The College of Arts and Sciences Launches New Data Science and Analytics Minor
Beginning in the 2023-24 academic year, the College is offering a new Data Science and Analytics minor. “We wanted to give Penn students a foundation in data science that can be flexibly tailored to best support any major course of study in the natural and social sciences,” says Colin Twomey, interim executive director of Penn Arts & Sciences’ Data Driven Discovery Initiative (DDDI), which is administering the minor.
John Lapinski, Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor of Political Science and director of the Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies, is faculty advisor for social sciences students. Masao Sako, Arifa Hasan Ahmad and Nada Al Shoaibi Presidential Professor of Physics and Astronomy, is faculty advisor for students in the natural sciences.
Any student who chooses this path will take a total of six courses that cover foundational data and programming tools, fundamental statistical inference methods, and modern machine learning approaches. The minor is not exclusive to a single department, but rather recognizes the wide range of data science courses available in the School, and helps students organize their coursework into a focused data science minor.
Twomey says a background in this area can open the door for students across subjects, departments, and industries. “Our ambition for this new minor is to make those opportunities accessible to a substantially broader segment of the Penn community,” he says.
Now is a great time for such an endeavor, adds Bhuvnesh Jain, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Natural Sciences in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and co-director of DDDI with Greg Ridgeway, Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminology.
“Today data science equips students to ask quantitative questions in nearly every field of study in the Arts and Sciences,” Jain says. “The launch of our minor this fall is especially timely given the rapidly growing importance of human AI. Students are eager to learn and apply data science in their chosen subjects of study and beyond. And we can prepare them to tackle the challenges raised by AI, ranging from ethical issues to best practices in human-centered AI.”
For information about the minor, visit https://web.sas.upenn.edu/data-science/data-science-minor/.