The growth of big data and informatics calls for a new set of skills for social science students and an increased understanding of the logic of data collection and analysis. The Social Science Analytics certificate focuses on the application side of data analysis as well as specific research methods and quantitative skills using data-driven methods.

The certificate offers an opportunity for interdisciplinary training on how data can be used to address important questions in the social sciences. Students learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret social science data.

Why Study at Iowa

The Certificate in Social Science Analytics is an interdisciplinary program offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and administered by the Department of Political Science. The Departments of Geographic and Sustainability Sciences, Political Science, Statistics and Actuarial Science, and Sociology and Criminology collaborate to provide a strong curriculum.

Course Work

The Certificate in Social Science Analytics requires a minimum of 19 semester hours. Students complete required courses from four areas: core statistics, social science research design and data analysis, building skills and data science, and the applied research experience.

The curriculum provides the basics of quantitative social science research along with techniques to develop more advanced skills such as:

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

Some of the certificate courses have prerequisites not included in the certificate requirements, so students should select courses for which they have met the prerequisites. Students also should work closely with an assigned adviser in planning course work that best fits their interests and provides sufficient focus. 

For more information about course requirements, visit Social Science Analytics in the UI General Catalog or the Department of Political Science website.

Admission Requirements

The certificate program is open to current University of Iowa undergraduate students and to all individuals who hold a bachelor's degree and are not enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate.

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Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 600 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.


The certificate will help make students with a social science background more competitive for careers and opportunities in areas such as political campaigns, policy analysis, public opinion firms, consulting and government agencies, and local communities, or for advanced studies. 

Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.


The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

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