A New Understanding of the World Through Grassroots Data Science Education at UC Berkeley

April 6th, 2017  |  Published in Latest news

Berkeley’s Data Science Education Program aims to make data science an integral feature of a liberal education and a core interdisciplinary capacity available to all Berkeley undergraduates. This is a bold experiment that will equip thousands of Berkeley students across campus with a fundamental education in data-driven thinking empowered by advanced statistical and computational techniques.

“The team of educators see their role as making it possible for students to bring to bear data science in all the ways they wish to use it in the world,” notes History professor Cathryn Carson. Carson is one of the faculty members leading the effort to build a diverse curriculum that includes advanced classes as well as connector courses that provide a bridge between familiar academic subjects and newly available data science techniques. “The energy and enthusiasm of students in the courses clearly demonstrate that the initiative will put data science to work in a breadth of domains that serve society, and UC Berkeley will play a particularly powerful role as a public university in this new data rich era.”

This year, the program is enabling more than a thousand students across 56 different undergraduate majors to learn critical computational and analytical skills demanded by the projected half million jobs in data science by 2018. That’s a lot of potentially unfilled jobs, an opportunity highlighted in numerous media accounts over the past couple of years.  In 2015, Forbes wrote about the urgent need for qualified data science workers who bring different skills, expertise, and experiences to the discipline. Some of them will no doubt emerge from Berkeley’s unique program of connector courses that represent students from a diverse range of skills and disciplines. See more here.

Note: Microsoft partners closely with UC Berkeley in support of its Data Science Education Program. Since 2015, Microsoft Research, through its Azure for Research program provided $235K in Azure credits to enable the Foundations of Data Science course along with $260K in research credits and $5K in training credits. Microsoft also provided $75K in unrestricted gift funding towards UC Berkeley’s Data Program.

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