The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Certificate in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science

The Data Analytics and Computational Social Science (DACSS) certificate is a 3-course graduate certificate designed for working professionals, recent undergraduates, and current graduate students who want to build a solid foundation in conducting statistical analysis using R and develop their ability to confidently understand and apply a range of social science research methods.

Our online certificate allows students to explore the field of Data Analytics and Computational Social Science without committing to a complete master’s degree. Coursework will expose students to data management, research design, and quantitative analysis skills that serve as a foundation for advanded M.S. DACSS technical courses.

Course Requirements

DACSS 601 Data Science Fundamentals This course will introduce fundamental data science concepts and the world of big data while helping students develop their programming skills in R. It will also provide students with a solid grounding in general data management and data wrangling skills that are required in all advanced quantitative and data analysis courses. (Prior exposure to introductory-level college statistics recommended but not required.)

DACSS 602 Research Design for Social Scientists This course is a sophisticated and intensive review of a wide range of data collection and analysis methods used in social research (e.g., experiments, interviews, surveys, ethnography, text analysis, single case process tracing.) The course emphasizes how each method can make a valid contribution to our understanding of social, political, and economic life. Students will learn how to design and interpret social scientific studies using different methods of data collection and analysis that are increasingly likely to be encountered in business and policy settings. (Prior exposure to a research design or research methods course at the college-level is helpful but not required.)

DACSS 603 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis This course will provide students with an introduction to quantitative analysis in the social sciences, often referred to as econometrics or statistical analysis. The course will introduce students to statistical techniques including ordinary least squares (OLS), limited dependent variable analysis, and other quantitative analysis models. (Requires DACSS 601 or prior experience using R. Introductory-level ) 

Tuition Fee

The estimated total tuition of the online program is $5400.
($600 per credit hour) x (3 credits per course) x (3 courses) = $5400

Additional Fees: There is a $47 registration fee per semester, plus the cost of books and materials. 


Anyone may pursue the DACSS certificate by enrolling as a non-degree graduate student through UMass University Without Walls. This certificate program is designed as a transitional certificate that is compatible with requirements for the master’s degree. Online certificate recipients who are accepted into the full M.S. degree program through the normal application process will be able to apply all certificate courses towards completion of the full 30-credit master's degree.

Additionally, all students enrolled in a UMass graduate degree program in-person or online are eligible to take courses leading to the DACSS graduate certificate. Please consult with your degree advisors to determine whether or not DACSS certificate courses may be applied towards the requirments of the degree you are currently enrolled in.

Bear in mind that certificate courses are only regularly offered and widely available online through University Without Walls; on-campus availability is not guarenteed. Not all certificate courses are regularly offered on campus. When they are offered, on-campus DACSS courses (or their departmental equivalents) may have capacity or program-based restrictions on enrollment.

All PhD students in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences have the opportunity to take the courses that are part of the DACSS graduate certificate at no additional cost, although no official DACSS graduate certificate can be awarded to PhD students who elect to pursue this free alternative.

If You Intend to Pursue the Certificate

If you intend to pursue the Certificate in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science, please let us know by completing this form. While you are not required to inform us in advance of your intention to complete the certificate program, it will help us stay in touch with you to let you know about possible internship or career opportunities, changes to course availability, and events online and on-campus that may be of interest

Completion of the Certificate

Students who have completed the certificate requirements should submit a certificate eligibility form found here, to the Graduate Programs Office. The graduation eligibility deadlines can be found here for obtaining your certificate in the mail. Email the form to

For More Information

For more information about the Certificate in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science, please email us at

Learn more about the Data Analytics and Computational Social Science program here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take the courses in a specific order?

We recommend taking courses in the indicated order, although it is possible to take Research Design at any time or in parallel with either of the other two courses. Data Science Fundamentals (or similar experience with R) is a pre-requisite for taking Introduction to Quantitative Analysis.

What background is needed for this certificate?

The Certificate in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science is a Master's-level certificate, suitable for students who have completed or will soon complete an undergraduate degree.

How many courses are required?

The certificate requires three courses (9 credits). These courses will provide students with a solid grounding in social science data collection, programming and data management, and statistical data analysis.

What if I want to learn more about data analytics and computational social science?

Students who are interested in careers that rely heavily on framing, developing, and presenting data for evidence-based decision-making and communication may want to consider the Master’s of Science Degree in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science. Our M.S. provides students with advanced training in methods commonly used in political analysis, marketing analysis, financial analysis, economic planning and development, product or project management, strategic planning and consulting, demographic analysis, social media analysis, strategic communication, and reputation management.

Note that this certificate program is compatible with requirements for the Master’s degree; any certificate recipient wishing to transition into the Master’s degree program will be able to do so through the normal application process.

Can I complete this certificate online?

Graduate matriculated students or post-graduate non-degree students (including Continuing and Professional Education students registering through UMass University without Walls) can enroll in the required courses for the Data Analytics and Computational Social Science.