Social Data Science Major (BSOS)

Program Directors: Brian Kim, PhD and Katie Shilton, PhD

Creating information products that capture aspects of human behavior requires an increasingly complex set of skills and knowledge. This program combines the expertise of faculty members from the College of Information Studies (iSchool) and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) to prepare students to effectively, ethically and efficiently create high quality information products, such as datasets, visualizations, and models, about human activity and behavior. This critical suite of knowledge and skills is essential in many domains, including government, healthcare, sustainability, economics, entertainment, human rights, equity, and others. Students take a set of core courses housed primarily in the iSchool and BSOS’s Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM). They then select a track discipline, in which they train in relevant theory and methods, from among the following options: African-American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Government and Politics/International Relations, Geography/Geospatial Information Science, Psychology, or Sociology.  

Restriction: Students may not enroll in a double-major or double-degree with the Social Data Science major and the BSOS major of their track because of the significant overlap in coursework.


Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Design, execute, document, and disseminate research that applies tools and methods from data science to address a social science research question
  2. Develop expertise in specific contemporary social science theories and data science approaches to tackling research questions related to these theories
  3. Apply findings from social data science research to analyze the policy and design of socio-technical systems
  4. Identify and analyze social, legal, and ethical and equity issues in social data science work and in the profession

Major course requirements consist of core courses and track area courses in one of the following tracks: African American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Geographical Sciences, Government & Politics, Psychology, and Sociology.  Students will not be permitted to add a double-major or a double-degree with Social Data Science and the BSOS major associated with their track area. Both core courses and track courses include benchmark courses. Failure of a student to complete both sets of benchmark courses within the timeline indicated may result in probation and/or dismissal from the major. Benchmark I courses must be completed with a C- or higher within the first two semesters of the program. Benchmark II courses must be completed within the first three semesters of the program.

Social Data Sciences Requirements

Course Title Credits
Benchmark I Core Courses:
INST126Introduction to Programming for Information Science3
or GEOG276 Principles of Python Programming and Geocomputing
STAT100Elementary Statistics and Probability3
Math Course (Based on Track Requirement):3
For African-American Studies, Anthropology, Government & Politics, and Sociology Tracks:
For Economics, Geographical Sciences, and Psychology Tracks:
Elementary Calculus I
Additional Core Courses:
BSOS233Data Science for the Social Sciences3
Choose One:3
Object-Oriented Programming for Information Science
Python Programming for the Social Sciences
Programming for Geospatial Analysis
INST327Database Design and Modeling3
INST366Privacy, Security and Ethics for Big Data3
INST414Data Science Techniques3
INST447Data Sources and Manipulation3
INST462Introduction to Data Visualization3
SURV400Fundamentals of Survey and Data Science3
SURV430Fundamentals of Questionnaire Design3
INST492 (Integrated Capstone for Social Data Science)3
Track Area Courses (see below for specific requirements)12-20
Total Credits51-59

African American Studies Track

Course Title Credits
Benchmark II Track Courses:
AASP101Public Policy and the Black Community3
AASP210Intro to Research Design and Analysis in African American Studies3
Track I Requirement:
AASP395Fundamentals of Quantitative Research in Socio-Cultural Perspective3
Track II Requirement:
Nine credits from the following list:9
Applied Policy Analysis and the Black Community
African Slave Trade
Black Women in United States History
The Civil Rights Movement
Directed Readings in African American Studies
Classic Readings in African American Studies
Black Resistance Movements
Science, Technology, and the Black Community
Blacks and the Law
Advanced Topics in Public Policy and the Black Community
Total Credits18

Anthropology Track

Students in the Anthropology track choose one of three tracks: Health, Heritage, or Environment.

Course Title Credits
Anthropology-Health Track
Benchmark II Anthropology-Health Track Courses:
ANTH210Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Global Health3
INST314Statistics for Information Science3
Anthropology-Health Track I Requirement:
ANTH310Method & Theory in Medical Anthropology and Global Health3
Anthropology-Health Track II Requirement:
Nine credits from the following list:9
Global Migration and Health
Hypermarginality and Urban Health
Health Disparities in the United States
Advanced Studies in Global Health
Anthropology of Global Violence
Anthropology-Heritage Track
Benchmark II Anthropology-Heritage Track Courses:
ANTH240Introduction to Archaeology3
INST314Statistics for Information Science3
Anthropology-Heritage Track I Requirement:
ANTH340Method and Theory in Archaeology3
Anthropology-Heritage Track II Requirement:
Nine credits from the following list:9
Introduction to Zooarchaeology
Theory and Practice of Historical Archaeology
Archaeology of Diaspora
Material Culture Studies in Archaeology
Special Topics in Archaeology
Environmental Archaeology
Anthropology of Cultural Heritage
Field Methods in Archaeology
Anthropology-Environment Track
Bookmark II Anthropology-Environment Track Courses:
ANTH222Introduction to Ecological and Evolutionary Anthropology4
INST314Statistics for Information Science3
Anthropology-Environment Track I Requirement:
ANTH322Method and Theory in Ecological Anthropology3
Anthropology-Environment Track II Requirement:
Nine credits from the following list:9
Theory and Practice of Environmental Anthropology
Political Ecology
Conservation and Indigenous People in South America
Amazon Through Film
Researching Environment and Culture

