MSc Data Science

This course is CILIP Accredited

Start date: September
Duration: 1 year full-time or 2-3 years part-time
Programme code:
MSc: INFT85 (full-time), INFT121 (part-time)

Want to find out more about this course? Watch our MSc Data Science webinar here.

Why you should take this course

All organisations face the challenge of how to analyse and use data, and the most successful are those that handle and exploit it effectively. More and more organisations therefore want Data Scientists.

The MSc Data Science programme is aimed at graduate students with a good honours degree, who have enquiring minds, a practical and analytical approach to problem solving and an ambition for a career in this area. Work experience is not essential and you do not need prior knowledge of statistics or data analysis.

You will learn data science concepts and their application within organisations to support data-driven approaches to problem solving. You will be provided with a set of fundamental principles that support principled extraction of information and knowledge from data. Case studies will help to show the practical application of these principles to real life problems. You will also learn how data can be captured, cleaned, aggregated, organised, analysed and used, together with practical experience of data modelling, data mining, data analysis and visualisation. Throughout the programme there will be opportunities to gain hands-on experience using a variety of tools, such as R and SPSS, Weka, and Tableau/Spotfire. Your dissertation will enable you to undertake in-depth research into your particular areas of interest.

Course outline

The programme is centred on three key aspects of data science: (i) fundamental data-related principles, (ii) supporting infrastructures, and (iii) organisational context.

The first semester introduces the key concepts and principles of Data Science to help you put into context what is being taught in the programme. Right from the start you will be engaging with Data Science as an emerging research field to develop your own understanding of the subject. The first semester will also introduce approaches used to analyse data and organise and manage unstructured data, one of the fastest growing sources of data. You will be able to select from elective modules covering topics such as information systems modelling and information architecture.

In the second semester you will continue to learn fundamental data analysis principles, and in particular be taught methods from data mining and visualisation and how these are used in supporting decision-making. You will also be taught methods for modelling and organising structured data within the context of database design. You will also have the opportunity to choose elective modules from topics including Business Intelligence, Information Governance, Researching Social Media and Research Data Management. At the same time, you will start to think about your dissertation or project, and will learn more about developing a proposal, literature reviews, research methods, as well as qualitative approaches to data analysis that will complement the quantitative methods taught in the first semester.

During the summer, you will undertake a research project or dissertation, for submission at the beginning of September.

Aims and outcomes

The Data Science Masters degree will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of Data Science and its application in different organisational contexts. You will also gain practical skills in handling structured and unstructured data, analysing and visualising data, data mining, as well as gaining hands-on experience of software tools used and their use in real-world settings.

You will gain the skills of a “data manager” who understands what the algorithms (e.g., for data mining or handling ‘Big Data’) can do and when to use them for the benefit of the organisation.


See also

How to Apply

Apply Now

University Prospectus

Fees and Funding

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree but are considering studying for a masters degree after your undergraduate course, you could be eligible for the Sheffield Scholars scheme. More information is available on the scheme website.