School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

MSc Data Science and Business Analytics

This one-year conversion MSc is designed for graduates from a wide range of disciplines and experience. It gives you skills in data analytics, computing and business. Using sophisticated analytics techniques, including social network visualisation and sentiment analysis, and professional software, including R tidyverse, Python and SQL/NoSQL, you gain the skills and knowledge to transform data into commercial value and boost your employability

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Important information for international students

This degree offers flexibility in on-campus start dates for international students who have (or will need) a Student visa. We hope you will be able to join us for face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow.

Closer to the enrolment period, you will be asked to confirm if you will be studying on campus in Plymouth or as a temporary remote learner outside the UK.

More information about the 2021/22 academic year

Careers with this subject

You are in a prime position to pursue a wide variety of prestigious and extremely well-rewarded positions, which include, but are not restricted to: data analyst and data manager, research and business analyst, social media and business strategist, data scientist and data engineer.

Key features

  • Equips applicants from all undergraduate degrees with broad professional competence in one of the world economy’s most sought-after postgraduate subject areas.
  • Offers taught credits in the three areas of analytics, computer science and business, with a wide choice of available business modules.
  • Provides a flexible individual project in one or more of the three taught areas supervised by world-leading subject experts.
  • Establishes high proficiency in the use and application of state-of-the-art programming languages including R, Python, SQL and NoSQL.
  • Benefits from easy access to cutting-edge specialist labs and next-generation software and hardware on a single campus. You may access facilities such as our NVIDIA seed-funded GPU Research Centre and our High-Performance Computing Centre.
  • Develops modern analytics expertise for obtaining business, scientific and social insights from big data sources and social media such as Twitter.
  • Enjoy research-led teaching from leading academics with world-renowned expertise in data science, data analytics, statistics, computer science and business.
  • Offers a range of general and merit-based postgraduate scholarships for local and international students.

Course details
  • Programme overview

  • During your MSc year, you take five core modules, one optional module depending upon your interests, and complete a masters-level project over the summer. Student projects can be on data analytics, computing or business and can be a multidisciplinary mix of these areas. Throughout the programme, you learn how to master sophisticated analytics techniques and professional software, including R tidyverse, Python and SQL/NoSQL databases, to handle and exploit big data, and to work as part of a project team. You also develop practical and professional competence in data science and business analytics, and learn to make strategic decisions in a broad range of business-related practical situations.

    In semester two, you select optional modules to suit your interests and career aspirations.

    Core modules

    • Software Development and Databases (COMP5000)

      This module will provide knowledge and skills in software development and database design. It will cover computational problem solving, abstraction and problem decomposition. The module will enable students to identify appropriate system requirements related to the relational database model.

    • Non-Relational Databases in a Big Data Environment (COMP5001)

      The module provides an introduction to current and emerging practices for dealing with big data and the large-scale database systems used by many social networking services. Students will analyse semi-structured datasets and choose appropriate storage structures for them. A representative of recent non-relational trends is presented-namely, graph-oriented databases.

    • Modelling and Analytics for Data Science (MATH501)

      This module gives students an understanding of modelling and analytics techniques for Data Science. It supplies modern data modelling tool boxes for making strategic decisions in a broad range of Business related practical situations. It offers a hands-on introduction to Bayesian inference and machine learning. It provides additional practice in making professional presentations.

    • Big Data and Social Network Visualization (MATH513)

      Sophisticated analytics techniques are needed to visualize today's increasing quantities of Big Data. Up-to-date R tools including dplyr for data manipulation, ggplot2 for visualization, and knitr/LaTeX for document presentation are studied. These are applied to database interrogation, social network visualization and sentiment analysis. The module provides considerable experience of writing professionally documented R code using RStudio.

    • Contemporary Issues in Data Science (MATH514)

      This module utilises acknowledged experts to teach students about 'hot topics' in their field of data science. The content of this module will be dynamic and will evolve to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in data science. Current indicative content might include social media analytics, financial technologies, health data science, risk analytics and data science for sustainable development, for example.

    • MSc Dissertation and Research Skills (PROJ518)

      You will develop a methodical approach to research that helps propose research projects that are practically realistic and academically worthwhile. A substantial project will be planned and carried out using ethically suitable quantitative and qualitative research methods. The project will be reported through a high quality, scholarly and professional write-up, either as a formal dissertation or journal paper.

    Optional modules

    • International Finance (ACF7003)

      This module will provide you with a wide perspective on international finance and how this relates to foreign exchange markets, derivatives markets and international parity theories. You will also undertake a thorough examination of managing currency risks with modern instruments of hedging.

    • Analysis of Financial Statements (ACF7004)

      This module will provide you with a broad overview of the financial reporting environment in which companies operate. You will be introduced to the analytical tools, which can be used to assess and compare companies within specific sectors. The concept of corporate governance and its impact on companies’ results and reputation will also be examined.

    • Social Media Theory and Practice (MKT7004)

      This module exposes students to key concepts and theories relating to online communities and social networking. The module will provide the academic and conceptual basis for the development of effective social media engagement strategies such as, social media user behaviour, online community and personalisation.

    • Current Issues in International Business (STO7002)

      This module provides you with the opportunity to examine a range of contemporary issues within the context of International Business. The module adopts a cross-disciplinary approach, enabling discussion and debate within a range of stakeholder perspectives.

    • International Business Strategy for Competitive Advantage (STO7003)

      Using case studies, you will focus on some of the strategies that have been most successful in achieving international competitive advantage.

    • Operations and Project Management (STO7006)

      This module will focus on the key challenges facing Operations and Project Managers. It will examine key topics such as the management of processes, quality improvement, capacity and demand management, project planning, resource scheduling and risk management, along with communication, organisation and leadership. The module provides insights and practical knowledge through the acquisition and application of tools to enable students to lead successful operations and projects.

