Data science major debuts in Fall 2023

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The Department of Mathematics and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are pleased to announce the creation of a new Data Science undergraduate major starting in Fall 2023.

This new data science program is a collaboration between Mathematics, the Department of Statistics, and the School of Computing, and each discipline will be represented in the program’s core major requirements. This marks the first time that three colleges at the university will share an undergraduate major program: the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (Statistics), the College of Arts and Sciences (Mathematics), and the College of Engineering (Computer Science).

New and existing students will have the option to pursue one of four different degrees with a major in Data Science, and it is hoped that students been able to follow their interests toward the wide range of careers in data science.

Data Science majors will work through a foundational set of courses that includes three courses from Computer Science, three from Mathematics, and two from Statistics. This foundation will give Data Science majors access to coursework in eight different focus areas representing various aspects of data science:

  • Applied Computing: Journalism & Humanities;
  • Applied Computing: Natural Resources;
  • Applied Computing: Sociology;
  • Artificial Intelligence;
  • Data Pipeline;
  • Mathematical Modeling;
  • Software Development; and
  • Statistical Modeling.

The specific requirements will include courses from at least two focus areas, but the overall number of focus area courses will vary between the three colleges’ degrees. Finally, Data Science majors will complete their major with a capstone requirement that provides professional and collaborative experiences. Each college will have a slightly different capstone experience, and Mathematics plans to use its Math in the City course, which already has been engaging students in collaborative data-focused projects using skills in mathematical modeling.

Students completing a degree in Data Science will achieve the following four learning outcomes:

  • foundational knowledge and expertise in the analysis of large-scale data sources from the interdisciplinary perspectives of applied computer science, data modeling, mathematics, and statistics;
  • foundational knowledge and expertise in the application of computing, informatics, and modeling to solve multidisciplinary problems;
  • abilities and professional skills to solve multidisciplinary data science problems as a member of an interdisciplinary team; and
  • familiarity with ethical challenges in data science, including ethical collection of data, responsible use of data, and algorithmic bias.

The learning outcomes in the new Data Science major and degree program will prepare graduates for current and emerging career pathways that deal with data across a variety of industries. This new major will provide interdisciplinary skills that cannot be obtained by earning a degree in just one field, and employers are looking for graduates who have these skills. The expectation is that UNL students will have their choice of a large of number of internship and career opportunities.

If you have any questions about the new Data Science major in the College of Arts and Sciences or our undergraduate program in Mathematics, please do not hesitate to contact Doug Pellatz, senior academic advisor, at or 402-472-4319. You can also contact Dr. Xavier Pérez Giménez, undergraduate faculty advisor for mathematics, at