Data Science

This Data Science Program within the undergraduate curriculum provides an opportunity for students to gain advanced quantitative methods skills while learning how to apply them to the most interesting and immediate social science questions. The core of this program will be a “Foundations of Data Science” requirement that will be, in essence, a more advanced methods requirement that will prepare students for the types of quantitative analyses involved in data science. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking our own Gov 2000, or with a handful of advanced classes around the University (Stat 139 or CS 109). In addition to this course, students will direct their Gov electives toward advanced methods courses such as Gov 2001, 2002, and 2003. All other requirements would remain the same as the core Government concentration. This structure captures students who have a strong interest in the social sciences but also want to gain the increasingly necessary skills of data analysis.


We have a growing number of alumni from the Government department at the undergraduate and especially graduate levels that are going into the data science industry. These alumni are working at top tech companies (Facebook, Google, Netflix), data journalism, data-driven political consultancies, and impact evaluation non-profits. All of these fields rely heavily on the tools that students would gain in the Data Science Program, and we hope to connect the students in this program to our alumni in these fields through regular seminars for students in the program. Students would get a chance to see how these skills are being applied in real career settings and hopefully build out their networks for post-graduation.


Data Science Program Details

The course requirements of the Data Science Program largely mirror those in the regular Government curriculum, but students are guided to fulfill them in a particular way:

  • Gov 97 (Sophomore tutorial, 1 course)
  • 1 Gov 94 seminar
  • 4 subfield courses (1 per subfield)
  • 1 Foundations of Data Science (FoDS) course (replaces existing methods requirement)
  • 3 Advanced Methods courses (See list below. Students would take these three Gov courses as their three concentration electives.)
  • If FoDS course is outside of Gov department, an additional Government department elective is required.
  • If on the Honors track, another Gov 94 (or Gov 61) and Gov 99 (two terms) are required.


Foundations of Data Science course list:

  • Gov 2000 (Quantitative Research Methodology)
  • Stat 139 (Linear Models)
  • CS 109a/Stat 121a (Data Science 1: Intro to Data Science)


Advanced Methods course list:

  • Gov 1005 (Data) 
  • Gov 1006 (Models)
  • Gov 2001 (Advanced Quantitative Research Methodology)
  • Gov 2002/Stat 186 (Causal Inference)
  • Gov 2003 (Topics in Quantitative Methodology)

Each of the Foundations of Data Science courses gives students an introduction to the type of applied data analysis that is crucial for data science contexts. Stat 139 is the core Linear Models class in the Statistics department and covers roughly similar ground as our Gov 2000. CS 109a/Stat 121a, also known as Data Science 1, takes a more computational approach to data science, but still gives students the course tools necessary to learn additional methods classes.


How to join the Data Science program

Sophomores: All students who declare Government submit a one-page “plan of study” when they declare. On this form, there is a check-off box that says “I wish to register for the Data Science program.” If you check off this box, you will receive additional information from the Undergraduate Coordinator, Karen Kaletka.


Juniors and Seniors: Interested juniors and seniors (who may have fulfilled most of the requirements and foresee completing the rest before graduation) should click here to complete a Qualtrics registration form for the program.


Karen Kaletka will track internally the “progress toward program completion” of all those who register for the Data Science program and will inform students’ academic advisers that they have chosen to participate.

Students that complete the requirements for the Data Science program will receive a signed certificate from the chair of the department attesting to this completion and are encouraged to include this specialization on their resumés.


Advising in Data Science

David Kane is the adviser for the Data Science program. Please contact him with any questions or to discuss your interests in joining the program.