What is a Connector Course?#

Connector courses allow students to apply theoretical concepts from Data 8 to a particular area of interest. Below are some details that characterize the average 2-unit connector course. This is just to give you a general idea of what connectors are like. Some connectors may not fully match this description.


Data 8 is a pre-requisite or co-requisite for connector courses. Students should have already completed Data 8 or be taking it concurrently.

Although this expectation is stated in the official course description, instructors should note that students are formally able to enroll in a connector without having met it. This can create challenges for individual students, and for the range of preparation represented in the whole class. Previous instructors have found it helpful to announce the expectations about Data 8 in their first class and suggest that students find a different class or wait to take the connector until they have met the expectations.

Of course, instructors have the discretion to consider a student’s enrollment on a case-by-case basis. If you are thinking about waiving the Data 8 pre-/co-requisite for a particular student, you will want to consider their other preparation, what Data 8 material they will be missing, and the overall effect it may have on the class.


Connector courses have generally been two units in the past. There have not been any three unit connectors yet but this is a possibility if your connector is higher in workload.

General Course Structure#

  • One two-hour class meeting per week, which includes both a lab and lecture portion. Instructors decide how they want to split up two hours between lab and lecture. Some instructors choose to spend the first hour on lecture and the second on lab. Others prefer a more fluid structure and switch back and forth between lecture and lab questions throughout the two hours.

  • Weekly in-class lab assignment

  • Additional projects/homeworks/exams depending on the instructor’s preference

  • Weekly office hours


For students, one unit of work corresponds to three hours of work. The six hours of work for a 2-unit connector can be broken down in the following way:

  • 2 hours of lab/lecture

  • 4 hours of outside work