Social Science Analytics Certificate

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Social Science Analytics Certificate


The undergraduate Certificate in Social Science Analytics requires a minimum of 18 s.h. Students complete requirements in five different component areas for a total of at least six courses. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate. They may count a maximum of 6 s.h. completed for a major, a minor, or another certificate offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences toward the Certificate in Social Science Analytics.

The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program.

Why get a Social Science Analytics Certificate?

This certificate program teaches students how to collect, analyze, and interpret social science data. With the rise of so-called “Big Data”, the ability to employ a broad variety of data and data analysis techniques to make informed decisions has become ever more important. Students learn the basics of quantitative social science research fused with a variety of techniques to develop more advanced skills, such as:

  1. Geo-spatial data (geographic databases, maps, spatial dependence);
  2. Network data (social networks, social media, connections between states);
  3. Text analysis (social media data, political speeches, newspaper stories);
  4. Statistical and computer programming (web scraping, data collection, data manipulation);
  5. Visualization (graphs, presentations, maps, networks).

The certificate focuses on developing appropriate technical training in combination with an understanding of the social processes and theories that highlight the substantive nuances and context of the data at hand.

Learning these skills makes students with a social science background more competitive for jobs with political campaigns, consulting, policy analysis, public opinion firms, government agencies, and local communities or for more advanced studies.

Further, the certificate benefits students outside the social sciences by affording many opportunities to interact and collaborate with research-minded social science students. Such opportunities to work directly with peers from different, non-mathematical sciences disciplines represent an invaluable component of an undergraduate statistic student’s education.

What is a Certificate?

A Certificate is an official University credential indicating that you have gained expertise by engaging in focused studies in a specific area, usually related to your major. It provides clear evidence of this focused strength to potential employers or graduate schools.

Social Science Analytics is an undergraduate Certificate offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and is supported by the departments of Geography and Sustainability Sciences, Political Science, Sociology, and Statistics and Actuarial Sciences. Its academic home is the Department of Political Science.

The University of Iowa offers a number of Certificates in a wide range of areas.

Advisory Board

  • Frederick J. Boehmke (Political Science), Chair and Coordinator
  • Juan Pablo Hourcade (Computer Science)
  • Joseph Lang (Statistics and Actuarial Sciences)
  • Freda Lynn (Sociology)
  • Mary Noonan (Sociology)
  • Rene Rocha (Political Science)
  • Heather Sander (Geographical and Sustainability Sciences)


Students will be assigned a faculty mentor drawing from affiliated faculty who will meet regularly with students to help them through the certificate as best fits their interests.