MIDS Courses

A total of 42 credits will be required to complete the MIDS degree.

4 full-semester electives and 12 elective credits in total are required to fulfill graduation requirements, but tuition covers up to 6 full-semester electives and 3 mini-courses (which last for 1/3 of a semester). More than 6 full-semester electives may be taken (in theory a student could take up to eight) but will require additional tuition payments if they are taken after the initial 6 full-semester electives are fulfilled.

Students can design their schedule to accommodate their interests and background. Students with a less technical background may wish to focus primarily on core courses in the first year of the program or to enroll in electives that help fill in gaps in their experience. Other students may wish to take electives in their first year so that they have more time to focus on their Capstone project during their second year.

Please note that all international students at Duke are required to take English language comprehension, writing, and speaking tests when they arrive on campus.

MIDS students may take undergraduate courses, however, undergraduate courses do not count towards the requirements for the MIDS degree or Duke's minimum number of credits for full-time enrollment, nor do grades for undergraduate classes get factored into GPA requirements. Nonetheless, MIDS students must still pay full tuition for undergraduate classes. For these reasons, most MIDS students elect to take only graduate courses.


Data Science Ethics

IDS 704
Fall 1
Credits: 1.5

Data Science tools are not morally neutral. This course is designed to help students think explicitly about their social responsibility as data scientists and the impact on the world of what they are building and analyzing.

Data Science Dialogues

IDS 791
Credits: 0.5 credit each semester

A series of discussions that give students snapshots of data science projects from practitioners and researchers.

MIDS Workshops

IDS 898
Credits: 0.5 credit each semester

A series of workshops to gain soft skills such as interviewing, negotiating, and networking.

Unifying Data Science

IDS 701
Credits: 3

This course is focused on how to answer questions effectively using quantitative data. By the end of the course, students will be able to recognize different types of questions (e.g. descriptive, causal, and predictive questions), have an understanding of what methodological approaches are most appropriate for answering each type of question, be able to design and critically evaluate data analysis plans, and understand how to tailor their presentation of results to different audiences.

Data Logic, Visualization, and Storytelling

IDS 707
Credits: 1.5

Principles of communicating the implications of a data analysis.

Students will cultivate the ability to think critically and skeptically about the questions they need to answer in a data project and the strategies they are using to answer them. Students will learn the principles behind effective data visualization and how to implement them in real analyses using Tableau software.

Data Engineering Systems

IDS 706
Credits: 3

Data Engineering Systems is a course about data and how to manage and build systems. Divided into two halves, part 1 focuses on Relational Databases. These systems are the most common type of database used today and are found in applications ranging from holding cell phone contact lists (both Android and iOS use SQLlite3 internally) to managing every aspect of a large bank or insurance company.

Practicing Machine Learning

IDS 705
Credits: 3

Automating prediction and decision-making based on data and past experience. Students will learn how and when to apply supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement learning techniques, and how to evaluate performance. Common pitfalls such as overfitting and data leakage will be explored and how they can be avoided.

Introduction to Natural Language Processing

IDS 703
Credits: 3

Introduction to the rich opportunities for using textual data produced by websites, social media platforms, digitization of administrative and historical records, and new monitoring technologies to gain insights and make decisions. 

Modeling and Representation of Data

IDS 702
Credits: 3

Statistical models are necessary for analyzing the type of multivariate (often large) datasets that are usually encountered in data science. In this course, you will learn the general work flow for building statistical models and using them to answer inferential questions. You will learn several parametric models such as generalized linear models, models for multilevel data and time series models.

Capstone Project

IDS 798
Credits: 4

MIDS students join Capstone partnerships their second year and during that year make substantial contributions to these real, complex projects. Project teams can be as large as necessary and can include multiple faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, and other staff. Although students work collaboratively, each MIDS student must achieve a specific outcome of interest for the outside party and give a final presentation.

Data Analysis at Scale in Cloud

IDS 721

This course is designed to give students a comprehensive view of cloud computing including Big Data and Machine Learning. A variety of learning resources will be used including interactive labs on Cloud Platforms (Google, AWS, Azure). This is a project-based course with extensive hands-on assignments.

