Master of Science
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems
Providing high quality professionals for the Data Science industry.
Data Science is a rapidly developing field of study within both academia and industry. Its interdisciplinary nature ensures its wide application domain. This MSc Data Science aims to prepare students for a successful career as a data scientist or business analyst working in any profession where large amounts of data is collected, hence there is a need for skills in data acquisition, information extraction, aggregation and representation, data analysis, knowledge extraction and explanation. These type of skills are typically in high demand in IT business, security and health sectors, intelligent transport, energy efficiency and the creative industries.
More generally data and analytics capabilities have developed rapidly in recent years. The volume of available data has grown exponentially, more sophisticated algorithms have been developed, and computational power and storage have steadily improved. Most companies, however, are not capturing the full potential value from data and analytics because they do not have the required expertise. Consequently, the MSc Data Science aims to address these challenges by providing a firm grounding in the core disciplines of data analytics and information processing, partnered with a broad appreciation of aspects of other disciplines where data science can form natural synergistic relationships.
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This intensive specialist master’s course in Data Science is aimed at highly-motivated graduates with a good honours degree in computing, engineering or a related discipline. While the course has a particular focus on the employment needs of the local economy, the skills and abilities developed are easily transferred to a more global stage.
A major challenge for companies is attracting and retaining the right talent—not only data scientists but business translators who combine data savvy with industry and functional expertise. The science of extracting information from data continues to increase in importance in various disciplines in which the large volume and complexity of the data imposes unprecedented challenges to the data analysis approaches traditionally employed in these disciplines. This course enables graduates to embark on a professional career in the general area of data science with the high level data analytics skills needed to contribute to this rapidly changing marketplace.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand.
Ulster University academics are actively involved in both research and teaching and this ensures that the developments accrued through research can feed into the teaching of students. A high percentage of staff are members of the Higher Education Academy, and all staff are expected to have a Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching or equivalent. All Computing courses are subject to periodic Faculty Review and University Revalidation.
This is a part-time programme, with the taught modules delivered across the first two semesters during each of the first two years. Three taught modules are normally completed in each of the first two years. The project is normally completed in the third year, but may be 'fast-tracked' in year 2 (if desired).
Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed tutorials, seminars and practical sessions. Support is also provided for project preparation and implementation.
The course is assessed by coursework.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
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We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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(a) have gained
(i) a second class honours degree or better from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or
(ii) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification; and the qualification must be in the subject areas of computing, engineering or related discipline
(b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent).
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
The entry requirements facilitate accreditation of prior learning.
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The key message from employability and work-related learning initiatives is that enhancing opportunities to develop work-related learning and employability enhances the learning of the subject being studied. We understand the importance of including real industrial and commercial contexts to our student's experience, so this MSc Data Science will pursue opportunities for industrially linked teaching material and student project work. In this regard, we will utilise our business and industry links to facilitate an industrially relevant student project. Such projects create valuable experiences for the student, and additionally, they can also help to build new and ongoing collaborations with departments and companies, with the potential to tap into funding streams designed for industry-academic research and development.
A recent statement from Ulster University’s Careers Office indicates that Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, such as finance, consulting, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, government and education. Data analysts can work in large companies such as the ‘big four’ consultancies or financial services firms, or consumer retail firms, small and medium sized businesses such as marketing agencies’ or the public sector.
Our postgraduate fees are subject to annual increase and are currently under review. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2022/23 entry.
Sponsored prizes for the best overall student performance and best dissertation.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.
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