Statistics and Data Science

Statistics and Data Science Statistics and Data Science

About Statistics and Data Science

Develop skills in 'big data' as you prepare for a high-impact career.

Data science plays a key role in our society, driving growth in economic sectors from finance and insurance to manufacturing, retail trade and professional services. With a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Data Science from PennWest California, you'll be prepared to meet the growing demand for skilled data scientists in a variety of fields. 

Companies such as Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and many more rely on tailored content, advertising and personalized experiences. These companies were among the first to harness the power of big data, which is generated at an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes each day.

Numerous studies indicate that the demand for college graduates with data science skills will increase significantly as the "data deluge" sweeps into nearly every business and industry.

PennWest California's B.S. in Statistics and Data Science program teaches you to think like a data scientist as you develop core competencies in:

  • Basic tools, such as statistical software and programming languages.
  • Statistics and machine learning.
  • Calculus and linear algebra.
  • Data cleaning.
  • Data visualization and communication.
  • Software engineering. 

Master software products that have become industry standards.

Undergraduates in PennWest California's Statistics and Data Science program receive in-depth training in the tools used to analyze and manage data in workplaces throughout Pennsylvania, across the United States and around the world. 

This includes software by SAS, a recognized world leader in business analytics software and services. You'll learn to use SAS for data analysis, data cleaning and data preparation; SAS Visual Analytics to visualize data; and Hadoop for processing and storing big data sets.

PennWest California students also receive extensive training in R software for statistical computing and graphics, the Python programming language for statistical modeling, and Tableau for tasks such as identifying statistical trends. 

By pairing data science competencies with applied learning that utilizes industry-standard software, this bachelor’s degree program equips you for a high-impact career as a statistician, data scientist or informatics professional in a variety of fields.   

SAS logo.

Program Highlights: Statistics and Data Science

SAS Certificate: The bachelor’s degree program in Statistics and Data Science integrates online coursework required to earn a 15-credit SAS Data Science certificate. Students work with real-world data and the same SAS software utilized in 80,000 sites around the world, earning this industry-recognized credential while completing the Bachelor of Science degree.

Capstone Experience: The final major course in the Statistics and Data Science program serves as a senior capstone project. Working with a PennWest California faculty member, students use real-world data and SAS software to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through the application of key data science methods studied throughout the program.

Student Support: PennWest California provides a wide variety of academic support services for students at all levels. Faculty advisers help you set realistic goals and monitor your progress. The Office of Academic Success assists with registration and scheduling, and provides academic support through a variety of programs and services, including the Math Lab, Reading Clinic and Writing Center. The Career and Professional Development Center helps you connect to potential employers through networking events, on-campus recruiting, and job and internship fairs.

Faculty Expertise: Program director Dr. Melissa Sovak is a former market research analyst who holds a Ph.D. in statistics. She is also holds industry-recognized SAS credentials, having achieved SAS Base Programmer and SAS Certified Advanced Programmer certification for SAS 9.

Learn more about applying


of C-suite executives identify analysis of big data as important to their strategy, according to a recent KPMG survey.
Projected number of new job postings in 2020 seeking workers with data science and analytic skills, according to a study by the Business-Higher Education Forum and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
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Degree Benefits


The McKinsey Global Institute's 2017 report on big data indicates that in 2018 the United States will experience a shortage of 190,000 skilled data scientists and 1.5 million managers and analysts capable of gathering actionable insights from the flow of big data. The Statistics and Data Science program builds proficiency in advanced statistics and machine learning, preparing students to fill this skills gap. Significant workforce demand also exists in the field of informatics, where employment is expected to grow by more than 14% between 2014 and 2024. Positions in this field include operations research analysts, statisticians, and computer and information research scientists.

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Graduate Outcomes


Skilled data scientists are in high demand among employers in corporate, industrial, government, education and other settings, where they earn wages well above the state and national averages for all occupations. Based on a gap analysis review by Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, the average annual wage of 14 specific occupational titles linked to the B.S. in Statistics and Data Science program is more than $84,000 per year.

Statistics and Data Science (B.S.)
A student uses data science and statistics at her desk.

Program Components

The B.S. in Statistics and Data Science is a hybrid program that includes both on-campus and online courses. The program's 120 undergraduate credits are distributed as follows:

  • 40 general education credits that broaden students' horizons and provide a well-rounded education to complement the major.
  • 60 major credits, including 45 credits that provide a basis of mathematical, statistical and technical knowledge related to students' future careers as statisticians or data scientists, and 15 credits that build related skills such as database management and computer programming.
  • 20 elective credits that permit students, with an adviser's guidance, to customize the degree.

This bachelor's degree program can be completed in four years of full-time study.

Statistics reports on a desk.

Math Skills Matter

Because of the program's strong focus on mathematics, students in the Statistics and Data Science program should be prepared to take the course MAT 215, Statistics, in their first semester at PennWest California. Those without the required math background will be required to take remedial courses. Students whose math capabilities would make it difficult for them to be successful in the program will be advised to consider alternate paths that will help them reach their educational goals. 

B.S., Statistics and Data Science Courses

This hybrid bachelor's degree program utilizes both on-campus and online coursework to prepare students to meet the burgeoning demand for data scientists with skills in areas such as statistics, data analysis, computer science and communication. About 60% of coursework is delivered online.


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
Any Public Speaking Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
MAT 281  Calculus I
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
CSC 120  Problem Solving and Programming Construction
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course
Social Sciences
Any Social Sciences Course
General Education Options
  • Any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • ENG 217  Science and Technical Writing
  • Additional General Education Courses (two courses)
Required Major Courses 45
MAT 207  Data Preparation and Cleaning 3
MAT 213  Data Visualization 3
MAT 215  Statistics  OR  MAT 225  Business Statistics 3
MAT 251  Big Data Tools 3
MAT 261  Big Data Analytics 3
MAT 272  Discrete Mathematics 3
MAT 282  Calculus II 3
MAT 341  Linear Algebra I 3
MAT 353  Intermediate Mathematical Statistics 3
MAT 376  Applied Linear Regression 3
MAT 391  Statistical Packages 3
MAT 401  Data Analytics Capstone Project 3
MAT 491  Statistical Packages II 3
Select two of the following:
  • MAT 361  Nonparametric Statistics 
  • MAT 371  Applied Categorical Data Analysis
  • MAT 373  Time Series and Stochastic Processes
  • MAT 471  Applied Multivariate Statistics
Related Coursework 15
CSC 124  Computer Programming I 3
CSC 265  Object-Oriented Programming 3
CSC 308  Python 3
CSC 328  Data Structures 3
CIS 322  Database Application Development 3
Free Electives* 20
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): MAT 401 Data Analysis Capstone Project
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): MAT 261 Big Data Analytics AND MAT 401 Data Analysis Capstone Project
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): MAT 376 Applied Linear Regression

* May need MAT 181 and MAT 191.



B.S., Statistics and Data Science

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Additional Resources

Top 10 Reasons To Get A Statistics and Data Science Degree

What is a Statistics and Data Science Degree

Data Science: One of the Fastest Growing Occupations

The PennWest California Advantage for a Data Science Degree

What Can You Do With A Statistics And Data Science Degree?

Big Data -- It's Everywhere!

Benefits of an SAS Certificate

Guide to Finding a Job as a Data Scientist

Data Science Careers

Data Science PhD Programs