Program Information

Data science is one of the fastest-growing fields in existence. Scientists, businesses, government agencies and various organizations routinely gather huge amounts of data from a variety of sources. Data scientists help transform this information into insights that shape the world, asking and answering questions that influence decisions about healthcare, sustainability, business, security, equity – the list goes on.

Willamette’s data science program helps students gain contemporary computer programming and data analysis skills, either as a major course of study or a minor complementing any undergraduate major. The program also addresses issues such as the ethics of working with data while teaching students how to formulate good questions, design a process for answering them and effectively communicate their findings to a variety of stakeholders.

Students learn two core computer programming languages (R and Python). The R course focuses on introductory statistics, and the Python course focuses on introduction to computer programming. Students also complete electives that advance their knowledge of statistical, mathematical, analytical and machine learning techniques. Both majors and minors apply their skills in the Problem-Solving with Data Analytics class, while majors complete their bachelor’s degree with a capstone internship or research project.

Program Strengths

Because Willamette is the only private liberal arts university in the Pacific Northwest with a data science major, students get the best of both: the strengths of a small, student-focused college campus, and the opportunities and advantages of a university with two outstanding graduate professional schools. 

Willamette is uniquely positioned to provide students with a rich and rigorous education. Our data science degree integrates statistics, math and computer science with ethical inquiry and applied practice, as well as the critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills that employers value. And our small-class settings allow relationships to flourish, leading to enlightening discussions and highly collaborative student-faculty research.

Willamette’s location across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and Salem Hospital means that internships and other professional development opportunities are always within reach. Undergraduate students also can take further coursework in data science and analytics at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, one of the top business schools in the Pacific Northwest.

As part of our accelerated dual-degree program, students can complete a BA in data science and an MBA at Willamette in five years instead of six. This gives graduates the credentials they need to make an impact in any organization.