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English for Data Science Purposes

In 2022, the English Language Center (ELC) began offering English-language support to multilingual graduate students at the Data Science Institute. Communication in Data Science is a series of courses designed to assist students as they prepare for careers in data science by increasing students' proficiency and confidence in U.S. speaking and writing contexts.

Data Science students

Oral Communication in Data Science

Fall semester only: This highly interactive course offers students opportunities to further develop their speaking skills for U.S. university and professional environments. Organized around speaking tasks related to data science, the course allows students to practice communicating with classmates, instructors, and general audiences through discussions, role-plays, and presentations. For each speaking task, students learn lexical phrases, discourse markers, and strategies to help enhance communication.

Course Objectives:

The objectives of the course are to help students:

  • establish oral communication strategies for networking situations 
  • participate in university course lectures and discussions
  • develop techniques to improve listening comprehension
  • adapt communication approaches based on audience and purpose
  • interpret and practice U.S. non-verbal communication
  • identify potential pronunciation issues and strategies to enhance comprehension 
  • plan and deliver individual and team presentations
  • model U.S. expectations for career-building communication

Written Communication in Data Science

Spring semester only: This interactive course offers students opportunities to further develop their academic and professional writing skills for U.S. contexts. Organized around writing tasks related to data science and tailored to meet the needs of the students, this course focuses on rhetorical patterns, organization, and language within different data science genres. While helping students to further integrate into their discourse community, the course also explores more general U.S. academic writing conventions, such as audience, cohesion, and conciseness, and helps students develop skills to self-regulate their writing. Throughout the course, students will receive feedback on their writing and participate in individual writing conferences with the instructor. 

Course Objectives:

The objectives of the course are to help students: 

  • employ reading practices that enhance their academic and professional writing skills
  • describe how cultural assumptions and expectations influence academic and professional writing in the U.S. 
  • recognize the data science discipline and sub-disciplines as discourse communities with distinct writing approaches and tendencies 
  • identify and replicate the rhetorical patterns, characteristics, and styles of data science writing 
  • emulate the grammar, vocabulary, and voice of their professional discourse community
  • write with more flexibility and exactness
  • assemble resources that will continue to support their writing development


  • Enrollment is restricted to graduate students in Data Science.


For more information regarding course content, please contact:

Jim Cracraft, Assistant Director
Tel: +1 (615) 322-0247

For more information regarding enrollment, please contact:

Amber Douglass, Program Manager, Data Science Institute