Message from Chancellor Carol T. Christ on Progress of Data Science Initiative

April 17, 2018

Dear campus community,

We are writing with updates on Berkeley’s active engagement with the burgeoning and exciting field of data science, which has the potential to shape numerous fields of study and practice.

Our undergraduates will have many options for studying data science in depth. Of note is a recently approved Data Science major in the College of Letters and Science, effective in Fall 2018, and one in Engineering, which is currently undergoing design and review. A minor is also under consideration for students in all colleges. Even now, more than 3,000 students a year are enrolled in data science courses.

Efforts are also afoot at the graduate level, where we already have three successful masters programs in data science, designated emphases for PhD students, and soon a graduate certificate. Particularly exciting is the student community that has formed, assisting faculty throughout campus to develop new data science-related curricula and discovery experiences.

Data Science is also having a major effect on the creation of new knowledge in nearly every field and profession including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), arts and humanities, and social sciences. Reflecting this evolution, this year we have asked that academic units consider, in their faculty hiring plans, the connections to Data Science that may exist in their fields.

Advancing our efforts in the field of data science was the motivation for our appointing an interim Dean of Data Sciences, David Culler. He is working closely with us and the rest of the Berkeley community on the question of organizational structures for Data Science that will best meet our needs. We anticipate that during the coming academic year we will continue to engage the campus community in broadly inclusive discussions to move our plans forward. We will keep you posted as opportunities to engage in this discussion develop.

For more information about transformative work underway in data science, please see


Carol Christ, Chancellor

Paul Alivisatos, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost