Scaling Up: Introducing Undergraduates to Data Science Early in Their College Careers

Academic Article


  • It has historically been the case that most data science and analytics programs are offered at the Master of Science level. What few undergraduate offerings exist are frequently limited to either a standalone course or a small number of courses targeted to upper level undergraduates. Literature on how best to teach data science to undergraduate students is practically nonexistent. We review recent work on establishing standards and learning objectives for undergraduate data science education, and we make the case that undergraduate students should be exposed to data science early in their college career. We describe the strategy used to teach an introductory course in data science aimed not at upper-level students, but at undergraduate students in their first or second year of study. This course assumes no prerequisite knowledge in computing, mathematics, or statistics, aligns well with recently outlined objectives for undergraduate data science education, and has a track record of success for five consecutive semesters.
  • Publication Date

  • June 1, 2018
  • Keywords

  • data science, analytics, computer science, education, undergraduate
  • Start Page

  • 76
  • End Page

  • 85
  • Volume

  • 33
  • Issue

  • 6