Applications Closed for 2017 

The DS421 program is open to interested PhD students from all departments and schools at UC Berkeley, and Master’s students in two or three year on-campus Master’s programs (e.g., Goldman School of Public Policy, College of Environmental Design). We are seeking a diverse cohort of students with complementary skills and experience and a shared desire to pursue interdisciplinary research addressing coupled human-natural systems with a strong quantitative, data science component. Applicants should have a background in one or more of the following areas: natural or environmental science, social science, public policy, landscape architecture, environmental planning, statistics, computer science, or related fields.

Applications will be accepted from incoming and current first year students. The training program spans two years, with most training activities in year two. A number of one-year fellowships for PhD trainees are available from the DS421 program, providing a full stipend ($32,000) plus tuition and fees in year two of the program.

All PhD level trainees must have fellowship funding in the second year of the training program, either from independent fellowships (e.g. NSF, Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP), Chancellor’s Fellowship), or from one of the DS421 fellowships. About half of our PhD students will have funding from our fellowships, and the other half will have funding from other sources. Students who receive an independent fellowship may not defer the fellowship and apply for DS421 funding to cover the deferral year. Students awarded a GRFP or other multi-year fellowship will not be eligible for the DS421 funding. You are encouraged to apply for DS421 funding and may not know the results of your other fellowship applications at the time you fill out the application. You will be asked about the other fellowships you have applied for on the application form.

Master’s program students are expected to arrange funding from their program or independent resources. Conference travel funds, seed grant funding, and other activities will be available to all trainees.

Incoming students must have already applied to a graduate program of their choice. Application to the DS421 program will be contingent on, and coordinated with, departmental admissions. Faculty who are considering graduate applications from qualified students are encouraged to direct students to this web site for information and applications. International students are eligible to join the program, but will not be eligible for our second year fellowships. Students from groups traditionally under-represented in science and engineering are especially encouraged to apply.

For current first year students (in PhD or 3-year Master’s programs), note that the second year of the training program will fall in the third year of graduate study, requiring careful coordination with the departmental program and/or PhD advisor.

The application will request the following information:

  • Name, graduate year, program, and any fellowships you have applied for or received;
  • Information on previous coursework or experience in statistics, computing and data science, natural and environmental science, and social science, policy, design or planning;
  • A ≤500 word statement expressing your interests in interdisciplinary training and research, and why you believe you are a good match for this program;
  • One or two letters of recommendation specifically addressing your background and aptitude for interdisciplinary study. You may request letters from the same or different individuals who wrote letters for your Berkeley departmental application. You are responsible for asking letter writers to send these letters, and we ask you to provide the names of your letter writers with your application.

Applications for Fall 2018 will open in February 2018.

DS421 Admissions Chair: Prof. Max Auffhammer, Agricultural and Resource Economics

DS421 Academic Coordinator: Heather Constable