City College of San Francisco building
City College of San Francisco has become the fourth community college to receive data science class articulation approval from UC Berkeley. (Photo/ Umi/ CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

September 13, 2021
By Rachel Leven

Transfer students from the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) who take its foundational data science course will now get credit for Data 8 at UC Berkeley, a data science class at the university.

City College is the fourth community college to receive Berkeley’s Data Science Undergraduate Studies program approval for Data 8 articulation. The Math 108 class at CCSF helps students learn about data science and provides relevant transfer credits.

“Data 8 is a popular course at UC Berkeley, not only because it’s interesting, but because it also satisfies a lot of requirements,” said Katia Fuchs, mathematics department chair at City College of San Francisco. “CCSF plays an important part both in educating the San Francisco community and in students transferring to four-year universities. With so many students taking Data 8 at the UC Berkeley campus, getting approval for Math 108 to ‘count’ as Data 8 strengthens both of these roles.”

The California Alliance for Data Science Education, a group led by the UC Berkeley Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society, has shared course materials, offered training and supported technology needs for Math 108 and other colleges' Data 8-parallel courses. The alliance aims to expand access, diversify participation and support data science teaching across California’s higher education institutions. 

The first community colleges to receive articulation approval from Berkeley for data science courses are El Camino College, San Jose Community College and Skyline Community College.

“We are excited to have great partnerships with California community colleges,” said Eric Van Dusen, the outreach and tech lead for Data Science Undergraduate Studies. “We are enthusiastic about expanding options for community college students to transfer to UC Berkeley and expanding who can teach and learn data science at California community colleges."

Math 108 is open to any student, and although CCSF emphatically believes in the importance of the curriculum, most students need the course to satisfy requirements at UC and California State University campuses to justify taking it, according to Fuchs. It can take up to three years to develop a class that articulates to these universities, she said.

City College is considering adding more data science curriculum for their students. It’s not yet clear if that will mean more classes or adding data science into existing ones, Fuchs said, but the community college is dedicated to further educating their students in this area, in partnership with the computer science department and others.

“We think that there is value in having more data science options for students at CCSF, not only because there’s an amazing program at UC Berkeley that we want to support them transferring into,” Fuchs said. “But also because this is such a cutting-edge field.”