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Computer Science Department

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Data Science Major

Starting with the Class of 2025, midshipmen will be able to select Data Science as a major. This major will consist of topics from both Math and Computer Science, as well as interdisciplinary courses where students will apply their data science skill set. Data Science is an excellent major for students with diverse interests who also want to learn valuable subjects like programming and data analysis.


What is Data Science?

At its core, data science is about making decisions from data. The field crosses normal department boundaries! Its core is a mix of Computer Science and Mathematics, and it then covers the full pipeline of data processing: data acquisition, data storage, data processing, data analysis, and data visualization/interfaces. 

Data Scientists apply their knowledge of Math and CS to analyze large datasets and extract actionable insights from them. In the Navy and Marine Corps, they will provide the commander with the information necessary to make data-informed decisions. In the private sector, they build effective tools, software, and user interfaces to navigate big and complex inputs. 


What Type of Classes will Data Science Majors take?

Data Science Areas

There are four main areas that the data science major covers. The first is Computer Programming. Unlike many majors that use pre-built computer programs as tools, the data science major has three dedicated courses to learn the Python language, so you will be able to write your own tools to solve complex problems. The second is Statistics and Data Analysis -- three courses in how to interpret and analyze patterns in data. The third is Data Technology -- four courses on the latest data tech like Cloud Computing and Machine Learning. Finally, the major ends with four elective slots including choices from other departments where you will apply and extend your data science skills to real domains.


What if I have never programmed before?

No Problem! The Data Science curriculum is designed to equip all students with the skills they will need to succeed. No prior programming experience required.


Ok -- but what are the actual courses?

The following is a brief list of the core courses of the Data Science Major. All majors will take the following courses in addition to 4 elective classes. You can find out more about the courses for the Data Science major on the Data Science Matrix page.

Introduction to Data Science and Programming
Learn the DS pipeline along with the basics of programming in the Python language.

Advanced Programming for Data Science
Really really learn to write programs in Python!

Data Structures and Algorithms
It's all about efficient data usage and awesome algorithms to write effective data-based programs.

Probs and Stats
Your fourth math class at USNA, you'll learn the basics of statistics and probability theory.

Statistical Learning
Go beyond basic stats and learn how to boil data problems down into insights.

Applied Linear Algebra
Use your programming skills and learn to manipulate data with matrices.

Data Storage
How do you store all this big data coming from every which way?

Machine Learning
Yes, now we can have the machine learn for us -- neural networks and more!

Human-Data Interaction
Design human interfaces and visualizations, and study the ethics behind the decisions we make with data.

Big Data Computing
More of our data problems are now big data problems! What do we do when it's seemingly too big?

Finish strong with creative and novel applications as a capstone.

4 Electives
Perhaps most unique to this major, we'll have elective options from different departments with new applications.


Contact and Questions

For questions about the Data Science major or related information, please email our DS Engagement contact, Prof Nate Chambers (

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