Part-time, in class and online Community Data Science Certificate

Harness data to shape your community

Gain exposure to new ideas and multi-disciplinary perspectives as you systematically work through community-based data analytics problems with a network of fellow learners. 

Start with the foundations

The first course, Community Data Science Theory and Practice, is a balance of “where,” “how,” “what” and “why” of working with data, and understanding their possibilities and limitations for informing evidence-based decisions.

Using the Canadian Census as a foundational structured dataset, you will develop a rigorous and pragmatic approach to accessing, evaluating, retrieving, and analyzing this data. You will also learn where and how to mine vast open data catalogues. 

What you will learn:

  • Describe the fundamental elements of data
  • Explain the structure and importance of the Canadian Census
  • Mine Canadian Census data, and open data for B.C. at provincial and municipal scales
  • Assess basic public datasets
  • Perform the most common and critical operations in data analysis
  • Understand the limits in data analysis

Who should take this program?

Consider taking this certificate if you are an emerging or established professional who wants to add a foundational and functional understanding of quantitative community data usage and research to your toolkit. 

The Community Data Science Certificate is designed to help you develop data skills in the following areas:

  • Acquisition
  • Analysis
  • Visualization
  • Communication

If you have basic or intermediate skills and interests in this area, you will likely be a good fit for this program.

Combined with your prior education in areas such as business, design, public policy, social sciences, and urban planning, the program is intended to increase your competitiveness and competency for positions at all levels in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

What participants are saying about the program

"This program is giving me a better idea of how I can use data to solve problems at work, or gain a better understanding of what the problems actually are!"

"This program is acting as a wedge to open up the world of data to a municipality underserved in this area."

"I'm a planner looking to produce community data profile information from my municipality, and also just generally to better understand how we can use data to inform processes for us."

"This program is empowering our team! Otherwise, we would face the high costs of bringing in consultants to mine readily and freely available data to create reports that influence our land-buying decisions."

Taught by industry leaders

Lyn Bartram, PhD

Associate Professor, SFU School of Computing Science

Scott Graham, MA

Associate Executive Director, Manager of Research, Planning and Consulting Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC)

Craig E. Jones, MA

Research Coordinator, UBC Housing Research Collaborative

Martin Monkman, MA

BC Provincial Statistician; Director, BC Stats

David Wachsmuth, PhD

Professor, School of Urban Planning, McGill University

Sam Walker, PhD

Education Developer and Analyst, SAFE Software

Andy Yan, MA

Director, SFU City Program

Start with the first course

If you’re not ready for a program, we invite you to start with the first course, Community Data Science Theory and Practice (CDSC101). It's an excellent way to determine whether the full program is the right fit for you. After completing the course, you'll have the option of applying to the program and finishing the certificate.