Stellenbosch University
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New BDatSci degree at SU a reality in 2021
Author: Ronél Beukes
Published: 19/11/2020

Stellenbosch University has announced that the University will offer a four-year Bachelor degree in Data Science with a truly multi-disciplinary nature based on inter-faculty collaboration. With this announcement, SU has joined the global academic family offering Data Science programmes in order to meet the huge demand for Data Science jobs in the next decade.

The programme has recently been registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), making it possible to enrol the first cohort of students in 2021.

While the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences was instrumental in developing the new programme, academics from Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Economics, Logistics, Genetics, Geography and Physics together with Statistics and Actuarial Science have worked tirelessly over the last few years to have the programme approved.

The Data Science degree will offer students the opportunity to gain knowledge of foundational modules in the core disciplines of statistics, computer science, mathematics and data science. They will also be exposed to the latest technologies and concepts in the field of data science.

According to Prof Paul Mostert, Chair of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, the goal of the BDatSci programme is to repeatedly engage students in the full data cycle by which we learn from data, and to develop graduates to acquire the necessary skills of a Data Scientist.

“This necessitates the interweaving and integrating of traditionally siloed topics and tools into a cohesive programme. We believe that at SU this undergraduate programme in Data Science will definitely contribute to, and fulfil the need of, an ever-changing world spurred on by the fourth industrial revolution," he said.

“Work across nearly all domains is becoming more data driven, and this continued transformation of work requires a substantial cadre of talented graduates with highly developed data science skills and knowledge. This degree will provide graduates with skills to solve real-world problems from basically all disciplines and environments, from genetics, healthcare, e-commerce, finance and retail to government."

The programme will be offered in four faculties, namely the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences, AgriSciences, Arts and Social Sciences, and Science. BDatSci has a strong focus on specific data-rich environments and has 8 focal areas. Students will register in one of the four participating faculties from their first year depending on their preferred focal area.

It is the only programme of its kind in South Africa. After completion thereof, graduates will be able to continue with a Master's degree in their chosen field for further specialisation in Data Science.

  • For more information (including information about the focal areas), please click here or visit the BDatSci website at, including the section on frequently asked questions (FAQ).