Foundations of Data Science: A Data Science Course for Everyone


What is it?

Foundations of Data Science (Data C8, also listed as COMPSCI/STAT/INFO C8) is a course that gives you a new lens through which to explore the issues and problems that you care about in the world. You will learn the core concepts of inference and computing, while working hands-on with real data including economic data, geographic data and social networks.


Who is it for?

The course is designed for entry-level students from any major. It is designed specifically for students who have not previously taken statistics or computer science courses.


Does it satisfy requirements?

Yes, it satisfies the L&S Quantitative Reasoning requirement, as well as the statistics requirement in most departments that require it. But unlike other statistics courses, it also introduces you to computer programming. Unlike other computer science courses, it gives you a chance to work hands-on with real data and tackle real-world issues.


What are the prerequisites?



Why should I take this course?


In a world in which we’re surrounded by data, this course enables you to combine that data with Python programming skills to ask questions and explore problems that you encounter in any field of study, in a future job, and even in everyday life.


What kind of support is available if I need help?

Lots of support and tutoring are available. In weekly labs, you’ll get hands-on practice. Small-group tutoring sessions are also available, and course staff strongly encourage you to take advantage of their office hours. The Data Scholars program provides community and support to underrepresented and nontraditional students.


What is the format?

The course includes lectures, a required weekly lab, homework, and projects in which you’ll tackle real-life issues using real data. Connector courses connect Data 8 to many areas, if you want to take one at the same time or later.


What does it cover?


The course teaches you all the key ideas of an introductory statistics class, in a new, modern, hands-on way. It weaves in contextual issues like data privacy and bias. At the same time, it gives you a powerful understanding of key ideas in computing.


Data 8 is a great class if you want to understand data in the world around us, or use these tools in your own major. It's also the best foundation for going on in data science.

What do students say about it?


"It's very hands-on -- I was able to go through the data myself, and ask questions I was curious about. It really cemented the idea for me that data tells a story and can shed light on things that I never considered before.”


“Taking data science really sets you apart and makes you more valuable. It lets you ask questions and find answers in a way that most other students can’t. Data helps you communicate, no matter whether your field is technical or non-technical.”


“One of the things I most enjoy about data science is the diversity -- my classmates range from English majors to bio majors to fellow computer science majors -- all looking at data from our different perspectives.”


“I truly came out of this class loving statistics, and I intend to explore more of the world of data science. As someone who is majoring in the social sciences (Political Science) I'm grateful to you and the staff for making this course accessible to all majors across campus.”


“I enjoy that you learn by doing -- you look at the data yourself, analyze it, ask questions, and draw conclusions.”


How can I get more information?


All the course materials are online. Just visit