Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Society (DSS) | CEU Undergraduate Studies

In CEU’s bachelor's degree program in Data Science and Society (DSS), students learn to address some of the key questions for humanity today using a unique combination of mathematics, computer science, data analysis, and social sciences. You will study with peers from around the world, learn to present your ideas and knowledge effectively, and prepare for exciting careers, all in beautiful Vienna.

Why choose the CEU Data Science and Society bachelor's degree?

Because you will:

  • earn an American (BA) and Austrian (BSc) bachelor's degree in four years
  • enjoy the American college-style undergraduate experience, in Europe 
  • live in Vienna, consistently ranked among the world’s most livable cities
  • study in another country via study abroad in year 3
  • benefit from a private university education at a reasonable cost
  • learn from world-class faculty in one of Europe’s top research universities
  • access a wide variety of career paths

Major or double-major in:



Watch this sample lecture: Wisdom of the Crowds - the applications of Data Science in real life

What job could you do with a BA/BSc in Data Science and Society?

  • At a STARTUP, you could collect and analyze market research data to draw conclusions and develop a new targeted marketing campaign for your product.
  • At a SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTING COMPANY, you could develop algorithms to detect organized misinformation campaigns, and attempts to manipulate public opinion.
  • In a PUBLIC HEALTH GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY, you could analyze in real-time the results of measures taken to contain a pandemic, devise appropriate strategies, and model the outcomes.
  • At a CITY COUNCIL, you could monitor and explore citizen response to measures implemented by the council, such as mapping the mobility of people following a traffic or public transport initiative and make recommendations for new initiatives.
  • At a POLLING AGENCY, you could design, conduct and interpret polls, contributing to the development of new ways to test public opinion.
  • At an INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT BODY, or THINK TANK, you could analyze the statistics of armed conflicts and model the spread of political unrest to inform decision-making.
  • At a CLIMATE CHANGE NGO, you could help analyze statistical trends and interpret them for the public, or track the formation of public opinion in order to plan and organize effective campaigns or activities.
  • As a SCIENTIST at a university or research institution, you can make use of your unique interdisciplinary makeup to pose and answer scientific questions about the behavior of societies and economies that take into account their emerging complexity, and form bridges between scientific disciplines.

What will you learn in CEU’s bachelor's degree program in DSS?

You will be able to:

  • take advantage of the vast amounts of data on human and societal behavior
  • examine, explain and help answer global socioeconomical questions
  • analyze data using rigorous quantitative theory, computational methods, and mathematical modeling
  • draw conclusions derived from qualitative theory and methods from the social sciences
  • present your analysis and ideas based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative arguments

Our unique program lies at the intersection between the major scientific disciplines of mathematics, computer science, statistics and the social sciences. We challenge students to combine these disciplines in order to gain insight into how the world works, in a manner that is not possible by focusing on each discipline in isolation. You’ll delve into some of the big questions using not only the quantitative tools of data science, but also the qualitative perspectives of sociology, economics, political science, and environmental science. You’ll need to think critically and come up with your own answers to understand how humans interact with each other and with their environment. We’ve tailored the program so that you will gain a solid foundation in mathematics, data analysis, and statistics as well as four pillars of the social sciences. Then you’ll use what you’ve learned to address issues that interest you most, and you’ll emerge with analytical skills and multifaceted knowledge that you can put to use in the real world. So if you want to:

  • challenge yourself in the classroom and beyond
  • become an active member of an emerging interdisciplinary scientific community
  • tackle the world’s biggest problems using cutting-edge analytical methods
  • make a difference using your unique quantitative and qualitative knowledge and skills
  • open a world of career options

…then CEU’s undergraduate degree in Data Science and Society (DSS) is for you. In your first year, you’ll take a mandatory set of courses with your classmates for comprehensive training in mathematics, computational data analysis, statistics, and data science. You’ll pair that with the fundamentals of sociology, economics, environmental science, and political science. Later you’ll choose two specializations and focus on an issue you’re passionate about for your thesis research and another for your capstone project. After your first year, you’ll focus on your choice of two of the following:

  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Political Science
  • Data Science

You’ll also be able to choose from mandatory and free electives and participate in a seminar series, where you’ll learn about current research and concrete applications of data science in academia and industry from researchers from different fields. This will enable you to bridge the gap between classroom material and real-world applications. It will also inspire you to address concrete issues in your research and thesis projects during the program.

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Pattern of migrations between countries

Pattern of migrations between countries. Mapping the worldwide flow of people between nations, understanding its reasons and consequences, is an example of data science research. (From: Peixoto, T. Phys. Rev. E 97, 012306 (2017)

Predicted income distribution in Paris

Predicted income distribution in Paris. Data science models and methods can be used to predict socioeconomic features from indirect information. (From: Abitbol, J.L., Karsai, M., Nat Mach Intell 2, 684–692 (2020).

Curriculum structure

The DSS program is divided into seven modules, covering fundamental topics in Mathematics, Programming and Data Analysis, Data Science, Social Sciences, as well as five specialization tracks in Sociology, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Political Science, and Data Science.

