Data Science Advisor

Nadia Williams

Advising Tools

Frequently Asked Questions


I am a high school student or potential transfer student from a different post-secondary institution. How can I be admitted into DATA?

Students can apply directly into the Data Science program from high school or as a transfer student. Instructions for how to apply can be found on the Admissions site. For any admissions-related questions, please see the Ask Admissions page.

I am an FIC student, planning to transfer to SFU. How can I get into the DATA program?

Students of Fraser International College are unable to transfer directly into the DATA program at SFU. The pathway program at FIC that is most closely aligned with DATA is the Computing Science pathway, followed by the Business Administration and Engineering Science pathways.

Once at SFU, prospective DATA students need to both meet the criteria for an internal transfer into the Faculty of Science (see the top of this page for the requirements), as well as achieve at least a 2.7 cGPA from key required lower division DATA courses (notably including CMPT 120, Calculus 1, MACM 101, MATH 232/240, and an introductory STAT course) to be admitted into the program.

I am a current student at SFU. How can I declare my major in DATA?

Students already accepted to, or studying at, SFU must consult with the DATA Advisor about being admitted into the program. Admittance is based on completion of key lower division required courses (e.g., MATH 150/151, CMPT 120, MACM 101) with a DATA cGPA of at least 2.7.

Note: If you are currently outside of the Faculty of Science, you will first need to transfer into the faculty before declaring your major (please see the requirements for an internal transfer at the top of this page).

I have completed an undergraduate degree and am interested in completing DATA as a second degree. How can I apply?

If you are interested in applying to complete DATA as a second undergraduate degree, it is recommended that you first consult with the DATA Advisor. Please also see the "Second Degree Students" section below for further details about completing DATA as a second degree.   

For those who completed their original degree at SFU:

You can simply apply for reactivation by completing the form on this page. Choose "Science" as the faculty when completing the form. If approved by the faculty, you will initially be labelled a "non-degree student". Once you have been deemed eligible to do so by the DATA Advisor, you can then declare your major in DATA. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.

For those who completed their original degree elsewhere:

Follow the instructions on this page under the section labelled "University graduate (degree holder)". You will need to initially apply as a "non-degree student" in the Faculty of Science. When you are admitted, and once you have been deemed eligible to do so by the DATA Advisor, you can then declare your major in DATA. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Program and Course Requirements

There is a prerequisite for a BUS course that is not one of the required courses for Data Science. Do I have to take that course?

There are three BUS courses for which some prerequisites will be waived for DATA students:

1. BUS 217W: BUS 201/202 is waived.

2. BUS 445: BUS 336 is waived.

3. BUS 439: All prerequisites waived except for BUS 360W and 90 units.

I have already completed CMPT 130 and 135, and so I cannot take CMPT 120, 125, and 127. What should I do?

Consult with the DATA Advisor about this (or any other case in which you have completed a course that you believe is equalivent to a required course). In certain cases, course substitutions can be made.

Do I have the opportunity to take any electives in the Data Science program?

The DATA program is quite structured, with limited room for electives beyond Breadth requirements. The program requirements involve 52-54 lower division units and 43-44 upper division units, which adds up to 95-98 total units.

Of the required coursework, students will meet the university's Writing requirements (both lower and upper division), the Quantitative requirements, the Breadth-Science requirements, and 3 out of 6 units of the Breadth-Social Science requirements. This leaves 3 B-Soc units and 6 B-Hum remaining to meet the WQB requirements. Including these 9 breadth units, DATA students have 13-16 extra required units that they can take as electives, to meet the required 120 overall units, including 44 upper division units. However, note that students are always welcome to take more than 120 units if they would like. 

What courses should I complete early on in my degree?

There are certain key courses that it is important to take early on in the degree. Notably these include: MATH 150/151 and MACM 101; CMPT 120, CMPT 125, CMPT 127, and CMPT 225; an introductory Statistics course (BUEC 232/STAT 101/STAT 201/STAT 203/STAT 270); and DATA 180. Please take a look at the lists of Suggested Course Enrollments above.

What is DATA 180/481?

DATA 180 and DATA 481 are a combined class. Students should take DATA 180 towards the beginning of their degree and DATA 481 towards the end.

DATA 180/481 is a one-credit seminar class only offered in Fall semesters. The class takes place once a week for two hours (usually on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30pm). Each week, a different speaker comes in to discuss their area of specialty. Guest speakers can include data scientists (and people working in related roles), past students, and career/co-op advisors.

There are no tests or exams for DATA 180/481. Evaluation is based on completing weekly writing assignments about what the speakers discussed.

What happens if my DATA cGPA drops below 2.7?

There is a continuance requirement of a 2.7 cGPA among required courses in the Data Science program. Each semester your DATA cGPA will be checked. If it drops below 2.7, you will first be issued a warning. If your DATA cGPA drops again the next semester, you may be discontinued from the program.

In addition to a major in DATA, can I complete a minor?

Yes, students can add a minor in any subject area to their major in DATA (provided that they meet the requirements to be approved into the minor).

Note: if a DATA student wishes to complete a minor in Statistics, Computing Science, Mathematics, or Business, they will not be able to apply any of the required upper division courses for the DATA major to their minor. For example, the required upper division MATH course for the DATA major is MATH 308/309; if a DATA student pursues a minor in MATH, they will not be able to apply MATH 308/309 to the upper division requirements for the minor.

Second Degree Students

Can I complete the Data Science program as a second undergraduate degree?

Yes, students who have already completed an undergraduate degree can pursue DATA as a second degree.

How can I apply to the Data Science program as a second degree student?

Please see the "Admission" section above for details on how to apply as a second degree student.

What is required to complete a BSc in Data Science as a second degree?

Second degree students need to complete: STAT 240 (Introduction to Data Science); all required upper division courses; and any lower division courses that are prerequisites for upper division required courses and that the student does not have equivalent credit for from their first degree. Please see the Course Prerequisites and Course Availability list to see what courses are prerequisites for required upper division courses. Please send the transcript from your first degree to the DATA Advisor to determine which lower division SFU courses for which you can be deemed to have equivalent credit.

A student with an academic background unrelated to Data Science would likely need to take all lower division courses with the exception of the lower division BUS courses (BUS 200, 217W, 251, and 272) and MATH 208W. CMPT 276 would also not be required for such a student, but is strongly recommended.

How will I be able to enroll in a course at SFU that has a prerequisite I completed during my first degree?

If you believe that you have equivalent credit for a course that is a prerequisite for a class you'd like to take at SFU, you will need to email your transcript to the Advisor who oversees that subject area. For example, if you took Calculus 1 in your first degree, and you would like to enroll in MACM 101, you will need to email your transcript to Applied Science Advising (, requesting permission to enroll in MACM 101. It is recommended that you do this in advance of your enrollment date.

How long would it take to complete the Data Science program as a second undergraduate degree?

Depending on what course load you are comfortable with, as well as what you have credit for from your first degree, a second degree in Data Science could be completed within 1-2 years.