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Data Science Certificate Program Curriculum

The Data Science Certificate program consists of four courses. These four courses follow a sequence that explores foundational and functional knowledge and moves into synthesis and integration of that knowledge. The following descriptions provide greater insight into the content of each course.

DATA 501 Foundations of Data Science with R (4)

This foundational course offers a full-spectrum introduction to data science and data science workflows, emphasizing data as a source of value creation in the enterprise. The R programming environment serves as the implementation vehicle in support of essential data science activities – data exploration and visualization, data wrangling, predictive modeling, model deployment, and communication. The R programming environment, along with Python, is among the most important tools in the data scientist’s toolbox and this course will feature tools and a style of programming inspired by the popular tidyverse ecosystem – ggplot2 for data visualization, dplyr and tidyr for data wrangling. Students will master elements of the data science workflow through a series of short R programming exercises reinforced by a full-spectrum, integrative final project. Presentation skills are an ever-present theme as students are challenged, through every stage of analysis, to communicate managerial relevance and value to the enterprise.

  • Prerequisite: None
  • Offering: Fall
  • Professor: Staff

DATA 502 Data Visualization and Presentation (4)

It’s one thing to conduct an analysis, it’s another to convince someone to change their behavior based on this analysis. In this course, students will study theories of visualization, communication and presentation with the purpose of translating technical results into actionable insight. Using a mix of case studies and code, the course begins with an examination of how to ask good research questions. It then covers the psychology of communication and the construction of compelling visualizations. Finally, students are tasked with writing and presenting their work in a manner suited to a non-technical audience.

  • Prerequisite: None
  • Offering: Fall
  • Professor: Staff

DATA 503 Fundamentals of Data Engineering (4)

Data management is core to both applied computer science and data science. This includes storing, managing, and processing datasets of varying sizes and types. This course introduces students to the various ways in which data is stored and processed including relational databases, file-based databases, cloud-based storage and data streaming. A key component of the course is learning which architectures fit which types of data science problem (and the strengths and weaknesses of each). Students will learn to work with data that is both clean and structured, and dirty and unstructured.

  • Prerequisite: None
  • Offering: Spring
  • Professor: Staff

DATA 504 Data Ethics, Policy and Human Beings (4)

This course explores the legal, policy, and ethical implications of data. These types of issue arise at each stage of the data science workflow including data collection, storage, processing, analysis and use. Armed with legal and ethical guidelines, students are then confronted with topics including privacy, surveillance, security, classification, discrimination, decisional-autonomy, and duties to warn or act. Using case studies and a lecture-discussion format, the course will address real-world problems in areas like criminal justice, national security, health, marketing and politics.

  • Prerequisite: None
  • Offering: Spring Semester
  • Professor: Staff

Willamette University

Certificate in Data Science

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.