UCSD Launches New Data Analytics Major


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The UC San Diego Department of Political Science will offer a new Data Analytics major, the first Bachelor of Science degree for the department, starting Fall 2018.

The new major focuses on the study of data collection, hypothesis testing, and computation with an emphasis on political and social science issues. It is the eighth major in the Political Science Department, joining seven Bachelor of Arts degrees: the General Political Science major, as well as six other majors with concentrations in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Public Law, Political Theory, and Public Policy.

“Our new major represents the growing demand from employers, internship coordinators, and graduate programs,” said Natalie Ikker, Undergraduate Advisor for the Political Science Department.  “It is currently the first and only political science major with the Bachelor of Science notation in the University of California system. This first-of-its-kind program gives students the chance to explore their passion for politics and policy through the lens of a rigorous grounding in data science.”

Many of the required courses have not been created yet, so upperclassmen may have difficulty switching their major. None of the five required upper-division courses, nor the required lower-division Data Analytics course will be offered in Fall Quarter. According to Ikker, the list of required courses for the 2019-2020 academic year “is still being built and finalized.”

Due to the growing demand in the data analysis field, the new major is expected to attract an impressive number of students. In July, UCSD capped the new Data Science major just one year after its introduction due to a “disproportionately high” student enrollment.

The introduction of Data Analytics follows a growing popularity of the data science field among top universities. LinkedIn released a 2017 report which found that the demand for data scientists has grown by 650 percent, making data science the fastest growing job sector. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Campuses are quickly adding data science programs in response to soaring workplace demand.”

“With courses taught by professors who are leading figures in political data analytics, combined with smaller seminars that provide a hands-on-the-keyboard workshop experience, this new major will equip students with the tools they need to reach the cutting edge,” said Ikker.

Students interested in the new major are encouraged to attend an informational meeting in the Fall regarding the new degree, which is open to both Political Science and non-Political Science majors. More information can be found by contacting Ikker at nbikker@ucsd.edu.

Anabel King is the Assistant Managing Editor for The Triton. You can follow her @anabelkingg.

This article was updated on September 30, 8:20 p.m. to clarify the eight different majors of the Political Science department.