Data Science for the Liberal Arts

Data science uses scientific methods, statistical analyses and algorithms to extract knowledge and draw conclusions from data. The Data Science for the Liberal Arts program will enhance the disciplinary perspectives, method and passions already cultivated in students’ major programs by providing new tools to answer research questions.

Why earn a Data Science for the Liberal Arts certificate or minor?

As the world becomes more data-driven, data science is one of the fastest growing skill sets sought out by employers and graduate programs.

Certificate Requirements:

To earn a certificate you must complete 4 classes:

  • An introductory statistics courses, which can be taken from any department that offers one on campus.  Examples include:  MATH 254, POLS 298, PSYCH 295, KINES 301, SOC 310 (offered every semester).
  • CS 133: Foundations of Data Science (offered both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020). NOTE: For students graduating in Spring 2020, CS 111 taken in Spring 2019 can substitute for CS 133
  • DATA-LA 320: Principles of Data Science (offered each fall).  Prerequisites include: CS 133 and introductory statistics
  • DATA-LA 485: Statistical Modeling in R (offered each spring beginning in 2020).  Prerequisite: DATA-LA 320

Click here for more details on certificate requirements

Minor Requirements:

In addition to the certificate requirements listed above, you must earn 6 more credits from data science courses.  Options include:

  • DATA-LA 410
  • DATA-LA 420 (offered on-line Summer 2019, face-to-face Fall 2019)
  • ITM 315 (prerequisites exist; offered every semester)
  • LING 403
  • PSYCH 405
  • SOC 410
  • Other courses with Data Science content with the approval of the program advisor, Kristin Snopkowski

Click here for more details on minor requirements


  • First, take an introductory statistics course (MATH 254, POLS 298, PSYCH 295, KINES 301, SOC 310, or any other university-level statistics course from any department).  These courses are offered every semester, face-to-face or on-line.   Pick the course that works best for you!
  • Second, take CS 133:  Foundations of Data Science (offered Fall 2019, Spring 2020, and ever subsequent spring).  This is a highly accessible course specifically designed for majors outside of computer science.  In this course, students will learn the Python programming language and be introduced to data science tools.  This course has a pre-requisite of Math 143.
  • After completing the CS 133 and Introductory Statistics course, you are ready to enroll in DATA-LA 320 (offered every fall).  This course will focus on the core concepts of data science, including predictive modeling using machine learning and data mining; data gathering, extraction and cleaning; and exploratory data analysis.
  • After completing DATA-LA 320, students can enroll in DATA-LA 485 (offered each spring beginning in 2020).  In the DATA-LA 485 capstone course, students will be working with a stakeholder in the community to analyze a data set to develop insights into their operations using the R statistical software.

If you are interested in earning the minor, be sure to sign up for the additional courses as they are offered.  Most have a pre-requisite of any statistics course.

Trying to add the certificate/minor to your degree plan?

If you started at Boise State prior to the 2018-2019 academic year, you will not see “Data Science for the Liberal Arts” as an option for a minor or certificate.  You need to fill out the Add a Minor or Certificate Not Available in Your Catalog Year section of this form and submit it to the registrar.


Contact Kristin Snopkowski, Program Advisor at or (208) 426-3055.