Grade 12 requirements

To be accepted into the BDatSci programme, the ​minimum admission requirements are (this is a strict conditon):

•           NSC or IEB average of 80% based on the six best subjects, excluding Life Orientation

•           Mathematics 80%

•           Home Language 60%

•           If English is not the Home Language, English First Additional Language 75%


Does it matter that you specify a focal area when you apply for BDatSci based on grade 11 results?

No, as long as your first choice is any of the focal areas or even just BDatSci (without a focal area). Focal areas will be chosen when you register officially as first year student in the beginning of your studies. It also does not matter in which faculty you apply. Only one BDatSci (from any faculty) option as first choice is suffice to ensure you will be admitted.

Can you register as a part-time student or can it be offered online or remotely?

No, this programme is a residential programme, meaning part-time studies not possible and attending lectures and tutorials on campus is required. There is no online version of this programme.

If you want to buy a laptop, what must you buy?

It is optional to buy a laptop, since all students have access to the faculty's computer labs. If you want to buy one, make sure it is Windows based. IT does not support IOS/Apple or Linux or MAC OSX platforms. 

Minimum specs needed: 8GB Ram m​​​​inimum requirement for modern operating systems as the operating system itself uses between 2 to 4 GB of the resources; 256 GB Class 40​ Solid State Drive (SSD). Windows 10 as operation system.  This requirement is set because some academic software is not available on the MAC OSX and Linux platforms and that there is n​o official in-house support for those platforms. As online teaching, meetings and practicals with live view and interaction has become a reality, an integrated webcam has become essential.  It also allows for remote proctoring of assessments.  Again, should you currently have a laptop without this specification, do not replace it now, but do consider this when you upgrade in later study years.

What is the difference between BDatSci and the degrees BCom Mathematical Sciences & BSc Computer Science with focal areas Data Science?

The BCom and BSc degrees are both three-year degree programmes. To register for a Master's degree, you'll first need to complete an Honours degree after the initial three years. The BCom and BSc degrees do not offer specific Data Science modules in the programme; the BCom is more commerce/business orientated while the BSc is more natural sciences orientated. On completion of these degrees, students can register for an Honours degree in any of the majors of their third years. The big advantage of the BDatSci degree is that you will specialise in a very specific data-rich environment by selecting one of the much sought-after focal areas. Your research project in the fourth year is a direct application and specialist research in the particular data-rich environment.

Can you change from BCom Mathematical Sciences or BSc Computer Science to BDatSci any time?

Yes, depending on which modules you have completed. However, you'll still have to register for the Data Science modules from year 1. This means that you may need to study more than 4 years to complete the degree. Focal areas also require specific modules; you cannot study modules that are not specified by the focal area. In the BDatSci degree, the focal area modules are compulsory from the 2nd year onwards, and you'll have to register for all of them. You need to apply to Prof PJ Mostert at pjmos@sun.ac.za with a motivational letter. Your application will be considered by the BDatSci programme Committee for approval. No student will be allowed to register for BDatSci without prior approval.

Can you change between the focal areas of BDatSci?

Yes, provided you still take the required modules of the particular focal area. It may mean in certain cases that you need to study more than 4 years to complete the compulsory modules for a specific focal area. The modules of a focal area cannot be replaced by modules in other degree programmes.

Can you switch from BCom Actuarial Science to BDatSci?

Having started with BCom Actuarial Science, the easiest switch to BDatSci is at the end of semester 1 of your first year. After first 6 months Data Science 141 is taken and then follow the rest of BDatSci first year modules. The change to BDatSci will then be official at the end of year 1. The longer you wait, the more BDatSci modules you need to catch up on. For example, if you change to BDatSci at the end of year 1 without registering for Data Science 141, means that an extra year is added to your studies, since Data Science 141 is a pass requisite for Data Science 241 etc. and these two modules cannot be taken simultaneously. The two degrees are very different, despite having the same minimum admission req​uirements. Always consult the faculty calendars to see which modules are required for particular degree programmes. Approval to change to BDatSci should be obtained from the BDatSci programme Committee by emailing pjmos@sun.ac.za.

Can you change from BDatSci to BCom/BSc after year 1 or 2?

You may, provided you are enrolled for the required modules of the respective degrees. Both BCom and BSc require specific modules as elective and compulsory modules.

What is the difference between BDatSci and the Data Engineering specialist area when studying BEng Electric and Electronic (E&E) engineering?

Computer Science, Mathematical Statistics and Mathematics are modules than can be taken by students of both BDatSci and BEng E&E. BEng E&E students will be required to take more compulsory engineering modules, resulting in an engineering qualification after 4 years. BDatSci will not only present you with a qualification in Data Science, but also allow you to specialise in one of the most sought-after specialist areas in Data Science.

What are the job prospects?

The Harvard Review claims Data Scientist: The sexiest job of the 21st century. Follow the link here to read more about the need for data scientists.

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