Grad Students

Advanced Data Science Option

Grad students conferencingThe Advanced Data Science Option aims to educate the next generation of thought leaders who will both build and apply new methods for data science. This option will help to educate and recognize PhD students whose thesis work focuses specifically on building and using advanced data science tools. The goal of this option is not to educate all students in the foundations of data science but rather to provide advanced education to the students who will push the state-of-the-art in data science method. If completed, the option will be part of your degree title.

The Advanced Data Science option replaces the previous Big Data track introduced in 2014. This is an official UW degree option which will appear on your transcript.

Students enrolled in this option can expect to interact with students enrolled in similar Advanced Data Science PhD options in Genome Sciences, Statistics, Oceanography, Computer Science & Engineering and Astronomy.  Formally, the option is affiliated with an NSF IGERT training award in Big Data, and PhD students in the track are eligible for funding via that award. 



The Advanced Data Science Option is an overlay on top of our standard course requirements. Therefore, students must satisfy the universal requirements (see the PhD Handbook pp. 32-33), in addition to the Data Science Option requirements (PhD Handbook pp. 34-35). The latter impose some extra constraints on the course selection. However, do note that some of the required courses will substitute for other required courses.


Course requirements

1. Students must take three out of the four following courses:

            Data Management: CSE 544 - Scientific Computing

            Machine Learning: CSE 546 or STAT 535 - Scientific Computing

            Data Visualization: CSE 512 - Scientific Computing

            Statistics: STAT 509 or sequence of STAT 512 and 513 - Math & Statistics


2. STAT 509 or STAT 512 and 513 can substitute for the Chem E Math & Statistics requirement that most students fill with Chem E 512. CSE 544, CSE 546, STAT 535 and CSE 512 can all substitute for Chem E 465 A to help satisfy the Course Breadth Requirement (PhD Handbook p. 32) in the area of Scientific Computing and Simulation.


3. eScience Community Seminar
To further expand students’ education and create a campus-wide community, students will register for at least 4 quarters in the weekly eScience Community Seminar.


4. eScience Institute
Students interested in data science should also check out other activities that we are carrying out in the eScience InstituteThe eScience Community Seminar is one of those activities. Other relevant activities include various tool and method-oriented workshops as well as speaker series. Visit for more information. 


In addition, the track is designed to complement the activities of the eScience Institute and to leverage ongoing activities associated with the Moore/Sloan Foundation Data Driven Discovery Initiative, involving the University of Washington, New York University and the University of California, Berkeley.



CSE Ph.D. students who choose to enroll in the Advanced Data Science Option must have approval of their research advisor. Email this approval to the Graduate Program Advisor (Allison Sherrill, There is no additional admission procedure.


If you have any questions about the Advanced Data Science Option, please email Prof. David Beck (