Data Science MSc

Why choose this course?

Data Science is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of employment globally, due to rapid and ongoing developments in computer systems and data gathering. Large data sets are widespread in business, science and government.

This course builds on the established strengths of the Mathematics and Computer Science programmes and develops a multidisciplinary approach to the computational analysis of data. Contemporary society faces new challenges in the analysis of data, predictive analytics in support of decision making processes that are both mathematical and computational. There is an increasing demand for data-savvy professionals both in industry and in research who are able make sense of large amounts of data and apply it to the solution of relevant problems.

This course offers postgraduates with some background in computing, mathematics, or data-based investigation the opportunity to develop their skills in a way which will prepare them for careers in this fast-growing and exciting area which spans virtually all areas of commerce and industry as well as scientific research, and involves working with individuals and organisations to extract value from the ever-increasing volume of data that is available.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year January and September 2021
Full time 2 years including professional placement January and September 2021
Part time 2 years January and September 2021
Location Penrhyn Road

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Data Science aligns with a thriving area of applied machine learning research in the School of Computer Science & Mathematics - giving opportunities for exposure to plenty of cutting edge examples and exercises.
  • The Data Science course is designed for entry from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, with more flexible entry-points than the more commonplace style of "September-starter" postgraduate course.
  • Like many MSc courses in the School of Computer Science and Mathematics, Data Science benefits from broad entry requirements, a diverse community of learners, and study in week-long blocks that can fit around different work/study patterns.

What you will study

The multidisciplinary nature of Data science is reflected in this MSc programme through the careful combination of modules in data management, analysis, modelling, visualisation and artificial intelligence (AI), which are taught by a cross-disciplinary team whose expertise encompasses mathematics, statistics, AI and machine learning, information management, and user experience design.

For a student to go on placement they are required to pass every module first time with no reassessments.

Modules

The programme is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points plus an individual project worth 60 credits. The optional Professional Placement can be undertaken following completion of the other modules. The optional Professional Placement taken during an additional year will give 120 credits.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

Databases and Data Management

30 credits

In this module students will be introduced to the methods, techniques and tools that organisations use to collect, manage, store and secure data. Different approaches and methods will be explored to model data requirements using structured and unstructured databases. Students will also be introduced to data warehousing architectures and concepts in "big data". Essential knowledge of data security issues, including policies, structures and practices used to ensure data security and confidentiality, and the way that such issues are addressed in practice, is also examined.

Data Analytics and Visualisation

30 credits

This module introduces the core concepts of data analytics, starting from elementary statistics applied to data-driven decision making, progressing through more sophisticated software-supported data analysis to the presentation of information and its persuasive effect, with applications to business strategy, demographics and social analytics.

Applied Data Programming

30 credits

This module emphasises a practical and applied approach to programming and software skills for Data Scientists which differs from typical Software Engineering approaches in that the emphasis is on the use and manipulation of data using languages and platforms designed for use in real-life, data-driven problems. The languages and platforms are considered only as far as their use for data manipulation are needed with limited exploration of underlying theory or data structures. This prioritises practical implementation including locating, accessing, loading, manipulating, securing, storing and describing data, and enables the introduction of aspects of data analysis, data-mining and machine learning provided by the chosen languages and platforms.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

30 credits

The module introduces fundamental concepts and methods in Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition, and discusses their applications in disciplines such as image and video analysis, computer games, information security, data science and mechatronics. Students are firstly introduced to classical methods, before they are taught modern state-of-the-art approaches. Then, they are exposed to applications related to their course. The module is taught in a practical fashion and therefore some knowledge of a programming language is required.

Project Dissertation

60 credits

This module constitutes the major individual piece of work of the Masters Programme where the student carries out a project involving independent critical research, design and implementation (where applicable).

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Select, justify and use effectively the research methods and techniques appropriate for particular cases in order to carry out a literature search and an independent work of research
  • Critically identify the need to position their research in the wider academic or business context and structure the dissertation format to agreed conventions
  • Plan, manage and critically evaluate the project using the techniques and tools needed in order to bring it in successfully on time and within resourcing limits
  • Identify and critically analyse real-world problems or knowledge gaps to which academic concepts and methods can be realistically applied to improve or resolve the problem situation
  • Apply skills to show an ability to engage in academic and professional communication with others in their field through report and presentation
  • Present critical awareness in applying appropriate legal, social or ethical obligations and when required, respond to the financial and other constraints of a corresponding business environment.
Professional Placement

120 credits

The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates an extended professional placement. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and develops and enhances key employability and subject specific skills in their chosen discipline. Students may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for the major project or future career.

It is the responsibility of individual students to find and secure a suitable placement opportunity; this should not normally involve more than two placements which must be completed over a minimum period of 10 months and within a maximum of 12 months. The placement must be approved by the Course Leader, prior to commencement to ensure its suitability. Students seeking placements will have access to the standard placement preparation activities offered by Student Engagement and Enhancement (SEE) group.

Read more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

 

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to take the option of a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Tier 4 visa.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Typical offer

At least a 2.2 honours degree in a subject with significant computing science or mathematics/statistics content. Typical appropriate first degree subjects would include: computer science (including software engineering or cyber security), mathematics, statistics, and engineering.

