FAQs

This page provides updated FAQs about the proposed Data Science major and minor. It is current as of January 2018. Currently, the proposal for the Letters & Science Data Science major (B.A.) has been approved by the L&S Executive Committee and moved forward by the Vice Provost to full Academic Senate review.

A separate page covers FAQs for individual courses (such as Data 8, connectors, and Data 100) and more information about the program as a whole.

To ask questions and see more answers about the proposed Data Science major and minor and other aspects of the Data Science program, please check out: piazza.com/berkeley/other/data001.

 

Data Science Major

When will there be a Data Science major?

  • The Letters & Science Data Science major proposal is proceeding through a mandatory review process at the College level (completed) and at the campus-level Academic Senate and administration (now underway). The faculty hope that the L&S Data Science major can be approved by mid-Spring 2018. We are preparing administratively for the possibility that the L&S Data Science major may be approved in time for students to declare in the second half of Spring 2018. However, we can’t get ahead of the review process, which may create changes to the plan.
  • Until the Data Science major is approved, students interested in the proposed new major should continue taking classes that satisfy your existing or intended major, particularly where they overlap with the classes mentioned in the November 2017 student town hall slides. Only if you have additional space in your course schedule should you add new courses specific to the proposed Data Science major.
  • Faculty are also preparing a proposal for the College of Engineering Data Science major. Faculty are aiming to make the major requirements (other than College requirements) as similar as possible to the L&S major. The Engineering major proposal will need to proceed through a similar approval process, following that for the L&S major.
  • The FAQs on this website will be updated with current information as it is available.

What are the aims of the Data Science major?

  • The major would equip students to draw sound conclusions from data in context, using knowledge of statistical inference, computational processes, data management strategies, domain knowledge, and theory. Students would learn to carry out analyses of data through the full cycle of the investigative process in scientific and practical contexts. They would gain understanding of the human and ethical implications of data analysis and integrate that knowledge in designing and carrying out their work.

What materials can be shared from the Student Town Hall about the major that was held in November of Fall 2017?

  • This set of slides describes the structure of the major as it has been proposed for Letters & Science and gives proposed initial lists of courses for each of the lower-division and upper-division requirements.

What can you say about the major’s lower-division requirements?

  • In the lower division, the proposal undergoing review includes one semester of Data 8 (COMPSCI/STAT/INFO C8), three semesters of lower division Math (Math 1A-1B for calculus, Math 54 or EE 16A-16B or possibly other alternatives to be determined for linear algebra), two semesters of lower division Computer Science (CS 88 or CS 61A or Engineering 7 for program structures, CS 61B for data structures), and one semester course in a Domain Emphasis (a class relevant to data science in a different domain or field of study, such as an application area or related conceptual area).
  • You can find more information about proposed course replacements for each of these categories, and the proposed list of Domain Emphases on the student town hall slides.

What can you say about the major’s upper-division requirements?

  • In the upper division, the proposal undergoing review includes one semester of Data 100 (COMPSCI/STAT C100), one semester of upper-division Probability, one semester of advanced Prediction and Inference (such as machine learning), two additional upper-division courses of Computational and Inferential Depth, one semester of Human Contexts and Ethics, and two upper-division courses in your Domain Emphasis (a different domain or field of study, such as an application area or related conceptual area).
  • You can find more information about courses proposed to fill these requirements and the proposed list of Domain Emphases on the student town hall slides.

What specific upper-division classes will be included in the major?

  • We can’t say yet for sure. Please check back for more information. For now, the student town all slides describe the structure of the major as it was proposed.

Are there existing classes I can begin taking now?

  • While the major is being designed and approved, we recommend satisfying university, college, and breadth requirements and taking:

    • Data 8 (COMPSCI/STAT/INFO C8)

    • Data 100 and its prerequisites (currently CS 88 or CS 61A, and Math 54 or EE 16A)

    • A year of calculus (ideally Math 1A-1B for the major, and Math 1A-1B, 10A-10B, or 16A-16B for the minor).

I've advanced beyond Data 8. Are there any other ways to meet the Data 8 requirement for the major?

