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Data Science clears crucial hurdle to become UVA’s 12th school

Phil Bourne, dean of the new Data Science school
Phil Bourne Sanjay Suchak

UVA’s data science program is now the University’s 12th school, thanks to approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in September. And its dean is Phil Bourne, who arrived at UVA in 2017 as director of the then-Data Science Institute.

The school, made possible with a record-breaking $120 million donation in January, will train students to enter a fast-growing field in which professionals analyze data to uncover solutions to wide-ranging problems—from education to brain disease.

Master’s degrees and certificate programs already are offered, but the path forward includes seeking approvals for undergraduate and Ph.D. programs and the construction of the school’s home along the Emmet and Ivy corridor. The goal, Bourne said, is to collaborate with UVA faculty and students to improve society.

“Community is a big part of it,” said Bourne, formerly of the National Institutes of Health and the University of California, San Diego. “We want to hear from the community. We have limited resources,” he said. 

“But we want to do what’s most impactful.”