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UC San Diego Launches New Data Science Graduate Degree Programs


  • Xochitl Rojas-Rocha

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  • Xochitl Rojas-Rocha

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UC San Diego has launched new master’s and doctoral degree programs at the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI), the university’s hub for all things data science. The new programs join UC San Diego’s popular undergraduate data science programs for an integrated slate of courses and degrees targeting individuals at all educational levels, including working professionals and industry practitioners.

“The new degree programs are a reflection of the continued investment and academic leadership by UC San Diego in the growing area of data science,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

HDSI is launching two degree programs:

Master of Science in Data Science: The master’s program features courses in foundational areas that prepare students from diverse backgrounds for a successful career in data science. Core courses include required classes of data ethics, computing, statistics, machine learning, and a large number of elective courses on advanced topics and application areas.

Doctor of Philosophy in Data Science: The doctoral program aims to create leaders in data science who will challenge and expand the boundaries of knowledge in their field. The doctoral program provides a research-oriented education spanning diverse components of data science, such as algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence, optimization, statistical methods, and data ethics. Ph.D. candidates may also pursue applications in biology, neuroscience, bioinformatics, medical informatics, oceanography, and other fields of scientific study.

The Ph.D. program, in particular, trains researchers on the topics of generalizability, reproducibility, and responsibility, including ethics, in data science. With these skills, doctoral researchers will be better equipped to understand technological limitations and policy requirements in their field.

“These topics are important aspects of modern data science practice, which are not yet addressed in most existing programs explicitly,” said Professor Yusu Wang, chair of Graduate Programs at HDSI. “In fact, HDSI has a core course on ethics in the graduate program.”

The Ph.D. program in data science also features fully funded laboratory rotations to familiarize incoming students with research practices in laboratories and research groups across HDSI.

Programs designed for access and success

HDSI’s new graduate degree programs provide fresh pathways for expanding and training a talent pool drawn from diverse academic backgrounds. Upon entry, HDSI offers incoming students individual counseling and a graduate experience designed to meet their specific needs.

The programs place students into categories depending on their academic preparation, including (a) those with computing backgrounds (degree and/or work experience in computer science, electrical engineering, or other engineering areas); (b) those with a mathematics or statistics background (degree and/or work experience); and (c) those with a background or work experience in applied data science, such as economics, computational social sciences, natural or biological sciences. Each student can look forward to a course pathway that meets them where they are, regardless of their background.

HDSI staff have also designed the new programs with the express goal of broadening participation by offering students the option to learn the basics of data science areas at their own pace through online courses.

About HDSI

HDSI advances the field of data science by exploring principles, methods, and tools that enable us to understand the nature of digital data and the interactions of this new field with existing disciplines of human inquiry. The Institute seeks to catalyze new research and create a thriving, self-identifying community of data science researchers, practitioners, and industry partners. New research is enabled and supported through a number of research projects across UC San Diego and the HDSI Industry Partner Alliance member companies and other stakeholders who seek to advance methods and tools on projects where data science is having a direct impact.

To learn more about UC San Diego Data Science graduate programs, including admission deadlines and requirements, visit

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