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Data Science

major, minor

Computer Science / Majors & Programs / Data Science

Degree Overview

Glance at the headlines today, and it quickly becomes clear that businesses, non-profits, and governments all desperately need people who can wisely collect, interpret, and apply data. In Calvin's data science program, you'll learn to analyze and understand data—and put it to effective use in a business, scientific, or social setting.

Calvin is one of the first Christian institutions to offer a data science program. Here, you’ll take foundational classes in computer science, statistics, and mathematics. Then you’ll pair your analysis and critical-thinking skills with a subject area that fits your career goals—like biology, geography, business, economics, or political science.

You’ll tie it all together with a capstone project that you can proudly present to employers, who are eager to hire data scientists like you.

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Program Distinctives

Christian perspective - Here, all your classes are taught by Christian professors who are experts in their fields. They’ll challenge you to take ethical issues seriously. You’ll carefully consider how data can be used to empower business and improve lives.
Practical approach - Calvin’s robust core requirements mean that you’ll take four or five classes in another field of interest. You’ll apply your data science skills to that field before you graduate, giving you practical experience and expertise.
Expanding opportunities - If you crunch the data on data science job openings, you’ll see that it’s a rapidly expanding field—more and more industries see the benefit of using analytical data. You’ll graduate with deep experience and a wide-open career path.

Degree Information

  • Overview

    This major combines roughly equal portions of computer science and statistics with a substantial cognate in a domain area of the student’s choice, where they will apply their data analysis skills.

  • Courses
  • Course Schedule and Cognates

    The following course schedule provides a suggested framework for students pursuing a BA (or BS) in data science.

    Year Fall Interim Spring
      • DATA-100 (or CS 108)
      • MATH 171
      • Cognate I (1XX)

      • CS 108 (or DATA-100)
      • MATH 172
      • Cognate II

      • DATA-202
      • STAT 243 (or 343 in spring)
      • Cognate III



      • CS-3XX*
      • STAT-341 or 344

      • CS 3XX*
      • Cognate V (if necessary)


    * CS 342, 344 are offered every year and CS 374 is offered other year according to the published course schedule.

    The Data Science program is an interdisciplinary mix of Computer Science, Data, Mathematics, and Statistics. For more information about the program, please contact the Chair of Computer Science or the Chair of Mathematics & Statistics.


    A Data Science student must complete a cognate, consisting of at least 15 hours, with the same departmental prefix (BIO, BUS/ACCT/FIN, ECON, GEOG, POLS, etc.) other than CS, MATH, or STAT, and with at least 6 must be at the 300-level, unless a department recommends otherwise.

    This document provides a current list of course tracks that departmental representatives have recommended as especially appropriate for a Data Science major. Students may also combine courses with different prefixes with the approval of their advisor (who must be a member of the Data Science Steering Committee).


    Ecosystems / Population Biology Track:
    • BIOL 123 (4) Living Systems
    • BIOL 160 (4) Ecological and Evolutionary Systems
    • BIOL 250 (4) Research Design and Methodology

      (For the prerequisite, DS majors only need to take BIO 161 or 141.)

    • One of: BIOL 345 (4) Ecosystem Ecology and Management; BIOL 364 (3) Global Health, Environment, and Sustainability; BIOL 385 (4) Internship in Biology, BIOL 399 (4) Undergraduate Research, PUBH 248 (4) Epidemiology.
    Genomics / Cell Biology Track:
    • One of: CHEM 115 (4) Chemistry for the Health Sciences; CHEM 103 (4) General Chemistry I; CHEM 104 (4) General Chemistry II; or CHEM 105 (4) Chemical Principles
    • One of BIOL 161 (4) Cellular and Genetic Systems; or BIOL 141 (4) Cell Biology & Genetics for the Health Sciences
    • BIOL 250 (4) Research Design and Methodology
    • One of: BIOL 321 (4) Genetics and Development; BIOL 325 (4) Biotechnology; BIOL 336 (4) General Microbiology; BIOL 385 (4) Internship in Biology, BIOL 399 (4) Undergraduate Research, PSYC 343 (4) Behavioral Neuroscience.


    • BUS 101 (3) Introduction to Business
    • ACCT 203 (3) Managerial Accounting
    • ACCT 204 (4) Financial Accounting
    • FIN 301 & 302 (3) Corporate Finance & Investments
    • MKTG 301 (3) Marketing
    • (Students should take ECON 221 to fulfill their Societal Structures core requirement, as it is the prerequisite for some of the upper-level courses.)


    • ECON 221 (3) Principles of Microeconomics
    • ECON 222 (3) Principles of Macroeconomics
    • ECON 325 or 326 (4) Intermediate Microeconomics or Intermediate Macroeconomics
    • ECON 343 (3) Research Methods
    • one additional ECON 300-level course (3)


    GeoSpatial Track:
    • GEOG 200 (3) People, Place and Community
    • GEOG 261 (4) Intro GIS
    • GEOG 361 (4) Advanced GIS
    • GEOG 362 (4) Remote Sensing of Earth
    GeoPhysical Track: at least 15 hrs chosen from the following
    • GEOG 120 (4) Earth Systems
    • GEOG 252 (4) Geomorphology
    • GEOG 261 (4) Intro GIS
    • GEOG 322 or GEOL 312 (4) Coastal Geomorphology or Environmental Geology
    • GEOG 362 (4) Remote Sensing of Earth
    GeoHuman Track:
    • GEOG 200 (3) People, Place and Community
    • GEOG 261 (4) Intro GIS
    • GEOG 310 (4) Urban Geography
    • GEOG 361 (4) Advanced GIS

    Political Science

    • POLS 151 (3) Foundations of Political Science Research
    • POLS 353 (3) Applied Econometrics
    • Three additional courses from one of the following categories (9):
      • POLS 208 Urban Politics
      • POLS 209 Public and Non-Profit Administration
      • POLS 212 American Public Policy
      • POLS 234 The President and Congress
      • POLS 237 Parties and Interest Groups
      • POLS 238 American Elections and Mass Media
      • POLS 228 Global Politics of Human Rights
      • POLS 276 Latin American Politics
      • POLS 277 Asian Politics
      • POLS 279 African Politics
      • POLS 304 International Peace and Security
      • POLS 307 Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, and Terrorism
      • POLS 309 International Organizations and Law
      • POLS 322 Global Democratization
      • American Politics and Public Policy:
      • International and Comparative Politics:

    Public Health

    • PUBH 101 (3) Introduction to Public Health
    • PUBH 248 (4) Epidemiology
    • ECON 241 (3) Health Economics and Health Policy
    • PHIL 212 (3) Ethical Dimensions of Health Care
    • One course from: PUBH 380 (3,4) Internship in Public Health; PUBH 395 (3) Integrative Seminar in Public Health; BIOL 364 (3) Global Health, Environment, and Sustainability; or PSYCH 335 (4) Health Psychology.

    Students can propose other course combinations in consultation with their advisor.

Degree Information


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