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Data and Decisions Minor

Today's students are tomorrow's doctors, lawyers, politicians, industrial leaders, patients, parents, volunteers, and neighbors who will make important decisions that will impact both themselves and our society. To make these decisions, data serve as an important resource for gathering "objective” information and evaluating risk (or lack thereof) from multiple perspectives. Students in this minor will develop skills to think critically and use data responsibly to formulate judgements beyond their personal inferences/preferences.

Why do it?

At the completion of this minor, students will be able to consume and use data responsibly, ethically, collaboratively, effectively, and efficiently. Such skills are both marketable professionally and useful within personal lives because data literacy is essential for living productive and healthy lives in the 21st century.

“The history of data class was amazing and opened my eyes to so many ethical aspects of data.” - Data and Decisions graduate, 2022


The 18-credit hour minor in Data and Decisions includes 3 hours of introductory restricted electives, 6 hours of core requirements,  6 hours of elective courses selected from a list, and 3 hours of a Data and Decisions Capstone.

CMDA 2014: Data Matter
BDS 2005: Fundamentals of Behavioral Decision Science
BIT/MGT 4854: Analytics in Action (capstone)

Students select 3 hours of introductory restricted electives, and another 6 credit hours of elective courses from topics such as: environmental informatics; introduction to remote sensing; social research methods; digital history; data governance; and privacy and ethics. For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Who is it for?

This minor is intended to teach all students, regardless of quantitative skills, interests, and major, and provide the opportunity to learn and apply fundamental concepts related to data and decisions.

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This minor is hosted by the Academy of Integrated Science in collaboration with numerous departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
5f Foundational Quantitative and Computational Thinking
5a - Advanced/Applied Quantitative and Computational Thinking
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness