UC Berkeley Data Science: The Transfer Experience

Interested student examines data presented on computer screen while female data science student awaits questions

Berkeley's Data Science B.A. ranks #1 in the U.S. Our curriculum provides students with deep technical knowledge, expertise in how to apply that knowledge in a field of their choosing, and an understanding of the human contexts and ethical implications of how data are collected, analyzed, and used. 

In Berkeley Data Science, we recognize the value that transfer students bring to our program. We offer robust support for our transfer students to excel in the classroom and beyond. 

Deciding whether UC Berkeley is the best school for you? Connect with a Data Science adviser or current student.

Is Data Science at Berkeley right for me?

Our students come from all types of backgrounds and interests, with career pursuits including Data Analyst, Machine Learning Engineer, Software Engineer, Business Intelligence Analyst, Research Scientist, and beyond.  The Data Science major is interdisciplinary and includes classes from every corner of campus.  This interdisciplinary approach allows students to create a curriculum that best fits their educational goals, including graduate school and career pursuits. 

  • ~1600 students are declared in the Data Science major
  • 1 in 5 Data Science students is a transfer student
  • Women make up nearly half of the Data Science student population

Preparing to Transfer

To understand how to prepare for the Data Science major at your California community college, visit Assist.org.  Please note:

  • You must choose Data Science on your UC Berkeley application.  
  • To be admitted in Fall 2024, Data Science transfer students must have completed Calc I/Math 1A, Calc II/Math 1B, and Linear Algebra/Math 54 or Math 56 prior to transfer.
  • We strongly recommend that the computing requirements (Intro to Data Science/Data 8, Program Structures/CS 61A, and Data Structures/CS 61B) are completed prior to your first fall semester at UC Berkeley, but it is possible to be admitted to the major without these requirements.  Students should plan to complete these requirements during their first semester at Berkeley. 
  • Data 8 is currently offered at a growing number of California Community Colleges. Click here to see a list of CCCs that offer Data 8.
  • Taking additional computing, math, and/or statistics courses can be very helpful, but is not required.

New in Fall 2024 - Pursuing Data Science

Transfer students who are offered admission to the College of Letters & Science during academic years 2024-25, and have selected the Data Science major on their application, will be directly admitted into the major. If you are interested in majoring in Data Science, it is strongly recommended that you select it on your UC Berkeley application. We hope to have more information about the possibility of double majoring with Data Science in the coming months.

The Data Science minor remains open and transfer students who are interested in Data Science but did not come in declared Data Science should consider the minor as an alternative (especially if you have some experience in programming and/or statistics).

FAQ by Topic

What classes do I need to complete to be eligible for admission as a Data Science major?

Prospective transfer students must complete equivalents to Cal I, Calc II, and Linear Algebra to be eligible for admissions.  It’s encouraged that prospective transfer students complete as many of the lower division courses as possible prior to transferring.  Please see this list for California Community College’s currently offering equivalents to Data 8.


ASSIST says that the Data Structures/CS 61B course I took only partially satisfies Berkeley's requirements. Do I still have to take the class here?

Yes. If you see the text, “Articulation subject to the completion of a university course,” this means your CS 61B class is not fully transferable. Please contact the Computer Science Dept at cs-advising@cs.berkeley.edu to discuss whether a bridge course or taking the full course at UCB is best for you after you transfer.


I only took the Linear Algebra course in the 2-part Math 54-equivalent at my community college.  Will that fulfill the Data Science requirement? 

Yes, Data Science will accept just the Linear Algebra course in an Assist-approved Math 54-equivalent series.  

Is it possible to graduate in 2 years? 

Yes, see sample plans for examples. The more classes you have completed before you transfer, the more possible it will be for you to graduate in 2 years. You may want to consider taking Data 8 during the summer before you start in the fall. Data 8 is available at a limited number of California Community Colleges. See the latest list of Data 8-equivalent courses.

We save spots in foundational courses for the major, including Data 8, for incoming transfer students. 

Is it possible to graduate in more than 2 years? 

Yes, see sample plans for examples. Transfer students are guaranteed four semesters, however, if you are under the unit limit (130 units) during your 4th semester, you may request a 5th semester from the College of Letters & Science. If you want to keep this option open, it’s important that you meet with a DS advisor early to plan your semesters to ensure you’re eligible. [This is subject to change pending policy decisions currently being discussed as the major moves into the College of Computing, Data Science, and Society.]

Yes, Data Science will accept just the Linear Algebra course in an Assist-approved Math 54-equivalent series.  

I was admitted as declared Data Science, but I want to pursue Computer Science.  Is that possible?

Please visit the CS transfer webpage for more information. 

I’m interested in the Data Science minor.  How do I learn more? 

It’s a good idea to start planning early if you want to pursue the Data Science minor.  The Data Science minor is currently open for any UC Berkeley student to declare, upon meeting the listed declaration criteria. However, seats in classes may be restricted, so it may be challenging to enroll in the necessary classes to declare and complete the minor. Meet with your major advisor and/or a DS advisor to ensure you can complete all the requirements by your graduation date.  See here for more information.

I'm trying to decide between UC Berkeley and another school, or I have questions about the Data Science major at UC Berkeley. Is there someone I can talk to?

Yes! We love talking with prospective and incoming transfer students. We can have a conversation that centers your vision for your education and give you feedback about whether UC Berkeley is the best school for your goals. 

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