  • Module I: Mathematics (13 US credits/26 ECTS)
    • Calculus
    • Linear Algebra
    • Statistics
    • Optimization

  • Module II: Programming and Data Analysis (11 US credits/22 ECTS)
    • Introduction to Programming
    • Algorithms and Data Structures
    • Fundamentals of Data Analysis
    • Data Visualization

  • Module III: Data Science (16 US credits/32 ECTS)
    • Introduction to Machine Learning and Data Mining
    • Introduction to Complex Systems
    • Data Management
    • Data Science Project

  • Module IV: Social Sciences (16 US credits/32 ECTS)
    • Communities, Societies, States: Keys Issues in Sociology
    • Introduction to Political Economy: Interests, Institutions, and Ideas
    • Introduction to Environmental Sciences
    • Principles of Microeconomics
    • Ethics of Big Data
    • Quantitative Approaches to Social Sciences

  • Module V: Specialization tracks (16 US credits/32 ECTS)
    • Students must choose two from the following five specializations:






Required courses in each track

Key Issues in Sociological Theory

Social Networks

Gender Inequality Through Numbers


Game Theory

Measuring Progress

Climate change

Spatial Data Visualization

Introduction to Comparative Politics: History, Topics, And Methods

Rational Choice Politics

Text data analysis

Advanced Machine Learning


Mandatory electives

Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and Genres of the Human

Labor economics

Inequality in the age of globalization

Social Problems

Gender, Race, Class: Global Inequalities

Principles of Macroeconomics

Transition Economics

Behavioral Economics

Banking and Finance

Economic Development

History of Economic Thought

Health Economics

Economics of Law

Labor Economics

Competition Policy

Energy Economics

International Trade

Economic History

International Finance

Environmental modeling

Energy Economics

Advanced Topics in Global Environmental Governance

Ecological Economics

Sustainable Energy Transitions

Environmental Complexities: Past and Present

Policies for Sustainable Transport

Sustainable Water Management

Multimethod Research Design

Welfare States in the Current Era: Origins, Issues, and Challenges

Frontiers of Political Research: Topics, Trends, Techniques

Domestic Politics in the Global Economy

Democracy, Autocracy and Economic Development

Political Economy: Rational Choice and Collective Action

Varieties of Capitalism

Labor Economics

Causal Inference

Network Science

Advanced Algorithms and Data Structures

Introduction to Differential Equations

Stochastic Processes

Data Security and GDPR

Fintech in Depth

  • Modules VI and VII: Bachelor thesis and Capstone project 

How does CEU's bachelor's degree program in DSS work?

In the Data Science and Society (DSS) bachelor's degree program, you’ll address questions of how humans behave and how society works, using mathematical methods to analyze data, while at the same time drawing on the fields of sociology, economics, political science, and environmental science to interpret the results. Once you’ve analyzed an issue or an event from all these angles, you’ll also learn to communicate your newfound knowledge effectively and have the opportunity to expand and use your knowledge outside the classroom. You’ll enjoy:

  • small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1
  • discussion-based seminars where you’ll participate and contribute your analysis
  • individual attention from leading professors and researcher-practitioners
  • a community of faculty and students from more than 100 countries
  • courses with all your classmates in year 1, then increased focus and course choice as you progress within the program
  • preparing an individual thesis in year 3 and a capstone project in year 4
  • personal supervision by a professor for your capstone project in your final year

At the end of four years, you’ll have an Austrian bachelor of science and an American bachelor of arts degree.

What next? What careers can you consider?

The CEU bachelor's degree in Data Science and Society (DSS) gives you a multidisciplinary foundation that supports many exciting career paths. Your competence in  analyzing,  interpreting, and communicating quantitative information will be in high demand on the job market. What’s more, your DSS experience will surely be transformative personally, as you and your classmates become members of transnational cultural, political, and social communities.  You’ll be ready to continue your studies in graduate school or start a career in business, government or non-profits, startups, or multinationals. Here are some examples:

Pursue a master’s or Ph.D. degree at CEU or other leading universities in subjects such as:

  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Sociology
  • Network Science
  • Computational Social Science

Pursue a career at:

  • banks and fintech companies
  • government and policymaking bodies
  • universities and think tanks
  • startups and incubators
  • large companies and multinationals
  • international organizations
  • non-profit and non-governmental organizations
  • the law, education, and health care sectors

How do you apply to the CEU bachelor's degree program?

To apply to CEU’s degree programs, you’ll need to gather documents such as transcripts, your CV, and proof of English proficiency, obtain a recommendation letter, write a motivation letter and an essay and fill out the application form online, where you’ll also upload everything and pay the application fee. For the Data Science and Society (DSS) bachelor's degree program, your high school transcripts should show evidence of competence in mathematics. We encourage but do not require you to submit the results of a standardized math test such as SAT, ACT, AP Calculus, A levels, or IB Math. Here you can find a list of what you’ll need for your application. To apply to the Data Science and Society (DSS) bachelor's degree program, you’ll need to write an essay about your interest in data science and social science. What do you think are some of the major challenges in understanding human society? Why do you think quantitative approaches are necessary for this task? What are some of the questions that can and cannot be answered from this perspective? These are just examples. We encourage you to pick your own question, show evidence of your interest and engagement with it, and convey your ideas and thinking. If you have not studied these subjects at school, don’t worry — ideas from your existing studies, and from following the news and media may stimulate interest in issues and questions which can then be addressed through your studies in data science and society. You can find more information here. Once you’ve submitted your application, CEU faculty and admissions staff review it alongside all the others. Finalists are invited for interviews with a panel of professors, then decisions are made and successful applicants are notified.

Ready to apply? We hope to #SeeUatCEU!


How much does a CEU bachelor's degree program cost?

 for each of CEU’s bachelor’s degree programs is 7,000 EUR per year. This does not include the application fee, student enrollment fee, accommodation, or living expenses, but CEU will cover the cost of health insurance for you! Click here for more information.

There are scholarship opportunities available with CEU and from other organizations

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and stay in the know about everything admissions-related at CEU. We hope to #SeeUatCEU!