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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.

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
Minor Requirements

Required courses to earn the certificate:

  • 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 each fall).
  • DATA-LA 320: Principles of Data Science (offered each fall).
  • DATA-LA 485: Statistical Modeling in R (offered each spring beginning in 2020).

Required courses to earn the minor:

  • In addition to the 4 courses listed for the certificate, students are required to earn six more credits from data science courses. Options include DATA-LA 410, DATA-LA 420, ITM 315, LING 403, PSYCH 405, SOC 410 or other courses with data science content with the approval of the program advisor, Kristin Snopkowski.


  • First, take an introductory statistics course (MATH 254, POLS 298, PSYCH 295, KINES 301, SOC 310).  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 each fall).  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.

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