BA MAJOR & MINOR

What You’ll Study

Data Science is useful across many disciplines including Business, Biology, Psychology, Sociology, Environmental Science, and Political Science. You’ll learn the mathematics, statistics, and computer science skills required to effectively extract information from large data sets, analyze results, and communicate your findings. You’ll specifically focus on applying data science to challenging problems in areas such as environmental sustainability and social justice.

You will take courses covering topics such as statistics, data science, machine learning, geographic information systems (GIS), computer programming, calculus, linear algebra, statistical modeling, and databases. Once you learn the basics of the programming languages Python and R and develop skills in GIS, you will dive into advanced mathematics, statistics, and data science courses. 

Capstone

As your studies culminate in a Capstone Project, you will apply your knowledge and skills to an area of your choosing that involves social or environmental advocacy. Working closely with faculty, you could complete a purely academic project in one of these areas, choose a project that solves a problem for a community partner, or work on a significant data-driven project through a professional internship with a company or nonprofit organization. 

Explore Classes in This Program

MAT 3110

Machine Learning

Using programming languages such as R and Python, you’ll master machine learning techniques such as clustering, classification, and regression. You’ll become fluent in extracting information from large data sets, building and interpreting statistical models that can be used for predictions, and creating effective visualizations and data summaries.

GBL 3250

Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

In this course, you’ll further understand how to use geographic information science to help people and the planet. You’ll learn about spatial analysis procedures on raster and vector data, database management, topology, model design, 3D modeling, open source GIS, web mapping, and project management. You’ll design and conduct a significant research project, often to solve a real-world problem for outside organizations

MAT 4100

Environmental & Social Advocacy with Data

In this course, you’ll learn how to use data science to help address problems in environmental sustainability and social justice through case studies. By the end of this pre-Capstone course, you will choose your Capstone topic and select sufficiently robust data sets to analyze in depth in the Capstone Course.

Meet Our Faculty

Warren Wilson students crave a challenge. I am continually amazed at the enthusiasm with which our students throw themselves into an endeavor, whether it be a physically exhausting service trip or an intellectually stimulating research question. Wilson students tend to say “bring it.”

David Abernathy, Ph.D.
David Abernathy
David Abernathy, Ph.D.
Holly Rosson

I love the diverse interests of students, faculty, and staff at Warren Wilson.

Holly Rosson, Ph.D.
Holly Rosson
Holly Rosson, Ph.D.
Faculty member Christopher Potvin stands smiling in a red shirt in front of Orr Cottage

Working with students is my biggest passion. I think my motto as a long time summer camp counselor and director sums up my teaching philosophy pretty well: Camp is for the campers!

Christopher Potvin, Ph.D.
Faculty member Christopher Potvin stands smiling in a red shirt in front of Orr Cottage
Christopher Potvin, Ph.D.
Gretchen Whipple

Warren Wilson students challenge me to be my best. They are curious, they ask questions. They have their own ideas about 'what', and offer the opportunity to explore in learning the 'why' and 'how.'

Gretchen W. Whipple, Ph.D.
Gretchen Whipple
Gretchen W. Whipple, Ph.D.
IT Director Michael Mars Landis stands smiling

Wilson students are engaged and invested in their own education more than what I've seen elsewhere, and we treasure our community, along with the relationships we form.

Michael Mars Landis, MS
IT Director Michael Mars Landis stands smiling
Michael Mars Landis, MS
Faculty Member Nancy Matar stands smiling outside of Orr Cottage.

Students at Warren Wilson always challenge me to think deeper. I’m amazed with their curiosity!

Nancy Matar
Faculty Member Nancy Matar stands smiling outside of Orr Cottage.
Nancy Matar, Ph.D
David Abernathy
Buncombe County map
Fieldwork Profile

Mapping Change

Students and faculty at Warren Wilson contributed a major project for Buncombe County called ‘Mapping Change.’ It used maps to analyze change over a 10-year period of rapid growth in Western North Carolina. The project culminated in an 80-page book, which analyzed the effects of change in terms of land use, demography, water quality, and housing. The data united many different social and ecological problems, illustrating how they connect to one another.

Professor Paul Bartels outlined the findings for the county commissioners in a presentation using maps from the book. Among many other observations, Bartels connected the impact of homes built on steep slopes with sediment erosion, stream pollution, and trout populations. Through Bartels’ presentation to county lawmakers, Warren Wilson students’ work in GIS and Data Science influenced local government.