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Professional Certificate in
Big Data for Social Good

What you will learn

  • 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.

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.

Expert instruction
2 skill-building courses
Progress at your own speed
2 months
1 - 2 hours per week
Discounted price: $304.20
Pre-discounted price: $338USD
For the full program experience

Courses in this program

  1. HarvardX's Big Data for Social Good Professional Certificate

  2. 1–2 hours per week, for 4 weeks

    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.

  3. 1–2 hours per week, for 4 weeks

    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.

    • 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.)

Meet your instructors
from Harvard University (HarvardX)

Raj Chetty
William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics at Harvard University and Director of Opportunity Insights
Harvard University
Abby Hiller
Research Translation Manager at Opportunity Insights
Harvard University
Gregory Bruich
Ph.D., Department of Economics
Harvard University

Experts from HarvardX committed to teaching online learning

Also in Social Sciences at edX


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