University of the Pacific’s Board of Regents approved this week a new four-year interdisciplinary undergraduate major in data science for their Stockton campus that is set to begin in fall 2024.

The university said the program is designed to appeal to students who are interested in the humanities and social sciences as well as computer science and engineering. 

The initiative to start a new major came from faculty who had identified the vital need to prepare their undergraduate students for the workforce, according to a statement from UOP. 

“In today’s world there is an abundance of information and data, and almost all decisions and aspects of life are driven by that information,” computer science chair Chadi El Kari said in a statement. “The ability to analyze and make informed decisions based on data is extremely important, whether it’s for businesses, policymaking or in other environments.”

Courses for the major will be taught by professors in the School of Engineering and Computer Science and College of the Pacific, which is the university’s largest college and houses liberal arts and sciences programs, to prepare students for current demands, the university said. 

The program will have five core classes with four tracks students can choose from: data engineering, predictive modeling, machine learning, using data for decision-making, and storytelling with data, based on their interests. 

Additionally, the new major is designed to work well as a double major. 

“We are the first undergraduate program that is going to be hosted across two schools,” said UOP professor of mathematics John Mayberry. “Because of that, students are going to get a lot of different experiences working with faculty. There is also the potential to have advisors at both schools and work on projects with both schools.”

Any students interested in the major or wanting to apply can learn more about the program at the university’s website.

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