Postgraduate study

Data Science MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Data Science

Data science is the study of the computational principles, methods, and systems for extracting and structuring knowledge from data; and the application and use of those principles. Large data sets are now generated by almost every activity in science, society, and commerce - ranging from molecular biology to social media, from sustainable energy to health care.

As an MSc Data Science student you will explore how to efficiently find patterns in these vast streams of data. Many research areas have tackled parts of this problem. Machine learning focuses on finding patterns and making predictions from data; ideas from algorithms and databases are required to build systems that scale to big data streams; and separate research areas have grown around different types of unstructured data such as text, images, sensor data, video, and speech.

You follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments, after which you will learn research methods before individual supervision for your project and dissertation.

Compulsory courses

  • Informatics Research Review
  • Informatics Project Proposal
  • Dissertation

You are also required to take a breadth of courses in data science, with at least one in each of the following areas:

  • Machine Learning, Statistics and Optimization
  • Databases and Data Management
  • Applications

You can take up to two courses from other schools.

The School of Informatics' MSc in Data Science is designed to attract students who want to establish a career as a data scientist in industry or the public sector, as well as students who want to explore the area prior to further training such as in our CDT in Data Science.

The learning objectives of the degree are to foster:

  • A breadth of knowledge across the data science areas
  • An advanced technical background in at least one of the data science areas
  • An appreciation for real-world problems involving the use of data in industry, science, and the public sector
  • Research experience in one of the data science areas.

You will develop specialist, advanced skills in data science methods and their applications. You will gain practical experience and a thorough theoretical understanding of the field, making you attractive to a wide range of employers or preparing you for further academic study.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics, psychology. or another quantitative discipline.

You should have experience of computer programming equivalent to an introductory programming course and have completed the equivalent to 60 credits of mathematics during your degree that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: Calculus (differentiation and integration), Linear Algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical reasoning (eg. Induction and reasoning, Graph theoretic models, proofs), and Probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov Chains etc. )

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fee deposit*

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 within 28 days to secure their place on the programme.

Any applicants who are required to pay will receive an offer with full details. (If there is no information on your offer about the deposit, then you are not required to pay.).

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

*(Revised 25 October 2018 to update fee deposit timescales.)

Tuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE

Due to high demand, this programme operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline.

Round Application deadline
1 31 January 2019
2 30 April 2019

Applicants who are not made an offer at a specific selection deadline will either be notified that they have been unsuccessful in securing a place on the programme, or if they do not hear then they are still being considered and their application will be carried forward to the next selection deadline for further consideration at that time.

If you have applied previously, please do not submit a further application.

*Revised 8 March 2019 to remove 30 June 2019 deadline. The last application deadline for this programme is 30 April 2019.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE