Message from the Directors

We are in an exciting new era for Data Science, where data has become ubiquitous in everyday life, impacting every profession, from entry-level office workers to CEOs, from team coaches to general managers, from accountants to CFOs. Businesses now have data available to them at a scale that is historically unprecedented; harnessing data for insights on what customers want provides them with a competitive advantage. The field of Data Science has emerged to address the proliferation of data and the need to manage and understand it. Data Science is becoming one of the driving engines in economy, science and engineering. 

Fueled by the explosion of data, Data Science jobs have proliferated and the demand for data scientists is extremely high. This demand is expected to be strong for years to come. A recent McKinsey report forecasted a need for hundreds of thousands of data scientists in the next decade. According to Glassdoor, a recruiting site, Data Scientist is consistently among the best jobs in the US with around 110K median base salary. 

The Data Science major at UCR was created through the collaboration of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Department of Statistics. Students are admitted to the major from one of two tracks: the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) or the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS). Except for minor differences in the breadth requirements of each college, the main coursework is basically the same for both tracks. 

We carefully designed the program following suggestions from a recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and a report endorsed by the board of directors of the American Statistical Association. Our aim was to build a top-notch new program that will compete for the best students and prepare them to become leaders in this new field. Our faculty is known for their innovative research at the cutting edge of data science; they regularly publish in the very top journals and conferences, and win grants from the most competitive and prestigious agencies in the country. We offer a comprehensive program studying how data can be collected, transformed, analyzed, and used to solve problems across many disciplines. Our students will also complete course sequences in other departments (e.g., economics, business, sociology, earth sciences, biology, bioinformatics, and astronomy) where they will learn how Data Science principles are applied in these domains. Through its interdisciplinary nature, Data Science offers a great opportunity to serve as a pathway for professional careers in various areas.

We are very excited about the new Data Science major and are looking forward to welcoming you, future data scientists, to UCR, one of the most diverse universities in the U.S. We pride ourselves not only on our academic excellence, but also on our inclusive and supportive community.



Vassilis Tsotras
Computer Science and Engineering
Director, Data Science Major


Yehua Li
Co-Director, Data Science Major