Nature of the degree: BDatSci

This programme has been submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training and the Council on Higher Education for approval and accreditation. The programme will be implemented in 2021, or alternatively in 2022, once the accreditation process and registration with the South African Qualifications Authority has been completed. Owing to some administrative processes, the fourth-year module codes with their subsequent descriptions could not be created in time for this edition.

Interdepartmental and interfaculty collaboration

This programme is presented in four faculties, namely Economic and Management Sciences, Science, AgriSciences and Arts and Social Sciences. The faculty where you are registered awards the degree.

Application procedure and closing date

Apply electronically at by 30 June of the year before your intended studies. For more on the application and admission process, see section 1 of this chapter.

Programme structure

The BDatSci programme consists of a set of core compulsory modules on all year levels. The core modules lay the foundation for studies in the field of data science. For the rest, you have a relatively free choice of modules to enable you to focus on a very specific field within the data science environment. In choosing your modules, please take note of the stipulations regarding timetable clashes in the general section at the beginning of this chapter.

It is also possible within this programme to focus on a specific area of study, called a focal area. You will register for BDatSci in the faculty that offers the focal area.

Focal areas

The objective of focal areas is to help you choose a specific career focus within the BDatSci programme. The focal area is not a programme, and the module combinations are only recommendations for you to make more focussed module choices. Nevertheless, there are several compulsory modules that must be taken within each focal area. The module choices in the tables describing each focal area fit in with the lecture and assessment timetables.

There are eight focal areas in the BDatSci programme, and three of these focal areas are offered in the faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Only these three focal areas are described further down under “Focal areas within the BDatSci programme". For the sake of completeness, however, all eight focal areas of BDatSci are listed below. An indication of the faculty where the programme is offered is given in brackets, and you will find the description of the focal area in that faculty's Calendar part:

  • Analytics and Optimisation (Economic and Management Sciences),
  • Behavioural Economics (Economic and Management Sciences),
  • Statistical Learning (Economic and Management Sciences),
  • Applied Mathematics (Science),
  • Computer Science (Science),
  • Statistical Physics (Science),
  • Statistical Genetics (AgriSciences), and
  • Geoinformatics (Arts and Social Sciences).

BDatSci is a four-year degree programme that will be offered in the four faculties, namely the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences, AgriSciences, Arts and Social Sciences, and Science.

With a degree in Data Science, graduates can put their skills to use to solve real-world problems in fields as diverse as genetics, healthcare, e-commerce, finance, government or retail, to name but a few.

The programme will offer a diverse student cohort the opportunity to gain knowledge of foundational modules in core disciplines such as statistics, computer science and mathematics, and they will also be exposed to new technologies and concepts in the field of data science. Together with this solid foundation, students will choose a focal area within a data-rich environment and this will mean that they obtain the necessary domain knowledge in their chosen field.

This four-year degree is the only one of its kind in South Africa and after completion thereof, graduates will be able to continue with a Masters degree in their chosen field.