At which campus can I study this program?
Any Penn State Campus
Social Data Analytics is an interdisciplinary major that prepares students to participate in both a research environment where “big data” is a major source of insight into social and political processes, and an economy increasingly organized around data analytics. Students completing the major will have the technical skills to handle, analyze, apply and present big data, and the disciplinary knowledge to draw valid inferences from such information to address real world problems. The program integrates coursework in the social sciences with courses in statistics, mathematics, information science and computer science to develop the unique skill set necessary to conceptualize data sources in relation to the social conditions from which they arise; to think critically about big data in relation to specific problems; and to derive and test hypotheses through application of data tools and techniques. Students will gain valuable practical experience working with data through a capstone experience and participation in faculty research.
This major is intended to produce graduates who are big picture thinkers with the knowledge to formulate good questions and leverage vast stores of unstructured data in answering them. Students will be prepared for careers in government, business, healthcare, and industry. The major also provides a strong foundation for advanced study in social science, law, business and public policy.
What is Social Data Analytics?
Social Data Analytics (SoDA) is an interdisciplinary major that teaches students to use the increasingly vast stores of information generated from social media, cell phones, “smart objects” and other technology that captures moment to moment changes in where people are, what they are doing and thinking, and with whom they are associating. This data (often called “social data” or “big data”) can help researchers and policy makers address a wide variety of political, economic and social problems. It can be used, for example, to improve government services; to identify patterns of armed conflict, human rights abuses, and disease before they escalate; to enhance the efficiency of businesses; and to create more resilient communities in the face of climate change. Students in this major learn data analysis techniques and how to apply them to develop reliable answers to questions about the social and political world.
You Might Like This Program If...
You want to develop data analytics skills to solve real-world problems in the political, social, and economic arenas. The Social Data Analytics major combines social science, computer science, statistics, and visual communication to prepare students to use “big data” – effectively and ethically – to improve how people live and work together.
Entrance to Major
Admission to the major requires a grade of C or better in MATH 110 or MATH 140, MATH 111 or MATH 141, and CMPSC 122, and a grade of B or better in PLSC 309. These courses must be completed by the end of the semester during which the admission to major process is carried out.
For the Bachelor of Science degree in Social Data Analytics, a minimum of 120 credits is required:
|Requirements for the Major||90-92|
15 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 6 credits of GQ courses, 6 credits of GS courses, and 3 credits of GH courses.
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 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.)
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)
- Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 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.
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.
Requirements for the Major
A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.
|Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|CMPSC 121||Introduction to Programming Techniques||3|
|CMPSC 122||Intermediate Programming||3|
|CMPSC 221||Object Oriented Programming with Web-Based Applications||3|
|CMPSC 360||Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science||3|
|DS 220||Data Management for Data Sciences||3|
|DS 300||Privacy and Security for Data Sciences||3|
|DS 310||Machine Learning for Data Analytics||3|
|DS 330||Visual Analytics for Data Sciences||3|
|IST 210||Organization of Data||3|
|PLSC 1||American Politics: Principles, Processes and Powers||3|
|PLSC 10||Scientific Study of Politics||3|
|PLSC 309||Quantitative Political Analysis||3|
|SODA 308||Research Design for Social Data Analytics||3|
|SODA 496||Special Topics||6|
|STAT 318||Elementary Probability||3|
|STAT 380||Data Science Through Statistical Reasoning and Computation||3|
|Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|MATH 110||Techniques of Calculus I||4|
|or MATH 140||Calculus With Analytic Geometry I|
|MATH 111||Techniques of Calculus II||2-4|
|or MATH 141||Calculus with Analytic Geometry II|
|Select one of the following;||3|
|Comparing Politics around the Globe|
|Contemporary Political Ideologies|
|Introduction to Political Theory|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Philosophy of Technology|
|Ethics and the Design of Technology|
|Technology and Human Values|
|Modern Science, Technology, and Human values|
|Select 15 credits (at least 12 credits at the 400 level) of PLSC courses 1||15|
|Select three of the following:||9|
|Machine Learning and Algorithmic AI|
|Data Structures and Algorithms|
|Emerging Trends in the Data Sciences|
|Programming Models for Big Data|
|Applied Statistics in Science|
|Applied Nonparametric Statistics|
Analytics courses from a department list
The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.
Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.
Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Suggested Academic Plan
The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.
|MATH 140 (GQ)*‡#†||4||MATH 111 or 141 (GQ)*‡#†||4|
|CMPSC 131*||3||CMPSC 132*#||3|
|PLSC 10 (GS)*†||3||PLSC 3, 7N, 14, or 17N*||3|
|PLSC 1 (GS)*†||3||PLSC 309*#||3|
|First Year Seminar (GH)||3||IST 210*||3|
|SODA 308*||3||DS 220*||3|
|MATH 220*||2||CMPSC 360*||3|
|CMPSC 221*||3||STAT 318*||3|
|Advanced PLSC*1||3||PLSC 400 Level*1||3|
|STAT 184*||2||CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C (GWS)‡||3|
|ENGL 15, 30, 137H, CAS 137H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡||3|
|DS 310*||3||Advanced Analytics*3||3|
|STAT 380*||3||DS 330*||3|
|PLSC 404, 429, 447, or 476*||3||PLSC 404, 420, 447, or 476*||3|
|Ethics Course (GH)*†2||3||General Education Course||3|
|General Education Course||3||General Education Course||3|
|Writing Across the Curriculum (W)||3|
|Advanced Analytics Course*3||3||SODA 496*||6|
|PLSC 404, 429, 447, or 476*||3||Advanced Analytics Course*3||3|
|DS 300*||3||General Education Coruse||3|
|General Education Course||3||General Education Course (GHW)||3|
|ENGL 202A (GWS)‡||3||US Cultures (US)||3|
|Total Credits 129|
* Course requires a grade of C or better for the major
‡ Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education
# Course is an Entrance to Major requirement
† Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement
Select 15 credits of PL SC courses; at least 12 credits must be at the 400 level.
Select 3 credits of ethics from department list
Select 9 credits from department list.
University Requirements and General Education Notes:
US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).
W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.
Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.
All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.
All incoming freshmen must take a First-Year Seminar (FYS) during Fall or Spring of their first year. Academic advisers can provide a list of FYS being offered and help the student enroll. Most FYS in the College of the Liberal Arts are worth 3 cr. and count as a General Humanities (GH) or General Social Sciences (GS) course. For this reason, the FYS is not listed separately on this eight-semester plan; most students will be able to fulfill the FYS requirement while also fulfilling a GH or GS requirement.
Businesses and governments increasingly need employees who know how to handle, analyze and communicate with and about large and complex bodies of information. Glass Door described being a data scientist as the “best job in America” in 2016 because these positions are abundant and they command high salaries. Employers need people who can turn data into insights about the kind of problems they are trying to solve. The Social Data Analytics major provides students with a unique interdisciplinary training that develops their ability to think about data in relation to the complex social realities from which it is generated.
Some Social Data Analytics majors will use their training with companies seeking new markets, improved work flows, more effective marketing, or better investment climates. Others may work for government agencies such as the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Health, the Department of Energy or the Department of State, forecasting political change and coordinating resources to improve human health and security. The degree also prepares students to be strategists for political campaigns or to work in law enforcement. Additionally, this degree is excellent preparation for a variety of graduate programs, including social science, public policy, urban planning, and law.
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
202 Pond Lab
University Park, PA 16802