Certificate in 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 (DSSI).

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;
  • Focuses on the intersection of data science and social science to improve social welfare, while critically assessing the human impact of these digital technologies from an ethical perspective; and
  • Allows students to design and develop community-relevant research projects under the guidance of domain expert instructors and connect with the experiences of those represented in the data.

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 interested in earning a credential in data science.

A total of 12 credit hours is required to earn the DSSI certificate; it can be completed on-campus in 1.5 years.

Specific Learning Objectives

  • Develop data science techniques and analytical skills to inform social work, social policy and non-profit organizations, taking into account the ethical considerations entailed by the use of social data
  • 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 DSSI curriculum will be digitally credentialed upon successful completion of four courses for 12 credit hours. Two of the courses are Mandel School classes and two are DSCI offerings in the School of Engineering.

  • SASS 500: Introduction to Data Analytics for Social Impact – 3 credits, Spring Year 1
  • DSCI 451: Exploratory Data Science – 3 credits, Fall Year 2
  • DSCI 453 Modeling and Prediction – 3 credits, Spring Year 2
  • SASS TBD Semester Research Project – 3 credits, Spring Year 2

If desired, students can enroll in SASS 500: Introduction to Data Analytics for Social Impact without completing the remaining courses.


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.

The DSSI certificate begins in the spring term. Non-degree students can apply online through the Mandel School's online application system. Applications are due December 15.

Career Outcomes

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

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


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

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