Big Data for Social Good

Professional Certificate Program

This Harvard Online series teaches core concepts in data science, economics, and statistics and equips you to tackle the pressing challenges of our time.

Featuring faculty from:
Start Big Data for Social Good now.

What You'll Learn

The American Dream—the idea that through hard work any child can rise up and achieve a higher standard of living than their parents—is fading: only half of kids today will go on to earn more than their parents did. Why has this happened? And, how can we reverse the fading of the American Dream? What if we could use big data to address problems such as the fading American Dream, growing income inequality, or persistent racial disparities?

The Big Data for Social Good online professional certificate series will teach you how to use big data, coupled with the tools of data science and economics, to solve some of the most important social problems of our time. In the first course, Evaluating Upward Mobility: The Fading American Dream, you will learn about the history of socioeconomic mobility and how geography plays a role in access to opportunity. In the second course, Big Data Solutions to Economic and Social Disparities, you will see how big data can be used to measure mobility related to K-12 education and how data can be used to solve social problems. This professional certificate series will help those working in nonprofits or NGOs, government agencies, public health, and education to use data-driven tools for social impact.

Using big data, we can see how the specific neighborhoods in which we grow up and the schools we attend shape our life outcomes—and how we can take these insights to create better opportunities for all. Big social problems require big data solutions.

After completing the Professional Certificate in Big Data for Social Good, learners will understand how to:

  • Examine historical income, education and family support, and geography to understand how these economic factors lead to upward mobility.
  • Uncover the drivers of economic mobility by studying differences over time and across areas.
  • Utilize tools of modern economic analysis such as linear regressions, quasi-experiments, and causal inference.
  • Put economic theories into practice in the real world.
  • Learn how community leaders are using research to inform policy change.

Series Courses

Read More

Evaluating Upward Mobility: The Fading American Dream

Understand factors that impact socioeconomic growth

Join Harvard Professor Raj Chetty in this course to understand the history of socioeconomic mobility and how geography plays a role in access to opportunity.

Read More

Big Data Solutions for Social and Economic Disparities

Understand factors that impact economic mobility

Join Harvard University Professor Raj Chetty in this online course to understand how big data can be used to measure mobility and solve social problems.

Job Outlook

  • There were nearly 300 average monthly job postings from companies referencing social impact, mission-driven work seeking candidates with big data experience. This represented a change of +84% in unique job postings between October 2021 and October 2022.
  • The median advertised salary for candidates with big data experience at hiring companies that referenced social impact or mission-driven work between October 2021 and October 22 was $140.2K. (Data source: Lightcast™, 2022.)

Enrolling Now

$268.20 $298USD

2 courses in 2 months
1–2 hours per week

Start Today

Who Will Benefit

Collaboration Icon

Community activists and nonprofits

Use big data and economic principles to gain support and advocate for change in underserved communities.

Changemaker Icon

Policy advocates and public sector employees

Serve the needs and requests of your communities better through evidence-based research and defined policy outcomes.

Student Icon

Students and Recent Graduates

Learn how to combine disparate data sets that lead to key findings, insights, and solutions for addressing economic societal problems.

Related Courses & Series

Read More

Introduction to Data Wise: A Collaborative Process to Improve Learning & Teaching

Build a collaborative culture

Join Harvard faculty in this online course to learn what is involved in using data wisely to build a culture of collaborative inquiry.

Read More

Big Data for Education

Professional Certificate Program

Join Harvard Online in this series of online courses taught by renowned faculty to understand how to build a more equitable future.

Read More

Strategy Execution for Public Leadership

Implement a public leadership approach for long-term success.

Join Harvard Kennedy School faculty and former Pentagon Chief of Staff Eric Rosenbach to learn how to develop strategies for public leadership success.