Data science minor approved by multiple UC Berkeley colleges

Sam Albillo/Staff

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The UC Berkeley data science minor, under the Division of Data Science and Information, was approved by the College of Letters and Science on Sept. 25, the College of Natural Resources on Oct. 1 and the College of Chemistry on Thursday.

The minor is under review by the College of Engineering, the College of Environmental Design and the Haas School of Business, according to Jill Hodges, spokesperson for the Division of Data Science and Information. The colleges will make their decisions in the coming weeks.

Bob Jacobsen, interim dean of the division of data science, said he is excited for the recent approval of the minor.

“It’s marvelous,” Jacobsen said. “There’s been a desire for the minor for several years. Students don’t have a lot of time to study for a double major. That’s been something the faculty wanted for five years.”

UC Berkeley students can declare the minor as soon as it becomes available in CalCentral, which should be during fall 2019 or by spring 2020 — just in time for students graduating in spring 2020 or later.

To declare the minor, students must complete Data 8: “Foundations of Data Science” with a C- or better, along with two additional courses toward the minor completed by or in progress during the current term.

The two additional courses are divided into “programming” and “probability” lower division requirements in which students must take one class from each category.

For the minor’s upper division requirements, students may choose between two pathways. Students can either choose the Data 100: “Principles and Techniques of Data Science” pathway aimed at those with backgrounds in linear algebra and calculus or the Statistics pathway via Statistics 131A: “Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Life Scientists” and Statistics 133: “Concepts in Computing with Data,” which is suitable for those with one semester of calculus, according to the UC Berkeley data science and information division website.

Students are required to take a human contexts and ethics class along with technical or applied electives. A total of seven classes have to be taken with a letter grade of C- or better to complete the minor, and students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in all courses going toward the minor.

Campus sophomore Hans Ocampo intends to major in data science, but said he is worried about the potential increase in class enrollment.

“It’s going to hurt me a little bit,” Ocampo said. “A lot of people are going to now take my classes. I already had a hard enough time to get in the data science classes, especially Data 100.”

According to the UC Berkeley data science and information division website, there are no plans to provide priority enrollment in any courses for data science minors, as a minor is not required to graduate.

Campus senior Maco Bermejo said he is looking forward to adding the minor.

“I like that it has a lot of overlap of what I’m currently doing right now,” Bermejo said. “It’s very accessible to me — I only need two more classes. The added minor makes my resume look kinda nice.”

Contact Marc Escobar at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @mescobar_dc.