Data Science, B.S.

The University of South Carolina’s Bachelor of Science in Data Science is an interdisciplinary program that unites computer science, mathematics, and statistics to tackle real-world problems involving large scale data sets.  Based in the College of Arts and Sciences, its faculty are from the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics in that college and from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computing.  It provides a strong foundation in all the stages of data analysis, and combines it with the advanced tools and theory needed for developing new methods.  

In addition to preparing students for a career in data science, the degree can be customized for students who plan to pursue graduate programs in data science, computer science, mathematics, or statistics. Its curriculum allows students to take a minor or second major in mathematics or statistics, a minor in computer science, or a second bachelor’s degree in computer science.  It can also be combined with a minor or additional major in an area of application.  

Other data centered programs at USC include those in the Departments of Computer Science, MathematicsStatistics, the interdisciplinary Data Analytics B.S.  and a Minor in Data Science.  Students who are unsure which program they wish to pursue should consult with their advisor or Exploratory Advising immediately to make sure they take the correct MATH and STAT courses to allow for maximum flexibility. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze complex data using data science knowledge and concepts; appropriate models and methods; quantitative tools; and problem-solving skills to address research questions 
  2. Manage complex data sets to be able to extract useful information 
  3. Synthesize knowledge in the core areas of data science, including statistical, mathematical, and programming fundamentals 
  4. Identify the ethical, policy, and security considerations and issues of working with data and how its use impacts society 
  5. Communicate data and reports effectively in either a data visualization, written or oral format appropriate to a non-technical audience 



To be retained in the program, a student must obtain a grade of C or higher in at most two attempts in all mathematics, computer science, and statistics courses required for graduation.

Transfer Requirement

Any student applying to transfer to the Data Science major from other programs within the University, or from other accredited colleges and universities, is required to have earned a grade of “B” or higher in at least one of the following courses, or their equivalent: USC’s MATH 141MATH 142MATH 241STAT 509, or STAT 515. An AP or IB exam score that provides credit for MATH 142 also satisfies this requirement. STAT 509 and STAT 515 are advanced undergraduate courses. This requirement is in addition to the minimum University and College of Arts and Sciences requirements.

Program of Study

Requirements Credit Hours
1. Carolina Core 32-46
2. College Requirements 15-18
3. Program Requirements 32-47
4. Major Requirements 24

Founding Documents Requirement

All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers.  This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective.  Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.

1. Carolina Core Requirements (32-46 hours)

CMW – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher​

ARP – Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (8 hours) 

must be passed with a grade of C or higher

SCI – Scientific Literacy (8 hours)

GFL – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language (0-6 hours)

Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully completing Phase II of the Proficiency Test or by successfully completing the 122 course, including the exit exam administered as part of that course.

​It is strongly recommended that students continuing the study of a foreign language begin college-level study of that language in their first semester and continue in that language until their particular foreign language requirement is completed.

GHS – ​Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours) 

GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours) 

AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)

CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (0-3 hours)

INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)

VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility1 (0-3 hours)


Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements.

2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)

Foreign Language (0-3 hours) 

  • only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency

Analytical Reasoning (6 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher

History (3 hours)

The College of Arts and Sciences requires one additional GHS course beyond the Carolina Core GHS requirement.

  • If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course.
  • If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a U.S. history course. 

Please select the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement from the approved list of U.S. and non-U.S. history courses.

Social Science and Fine Arts or Humanities (6 hours)

  • Social Science (3 hours)
    • ​The College of Arts and Science requires one 3- hour Social Science Course
  • Fine Arts/Humanities (3 Hours)

3. Program Requirements (32-49 hours)

Supporting Courses (7-10 hours)

Supporting courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher

Course Title Credits
MATH 344Applied Linear Algebra3
or MATH 544 Linear Algebra
MATH 344LApplied Linear Algebra Lab1
STAT 515Statistical Methods I3
or STAT 509 Statistics for Engineers
Ethics in Data Science 0-3
If ITEC 101 or PHIL 325 were not taken to fulfill the Carolina Core VSR requirement with a grade of C or higher, then one of the following must be taken:
Professional Issues in Computer Science and Engineering
Trusted Artificial Intelligence
Special Topics in Cyber Society and Ethics
Cyberethics and Information Policy
Social Issues in Information and Communications Technologies
Thriving in the Tech Age
Ethics of Science and Technology
Engineering Ethics

Cognate or Minor (12-18 hours)

Students must complete a cognate (12 hours) or a minor as part of this program. In lieu of a cognate or minor, an additional major may be added to a student’s program of study. Additional majors must include all major courses as well as any prescribed courses noted (*) in the bulletin. Prescribed courses noted in the bulletin may be shared with the Carolina Core, College Requirements, and Program Requirements in the primary program.

Cognate (12 hours)

The cognate must consist of twelve (12) hours of courses at the advanced level, outside of but related to the major. The cognate may be taken in one or more departments or programs.

Courses offered by departments and programs that are acceptable for cognate credit are outlined in the section titled Courses Acceptable for Cognate Credit in Degree Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Some major programs have specific cognate requirements. It should be emphasized that the cognate is not a second set of elective courses to be chosen at random by the student. Students are urged to consult their major advisors for specific requirements in their major.

Unless otherwise noted, for Bachelor of Science degrees, cognate courses passed with a grade of D or higher are acceptable.

Minor (18 hours)

In place of the cognate a student in the College of Arts and Sciences may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses.

The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must follow a structured sequence.

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University.

A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z.

Electives (4-30 hours)

120 (or 128) degree applicable credits are required to complete any degree at USC. After the cognate, minor or second major is complete, any additional credits needed to reach 120 (or 128) total credits can be fulfilled by electives. No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.

4. Major Requirements (24 hours)

a minimum grade of C is required in all major courses

Course Title Credits
Major Courses (18 hours)
STAT 516Statistical Methods II3
STAT 542Computing for Data Science3
CSCE 567Visualization Tools3
MATH 374Discrete Structures3
or MATH 574 Discrete Mathematics I
Select one of the following:3
Applied Multivariate Statistics and Data Mining
Big Data Analytics
Big Data Analytics
Select one of the following:3
Mathematical Foundation of Data Science and Machine Learning
Mathematical Foundation of Network Science
Total Credit Hours18
Course Title Credits
Major Electives (6 hours)
Select two courses from the list below or from any of STAT 530, CSCE 587/STAT 587, MATH 511/STAT 511, MATH 528, or MATH 572 that were not taken as Major Courses. 6
Genomic Data Science
Genomic Data Science
Data Analysis in Python: Application to Neuroscience
Parallel Computing
Artificial Intelligence
Bayesian Networks and Decision Graphs
Bayesian Networks and Decision Graphs
Machine Learning Systems
Nonlinear Optimization
Introduction to Deep Neural Networks
Mathematical Statistics
Advanced Statistical Models
Introduction to Bayesian Data Analysis
Computing in Statistics
Advanced SAS Programming
Total Credit Hours6

The following courses have prerequisites not required in the program: CSCE 580, STAT 512, STAT 535 and STAT 541.

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Data Science, B.S.