Academic information: Data Science and Society BA/BSc | CEU Undergraduate Studies

Academic information: Data Science and Society - bachelor's degree

A bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Society (DSS) at CEU is an academic journey that will enable you to put the vast amounts of data available in our world today to work to examine the world’s pressing problems. Not only that, it will give you the perspectives of the social sciences so that you can draw conclusions and find solutions. Here you can review all the academic information for the Data Science and Society degree program at CEU.

What’s the bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Society about?

The inclusion of modern technology into so many aspects of human life has resulted in a wealth of digital information with a level of detail that is unprecedented. The availability of these large amounts of data means that we have a unique opportunity to understand human behavior and society at a quantitative level well enough to tackle some of its major problems. Are you fascinated by questions that could be answered by analyzing data about human behavior? By the opportunity for data to explain and even perhaps predict, societal trends? For example:

  • How does political unrest spread between countries?
  • How do social movements originate and grow?
  • How are socio-economic inequalities formed, and how can they be undone?
  • How do innovations, information, and misinformation spread on the internet?
  • How can we predict and prevent worldwide epidemic contagion?
  • What are the fundamental patterns of human mobility?
  • What are the algorithmic biases in online social media, and how can they be eliminated?
  • Can we develop a quantitative theory of success?
  • What is the structure of society on different scales?

For these, we need new quantitative tools as well as more traditional knowledge of social systems. The CEU bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Society (DSS) aims to provide you with both, so that you can tackle complex, burning problems in our societies. CEU is a leading research university with an outstanding international reputation for its work in data science as well as the social sciences. Read more here about your opportunity to learn from real experts in their fields, whose teaching is informed by their research.

Watch this masterclass entitled 'What does big data tell us about COVID in Hungary' by Professors Márton Karsai and Júlia Koltai

What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in DSS?

With an American and Austrian bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Society (DSS), you’ll have acquired vital skills to approach an issue you’re passionate about. You’ll know how to collect valuable information, analyze and synthesize it all, produce your own theory, generate your own solution and communicate it in multimedia form to any audience. Transferable skills:

  • quantitative and qualitative theory and methods
  • technical university-level mathematics
  • an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving
  • programming
  • critical thinking and reasoning
  • computational data analysis
  • grasping and producing complex information
  • core elements of various social sciences
  • research and analysis
  • detailed knowledge in topics within the chosen specialization
  • presentation and communication
  • data visualization

These skills open many doors, from graduate study at CEU or another university to career options in the private, public and non-profit sectors. CEU’s Career Services team will guide you in finding the right door for you to open.

Need more academic information? Here’s how the DSS program works

The bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Society (DSS) program integrates into the Europe-wide Bologna system and offers the best of the American undergraduate education system. That means that in four years, you’ll earn an Austrian and an American bachelor’s degree. You’ll be getting the best of both worlds! The program starts with mandatory training in mathematics, programming and data analysis as well as an introduction to the fundamentals of the social sciences. Then you’ll choose two areas to focus on and select from a variety of courses in those areas as you work toward completing a thesis in the third year and conducting comprehensive research for your capstone project in the fourth year. Some key facts about the academics of the Data Science and Society (DSS) program:

  • small class size, with a student to faculty ratio of just 7:1
  • a combination of seminars and lectures
  • discussion-based classes that require your active participation
  • individual attention from leading scholars and academics
  • international faculty and student body
  • experiential learning outside the classroom first three Spring terms
  • individual faculty supervision for your thesis/capstone project

Who are the professors?

The program is hosted by the Department of Network and Data Science (DNDS) at CEU, which is comprised of world-leading researchers in the fields of Data Science, Network Science, Complex Systems, and Computational Social Sciences. The DNDS faculty will be involved in the teaching of Mathematics, Computer Science, Data Analysis, and Statistics, which will be delivered at the same level as exact science programs at technical universities. The Social Sciences modules will be taught by researchers of the respective departments, including the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, the Department of Economics and Business, the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, and the Department of Political Science. This will give you a truly multidisciplinary education, enabling you to become a native member of these diverse fields of science.

What kind of classes can I take?

In the first year, you’ll take courses with your classmates to get a solid foundation in computational data analysis, mathematics, programming, and data analysis. You’ll pair that with the fundamentals of the main social sciences: sociology, economics, environmental science, and political science. In the second year, you’ll continue with mandatory classes but also select two of the following to focus on:



You’ll choose courses in the two disciplines you’ve chosen. In the third year, you’ll continue to choose among courses in those areas, and participate in seminars with leading researchers in the field. You may choose to study in another country, and you’ll complete a thesis. In the fourth year, you’ll continue with courses, conduct comprehensive research, and produce a capstone project. Here’s how it works:

  • Duration of the program: 4  years (US + Austrian degree) or 3 years (Austrian degree)
  • Structure of the academic year: 3 terms: fall, winter, and spring
  • Duration of the fall term: 12 weeks
  • Duration of the winter term: 12 weeks
  • Duration of the spring term: 11 weeks (teaching period is 6 weeks)
  • Amount of credits required per academic year: 30 U.S. credits / 60 ECTS
  • The overall amount of required credits: 120 U.S. credits / 240 ECTS (4-year degree) or 90 credits / 180 ECTS (3-year degree)

Yearly curriculum plan: Year 1 | Year 2 | Year 3 | Year 4 | Specialisation Tracks


Fall Winter Spring


Fall Winter Spring


Fall Winter Spring


Fall Winter Spring


Specialization Tracks



Required courses Mandatory electives



Required courses Mandatory electives


Environmental Sciences

Required courses Mandatory electives


Political Science

Required courses Mandatory electives


Data Science

Required courses Mandatory electives