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Computational and Data Sciences — A Letter from the Chair

Finally!  The CDS department has a graduating cohort!

The department was founded in fall 2015, but since incoming students make their decisions much earlier in the cycle, our first cohort started in fall 2016.  Now, May 2020 has arrived, and those students will walk across the graduation platform. 

For these students, I have some advice for when they walk across the stage.  “Don’t look back.  Don’t slow down.”

The CDS department has growing exponentially since its inception, and fast on the heels of this first cohort is even more graduates from the next cohort.

Computational and Data Science continues to be the hottest field in science.  From the fall 2018 semester to the fall 2019 semester, the number of majors in CDS increased 45%.  From fall 2019 to spring 2020, the student body increased by 18%.  That is a huge jump in the middle of the academic year. 

The excitement for our students will continue.  Employment opportunities remain rich in the D.C. area as well as the rest of the nation.  Thousands of jobs are available within just a few miles of George Mason.  Many of our seniors graduating in May have had jobs waiting for them since November.  

The CDS department is growing as well.  We’ve added several new faculty members in the last two years, creating a vibrant educational environment with many new opportunities.

Dr. Michael Eagle: Human behavior using data-driven methods.

Dr. Olga Gkountouna: Data privacy, urban networks, and time series analysis.

Dr. Hamdi Kavak: Urban systems, modeling and simulation

Dr. Dominic White: Computational paleontology

Dr. Ron Mahabir: Image and text mining.

Dr. Anamaria Berea: Computational social science.

You can read about all faculty members at:

George Mason University continues to be a rare breed in the data science education community.  We are one of the few schools which offers a bachelors degree, a masters degree, graduate certificates, and a PhD degree in data science.  Actually, the CDS department offers two PhD degrees (computational science and informatics, computational social science). 

Along with the growth on the Fairfax campus, the CDS department is expanding into other venues.  In spring 2020 we offered the first of many classes on the Mason-Korea campus.  In Fall 2020, we will offer courses on the SciTech (Prince William) campus. 

But we aren’t finished.  CDS is expanding into other countries in terms of dual-enrollments and micro-campuses. 

As you can see, in this short period of time (on the lethargic university time-scale), CDS has become a dynamic and spirited department, educating students for a hungry work environment. 

Your journey can start with a click at