Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. When should I apply for the Certificate?

A. Students may apply at any time during their UC Berkeley graduate career, either before or after taking courses that would count toward the certificate, up until the middle of their final semester. If you are preparing to graduate this semester or next, please check the application for the deadline.

We encourage you to apply as soon as you know that you are interested.

Q. Who is eligible to apply for the I School’s Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science?

A. Current UC Berkeley graduate students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for the Graduate Certificate. The Certificate serves as a complement to your existing graduate degree program. Students should also plan time in their schedules to take the three Certificate courses before graduating. Students enrolled in the Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program are not eligible to apply or earn the certificate.

Q. Are undergraduate students eligible for the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science?

A. No, undergraduate students are not eligible for this program. We recommend that undergraduate students interested in data science take courses from the Data Science Education Program.

Q. Do you offer a standalone certificate program that members of the community can enroll in if they are not already UC Berkeley graduate students?

A. The School of Information does not offer a standalone certificate program open to members of the community. If you are not a current UC Berkeley graduate student, but you are interested in a data science certificate, we recommend the UC Extension Certificate in Data Science Program.

Q. I’m interested in the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science, and I’m a current UC Berkeley graduate student, but I have no knowledge of computer programming or statistics. What should I do to prepare before starting the Certificate requirements?

A. We recommend that you take courses or workshops in Python programming and in basic statistics. If you wish to take courses in statistics from the School of Information, we recommend INFO 271B on statistical methods. There are many other excellent courses on these topics in other departments as well. Students can search to find introduction to programming courses; consult your departmental advisor for recommendations in your field. Workshops offered by campus units such as the D-Lab may also be helpful. These courses don’t count toward the Certificate, but will help prepare you for it. We also recommend you plan which courses you will use to fulfill the certificate requirements, then check the prerequisites of those specific courses and design a plan to meet them.

Q. Can Python programming proficiency gained through self study fulfill the application prerequisite?

A. If you are already proficient in another object-oriented language, you may be able to learn Python using books and/or online learning resources. Different individuals have different preferences, and some individuals may still prefer to learn Python in a classroom setting.

Q. What if I am in a one-year master’s program? Are there any special considerations for me with respect to the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

A. If your master’s program is a one-year program, and you wish to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science, then you will need to plan carefully to ensure you can take all three courses and meet relevant prerequisites. Start by connecting with your major adviser to determine the best schedule for you.

Q. When will the “Research Design and Applications for Data and Analysis” course that fulfills the core requirement of the Certificate be offered?

A. We plan to offer this course in both fall and spring semesters.

Q. How much does the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science cost?

A. There is no independent cost for this program. You do need to be in good academic standing and have paid all relevant tuition and fees for your current graduate program at UC Berkeley in order to be eligible to take classes.

If you are currently in a graduate program that charges tuition on a per-unit basis, there may be an additional cost to you. Students in those programs should check with their departmental advisors regarding any additional costs.

Q. How can I request to use a course that isn’t on the list of approved courses? Is there an approval or waiver process?

A. We are not currently accepting course substitution or waiver requests for the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science from students. Our faculty curriculum committee only considers submissions directly from faculty members or departments who wish to request that their course count toward one of the Certificate requirements. Faculty or staff who wish to submit a graduate-level course syllabus for consideration should email

Q. If I took one of the courses that counts toward the Graduate Certificate in a prior semester, does that count?

A. UC Berkeley graduate courses taken from Fall 2018 forward can be counted toward the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science. (You do need to have been a graduate student when you took the relevant course).

Q. What if one of my approved courses is less than 3 units?

A. Several 2-unit courses are on the list of approved electives. Students who complete an elective of less than 3 units must also complete a second elective from the list for a total of at least 3 units.

Q. Are alumni eligible to receive the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science retroactively?

A. No, unfortunately we cannot issue the certificate retroactively. If you have already graduated, you are no longer eligible to apply.

Q. What do I need to do when I complete the certificate coursework?

During the semester in which you expect to complete the certificate coursework requirements, you must submit the Certificate Completion Form. The form is due by the last day of instruction in the semester in which a you complete the certificate coursework requirements. All three courses must be either completed or currently in progress.

After you submit the Certificate Completion Form, staff will verify whether you have successfully met the certificate requirements.

Q. What do I receive once I complete the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science?

A. Upon successful completion of all requirements, you will receive a physical certificate with the designation: “Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science.” This designation certifies that you have participated in, and successfully completed, a Certificate Program in Applied Data Science in addition to your home department’s requirements for your degree. The award of the certificate will also be noted on your official transcript. The certificate will not appear on your UC Berkeley diploma.

Q. Can courses taken on an S/U grading basis count towards the certificate?

Any courses taken towards the Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science in Spring 2020, Fall 2020, or Spring 2021 may be taken on an S/U basis instead of a letter grade and must be completed with an S grade (an S grade is a B– or higher). This exception is only approved for Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 due to COVID-19; courses taken in any other semester require a letter grade of B or higher. (Note: students should be aware of the 1/3 limit on S/U grades. This is particularly important for students in master’s degree programs, and students should check with their graduate advisor for questions about whether or not the limit applies to them.)

Last updated:

April 12, 2022