University of Maryland

Social Data Science Major to Debut in February

Beginning Feb. 7, University of Maryland undergraduates will be able to select a social data science major to learn the fundamentals of the in-demand field.

Developed by the College of Information Studies (iSchool) and College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS), the major will equip graduates with the skills needed to appropriately collect, analyze and interpret data about people—an increasingly popular field due, at least in part, to social media.

“Before, the typical way of collecting data might have been by going out and doing face-to-face or telephone surveys, but there is a lot more that is possible in terms of data collection today,” said Brian Kim, a co-director of the new major and an assistant research professor in BSOS’ Joint Program in Survey Methodology. “Now you can collect data through online surveys or surveys on smartphones, and there are different ways of analyzing that data, and, most importantly, different ways to handle that data in terms of privacy, ethics, bias, fairness and equity.”

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