International

In order to complete your programme successfully, it is important to have a good command of English and be able to apply this in an academic environment. Therefore, if you are a non-UK applicant* you will usually be required to provide certificated proof of English language competence before commencing your studies.

For this course you must pass IELTS academic test in English with an overall score of 6.5, with no element below 6.0, or meet the scores listed on the alternative online tests. Please note that we do not accept Standard XII as proof of Academic English.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

* Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

The learning, teaching and assessment strategies reflect the programme aims and learning outcomes, student background, potential employer requirements, and the need to develop a broad range of technical skills with the ability to apply them appropriately.

The use of coursework emphasises more authentic assessments, which could be, for example, from business or research contacts in local SMEs or colleagues working with "big data" in the NHS, with appropriate ethical and IP approval, as necessary. For example, students will typically create applications, documentation and visualisations, writing reports and giving presentations. Students will have the opportunity in some assignments to identify topics and target audiences in consultation with teaching staff which allows them to express their individuality and appreciate the diversity within course. In this way, as they progress through the course, students are guided and supported to assemble a portfolio of tangible outputs which evidence, explicitly, the knowledge and skills they have gained and which may be used to demonstrate their capabilities to future employers in a format that can be influenced by the students' own preferences.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

Year 1: 15% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 292 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1508 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises in-class tests, practical (e.g. presentations, demonstrations) and coursework (e.g. essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

  • 94% coursework
  • 3% exams and tests
  • 3% practical

(repeat for each year, if part time)

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

­You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice as well as the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes, therefore you may be taught alongside postgraduates from other courses.

Who teaches this course

This course is delivered by the School of Science and Mathematics in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing.

The Faculty's wide selection of undergraduate and postgraduate courses covers a diverse range of subject areas, from aerospace to geography; from maths and computing to biotechnology; and many more. Our collaborative set-up provides new opportunities for our students, and we design our courses with industry professionals to ensure you stay up to date with the latest developments.

School of Computing and Mathematics

The School of Computer Science and Mathematics offers high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate courses, designed to reflect the developing needs of business and industry. We deliver our teaching in an exciting and challenging learning environment, and make use of modern, well-equipped facilities.

Kingston University offers high quality undergraduate and postgraduate courses focused on applied computer science and mathematics, cyber security, games and digital media - designed to reflect the developing needs of business and industry. They are underpinned by the latest technologies and strengthened by active collaborations with industry leaders providing practical experience through placements as well as educational partnerships.

Postgraduate students may run or assist in lab sessions and may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Our modern teaching environment at Kingston University

There is a wide range of facilities at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including:

  • dedicated postgraduate computing laboratories, fully-equipped with fold-flat LCD screens, data-projection systems and high-spec processors
  • development software and tools, such as Linux, Microsoft.net, Dreamweaver MX, Flash 8, Eclipse, Java 2 Standard and Mobile Editions, tools for Motorola and Nokia phones, UML and CASE tools and NXP Processors Development Kits
  • Digital Signal Processors (dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers)
  • IP Set Top Box development environment (NXP's STB810)
  • Electronics Laboratory
  • a mix of wireless LAN technologies
  • the learning resources centre, offering subject libraries, online database subscriptions and resource materials
  • a postgraduate teaching suite
  • the dedicated Graduate Centre on campus, providing seminar rooms and social spaces.

Our dedicated team of IT technicians support the labs and are always on hand to provide assistance.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of additional libraries and archives, including the British Library and the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Course fees and funding

Here you can find more details about fees for this course, as well as any funding opportunities available to you for this course. Please note that fees relate to the academic year in question and will increase in future years.

If you require a Tier 1-5 visa to reside in the UK (this includes a Tier 4 student visa), you may not be able to enrol on a part-time programme at the University.

Kingston University has carefully considered the Tier 4 visa route and has decided not to offer Tier 4 part-time study. Tier 4 sponsorship is only available to students studying on a full-time course.

Home 2021/22

  • MSc full time £9,430
  • MSc part time £5,187

International 2021/22

  • MSc full time £15,600
  • MSc part time £8,580

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MSc full time £9,200
  • MSc part time £5,060

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MSc full time £15,200

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting a course at Kingston, you will be able to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to study for a postgraduate masters degree.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Careers and recruitment advice

The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing has a specialist employability team. It provides friendly and high-quality careers and recruitment guidance, including advice and sessions on job-seeking skills such as CV preparation, application forms and interview techniques. Specific advice is also available for international students about the UK job market and employers' expectations and requirements.

The team runs employer events throughout the year, including job fairs, key speakers from industry and interviews on campus. These events give you the opportunity to hear from, and network with, employers in an informal setting.

After you graduate

The new Data Science course is aimed at careers contained within the more generic 'Data Science' umbrella, including Data Engineer, Data Analyst and Machine Learning Engineer.

Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.

In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Modules

We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.

Computer lab workshops and tutorials will be delivered through both on-campus teaching and as virtual online activities to meet the same learning outcomes in a socially-distanced manner, with no change in the total hours of delivery.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

On-campus teaching may involve smaller class sizes in line with social distance requirements.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.