Joining MDST


Thank you for your interest in joining MDST! We're super excited to get you started on the process for joining the club.

Step 1: Sign up for our mailing list

Our mailing list is going to be the fastest way for us to reach you with the latest information on how to join, mass meetings, and other onboarding events. Fill out the interest form linked below to be added to our mailing list.

Interest Form

Step 2: Attend our Mass Meetings

MDST will host two mass meetings over the first 2 weeks of the Fall 2023 semester. At these meetings, we will discuss alot more about our club, what we do, and how to join. You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions you may have about joining.

  • Mass Meeting 1: August 31th, 6:30 - 7:30. East Hall 1360
  • Mass Meeting 2: September 4th, 4:30 - 5:30 PM. Michigan Union (Wolverine Room)
  • Our slides and recordings can be find below

Both mass meetings will cover the same content and will be recorded if you are unable to attend. Mass Meetings are for informational purposes. We do not take attendance, and they are not part of the application process.

You can find our mass meeting slides and recording (you will need to be logged into your U-M account).

Step 3: Complete Tutorial Checkpoints

New members are required to complete two tutorials giving an introduction to data science and programming in Python. The purpose of these tutorials is to make sure that all of our members, despite their background, is able to equally contribute to MDST projects.

The tutorials for Fall 2023 are now published in the tutorial GitHub repository. The repository contains all the materials you need as well as information about the support we provide. We also recommend reading through our FAQ for any questions you may have in the meantime.

Tutorial Format

The format of each tutorial includes:

  • A Jupyter notebook which walks you through the relevant content for that tutorial. Never heard of a Jupyter notebook before? Check out the Jupyter documentation to learn more.
  • A checkpoint to check your understanding of the tutorial content. You must correctly complete and submit this checkpoint in order to join MDST.
In addition to the main 2 tutorials, there is an optional challenge component which you can complete to showcase your skills in more advanced data science concepts such as machine learning. Your performance on these challenge sections will be used to determine your placement into more difficult projects.

If you feel frustrated at any point when working through the tutorials, know it is normal (the majority of active MDST members have been in your exact spot before and know how annoying working with some of this technology could be). For this reason, our education committee hosts office hours throughout the onboarding process so you can ask questions and get help on what you're stuck on. See our events calendar for office hour times and locations.

In addition, you should post any question on our Piazza forum. You may also email Casper at Please only use the email address for personal questions; all questions of a technical nature should be posted to Piazza.

Step 4: Attend our Project Exploration Fair

Join us on September 10th, 4:30 - 6:00 PM @ CCCB 2460 to learn about all the projects we will run this semester and directly ask our project leaders any questions you have about the specific project goals and motivations.

This event is optional but highly encouraged.

Step 5: Submit Checkpoints and Sign-up For Projects

Project Sign-up Form

We have released the project sign-up form. You can specify your project preferences, along with a link to the GitHub repository containing all the completed checkpoints plus the optional challenges (if attempted). If you've never worked with Git and GitHub before, check out our Git Version Control Guide.

  • If your checkpoints are incomplete, then you will not be allowed to join MDST for that semester. In such circumstance, you may attempt the checkpoints again the next semester and resubmit.
  • Our education committee will evaluate your submission for your strength with Python programming and data science library usage. New members with greater skills in these areas are more likely to be placed into tougher projects.
  • Most people tend to get their top project choices, so don't worry!

The project signup form will be due September 14th, 11:59 PM, after which we will no longer accept sign-ups for projects for the Fall 2023 semester. You will receive notice of your project assignment by September 17th, at which point we start working on our projects!

Recruiting Timeline

  1. Festifall Central @ Booth D79

    Stop by our booth to meet the E-Board and learn about MDST.

  2. Mass Meeting 1 @ EH 1360

    Join us to hear more about MDST and how to become a member. Prospective members do not need to attend both mass meetings.

  3. Tutorial 1 @ Fishbowl Classroom

    Introduction to the command line and Q&A.

  4. Mass Meeting 2 @ Michigan Union (Wolverine Room)

    Join us to hear more about MDST and how to become a member. Prospective members do not need to attend both mass meetings.

  5. Office Hours 1 @ UGLI Third Floor

    Troubleshooting session for setup, tutorials, and checkpoints.

  6. Tutorial 2 - Data Science @ Fishbowl Classroom

    Build basic data science knowledge for project participation.

  7. Project Exploration Fair @ CCCB 2460

    Explore MDST projects this semester and choose your favorites to signup for.

  8. Office Hours 2 @ UGLI Third Floor

    Troubleshooting session for setup, tutorials, and checkpoints.

  9. Office Hours 3 @ UGLI Third Floor

    Troubleshooting session for setup, tutorials, and checkpoints.

  10. Project Sign-Ups Due

    Sign up for your preferred projects. New members submit tutorial checkpoints.

  11. First Project Work Session @ BSB 1060 / CCCB 2460

    Meet your team and start work on your projects!


Are there any requirements to join?

No! We welcome all University of Michigan students, regardless of academic level or major.

I have no data science experience. Can I join?

Yes! Everyone is welcome to join the team! In fact, most of our members have very little data science experience prior to joining. Our goal is to help you learn the data skills necessary to contribute to our projects and perform data science on your own. We do strongly recommend newcomers attend our introductory tutorials, as they will teach you the basics of the tools we use and are also a great opportunity to meet others in the same boat!

How much time commitment do you require?

Most MDST members spend 3 hours weekly for work sessions + 1 hour for socials on Thursday, totaling about 4 hours per week. This may vary based on the project and level of familiarity with data science.

Does MDST allow for remote participation?

MDST is primarily an in-person club, and all of our events and work sessions are held in-person on campus. We allow remote participation for our projects, but not for our other events. We recommend attending our meetings in-person whenever possible to maximize your experience with the club.

What languages do you use?

We primarily use Python for our projects. If you are an R user, we recommend checking out some helpful tutorials from DataCamp.

I am not a student at the University of Michigan. Can I join?

No. We only accept Umich students.