Practicing Data Science

IDS 720

This course will provide students with extensive hands-on experience manipulating real (often messy, error ridden, and poorly documented) data using the a range of bread-and-butter data science tools (like the command line, git, python (especially numpy and pandas), jupyter notebooks, and more). The goal of these exercises is to ensure students are comfortable working with data in most any form.

Example pre-approved electives that emphasize quantitative topics:

(this list is not exhaustive, and is only meant to provide examples of the kinds of courses available)

COMPSCI  516 - Database Systems (3 credits)
COMPSCI  531 - Algortith, Paradigms or or 532 - Design and Analysis of Algorithms (3 credits)
**532 would be more appropriate for grad students who are very interested in algorithms, but most of MS students and many of onon-theory PhD students actually take 531
COMPSCI  550 - Advanced Computer Architecture (3 credits)
ECON  612 - Time Series Econometrics (3 credits)
ECON  613 - Applied Econometrics in Microeconomics (3 credits)
MATH  541 - Applied Stochastic Processes (3 credits)
MATH  561 - Numerical Linear Algebra, Optimization and Monte Carlo Simulation  (3 credits)
MATH  563 - Applied Computational Analysis (3 credits)
POLSCI  733 - Advanced Regression (3 credits)
POLSCI  748 - Advanced Quantitative Research Methods in Political Science (3 credits)
PSY  767 - Applied Correlation and Regression Analysis (3 credits)
PSY  768 - Applied Structural Equation Modeling (3 credits)
PSY  770 - Applied Multilevel Modeling (3 credits)
SOCIOL  720 - Survey Research Methods (3 credits)
SOCIOL  728 - Advanced Methods: Introduction to Social Networks (3 credits)
STA  444 - Statistical Modeling of Spatial and Time Series Data (1 credit)
STA  561D - Probabilistic Machine Learning (3 credits)
STA  601 - Bayesian and Modern Statistical Data Analysis (3 credits)
BIOSTAT  902 - Missing Data Analysis: Theory and Application (3 credits)
BIOSTAT  904 - Causal Inference (3 credits)

Example pre-approved electives that emphasize topics specific to a certain domain:

(this list is not exhaustive, and is only meant to provide examples of the kinds of courses available)

ARTHIST  508S - Art and Markets (3 credits)
CLST  544L - Introduction to Digital Archaeology (3 credits)
BME  574 - Modeling and Engineering Gene Circuits (3 credits)
CBB  540 - Statistical Methods for Computational Biology (3 credits)
ECON  620 - Game Theory with Applications of Economics and other Social Sciences (3 credits)
PJMS  361S - Algorithms, Journalism and the Public Interest (1 credit)
PSY  716 - Behavioral Decision Theory (3 units)
PSY  762 - Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3 credits)
SOCIOL  534 - Topics in Population, Health, and Policy (3 credits)
SOCIOL  367S - Computational Social Science: Tools to Collect & Analyze Human Behavior Using Data from the Internet (1 credit)
NEUROBIO  735 - Quantitative Approaches in Neurobiology (3 credits)
PUBPOL  574 - Economic Evaluation of Sustainable Development (3 credits)
VMS  550S - Digital Humanities: Theory and Practice (3 credits)

Students will be able to major in specific concentrations that have been designed by the faculty to prepare students to specialize in popular topics.

Capstone Course description:

Capstone Projects are one of the most critical components of the MIDS program. The goal for these year-long Capstones is for students to be integrated into world-class interdisciplinary research projects that can solve real-life problems and be significantly advanced through data science.

Capstones will have oversight from staff and faculty in departments across Duke with research interests and expertise aligned with the project. However, each MIDS student must achieve a specific outcome of interest for an outside party (such as a company, government agency, or nonprofit) as part of the greater research project and give a final presentation with an accompanying white paper about the implications of that outcome.

To ensure MIDS students complete their projects successfully, they will attend workshops and complete assignments throughout the second year that provide guidance, practice, and feedback about students’ teamwork, project management, communication plan, and overall progress in relation to the project.

The final deliverables will be evaluated by MIDS core faculty and relevant outside stakeholders on multiple dimensions including students’ ability to communicate effectively to a diverse audience, computational strategy, and creativity.