Functional Data Analytics, B.S.

Program Code: FDTAN_BS

Program Description

Functional Data Analytics is an interdisciplinary major that prepares students to be data professionals who are skilled communicators/project managers capable of translating the results of complex data analyses for leaders and decision-makers. Students completing this program will have excellent written, oral, and visual communication/presentation skills and will understand the appropriate application, use of analytical tools, and interpretation of results of analyses. The program begins with courses that provide students with the fundamental communication, mathematical and statistical skills needed to analyze data and communicate the results of the analysis. Three of four data analysis courses covering descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics will be co-taught by a data analytics and an English faculty member to help students learn analytical techniques while practicing essential visualization, oral, and written communication skills. In these courses, students will use real data sets supplied by external partners including businesses or industries. In their second year, students will choose a knowledge domain (e.g., higher education administration, finance, SMART manufacturing, genomics) in which to gain a deeper understanding of domain-specific applications of data analysis. The program will culminate in a two-semester capstone course in which students apply all skills learned in their analytics and domain-specific courses to data provided by an external stakeholder (business, industry, not-for-profit organization, scientific researcher) to address a question posed by that stakeholder.

What is Functional Data Analytics?

Functional Data Analytics is an emerging discipline along the Data Science−Data Analytics spectrum. Functional Data Analysts are experts in communication of information needed by leaders and managers to make sound data-driven decisions. Functional Data Analysts know enough about data analytics to use tools appropriately and to communicate results of analyses clearly and succinctly to end users or decision makers. These data professionals are often leaders or project managers who focus on providing decision-makers with the story behind the data so that the decision maker will understand what they should do, why they should do it, and the path they should choose to accomplish their goal.

You Might Like This Program If…

You are interested in:

  • Working with leaders and managers to understand organizational priorities
  • Managing data analysis projects for organizations
  • Identifying the types of data needed to make strategic decisions
  • Interpreting data and identifying patterns or potential outcomes of decisions
  • Crafting interpretations and presentations of the results of data analyses in ways that make clear to decision-makers the pathways available to help them achieve their organizational goals

Entrance To Major

Entry to the Functional Data Analytics major requires the successful completion of 4 entry-to-major courses: CMPSC 121 or CMPSC 131, DA 101, MATH 110 or MATH 140, and DS 200 or PSYCH 200 or SCM 200 or STAT 200 or STAT 250. Each course requires a C or better grade for successful completion.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Functional Data Analytics, a minimum of 122 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 93-98

18 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 3 credits of GH courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 9 credits of GWS courses.

Per Senate Policy 83.80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned.

Requirements for the Major

Each student must earn at least a grade of C in each 300- and 400-level course in the major field.

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 100Effective Speech Keystone/General Education Course3
DA 101Introduction to Data Analytics Keystone/General Education Course3
DA 201WDescriptive Analytics4
DA 301Diagnostic Analytics3
DA 302WPredictive Analytics4
DA 401WPrescriptive Analytics4
DA 402Qualitative Analytics3
DA 475Data Analytics Implementation Capstone I3
DA 476Data Analytics Implementation Capstone II3
DIGIT 410Data Visualization3
DIGIT/GAME 430Simulations of Human Behavior3
ENGL 202CEffective Writing: Technical Writing Keystone/General Education Course3
IST 230Language, Logic, and Discrete Mathematics3
MGMT 409Project Management for Engineers3
MIS 415Social Media Management and Analytics3
MIS 447Data Warehousing3
PHIL 103Ethics Keystone/General Education Course3
STAT 184Introduction to R2
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CMPSC 121Introduction to Programming Techniques Keystone/General Education Course3
or CMPSC 131 Programming and Computation I: Fundamentals
DA 305Data Ethics and Privacy3
or DS 435 Ethical Issues in Data Science Practice
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 30H Honors Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course
MATH 110Techniques of Calculus I Keystone/General Education Course4
or MATH 140 Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course
MIS 336Database Management Systems3
or IST 210 Organization of Data
Select 3-4 credits from the following:3-4
Introduction to Data Sciences
Elementary Statistics in Psychology Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Statistics for Business Keystone/General Education Course
Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Biostatistics Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select one special interest concentration from the program approved list of concentrations.12-16
Select 6 credits from any major field or course, except STAT 100, MATH 200, MATH 201, any ENGL course below ENGL 15, all KINES (GHW) courses, and any MATH course below MATH 83. Petitions for exceptions are available through the applicable program chair.6

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GHW, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.