The School of Data Science at the University of Virginia is committed to educating the next generation of data science leaders. The Ph.D. in Data Science – the School’s newest program – is designed to impart the skills and knowledge necessary to enable research and discovery in data science methods. Because the end goal is to extract knowledge and enable discovery from complex data, the program also boasts robust applied training that is geared toward interdisciplinary collaboration. Doctoral candidates will master the computational and mathematical foundations of data science, and develop competencies in data engineering, software development, data policy and ethics. 

Doctoral students in our program apprentice with faculty and pursue advanced research in an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment that is often focused on scientific discovery via data science methods. By serving as teaching assistants for the School’s undergraduate and graduate programs, they learn to be adroit educators and hone their critical thinking and communication skills.


Pursuing a Ph.D. in Data Science will prepare you to become an expert in the field and work at the cutting edge of a new discipline. According to LinkedIn’s most recent Emerging Jobs Report, data science is booming and data scientist is one of the top three fastest growing jobs. A Ph.D. in Data Science from the University of Virginia opens career paths in academia, industry or government. Graduates of our program will:

  • Understand data as a generic concept, and how data encodes and captures information
  • Be fluent in modern data engineering techniques, and work with complex and large data sets
  • Recognize ethical and legal issues relevant to data analytics and their impact on society 
  • Develop innovative computational algorithms and novel statistical methods that transform data into knowledge
  • Collaborate with research teams from a wide array of scientific fields 
  • Effectively communicate methods and results to a variety of audiences and stakeholders
  • Recognize and respect the generalizability of data science methods and models 

Graduates of the Ph.D. in Data Science will have contributed novel methodological research to the field of data science, demonstrated their work has impactful interdisciplinary applications and defended their methods in an open forum.

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