Delcaring and Navigating the Data Science Minor

How do I declare a Data Science Minor?

  1. Familiarize yourself with the DS course catalog requirements and core competencies
      • look at specific courses of interest, in which department they're taught
      • notice a capstone and portfolio are required
      • notice you can double count up to 9 credits toward the DS minor and another major or minor
  2. Identify a DS minor advisor
      • look over the DS Core and Affiliate Faculty, is there someone you know, look for a faculty member that fits your interests, how would you like to apply your data science skills
      • reach out to this person and request a one-on-one meeting to discuss the possibility of them serving as your DS advisor.  If they agree, then determine if there are courses you've already taken that count toward the DS minor and discuss what courses would be best to take next
      • once a DS faculty members as agreed to be your advisor, then move forward to completing the declaration form
  3. Complete the declaration form
      • note declaration can be done entirely electronically, where typing your name can serve as a signature
      • go to the following link under Current Student on the Registrar's page and click on the Major, Minor, Program Declaration Form for your class year.  
      • complete all sections except the advisor and program head signatures
      • email the declaration form to your advisor to "sign", which means they type their name in it
      • email the completed declaration form to the program head (Dr. Johnson,
      • Dr. Johnson will then forward your declaration to the Registrar's office

Navigating the Data Science Minor

  1. How do I decide which courses to take?
      • The DS minor is designed to complement your major. So, look for courses that allow you to ask and answer novel questions in your major. How can you increase the depth of your knowledge in the major? How can you connect to other disciplines using DS courses? These are questions you should ask while selecting your DS courses.
      • Also look for courses that count toward your major and the DS minor as those often complement one another and provide more flexibility as you move through the minor
  2. When should I take a particular course?
      • First or second year, start with a Foundation course, an Elective without pre-reqs, or a programming course
      • Second or third year, take a Statistics course and/or an Elective
      • Third year, take a Statistics and/or an Elective
      • Fourth year, select a capstone advisor.  You should reach our and set up a one-on-one conversation with a faculty member (often Core or Affiliate DS, but does not have to be) and discuss the possibility of them serving as your capstone advisor.  This can be someone different than your DS advisor.  You should think about how this capstone will help your career post W&L and which faculty member can help most with that endeavor.  One you find a capstone advisor, simultaneously enroll in their capstone course, or ask them to create one (DS 399) and DS 401.  
  3. How do I get into a DS course?
      • Before registration begins, email the instructor of a DS course and first explain why you are so interested in their course and how it helps you in your DS minor.  Then, let them know you are a declared DS minor (or strongly considering it), so that you have a better chance of moving up the waitlist if the course fills.  Remember that it is typical that majors in a department will get first priority, followed by declared minors, followed by interested minors, etc.