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Eileen LeFurgy
Program Coordinator

Kerwin Hall, Room 109 J

Center for Data Science 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016-8012 United States

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Institute for Data Science and Big Data

January 2 - January 10, 2021

The 2021 Institute will be held virtually.

This Institute covers the essential basis for doing data science as practiced in the 21st century. Data scientists are expected to know how to obtain relevant data for a specific problem, clean and explore data, create models using data, state inferences, make reliable predictions, and communicate findings to multiple, possibly non-technical, audiences. We will cover each of these steps in 10 intense working days.

The course consists of a dynamic mixture of theoretical lectures, guest speakers, and group assignments. The guest lectures include data science leaders from Washington’s unparalleled mixture of government, academia, and business. Statistical topics include: exploratory methods, graphics, regression, machine learning, ensembles, clustering analysis, and Bayesian approaches. Specific technical skills including: R, Python, Pandas, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, API Interactions, Social Media Mining, SQL, Tableau, GitHub, and more.

Course Information

Instructor: Ryan Moore, Associate Professor, Department of Government

Course schedule: 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday

Course number: SPA-020/SPA-420/SPA-620

Professionals can apply by submitting a resume and letter of interest to

Participants will receive a certificate of completion.

  • 4 credit hours.
  • Talk with your adviser about registering for SPA 420 (undergraduate) or SPA 620 (graduate).
  • The January Institute is part of the academic Spring semester.
  • Cost (non-credit): $1,500 plus fees.
  • To apply, email a resume and letter of interest to
  • Are there any prerequisites or knowledge of specific software programs required before attending?  The prerequisite is a basic statistics 101 class or equivalent knowledge. Some previous knowledge of R is useful but not required.
  • How deep the instruction will go into analysis with R and the other software packages mentioned in the course description?  We will use R and Python at a fairly basic level for the most part, with some advanced usage carefully explained as if participants have not seen it before.
  • Will there be a lot of hands-on work conducting analysis?  Yes, there will be a hands-on group project with real data.
  • When will decisions about acceptance for non-AU students be made?Decisions are made on a rolling basis, and are currently being accepted. Non-AU students have the same preference as AU students.
  • All visiting students (new to AU), enrolled for credit or not-for-credit register for the class through AU Central.
  • The non-credit option is SPA 020. 
  • A visiting student fills out the course registration form and submits the form directly to AU Central. AU Central will complete the course registration for the student.
  • AU Central will begin accepting spring registration requests in mid-October. They will confirm receipt of the registration request, and hold the registration form until spring registration opens for new students.
  • Spring course registration for new non-degree students will begin late fall.
  • The Institute is not open to registration through the Consortium of DC area schools. Interested students from local area schools can register for the class as a visiting student through AU Central. If taking the class for course credit, they would have to make arrangement to transfer the course credit back to their home school.
  • Once you are accepted, detailed information will be sent to you with instructions to register. 

Contact Data Science Institute

For questions, please email