What are Domain Emphases?

Domain Emphases give students a grounded understanding of a particular domain of data-intensive research, relevant theory, or an integrative intellectual thread. A Domain Emphasis is comprised of three courses chosen from a list. Each Domain Emphasis is rooted in a lower division course, which is typically also a prerequisite for the upper division courses. 

A Domain Emphasis is not limited to courses that are intended to be specifically for data science. Rather, they should bring the data science student into the context of a domain. That may involve understanding the vocabulary, methods of study, theoretical foundations, or cultural outlook of the domain. The student needs to become able to build the bridges with data science in carrying out the emphasis, rather than expecting each course to do it for them.

Students will select one course from a short list of lower-division prerequisites, and two courses from a list of upper-division courses. The lower division course is a required element of the Domain Emphasis. However, students with advanced standing or other special situations may consult with a Data Science advisor about substituting a third upper-division course from the approved list for the required lower-division requirement, if appropriate.

What to think about when selecting a domain emphasis:

  • Courses you take for the 7-course L&S Breadth requirement may fulfill the lower-division course for a domain. Even if you don’t yet know which domain to choose, a breadth course may count toward the major as well.
  • Allow yourself some flexibility—choose several upper-division courses from the domain list that you’d like to take, rather than focusing on only two, so that you can continue making progress if you are unable to take a particular course.
  • Be advised that it is important to examine whether seats are typically available in the courses for the domain you select. Domain emphasis courses are offered in many departments outside of Data Science and may have the majority of seats reserved for students in their own major.
  • Pay attention to the required prerequisites for the domain emphasis courses you wish to take (listed in brackets after each course on the domain emphasis page). Please note that prerequisites are subject to change, and you should consult the Berkeley Academic Guide for the most up-to-date information.