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 statistical analysis using R and develop their ability to confidently understand and apply a range of social science research methods.

The graduate certificate gives students the opportunity to explore the field of Data Analytics and Computational Social Science without committing to a complete master’s degree. Coursework will expose students to the core data management, research design, and quantitative analysis skills introduced as part of the DACSS core graduate curriculum.

All students enrolled in a UMass graduate degree program in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences are eligible to complete the requirements of the graduate certificate while enrolled in their degree program. Additionally, non-degree students taking courses through UMass University Without Walls are also eligible to complete the certificate. Note that this certificate program is compatible with requirements for the master’s degree, enabling online certificate recipients to transition into the graduate degree program through the normal application process.

Course Requirements

DACSS 601 Data Science Fundamentals This course will introduce fundamental data science concepts and the world of big data while continuing to help 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.) (POLISCI 601)

DACSS 602 Research Design for Social Scientists This course introduces the fundamentals of behavioral social science research (e.g., hypothesis testing, variables, and measurement, internal and external validity) and a wide range of data collection and analysis methods used in social research (e.g., experiments, surveys, text analysis, econometrics). 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. (POLISCI 750, COMM 621, SOC 710)

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.) (POLISCI 755, RES ECON 701/702, SOC 711/712)

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. 

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 it is not mandatory that you 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.