FAQ for CADS

Click on the links below for answers to specific questions, or read all the Q&As in order.

What will I gain from the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

Who is eligible to pursue the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

Who is not eligible to pursue the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

Are there any prerequisites for the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

What if I have skills in a prerequisite topic but haven’t taken the prerequisite UNC course?  Can I still apply?

How many credit hours are required to earn the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

How many online courses may I take in one semester?

How many terms will it take to complete the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

What classes will I take for the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

What order should I take the required classes?

Do the classes in the Certificate in Applied Data Science satisfy any Gen Ed requirements?

Can courses for the Certificate in Applied Date Science count towards my major/minor?

Who will mentor/supervise my practicum project?

Will the practicum count towards UNC’s Experiential Education requirement?

What will my faculty mentor/supervisor do?

What are the practicum requirements?

Where will the practicum take place?

How do I apply for the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

What material does the application for the Certificate in Applied Data Science require?

When can I apply to the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

Will I be charged extra tuition or fees for the Certificate in Applied Data Science?

Q&As

What will I gain from the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • Tools and methods required for data science
  • Best data science project practices
  • The complex ethical and societal issues associated with data-driven approaches

Who is eligible to pursue the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • Matriculated UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate students with non-data majors (i.e., not pursuing degrees in information, computer science, or statistics). Enrollment of undergraduate students is currently limited to those majoring or minoring in the academic units that have established partnership agreements with SILS covering identification of qualified students in their departments, recruitment into the program and shared advising. At present, SILS has such agreements with five academic departments: Chemistry; City and Regional Planning; Environment, Ecology, and Energy; Geography; Political Science. Expansion of partnerships beyond this initial list is planned in the future as the program matures.

Who is not eligible to pursue the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • Students pursuing degrees in information science, computer science, or statistics
  • Student who are NOT in a department which has a partnership agreement with SILS as outlined above.  Currently, any students who are not in Chemistry; City and Regional Planning; Environment, Ecology, and Energy; Geography; and Political Science are not eligible.

Are there any prerequisites for the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • As a prerequisite for admission to CADS, students must earn a B or higher in COMP 110, INLS 523, and STOR 155.  These prerequisites are in place to ensure that CADS students have sufficient introductory training in computer programming, databases, and statistics to succeed in the certificate program.  As a general rule, a grade of B or higher in these classes are required for admission.

What if I have skills in a prerequisite topic but haven’t taken the prerequisite UNC course?  Can I still apply?

  • Students who have mastered a prerequisite topic through other means (e.g., work experience, a different UNC course, or training outside of the university) can still apply. In this situation, students must apply for a prerequisite waiver as part of the admissions process. Students seeking a prerequisite waiver must provide documentation explaining why they feel a waiver should be granted. This should include, for example, a syllabus for an alternate course or a detailed description of the work experience through which students obtained the required skills. Approvals for waivers will be made on a case-by-case basis as part of the CADS admissions process.

How many credit hours are required to earn the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • CADS requires 12 credit hours.  The certificate curriculum consists of 9 credits of data science coursework and a 3-credit Practicum.
  • The coursework portion of the program consists of:
    •  four online 1.5-credit accelerated courses,
    •  one online 3- credit course
    •  one in person 3- credit practicum

How many online courses may I take in one semester?

  • Due to College of Arts and Sciences rules, enrolled full-time students are limited in the number of online credits they may take per term.
    • Students may only take 3 credit hours of online coursework per semester (for example:  two 1.5 credit hour courses, or one 3 credit hour course a semester).
    • Students may take 6 credit hours of online coursework per summer session.

How many terms will it take to complete the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • Because of restrictions on the number of online credit hours a student can take per term, the certificate will take 4 terms to complete.

What classes will I take for the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • Applied Data Ethics; 1.5 Credit hours
  • Data Analysis I; 1.5 Credit hours
  • Databases for Data Science; 1.5 Credit hours
  • Applied Data Curation and Management for Data Analysts; 1.5 Credit hours
  • Data Analysis II; 3 credit hours
  • Data Science Practicum; 3 credit hours

What order should I take the required classes?

  • Students must take Data Analysis I before Data Analysis II.

Do the classes in the certificate in Applied Data Science satisfy any Gen Ed requirements?

  • The Data Science Practicum course will satisfy the Experiential Education (EE) requirement.

Can courses for the certificate in Applied Date Science count towards my major/minor?

  • There will be no coursework overlap between the certificate requirements and those of the student’s undergraduate major or minor.

Who will mentor/supervise my practicum project?

  • Your practicum will be advised by dual faculty mentors, with one advisor each from SILS faculty and your home department faculty.
  • The day-to-day project work will be overseen and guided by a project organization supervisor. This is in addition to the dual UNC faculty advisors.

Will the practicum count towards UNC’s Experiential Education requirement?

  • Yes, students will be able to complete their practicum during a regular academic semester, and students will be allowed to use the CADS practicum course to fulfill the UNC Experiential Education requirement.

What will my faculty mentor/supervisor do?

  • Faculty advisors will guide students through the process of identifying matching projects that relate to the major or minor area of study that nominated the student for CADS.
  • Faculty advisors will also review the project report which you will be required to submit at the end of the practicum experience.

What are the practicum requirements?

  • Students must work on a data science project that is relevant to the major or minor discipline that nominated them for CADS.  
  • Students will be expected to write a report about the project and present it to their faculty. advisors. This report and evaluations from practicum supervisors will constitute the basis for a student’s grade in the practicum course.

Where will the practicum take place?

  • The practicum will take place in partnership with a project organization. These project organizations may be not-for-profit, government, academia, or industry organizations.
  • Students will be required to identify their own project settings and partners.  However, the CADS administrative team has relationships with a variety of project organizations and may be able to help students identify productive partnerships.
  • All practicum projects must be approved by the UNC faculty advisors before work can begin.

How do I apply for the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • The first step in applying to the Certificate program is to be nominated.  Students wishing to pursue the certificate should contact their department chair to express their interest in nominated to participate.
  • Nominated students will then receive via email a link to the online CADS application along with instructions for how to complete the application process. 
  • Decisions regarding admission will be announced via email once the CADS admission committee has completed its review of all completed applications.

What material does the application for the certificate in Applied Data Science require?

  • Students applying for the program will be required to submit:
    • A short application form with typical demographic and academic information;
    • Current unofficial academic transcript and any record of other relevant academic work (e.g. courses taken at a different institution and transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill);
    • A statement of interest in the program in the form of a short (500 words) essay;
    • A recommendation letter from a faculty advisor in the nominating major or minor academic unit.

When can I apply to the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • Applications for admission will be reviewed twice per year to allow students to start their CADS coursework in either Fall or Spring. 
  • Students must submit their application in the semester prior to their intended enrollment in the program.  For example, to take classes in the spring, students should apply the previous fall.  To take classes in the fall, students should apply the previous spring.

Will I be charged extra tuition or fees for the certificate in Applied Data Science?

  • Undergraduate students admitted to the program will be charged tuition based on current UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate tuition rates – there will be no additional program-specific tuition/fee charges for this category of program students.