Q&A: What To Major In If There Is No Data Science Major

by Justin Skycak on

Cross-posted from here.


I want to become a data scientist, but my college doesn’t have a Data Science major. What should I major in?


Data Science (DS) is an emerging field, so most colleges don’t have DS majors.

There was a time where the same was true of Computer Science (CS) – if you wanted to go into CS, you majored in math and took electives in computing.

It’s a similar setup with DS nowadays. On a resume, any of the following will be seen as essentially the same thing as DS:

  • Math or Stats major + electives focused on machine learning / data science + data structures / algorithms course + demonstrable data-science-themed coding projects
  • CS major + electives focused on machine learning / data science / statistics

In general, if you take a bunch of advanced math courses, and also work on data-related applied projects in some capacity (e.g. capstone project, course projects, internships, random side projects), then you’ll have decent foundations for any kind of data-related thing you might want to do after undergrad, and you can pick up the rest (specific algorithms/libraries) on the fly.