Data Science and Analytics, B.A.

female student in front of her laptop looking at presentation

The data science and analytics (DSA) major addresses the increasing demand for adept data analysts by combining coursework in applied data science with coursework in economics and cognitive, political and management science — areas where real-world problem solving increasingly relies on data-driven analysis to inform decision-making.

Data are generated everywhere, increasingly enveloping human experience by mediating our interactions with the natural, social and built world. Yet data often require refinement, reformatting and critical analysis before they can become usable information. To make data-informed decisions, such as raising or lowering taxes, hiring or dismissing an employee or investing or divesting in a business sector, for example, people need understand how to appropriately and ethically harness, classify and analyze data, along with methods for extracting actionable insights and effectively communicating results.

Click on the link below to see a comparison chart between both Data Science programs at UC Merced.

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The DSA major provides students with courses across the entire data analytics pipeline with series of refinements including identifying and integrating appropriate data; understanding the strengths and weaknesses of data and its sources; extracting valuable insights by way of advanced visualization and inferential methods; and strategically communicating recommendations based upon analysis to maximally inspire persons and groups to take action.

A defining feature of this major is the senior-year capstone, where students work in teams to apply advanced methods of interactive data visualization and machine-learning to address real-world problems. As such, this major provides students a unique opportunity to develop a multi-dimensional skillset — one that integrates core quantitative and computational capabilities with a broad understanding of societal context, ethical best practices and real-world applications.


The program will prepare students for both existing and emerging professions in data science and data analytics in business, industry, organizations and governmental agencies in the Central Valley and across the globe. The skills learned will help students become data managers, entrepreneurs, evaluators, academics, researchers, data communicators or any of a wide array of existing and emerging jobs that are increasingly recognized as necessary in the modern information technology and management sectors.

This program also provides specific skills that are often required in data science and analytics job postings, including:

What Can You Do With A Data Science and Analytics Degree?

  • Annual Job Openings in CA: 3,779
  • 10-year projected job market growth:17.3%
  • Median wage in California: $124,095

Upon graduation, you might become:

  • Data/Data Mining Analysts
  • Data Scientist
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Sustainability Specialist
  • Financial, Risk, and Investment Analysts and Specialists
  • Management Analyst
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers
  • Logistics Operations Manager