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Data Analytics

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

Data analytics applies fundamental scientific principles to the analysis of large, complex data sets. This rapidly growing field needs practitioners with expertise that cuts across core disciplines of computer science, mathematics and statistics and with highly developed critical-thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.

Data analytics includes the set of skills necessary to identify how to manage, represent and manipulate large and complex data stores; how to abstract, model and effectively analyze such data; and how to create quantitative visual cues to help explain and make informed decisions from those data. By making sense of a vast information landscape, data analytics has the potential to—and is already starting to—transform the way we understand and interact with the world. 

Students declare a pre-major in data analytics when they apply to the university. To move from the pre-major to the major, students must complete the required prerequisite course work at Ohio State and fill out the online application form at

The requirements for the major are broken down into two components: core fundamentals and an area of specialization. All students take courses covering the fundamentals of data analytics, including:

  • Calculus and linear algebra
  • Data mining and statistical learning
  • Database design and cloud computing
  • Optimization
  • Probability and statistical inference
  • Regression modeling and statistical decision making
  • Software design and programming
  • Visualization

Each student also chooses one of the following specializations to learn how data analytics is applied in a particular field:

  • Biomedical informatics
  • Business analytics
  • Computational analytics
  • Data visualization
  • Social science analytics

Course work in some specializations can be tailored based on a student’s interests. Each specialization includes a capstone or integrative experiential component. It is recommended that students choose their specialization early on with the help of their academic advisor.

Data analytics is the most in-demand technology across all industry sectors according to the Harvey Nash/KPMG 2016 CIO Survey. Students in the data analytics major have a wide array of opportunities for internships due to this high demand for analytics talent in the professional world. Data analytics students have accepted analytics internship positions in industries such as finance, banking, retail, health care and professional sports.

Data analytics students may be interested in Ohio State's Big Data and Analytics Association (BDAA), which hosts hands-on workshops with industry professionals to encourage students to think analytically and create connections with potential employers.

Although it is a relatively new field, data science and analytics has been described by the Harvard Business Review as the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” A major in data analytics will prepare students to work in a wide range of fields. Companies both locally and nationally are actively recruiting employees who have core and specialized skills in data analytics.

Career prospects in data analytics are very promising. A broad analysis of labor statistics, census data and economic indicators by McKinsey & Company has shown that data analysis is now an integral business function and important factor for production in nearly every segment of the economy and that there will be a large shortage of prospective employees with data-analytic skills in the near term.

Upon graduation, 75% of students in the data analytics major have at least one job offer, and 12% plan to attend graduate school. Companies hiring data analytics graduates include Accenture, Cardinal Health, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ford, Infoverity, JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide Children's Hospital, PwC and Zillow.

The median pay for data scientists was $110,620 in 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who classifies data scientists as computer and information research scientists.

For recent graduates of the data analytics major at Ohio State, starting salaries ranged from $60,000 to $80,000.

A student graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in data analytics will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of and ability to apply computer science principles relating to data representation, retrieval, programming and analysis of big data
  • An understanding of and ability to apply statistical methods, models and concepts to data analysis and to draw conclusions supported by data
  • Critical thinking skills associated with problem identification, problem solving and decision making
  • The ability to apply knowledge gained from one area to problems and data in another
  • The ability to communicate findings and their implications and to apply them effectively in organizational settings

Brooke O'Leary

127 Pomerene Hall

1760 Neil Ave.

Columbus, OH 43210


The data analytics major and the Department of Statistics held Ohio State's third annual American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest competition in April 2018, in which nearly 120 undergraduate students competed in a 26-hour data competition searching for insights in a large data set provided by Professional data analysts and faculty served as mentors and assisted students throughout the process. At the end of the weekend, the teams presented their findings to a panel of judges, and the winning teams received prizes and recognition for their excellent data analytics work.

Interested in a career in the STEM fields?

Check out the STEM Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.