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Boise State Adds New Data Science for the Liberal Arts Certificate, Minor

By: Cienna Madrid   Published 5:24 pm / April 16, 2018

Boise State University has added a new certificate and minor, Data Science for the Liberal Arts (DATA-LA). The transdisciplinary program emphasizes practical skills and experiential learning to examine questions of human behavior using large and complex data sets. Courses will be offered beginning fall 2018.

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 also is one of the fastest growing skill sets sought out by employers and graduate programs.

There are several required courses to earn the certificate:

  • CS 133: Foundations of Data Science, an introductory statistics courses, which can be taken from any department that offers one on campus
  • DATA-LA 320: Principles of Data Science
  • DATA-LA 485: Statistical Modeling in R
  • For the minor, students are required to earn an additional six credits from data science courses (or courses with data science content). Options are available from a wide variety of departments, including anthropology, information technology management, linguistics, biology, psychological sciences, sociology and other data science content courses with the approval of the program advisor, Kristin Snopkowski.

Interested students should sign up for CS 133 Foundations of Data Science, which is being offered for the first time in fall 2018 by Katie Bosch-Wilson. 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. A similar course at University of California, Berkeley, is the fastest growing course in their history.

A second course, DATA-LA 420 Social Network Analysis, which fulfills an elective course for the minor, will be offered in fall 2018 by Vicken Hillis in human-environment systems and in spring 2019 by John Ziker in anthropology. The prerequisite for this class is any university-level statistics course.

The final two courses for the certificate, DATA-LA 320 and DATA-LA 485, will be offered in fall 2019 and spring 2020 respectively. 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.