  • For a transitional period, we hope to allow a "grandfathered" option:

    • Stat 20, 21, 131A, 133, or 135 and

    • CS 61A or E7

I may want to major in Data Science, but I’ve already declared (or I’m on the pathway to declaring) another major. What should I do?

  • Until the Data Science major is available, we suggest you continue taking classes that satisfy your existing or intended major, particularly where they overlap with the existing classes we recommend above, and on the student town hall slides.

Will I be able to double major?

  • Yes, in line with Cal’s usual double major policies, detailed here.

Will there be a GPA threshold? Will this be a capped major?

  • We hope to meet as much student demand as we can. Students will need to meet the standard expectations to declare an L&S major, that is, to achieve a 2.0 grade point average for every unit undertaken in the major program.

I already completed one or more of the courses for the major on a Pass/Not Pass basis. Will they be accepted?

  • For a transitional period, we hope to offer a mechanism for students to ask for consideration of courses completed with a grade of “Passed” in order to accommodate students who took major requirements P/NP prior to the approval of the major.

I’ll already have taken classes that would let me graduate with an L&S Data Science major by the end of Spring or Fall 2018. If the L&S major is approved, will I be able to declare it and graduate with it?

  • In these transitional semesters, if the timing for the L&S major approval allows, the faculty are hopeful that L&S will approve allowing students to add the Data Science major in the final semester before graduation. If approved, this will be a transitional strategy only.

What kind of priority (if any) will Data Science majors receive for enrollment in EECS/CS or Statistics classes?

  • We are working with Computer Science and Statistics to determine whether Data Science majors will receive enrollment priority for particular classes. We are hoping to expand class sizes, and many students pursuing the major will be able to enroll; they may need to be flexible and patient. The major is constructed to allow students to take other options outside CS and Statistics to meet major requirements, and students should expect to explore them.

How will I find out about when the major is approved?

Data Science Minor

When will there be a Data Science minor?

  • Faculty are preparing a proposal for a Data Science minor. It will have to go through an approval process before it can be offered. Faculty are working intensively and hope the programs can be approved in Spring 2018.

What are the aims of the Data Science minor?

  • The minor would provide students with Data Science training to complement and integrate with coursework in their own major. Compared to the Data Science major, the minor would allow for a smaller number and broader range of lower division prerequisites.

What can you say about the minor’s lower-division requirements?

  • The current proposal includes one semester of Data 8 (COMPSCI/STAT/INFO C8), three semesters of lower division Math (Math 1A-1B or Math 10A-10B or Math 16A-16B for calculus, Math 54 or EE 16A-16B or possibly other alternatives to be determined for linear algebra), one semester of Computer Science (CS 88 or CS 61A or Engineering 7), and one semester of Probability (Math 10B or Stat 88 or CS 70 or an upper-division probability course).

What can you say about the minor’s upper-division requirements?

  • The current proposal includes one semester of Data 100 (COMPSCI/STAT C100) and a selection of three or four additional upper-division courses. These might be specified to fall in particular areas, possibly including one course in your own major.

What specific upper-division classes will be included in the minor?

  • We can’t say yet for sure. Please check back for more information.

Are there existing classes I can begin taking now?

  • While the minor is being designed and approved, we recommend satisfying university, college, and breadth requirements and taking:

    • Data 8 (COMPSCI/STAT/INFO C8)

    • Data 100 and its prerequisites (currently CS 88 or CS 61A, and Math 54 or EE 16A)

    • A year of calculus (ideally Math 1A-1B for the major, and Math 1A-1B, 10A-10B, or 16A-16B for the minor).

I've advanced beyond Data 8. Are there any other ways to meet the Data 8 requirement for the minor?

  • For a transitional period, we hope to allow a "grandfathered" option:

    • Stat 20, 21, 131A, 133, or 135 and

    • CS 61A or E7

Will the minor be available to students in all Colleges?

  • We hope and expect so. We are working out how. The faculty are working closely with other Colleges to develop solutions for students across our campus.

What if I’m interested in Data Science after taking Data 8, but I don’t want to go all the way to completing the minor?

  • There are many great classes in which you can develop your skills without completing the minor. We encourage you to look at additional course pathways described on this site and at other classes being offered this term.

How will I find out about when the minor is approved?