Data Science Honors Program

The Data Science Honors Program consists of a year-long research and thesis project, conducted over 2 consecutive semesters. Students will complete 2 courses as part of the honors program:

  • DATA H195A (Fall semester, 2 units) assists students with writing their research proposal, beginning to collect data, and with finding a thesis mentor.
  • DATA H195B (Spring semester, 2 units) provides a regular meeting time for students to receive feedback on their thesis drafts and prepare for written and oral presentation of their final thesis.

Student Eligibility

All eligibility requirements must be satisfied before the start of the Fall semester when you are applying:

  • Must be declared in Data Science.
  • Must have completed Data 100 (CompSci/Stat C100).
  • Must have a minimum overall 3.5 GPA and a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major.

Requirements to Graduate with Honors

All requirements must be satisfied by the end of your final term at UC Berkeley:

  • Must complete all requirements for the BA in Data Science.
  • Must maintain a minimum overall 3.5 GPA and a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major.
  • Must successfully pass DATA H195A and H195B.
  • Must submit a thesis of passing quality by Friday of RRR week of the final semester before graduation.
  • Must participate in the end-of-year Data Science Honors Research Symposium.

Application Timeline

Applications will be available each Spring and due in early Summer. Applicants will be notified if accepted by mid-August. Please check back for more information in April.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I find a faculty mentor to work with?

  • Prior to applying, research which faculty members at UC Berkeley teach classes or conduct research in areas you are interested in. You may want to explore UC Berkeley’s faculty expertise database.
  • Consider talking with faculty affiliated with the Data Science Degree Programs Governance Committee or Divisional Faculty Advisory Committee.
  • See these suggestions from the Office of Undergraduate Research about how to identify a faculty mentor.
  • If accepted to the Data Science honors program, program staff will provide further guidance about this process during the Fall semester.

Do I need to have a research proposal ready in order to apply?

  • No. However, you should have some ideas about specific research areas that you are interested in exploring. We recommend talking with professors, GSIs or others working on topics you are considering in order to ensure that your research interests are reasonable for your field, doable within the time frame of the Data Science honors program, and appropriate for your academic background.

How will my application be evaluated?

Applicants will be considered based on the following:

  • demonstrated potential for success in academic research, through coursework or other experience
  • ability to clearly describe research interests
  • interest in conducting original research on a data science topic that will expand existing knowledge in the field
  • academic performance, with an emphasis on courses related to data science and your research interests

Can I use summer classes to qualify for the program or improve my GPA?

  • Yes, you can apply to the honors program with summer classes in progress, and your acceptance to the program will be conditional until summer grades are released.

Can I do the honors program in a single semester, or in the summer?

  • Our faculty feel that the research and thesis-writing process requires two semesters to complete an effective project.
  • The required courses for the honors program are expected to be offered only in Fall and Spring, so students must be able to enroll in consecutive Fall and Spring semesters to participate.

How much time should I plan to spend on the honors program?

  • We recommend taking no more than 2 other academic courses while pursuing the honors program, especially if they are rigorous, upper-division courses. You can also consider talking with an L&S College Advisor about a reduced course load (minimum of 6 units).

How many students will be accepted to the honors program?

  • The size of the program will depend largely on the number of applications received. While we do not have a maximum capacity for the program, we anticipate that the program will remain small, especially during the first few years.

Do I have to apply to do the honors program in my senior year?

  • While we expect that most qualified candidates will be seniors, you do not necessarily have to have senior standing or be graduating in the semester that you will complete the honors program.

Can I extend my graduation date in order to participate in the honors program?

  • If necessary, you should consult with an L&S College Advisor about the possibility of changing your Expected Graduation Term, especially if you will exceed the L&S unit ceiling.