Data Science for Social Justice Workshop

How to Apply

Apply for DSSJ 2024 by clicking the button below. Applications will be accepted between March 15 and April 15, 2024. Decisions will be sent on May 15, 2024.

To begin a new application, select Start New Application > Create Application > Data Science for Social Justice Workshop from dropdown.

If you get a login error after starting your application, you may not be in our system. Please email [email protected] with your name, email address, and UID (it will be part of the login error message).


“Knowing that lifting up our own communities is what motivates us as diverse intellectuals and scholars, we centered the Workshop not just on data science, but what one can do with the data science to bring about justice or inadvertently cause injustice.” Claudia von Vacano, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director and Senior Research Associate of D-Lab

About this Workshop

This 8-week workshop will give you the opportunity to learn the essential tools and methods for data science analysis and be introduced to critical frameworks that will enable you to create a project of your own design and to tell stories that can counter the market-first mentality of data science. This workshop has a heavy emphasis on collaboration and peer-to-peer learning, with a significant group work component.

In this workshop, you will learn how to use the Python programming language to conduct data analyses, create visualizations, apply natural language processing techniques, and analyze social media data. At the same time, you will explore a variety of readings rooted in critical approaches of data feminism, data activism, ethics, indigenous technologies, critical race theory. The workshop will culminate in using Python to conduct your own data intensive research project, focusing on discovering and visualizing language biases in social media data, to be carried out collaboratively in a small group.

Overall, this engaging, cohort-based workshop focuses on inherent prejudice in data sets and analysis, and teaches you to deploy solutions to create social impact with data science. Activities include:

  • Learning how to use the Python programming language to conduct data analyses
  • Exploring your own positionality as a scholar in the context of data science
  • Critically analyzing social media data using state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing techniques in Python
  • Collaboratively annotating critical texts on data science
  • Working with a group to discover and visualize language biases in Machine Learning systems

No prerequisites are required: instruction will begin from the very basics of programming and Python. Substantial hands-on support will be provided, particularly if you are new to programming, in order to support the development of your computational skills.

Developed in partnership between the D-Lab and the Graduate Division, with a common goal to reach marginalized students, this workshop will provide the tools, insights, and mentorship needed to get started in your critical data science journey.

Workshop Details


The workshop is offered to currently enrolled UC Berkeley graduate students, or UC Berkeley graduate students who will graduate in spring 2024.


The workshop will be delivered from June 17 – August 9 with two to three live sessions per week (4-5 hours per week comprising two required live Zoom instructional sessions a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 – 4 pm PDT) and one required live Zoom research talk periodically on Fridays from 12 -1 pm PDT) and other work to be done on your own time. You should plan to commit approximately 15 hours a week to this workshop.

The time you spend outside the live sessions will be heavily weighted toward developing your programming skills. If this is your first time programming, immersing yourself in a new language may require a substantial time commitment (particularly in the first two weeks). Other activities outside the live sessions include weekly readings, individual assignments, and the final group project.

Attendance requirements:

Because the current design of the workshop is highly interactive and project based, we expect participants to attend all live sessions and research talks. The live sessions are the main time you will have to interact with your cohort, develop your group project, and receive feedback. We understand that emergencies may arise, or you may have unavoidable conflicts, so students are allowed one unexcused absence during the workshop. Missing more than could jeopardize your success in the workshop and that of your peers.

What you receive:

Upon successful completion, UC Berkeley graduate student participants will receive a certificate and a $2000 stipend (transferred to the participant’s CalCentral account in or around the final week of the workshop). There are no costs required to attend this workshop. Hear what last year’s participants got from this workshop.


You can join online from wherever is convenient for you, with your computer and a good internet connection.


You will participate using online collaboration and instructional tools that you already have access to as a Berkeley student – specifically, Zoom, bCourses (Canvas), Google Suite, and DataHub / JupyterHub. We will use Slack for day-to-day communication in the course.


No prerequisites are required: instruction will begin from the very basics of programming and Python. Substantial hands-on support will be provided, particularly if you are new to programming, in order to support the development of your computational skills.


Email your questions to [email protected].

Hear from DSSJ alumni

Development Team

Headshot of Claudia von Vacano


Program Developer and Instructor

Founding Executive Director / Sr. Research Associate / P.I.
UC Berkeley

Headshot of Kara Ganter


Program Designer

Director of Digital Education
Graduate Division
UC Berkeley

Pratik Sachdeva


Curriculum Lead and Instructor, Program Developer

Researcher, Postdoc
UC Berkeley

Renata Barreto


Curriculum Co-Developer, Instructor

Research Fellow, D-Lab
JD / Ph.D. Candidate, Berkeley Law
UC Berkeley


Curriculum Co-Developer, Instructor
Social Sciences
Digital Humanities

Notify Me of Future Workshops

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