Data Science Minor

The Data Science (DS) minor is interdisciplinary in nature, accessible to all undergraduate students across campus. The minor will develop critical thinking skills and practical capabilities by teaching students to:

  1. formulate questions in a discipline that can be answered with data;
  2. use tools and algorithms from statistics, applied mathematics, and computer science for analyses;
  3. visualize, interpret, and explain results cogently, accurately, and persuasively;
  4. understand the underlying social, political, and ethical contexts that are inevitably tied to data-driven decision-making.

Curricular Structure

NOTE: This website is intended to information about the minor. For current and detailed information on degree requirements, please visit the General Announcements.

Rice University - Data Science, Department Programs


Students interested in the DS minor will be expected to have fulfilled prerequisite courses in calculus and have demonstrated proficiency in the programming language, Python.


  • Python proficiency is required for advanced courses (i.e. DSCI 302)
  • COMP 140 or DSCI 101
    Python programming is included in much of the course material for the minor. You will have to demonstrate Python proficiency before registering for DSCI 302 if you do not take COMP 140.

DSCI COURSES(required)

There are 5 core requirements and 1 elective.


Select 1 course from the following:

  • BIOE 439: Applied Statistics for Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  • DSCI 301 / STAT 315: Probability and Statistics for Data Science
  • ELEC 303: Random Signals in Electrical Engineering Systems
  • PSYC 339: Statistical Methods-Psychology
  • SOCI 382: Social Statistics
  • STAT 280: Elementary Applied Statistics
  • STAT 305: Intro to Statistics Biosciences
  • STAT 310 / ECON 307: Probability and Statistics
  • STAT 311: Honors Probability and Mathematical Statistics

Big Data

Select 1 course from the following:

  • DCSI 302: Introduction to Data Science Tools and Models
  • COMP 330: Tools and Models for Data Science
  • COMP 430: Introduction to Database Systems

Machine Learning

Select 1 course from the following:

  • DCSI 303: Machine Learning for Data Science
  • ELEC 478: Intro to Machine Learning
  • STAT 413: Intro to Statistical Machine Learning
  • COMP 540: Statistical Machine Learning


Select 1 course from the following:

  • DSCI 305: Data, Ethics and Society
  • COMP 301: Computer Ethics


Select 1 course from the following:

  • DSCI 400: Data Science and Machine Learning Self-Guided Capstone Laboratory
  • DSCI 435 / COMP 449: Applied Machine Learning and Data Science Projects

For the approved elective list, check the GA website.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Data Science minor start?

Fall 2019

Does AP MATH count for the MATH requirements?

Yes, MATH 105 and MATH 106 can be used to fulfill these requirements

When should I be thinking about starting the minor?

It depends on your major. You should talk with both your major advisor and a DS minor advisor. In general, if you do not take DCSI 301 by the fall semesters of your sophomore year, it may be challenging to fit in the DS minor. We strongly recommend that you begin taking all Foundational Prerequisite Courses (see above) as soon your freshman year, so that you can take DSCI 301 the fall of your sophomore year.

Will course substitutions be accepted?

Some course substitutions have already been approved:

  • STAT 310 may be substituted for DSCI 301
  • STAT 315 may be substituted for DSCI 301
  • COMP 330 may be substituted for DSCI 302
  • STAT 413 may be substituted for DSCI 303

In certain instances, other advanced courses may be substituted, subject to approval of the DS minor’s academic advisor. Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the minor's Official Certifier, so please contact the minor’s academic advisor as soon as possible if you have questions regarding course substitutions.

Whom should I contact for advising questions?

The DS minor advisor information will be posted in the OAA website at the beginning of the academic year (

Will all the courses be offered every semester?

No. Although this might change over time, the anticipated course offerings for the 2019-2020 academic year is listed below:

  • DSCI 301: Fall and Spring
  • DSCI 302: Spring only
  • DSCI 303: Fall only
  • DSCI 304: Fall and Spring
  • DSCI 305: Spring only
  • STAT 435: Fall and Spring (this course will not be offered Fall 2019)
How and when can I declare the DS minor?

Beginning Fall 2019 you can meet with a DS minor advisor (see 5 above) to declare the minor.

Can the DCSI courses be taken by students not taking the DS minor?

Yes, but please talk with your major advisor about how the DSCI courses might fit into your major.