People sitting and walking around an open park area in Shanghai.


At NYU Shanghai, the BS in Data Science program outfits students with the knowledge and skills to unlock and apply insights from mass volumes of data, including text, speech, images, and numbers. Already, it’s one of the school’s most popular majors, and the field and its applications continue to grow rapidly. “Data is everywhere,” says Ella (Yimeng) Zhang, a Data Science and Finance double major at NYU Shanghai. “With the amount of data available and the speed of analysis that’s possible, people can make more informed decisions and do day-to-day work faster and with more skill.”

A woman of color sitting on a park bench and working on a laptop.
An Education That Crosses Disciplines and Countries

Studying data science is particularly attractive and interesting because it adds value to nearly every industry and organization. Graduates pursue careers across an incredibly wide spectrum, from Fortune 500 companies to public service organizations. “Data science can be applied to areas like artificial intelligence and finance but also to education, law enforcement, sociology, and even the humanities,” says Professor Keith Ross. He’s the dean of computer science, data science, and engineering at NYU Shanghai. “It’s very appealing to people who want to apply quantitative tools, such as programming and mathematics, to their favorite discipline.”

NYU Shanghai students also have the option to minor in Data Science. What’s more, the program gives them the opportunity to combine multiple interests. Data Science majors can declare a concentration in areas including marketing, genomics, political science, finance, and artificial intelligence, among others. “That’s the beauty of this field,” explains Ella. “It opens doors for students who want to make changes to other industries.”

And since all NYU Shanghai students spend at least one semester studying away, many aspiring data scientists take advantage of the opportunity to learn at NYU’s renowned Center for Data Science in New York City. The data science programs in New York City and Shanghai were developed in conjunction with one another, and they maintain close ties. As a result, it’s easier for students to stay on track with their major while studying away.

“One of the biggest advantages of the data science program at NYU Shanghai is the small class size, which gives us more opportunities to interact with the professors.” —Bale Chen
A diverse group of students conversing with a professor of color.
Project-Based Learning and Frontier Research

Across classes, data science students at NYU Shanghai regularly practice the theories they study through applied learning experiences. These experiences culminate in a capstone course, during which students design a project of their choosing. For instance, Ella used computer vision to analyze medical imagery and identify myocarditis, a heart condition. “Fifteen years ago, I suffered as a patient with myocarditis. Now I am helping doctors diagnose it more accurately,” she says. “It’s a really rewarding thing.”

Research opportunities exist outside the classroom as well. For example, with help from the Deans’ Undergraduate Research Fund, Bale Chen, a junior majoring in Data Science at NYU Shanghai, spent a summer refining a model for incorporating emojis when analyzing the sentiment of social media posts. Additionally, he is a research assistant at the Shanghai Key Laboratory of Urban Design and Urban Science at NYU Shanghai. There, he’s conducting a spatial equity analysis of Shanghai’s electric vehicle charging stations. “One of the biggest advantages of the data science program at NYU Shanghai is the small class size, which gives us more opportunities to interact with the professors,” says Bale. “Joining a research team or asking for help with research is very doable, and the research here is cutting edge.”

After Bale finishes his undergraduate degree, he plans to attend graduate school and focus on using artificial intelligence and data science for social good. Ella also thinks graduate school is in her future, perhaps followed by a career in finance. Wherever they end up, both students are confident that their major prepared them well. “Everything is in some sense driven by data,” explains Bale. “Learning how to utilize that data helps open up more career opportunities and improves your understanding of how the world works.”