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Data Science FAQs


Admission

I am a high school student, or potential transfer student from a different post-secondary institution. How can I be admitted into the Data Science program?

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 Science program?

Students of Fraser International College can now transfer directly into the Data Science program at SFU. 

For a prospective Data Science student who is unable to transfer directly into the program, please refer to the question below for current SFU students. 

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

Students already accepted to, or studying at, SFU must consult with the Data Science Advisor about admission to the program. Admittance is usually based on completion of key lower division required courses (e.g., MATH 150/151, CMPT 120, MACM 101, a required STAT course, a required BUS course) with a DATA cGPA of at least 2.7 (you can use the GPA calculator to determine your Data Science GPA).

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 Science as a second degree. How can I apply?

If you are interested in applying to complete Data Science as a second undergraduate degree, it is recommended that you first consult with the Data Science Advisor. Please also see the "Second Degree Students" section below for further details about completing Data Science 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-seeking student". Once you have been deemed eligible to do so by the Data Science Advisor, you can then declare your major in Data Science and become a second degree student. 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 Science Advisor, you can then declare your major in Data Science and become a second degree student. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. 


Program and Course Requirements

What are the requirements for my program?

It depends on your “requirement term”. A requirement term is the semester in which you were admitted to a program. You can find your requirement term on the first page of your advising transcript under "Req. Term". It is a four-digit number that starts with '1' and ends with 1/4/7. The middle two numbers indicate the year. The last number indicates the semester (1=Spring, 4=Summer, 7=Fall). So, for example, 1211 is the semester code for Spring 2021.

To find the requirements for your requirement term, go to the Academic Calendar listing for the Data Science major (or Data Science honours, if applicable). In the URL, change the year and semester to match your requirement term. For your reference, the most recent changes to program requirements for the Data Science major/honours occurred in: 1177 (Fall 2017), 1194 (Summer 2019), and 1214 (Summer 2021).    

The middle two numbers indicate the year. The last number indicates the semester (1=Spring, 4=Summer, 7=Fall). So, for example, 1187 is the semester code for Fall 2018.

To find the requirements for your requirement term, go to the Academic Calendar listing for the Data Science major (or Data Science honours, if applicable). In the URL, change the year and semester to match your requirement term. For your reference, the most recent changes to program requirements for the Data Science major/honours occurred in: 1177 (Fall 2017) and 1194 (Summer 2019).  

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 Science 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. CMPT 130 and 135 is a common subsitute for CMPT 120, 125, and 127.

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

The Data Science program is quite structured, with limited room for electives beyond Breadth requirements. Currently, the Data Science major program requirements involve 58-60 lower division units and 43-44 upper division units, which adds up to 101-104 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 Science students have 7-10 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 (STAT 201/STAT 203/STAT 205/STAT 270); and DATA 180. Please take a look at the lists of Suggested Course Enrollments above.

What is DATA 180?

DATA 180 is a one-unit 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.

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 (you can use the GPA calculator to determine your Data Science GPA). Each semester your DATA GPA will be checked. If it drops below 2.7, you will first be issued a warning. If your DATA GPA drops again the next semester, you will be discontinued from the program. Should your program GPA rise to at least a 2.70, you could be re-admitted. Please consult with the Data Science Advisor to discuss your situation.

In addition to a major in Data Science, can I complete a minor or a second major?

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

For a Data Science student wishing to complete a minor or second major in Statistics, Computing Science, Mathematics, or Business, please refer to this clause in the Academic Calendar:

Students wishing to complete a second major or a minor in addition to a Data Science (DATA) major must satisfy all DATA requirements. At least 34 upper division units must be allocated exclusively to the DATA major.

This includes at least nine units from each of the lists under the sub-headings Business Administration, Computing Science, and Statistics. Units used to satisfy DATA upper division requirements beyond these 34 can be applied simultaneously to the other major, minor or honours.

So, for example, if a Data Science student were to pursue a minor in Computing Science, they would still need to take all of the required UD CMPT courses (i.e. CMPT 300, CMPT 307, CMPT 353, CMPT 354, and CMPT 454). However, only 9 of these 15 UD units would have to be applied to the Data Science upper division units. The other 6 UD units could then be applied to the Computing Science minor. In other words, beyond CMPT 300, 307, 353, 354, and 454, a Data Science student would only need 3 extra UD CMPT courses to complete a Computing Science minor.  

Is there a Data Science honours program?

Yes, there are three different options for a Data Science honours program: 1. Statistics concentration; 2. Mathematics concentration; and 3. Open concentration. Please refer to the program requirements for each concentration in the Academic Calendar. In addition to following the program requirements, a student is required to complete at least 60 total UD units to complete the honours program. 


Second Degree Students

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 all required upper division courses, and any lower division courses that are prerequisites for upper division required courses for which the student does not have equivalent credit for from their first degree. Calculus I and II are required for all SFU Science degrees. Please see the Course Prerequisites and Course Availability list to see what courses are prerequisites for required upper division courses. Send the transcript from your first degree to the relevant department advisors to determine what lower division courses you have from your first degree, and to have those prerequisite waivers added to your SFU record.  Forward the responses to the Data Science Advisor together with your full name and SFU student number.  

A student with an academic background unrelated to Data Science would likely need to take all lower division courses with the exception of certain lower division BUS courses (BUS 200, 251, and 272) and MATH 208W. STAT 240 and 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 would 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 (asadvise@sfu.ca), requesting permission to enroll in MACM 101. It is recommended that you do this in advance of your enrollment date.  See above request to send your transcript to relevant department advisors for course evaluation.

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 in as few as 4 semesters.

For example:

Fall Spring Summer Fall
BUS 343-3 STAT 240-3 CMPT 354-3 BUS 439-3
BUS 360W-4 CMPT 307-3 CMPT 353-3 CMPT 454-3
STAT 302-3 CMPT 300-3 BUS 445-3 STAT 485-3
MATH 308-3 STAT 403-3 3-unit UD elective STAT 452-3
13 UD units 9 UD units 12 UD units 13 UD units


Contacts

Data Science Advisor

Carlye Vroom
statadv@sfu.ca

Data Science Program Coordinator

Dr. Jiguo Cao
jiguo_cao@sfu.ca

Co-operative Education Coordinator

Stuart Billings
stuart_billings@sfu.ca


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