Minor in Data Science

A rapidly growing field providing students with exciting career paths and opportunities for advanced study, Data Science combines the computational and inferential ways of thinking and doing to enable the collection, exploration, and analysis of datasets for the purpose of identifying patterns, drawing conclusions, and making predictions about the underlying, often complex real-world processes. Data Science is inherently interdisciplinary given the diversity of disciplines needed to understand and model these processes, which may span natural, physical, social, economic, and humanistic dimensions.

The Minor in Data Science offered through the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences at Boston University equips students from any major with a solid understanding of the key conceptual and methodological dimensions of data-driven discovery and innovation, and provides them with the basic skills necessary to apply this knowledge in various settings by assembling data analysis pipelines and developing information products. The minor requires completion of coursework covering foundational, methodological, or applied data science topics, as well as opportunities to complete a practicum workshop, a directed study, or a supervised internship.

With this preparation, students who minor in Data Science will be ready to leverage competencies and skills they acquire through the program to pursue careers in which they contribute to the synthesis of knowledge in a variety of fields and professions through extraction of insights from data and through the actionable use of those insights in a wide range of application domains.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing the Minor in Data Science are expected to demonstrate:

  1. Understanding of the mathematical foundations behind inferential analysis and predictive modeling;
  2. Understanding of and ability to apply basic data science core knowledge, such as programming, statistics, algorithms, machine learning, and ethical considerations;
  3. Basic capacity to use software to manage, interrogate, analyze, and visualize datasets; and
  4. Ability to interpret, explain, and question results of data analysis in specific settings.

Requirements

Prerequisite

To qualify for the minor, students must have taken at least one course covering basic computing and programming concepts such as those covered in CDS DS 100, CAS CS 111, and ENG EK 130.

Requirements

The minor requires completion of a total of 24 credits with at least 16 credits earned through coursework (four 4-credit courses) covering foundational, methodological, or applied data science topics, and at most 8 credits earned through completion of practicum workshops, directed studies, or supervised internships. Up to 8 credits (two 4-credit courses) taken to satisfy the requirements of other programs at BU may be used in lieu of equivalent courses required for the minor.

At least 16 credits (four 4-credit courses) taken toward the minor must be offered through the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences (which may include cross-listed CDS courses offered by other academic units), covering at least two core data science subjects.

Students can use courses taken to satisfy the requirements of other STEM programs they are pursuing at BU to place out of the foundational courses required for the minor, allowing them to take higher-level data science core, elective, and practicum courses to fulfill minor requirements.

Please see below for a further look at how the above requirements may be satisfied through coursework in CDS at the foundational, core, and elective levels. Students must earn a minimum grade of C in any course to be counted toward the minor.

A. Data Science Foundations: Unless covered by equivalent courses taken to satisfy the requirements of other programs of study, students must complete at least one course in each of the following foundational subjects of the major in Data Science:

  • Computational Foundations: CDS DS 110 or equivalent
  • Mathematical Foundations: CDS DS 120, CDS DS 121, CDS DS 122 or equivalent

B. Data Science Core: At least three courses covering two or more of the following core subjects of the major in Data Science:

  • Programming: CDS DS 210 or equivalent
  • Data Mechanics: CDS DS 310 or equivalent
  • Statistics: CAS MA 214 or equivalent
  • Algorithms: CDS DS 320 or equivalent
  • Machine Learning: CDS DS 340 or equivalent
  • Ethical & Social Implications: CDS DS 380 or equivalent

C. Data Science Electives: Any courses covering subjects under either the “methodology” or “in-the-field” options of the major in Data Science. Please see the CDS BS in Data Science for a list of these electives.

D. Practicum Experience: At most 8 credits earned through:

  • CDS practicum courses or workshops
  • Preapproved directed studies pursued under the supervision of a BU faculty member

These requirements are intentionally flexible to allow students to select from a wide range of pathways that complement their major course of studies. To that end, it is important for students pursuing the minor to receive early and detailed advising to ensure that the course sequences chosen are coherent and that the prerequisites of core or elective courses are satisfied.