August 11, 2016

To help students navigate an increasingly data-filled world, this fall Berkeley is ramping up its burgeoning Data Science education program, with over a thousand undergraduates from a wide range of intended majors slated to take part in the interdisciplinary curriculum this year.

The program offers a foundation for all students to engage capably and critically with data, and creates pathways to advanced-level work.

A foundational course in Data Science

The program starts at the introductory level, with a pathbreaking four-unit foundational course, Foundations of Data Science, or Data 8, that teaches core computational and statistics concepts while enabling students to work hands-on with real data.

  • Accessible to students of any intended major

  • Ideal for freshmen and sophomores; also now open to others

  • No prior experience with computer science or statistics is expected

  • Appropriate for science and engineering students preparing to pursue more advanced courses, as well as social science and humanities students

  • Satisfies requirements, including the L&S Quantitative Reasoning requirement and the statistics requirement in most majors requiring statistics (See full list at

  • Taught this fall by Distinguished Teaching Award recipient Professor Ani Adhikari of the Statistics department, and in the spring by Professor John DeNero of Computer Science.

  • Cross-listed as CS C8, INFO C8, and STAT C8 with lecture and (two-hour) lab section (students must enroll in both)

  • 155 seats (out of 500) still available, as of Aug. 8

What students are saying about Foundations of Data Science:

  • “One of the things I most enjoy about data science is the diversity-- my classmates range from English majors to bio majors to computer science majors -- all looking at data from our different perspectives.”

  • “This class puts theory into practice. I was able to use data to tell powerful visual stories about the struggles I experienced growing up in southeast LA.”

  • “Out of all the classes I’ve taken, this class gave me the most practical knowledge. I’m applying it in my internship at Google already.”

Tying data science to students’ interests

Connector courses enable students to apply core skills from the foundational course to explore real-world issues that relate to students’ areas of interest.

  • Designed to be taken concurrently with Data 8 or subsequently

  • Connectors are optional, but highly encouraged; Connectors require Data 8.

  • Offered through faculty across many departments and fields of study

  • The Fall 2016 connector courses include:

    • CogSci 88: Data Science and the Mind

    • CEE 88: Data Science for Smart Cities

    • CS 88: Computational Structures in Data Science

    • L&S 88-6: Data Science, Demography, and Immigration

    • L&S 88-1: Child Development Around the World

    • INFO 88A: Data and Ethics

    • L&S 88-3: Genomics and Data Science

    • L&S 88-4: Social Networks

    • L&S 88-5: Data Science for Cognitive Neuroscience

    • STAT 88: Probability and Mathematical Statistics in Data Science

    • View all Fall 2016 courses at

Advanced courses

Faculty are currently developing upper division courses, including Data Science 100, which is scheduled to be offered this spring. Advanced and mid-level courses are offered as part of existing programs. Here are just a few examples offered this fall:

  • CS 186: Introduction to Database Systems

  • CS 189: Introduction to Machine Learning

  • INFO 190: Data Driven Policy Making

  • INFO 290A-3: Social Data Revolution

  • NWMEDIA 190: Making Sense of Cultural Data

  • STAT 133: Concepts in Computing with Data

  • STAT 154: Modern Statistical Prediction and Machine Learning

  • STAT 159: Reproducible and Collaborative Data Science

For more information:

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