March 14, 2016

data science connector fall 2016

The Data Science Planning Initiative is soliciting interest in developing and offering Data Science “connector courses” in the coming year.  You may convey your interest by filling out the simple form at

The Data Science Education Program launched in Fall 2015 with a pilot offering of a unique Foundations of Data Science course, developed jointly by faculty in Computer Science, Statistics and the I School, in conjunction with six pilot “connector courses” from a spectrum of disciplines.  In realizing concepts developed in the DS Education Rapid Action Team report the program provides a strong foundation of computational and inferential understanding in the context of working with real-world data and important issues around privacy, policy, and visualization.  Listed as CS/INFO/STAT c8, in Spring 2016 five hundred students enrolled in the first regular offering of “data8” (, which has no prerequisites beyond entry to UC Berkeley.  The student demographic self-reports as 71% 1st or 2nd year at UCB, 42/58% female/male, and intending to declare 52 distinct majors (roughly half characterized as STEM).  Most (16) of the major programs on campus with a pre-existing statistics requirement now accept c8 as fulfillment, while some augment this with the Stat 88 connector.

Twelve distinct connector courses have been developed and offered this year:

  • CEE 88: Data Science for Smart Cities
  • COGSCI 88: Data Science and the Mind
  • CS 88: Computational Structures in Data Science
  • ESPM 88A: Data Sciences in Ecology and the Environment
  • ESPM 88B: Exploring Geospatial Data
  • HIST 88: How Does History Count? Reading and Writing in the Age of Big Data
  • INFO 88A: Data and Ethics
  • L&S 39D Race, Policing, and Data Science
  • L&S 88-1: Health, Human Behavior, and Data
  • L&S 88-2: Literature and Data
  • STAT 88: Probability and Mathematical Statistics in Data Science
  • STAT 89A: Introduction to Matrices and Graphs in Data Science

Typically, these “88s” are 2 unit courses that build upon and inform the understanding and the skills developed in the Foundation course, designed so they can be taken concurrently with it, and serve students broadly.  Other models are possible, including pre-requisites, rather than co-requisites, larger credit load, or greater disciplinary emphasis.  Connectors might be cross-listed in multiple programs or offered as L&S 88’s. The DSPI seeks to broaden the suite of connector offerings available to students and increase the potential to integrate data science into existing curricula. It is able to provide a range of financial, technical, pedagogical, logistical, communications, and community-building support to you in this process.  This form solicits your interest in doing so:


Bob Jacobsen, Interim Dean
Undergraduate Studies

David E. Culler, Co-Director, Data Science Planning Initiative
Friesen Professor of Computer Science
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

AnnaLee (Anno) Saxenian, Co-Director, Data Science Planning Initiative
Dean and Professor
School of Information

Note: The following is the text of an email sent to UC Berkeley faculty in March 2016.