Economics Track

Course Title Credits
Benchmark II Track Courses:
ECON200Principles of Microeconomics3
ECON201Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECON230Applied Economic Statistics3
Track I Requirement:
ECON305Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory and Policy3
or ECON306 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory & Policy
Track II Requirement: 1
Six credits from the following list:6
Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory and Policy
Intermediate Microeconomic Theory & Policy
American Economic History Before the Civil War
American Economic History After the Civil War
Economic Development of Underdeveloped Areas
Global Economic Policies
Money and Banking
International Economics
Total Credits18

The course taken for the Track I requirement may not also be used for the Track II requirement. No double-count for these two categories.

Geographical Sciences Track

Course Title Credits
Benchmark II Track Courses:
GEOG202Introduction to Human Geography3
GEOG306Introduction to Quantitative Methods for the Geographical Environmental Sciences3
Track I Requirement:
GEOG373Geographic Information Systems3
Track II Requirement:
9 credits from the following list (six must be at the 400-level):9
As the World Turns: Society and Sustainability in a Time of Great Change
Introduction to Human Dimensions of Global Change
Economic Geography
The Social Geography of Metropolitan Areas in Global Perspective
Population Geography
Land Use, Climate Change, and Sustainability
Conceptualizing and Modeling Human-Environmental Interactions
Changing Geographies of China
Changing Geographies of Sub-Saharan Africa
Spatial Econometrics
Algorithms for Geospatial Computing
Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis
Computer Cartography
Mobile GIS Development
Total Credits18

Government and Politics Track

Course Title Credits
Benchmark II Track Courses:
GVPT170American Government3
GVPT200International Political Relations3
GVPT201Scope and Methods for Political Science Research3
Track I Requirement:
GVPT320Advanced Empirical Research3
Track II Requirement:
Any six credits of GVPT coursework at the 300- or 400- levels6
Total Credits18

Psychology Track

Course Title Credits
Benchmark II Track Courses:
PSYC100Introduction to Psychology3
PSYC200Statistical Methods in Psychology3
Track I Requirement:
PSYC300Research Methods in Psychology Laboratory4
Track II Requirement:
Nine credits from the following list:9
Child Psychopathology
Psychology of Human Sexuality
Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships
Psychology of Women
Introduction to Memory and Cognition
Health Psychology
Adult Psychopathology
Multicultural Psychology in the U.S.
Developmental Psychology
Psychology of Adolescence
Survey of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Introduction to Negotiation
Development of Attachment in Infancy and Childhood: Theory, Research, Methods, and Clinical Implications
Data Science for Psychology and Neuroscience Majors
Experimental Psychology: Social Psychology Laboratory
Communication and Persuasion
Psychology and Law
Counseling Psychology: Theories, Research, and Practice
Temperament, Personality, and Psychopathology
Introduction to Clinical Psychology: From Science to Practice
The Assessment and Treatment of Addictive Behaviors
Experimental Psychology: Cognitive Processes and Legal Applications
Applying Psychology to the Workplace: Industrial Organizational Psychology Laboratory
Research Methods in Developmental Psychology Laboratory
Psychological Foundations of Personnel Selection and Training
Total Credits19

Sociology Track

Course Title Credits
Benchmark II Track Courses:
SOCY100Introduction to Sociology3
SOCY201Introductory Statistics for Sociology4
Track I Requirement:
SOCY202Introduction to Research Methods in Sociology4
Track II Requirement:
Nine credits from the following list:9
The Sociology of Gender
Sociology of Health and Illness
Intermediate Statistics for Sociologists
Scarcity and Modern Society
Explaining Social Change: Historical and Comparative Methods
Social Demography
Demographic Techniques
Family Demography
Sociology of Aging
Environmental Sociology
Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology
Principles of Organizations
Social Movements
Social Stratification and Inequality
The Black Middle Class
Sex and Love in Modern Society
Sociology of Law
Military Sociology
The Sociology of War
Sociology of Education
Researching the Middle East
Experimental Research Practicum
Experimental Research Design
Total Credits20