Data: It's Everywhere!

data graphicData is all around us, and it affects our everyday lives in ways we often take for granted. Google and Facebook analyze the content of our e-mails, searches, and posts, and then they use that data to target ads relevant to our interests. Amazon and Netflix track our online behavior, compare it to the behavior of other users, and recommend products and movies that suit our tastes—often with uncanny accuracy. To thrive in this environment, you must be able to work with data, draw well-reasoned inferences from it, and effectively communicate your discoveries to broader audiences. 

Emory's Approach: Borne Out by Data

What sets Emory apart is Data Science+. We offer a cutting-edge quantitative curriculum plus an elite liberal arts education. Research shows that liberal arts graduates with data management and analysis skills, like those emphasized in QTM, earn $12,700 more annually than their counterparts without such skills, and an additional 137,000 entry-level careers are available to them [3, as reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education]. Data Science at Emory is designed for the needs of the modern world.

Meeting the Needs of the Modern World

QTM offers four innovative degree options designed to help students succeed:

So which one is right for you? That depends! We offer a spectrum of degrees to serve students of all mathematical/statistical interest and capability:

QSS Minor*

❏ QTM 100 ❏ QTM 200
❏ QTM 150 ❏ QTM 151
❏ 2 quantitative electives

QSS, PPA, or QSS+BBA major

❏ MATH 111 ❏ QTM 210
❏ QTM 120 ❏ QTM 151
❏ QTM 150 ❏ QTM 220
❏ 3 quantitative electives

QSS, PPA, or QSS+BBA major +

❏ MATH 111 ❏ MATH 211
❏ QTM 150 ❏ MATH 221
❏ QTM 151 ❏ MATH 361
❏ QTM 220 ❏ MATH 362
❏ 3 quantitative electives

AMS major

❏ MATH 111 ❏ MATH 250
❏ MATH 112 ❏ MATH 315
❏ QTM 150 ❏ MATH 361
❏ QTM 151 ❏ MATH 362
❏ MATH 211 ❏ CS 170
❏ MATH 212 ❏ QTM220
❏ MATH 221 or 321
❏ 3 MATH electives
❏ 3 quantitative electives

Click here for printer-friendly version of the chart

*QSS minor currently under development

†Considered double major


The Demand for Data Science

Indivudals with substantive knowledge and data science skills are in demand across all sectors, from industry to academia to non-profit.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that data scientists, statisticians, computer programmers, and related occupations earned a median annual salary of $74,280 - more than double the average annual salary ($34,750; as of May 2012). Wages and job openings in mathematics- and computer-related occupations will continue to outpace occupations. A 2014 study by Burning Glass showed that show that data scientists are out-earning doctors and lawyers [1]. By 2020, the BLS projects that 47,200 new jobs will be added in statistics and computer programming fields alone [2]. However, learning how to code and use statistics are not the only valuable skills an undergraduate can develop. Independent research published by Workday shows that Emory is already meeting the needs of the future [3].

How Data is Used in...


  • Literature scholars may borrow techniques from natural language processing, sentiment analysis, signal processing, and machine learning, to extract and compare the plot structures of novels and track how archetypes evolve from the 19th to the 20th century.
  • Historians may combine Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data with traditional historic sources, engaging in projects like examining the growth of railroads and their impact on the American West.
  • Musicians, linguists, and cognitive scientists use computational modeling to understand how infants learn to distinguish words from the other sounds in their environment and understand the content of thought. 
  • Neuroscientists examine patterns of human brain activity in an attempt to uncover the biological bases of behavior.
  • Sociologists and political scientists uses computer simulations, artificial intelligence, statistical methods, and social network analysis to model and analyze human social behavior in organizations, cities, and social networks and to understand how this behavior effects society at large. 
  • Institutional researchers consult with faculty and administrators to design, implement, and analyze (develop and run appropriate statistical methods) the results of surveys to understand the needs and composition of the institution.


  • Morgan Stanley and other companies use big data to inform investments and make economic forecasts.
  • Most equity trading employs data algorithms that interpret signals from a variety of sources to gauge risk. 
  • Marketing firms utilize customer surveys, analyze correlations between advertising outlays and increased revenues to make decisions, and engage in random sampling techniques to estimate market sizes.
  • Union Pacific Railroad uses thermometers, microphones, and ultrasounds to collect performance data on engines and identify equipment at risk for failure before repair costs are prohibitively expensive.
  • Ford hybrid cars generate and store about 25 GB of data per hour, affording Ford a better understanding of driver behavior. The can help Ford reduce accidents and vehicle maintenance costs. 
  • Pymetric and others are using data to streamline the hiring process and diversify company workforce.

Read more about data and business here.

Government & Public Policy

  • The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics collects data on enrollment rates, test scores, graduation rates, student financial aid, and students and teachers to identify areas in need of the more support, funding, and attention.
  • NASA’s Center for Climate Simulation is home to 32 petabytes of climate data. This is used to track climate change, improve weather predictions, and increase awareness of severe weather.
  • Campaigns collect data on each voter and can target voters with statements on issues of specific importance to them.
  • The Supreme Court will  need to consider mathematical and statiscial arguments for assessing "how much political [...] effect is too much" in partisan gerrymandering, one of the central legal issues of our time.

Read more about the use of data in politics here.


health and data
  • Doctors rely on statistics to gauge the effectiveness of drugs and calculate life expectancy and chances of recovery.
  • Epidemiologists conduct statistical analyses on the spread and risk of diseases.
  • The Centers for Disease Control partnered with Google in 2008 after researchers found that spikes in Google searches for flu symptoms coincided with actual outbreaks. This partnership led to the launch of Google Flu Trends, a site that allows people to compare volumes of flu-related search activity against reported incidence rates on a map of their area.
  • Hospitals analyze patient records to predict which patients are likely to seek re-admission within a few months of discharge. Identifying these patients allows doctors to provide better long-term care, decreasing both hospital and patient costs due to re-admission.

Read more about data and healthcare here.


law and data

  • Litigators are increasingly relying on data and statistics for decisions about discrimination claims, products liability, trademark dilution, forensic identification, anti-trust litigation, economic damages, and more
  • The Department of Justice relies on quantitative scientists to improve data security practices and responsible data stewardship of legal briefings and case law
  • Law enforcement agencies collect and analyze data on past crime to predict where crime activity will be more likely to occur and where to send more patrols to prevent crime

Read more about data and the law here.


  • Google, Bing, and others use quantitative methods to optimize their search engines and provide the best results for search terms.
  • Tesla is using data for the development of self-driving cars.
  • Apple and Amazon use quantitative approaches to design speech recognition software and like SIRI and Alexa.