Certificate in Data Sciences for Social Impact

Explore Data Sciences for Social Impact

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and the Case School of Engineering, two of Case Western Reserve University's top schools, have developed a Certificate in Data Sciences for Social Impact (0551). 

The Certificate

  • Is intended to prepare students to navigate and influence this new era of technology and data-driven solutions in social welfare and policy, ensuring proper ethical guidelines are developed and followed
  • Intersects social science, social work and data science in an increasingly critical field, bringing a diverse group of people to the table in order to shape the way technology is used to advance social justice 

Admission Requirements

The Certificate in Data Sciences for Social Impact is geared towards degree-seeking students in graduate programs at CWRU and non-degree students from other social science degree programs in other institutions. 

A total of 12 credit hours is required to earn the certificate; it can be completed on campus in 1 year. 

Specific Learning Objectives

  • Develop data science and analytical skills to inform decision-making in social work, social policy and non-profit organizations, integrating the knowledge of communities represented in the data, and addressing societal biases reflected in it
  • Develop skills to structure and analyze administrative data and other available or unstructured data sources
  • Develop the ability to produce visualizations from the data that supports data discovery and communication of findings to diverse stakeholders
  • Develop leadership skills to critically inform the ethical use of social algorithms and the analysis of social data in general
  • Develop fluency in methods of reproducible research, including RMarkdown, LaTeX and Git

Integrated and Focused Curriculum

The 0551 curriculum will be digitally credentialed upon successful completion of four courses for 12 credit hours. Two of the courses are Mandel School SASS classes and two are DSCI offerings in the School of Engineering. 

  • SASS 471: Introduction to Data Science for Social Impact – 3 credits, Fall Year 2
  • DSCI 451: Exploratory Data Science – 3 credits, Fall Year 2
  • DSCI 453: Modeling and Prediction – 3 credits, Spring Year 2
  • SASS 472: Semester Research Project in Data Science for Social Impact – 3 credits, Spring Year 2

Note: Year 2 refers to the second year of the MSW program.

If desired, students can enroll in SASS 471 Introduction to Data Science for Social Impact as an elective independently of their desire to complete the full certificate. All classes are offered in person and in remote synchronous modalities.


The DSSI curriculum is open to all students enrolled in a graduate program at CWRU who have taken an introductory statistics class. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.00 for the digital credential to be awarded. This is not a transcriptable certificate. 

Career Outcomes

Obtaining the Certificate in Data Sciences for Social Impact can lead to careers in: 

  • Consulting
  • Foundations
  • Journalism
  • Local Government
  • Nonprofits
  • PhD Compliment
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Think Tanks
  • Urban Planning and Development


For more information, please contact Francisca García-Cobián Richter or Richard Sigg at the Mandel School, or Roger French or Laura Bruckman at the Engineering School. 

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