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Degree Requirements

Requirements for the SM degree in Data Science address the learning outcomes.  A total of 12 courses taken over at least three semesters is required.  

Each student's plan of study for the SM degree will include:

  • The four technical core courses:

    • AC 209a “Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science”

    • AC 209b “Data Science 2: Advanced Topics in Data Science”

    • AM 207 “Advanced Scientific Computing: Stochastic Methods for Data Analysis, Inference, and Optimization”

    • AC 207 “Systems Development for Computational Science”

  • AC221 “Critical Thinking in Data Science”

  • At least one research experience.  This requirement can be satisfied by the AC 297r Capstone project course or a master's thesis project.

  • At least one Computer Science elective and one Statistics. Courses often chosen to satisfy these electives are listed here.

  • Up to one seminar course - AC 298r or similar

  • Up to one independent study research course

  • Up to four other data science electives (from other FAS departments or other schools at Harvard)

  • As a final requirement, the presentation of a poster on a data science project at the annual IACS Project Showcase

SM Requirements Number of Courses
Technical Core* 4
Critical Thinking in Data Science 1
Research Experience: AC 297r or AC 299r 1
Computer Science Elective 1
Statistics Elective 1

Additional Courses:

      Computer Science electives (up to 4)

      Statistics electives (up to 4)

      Other Data Science electives** (up to 4)

      Research course (up to 1)

      Seminar course (up to 1)


* Students can choose to substitute CS 109a/b for AC 209a/b. These will count towards the maximum number of 6 100-level courses that can be include in their Plan of Study.

**Students can count at most 2 non-technical courses towards this requirement.