students will fit statistical and machine learning models to data by:
  1. Use software to perform common statistical and machine learning analysis procedures (e.g. linear models, CART).
  2. Obtain appropriate diagnostic information to be able to asses model appropriateness.
  3. Make model predictions and uncertainty calculations for a variety of model quantities.
  1. Students will summarize data and analysis results via numerical and graphics methods by:
  1. Creating graphics of data that indicate analysis possibilities and relationships present.
  2. Create technical graphical summaries suitable for assessing model fit and appropriateness.
  3. Creating graphics that combine data and model results that are suitable for disseminating analysis results to domain area experts as well as the general public.
2.  Reasoning Skills: Graduates will demonstrate statistical and computational reasoning skills.
  1. Students will understand principles of data organization and storage and select appropriate schemes for data of varying size and organization.
  2. Students will evaluate the applicability of available data to address a desired research question.
  3. Students will choose among analysis methods based on the constraints of a study design and the scientific questions of interest.
  4. Students will be able to assess model fit to the data and propose model modifications to address observed deficiencies.
  5. Students will assess statistical significance of aspects of a proposed model and interpret the results in the situational context.
  6. Evaluate the trade-offs of various computation and inferential issues.
3.  Communication Skills: Graduates will collaborate with peers and communicate results and issues effectively in preparation for careers in industry, with government agencies, or in education.
  1. Explain computational issues, statistical methodology, and results by both written and oral means to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  2. Select and use of numerical, graphical, and narrative methods for conveying information to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  3. Effectively work in small technical groups.

Major Requirements
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.