    • Data Analytics and Finance (STO7007)

      This module provides insight into business data analytical processes and how they can direct informed decision making in Finance and Business Applications. The module provides students with the ability to make good decisions based on business data. It introduces data sources and methods of analysis that can be applied to solve complex business decisions and guide business strategy. In addition, the module aims to provide a foundation knowledge and understanding of the principles of accounting; examining published accounting information from a user’s perspective.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Data Science and Business Analytics programme specification 5764

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

A 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent, in any discipline.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

If English is not your mother tongue 6.5 IELTS with a minimum of 5.5 in any element in a secure English language test.

The University of Plymouth offers pre-sessional English language courses if you do not have this.

Prior knowledge of data analysis or statistics and/or work experience are not necessary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,950 £10,200
International £16,200 £16,700
Part time (Home) £550 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

The University applies a discretionary alumnus reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • A 20 per cent discount on home tuition fees.
  • Or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.
  • A 10 per cent alumni discount is available on the following programmes: MSc Advanced Psychology, MSc Clinical Psychology, MSc/PgDip Psychology and MSc Occupational Therapy.

For further details, programme exclusions and contact information, please see our alumnus discount policy.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

This programme starts in September. Applications can be made throughout the year, and we encourage you to contact the Programme Manager, Dr Luciana Dalla Valle, to discuss the programme.

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website.

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.


Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.


Find out more at plymouth.ac.uk/upic or contact our team at info@upic.plymouth.ac.uk

 

Career progression

Britain is facing “explosive demand” for data science skills, according to Burning Glass Technologies analysis commissioned by the Royal Society. Demand for data scientists and data engineers tripled over the past five years, rising 231%. That’s much faster than job postings overall in the UK, which rose 36%, according to the report “Dynamics of data science skills.” Data science and analyst jobs are among the most challenging to fill, taking five days longer to find qualified candidates than the market average. Employers are willing to pay premium salaries for professionals with expertise in these areas.

This MSc will give you skills in programming, statistics, machine learning, cleaning and manipulating data, and expertise in data visualisation. Presentations will strengthen your communication skills. As a graduate in data science and business analytics, you will then be in a prime position to pursue a wide variety of prestigious and extremely well-rewarded positions, which include – but are not restricted to – data analyst and data manager, research and business analyst, social media and business strategist, data scientist, and data engineer.

"My background is in geosciences and I have worked on geophysical projects across Africa and South Asia. I was introduced to the application of machine learning for terrain classification in one of the projects, where due to security concerns, field operations could not be carried out. I was intrigued by the potential and vast application of machine learning and became interested in developing more knowledge and skills.

With so many universities offering similar courses, I was particular about my choice of university. I wanted a hands-on approach to learning, and the MSc Data Science and Business Analytics course at the University of Plymouth met my needs. Apart from the class exercises, I also had an opportunity to intern with one of the researchers in the university on machine learning applications. On completion of my course, I had developed the skills and knowledge of the tools and software that are being used in the Industry.

I currently work as a Data Scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where I manage the WHO Covid-19 social measures dataset and develop machine learning models to automate the analysis of the dataset."

Sewedo Todowede, Data Scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Cathryn Milligan, BI Officer at the University of Plymouth

From psychology to data science

"I studied psychology as an undergraduate degree because I’ve always been fascinated by human behaviour. I think it brings together science and people in a way that is both interesting and essential for our understanding of how society operates.

I then progressed straight onto my conversion course although I did work as a research assistant over the summer between finishing my undergraduate degree and starting my masters degree.

I chose to convert my psychology degree into a masters in data science and business analytics because I wanted to enhance my employability. I did a lot of research and discovered that data science is a growing area. I also have previous experience as a research assistant and I really enjoy analysing data and understanding the impact that it can have. Taking on this conversion coursehas allowed me to improve my knowledge and skills in this area and has also taught me how to use a variety of different analytical software."

"I choose to combine my mathematical and problem solving background with Data Science and Business Analytics at the University of Plymouth. This choice was driven by the rapid growth of data science and how interesting the modules of the MSc were. This MSc gave me the opportunity to boost my employability and launch a career in Software Engineering. Today I am working here in Plymouth as a software developer."

Chris Giannakopoulos, Full-Stack-Software Developer for SUVO Technology

"When I graduated, the most natural path of progression for me was to learn more about how we can analyse data to uncover stories that it may tell. That path was starting my master's degree. I learned many facets about this field that I would have never known before especially delving into programming languages. I gained a far greater understanding of the techniques and tools used in the industry, for example machine learning, which gave me an advantage when it came to employability."

Joe Li, Junior Consultant at Sparta Global

An international student’s view

Hear Moon Mazumdar, who graduated in 2018 and now works in Yorkshire as a developer for BT, describe her experience with the course and what it was like to study in Plymouth.

Hands-on experience 

You have available a variety of computing laboratories where you can master state of the art software including data visualisation, data manipulation, databases and computer programming. You can also access data from social media for topics such as sentiment analysis. Students also have a wide variety of options in economics, finance, marketing and business. 

Software used includes SQL, NoSQL, Python and R Studio.

High Performance Computing centre 

Supercomputers allow us to obtain dramatic scientific insight and competitive advantage in existing problems and let us attack problems that were previously impossible such as the vast amounts of data available from social media.
Find out more about the centre

Research 

The multi-disciplinary nature of MSc Data Science and Business Analytics will enable you to engage actively with our world-leading research institutes. You will engage with prominent academics with an international reputation for research and teaching and with strong international and national research links. We pride ourselves on strong industrial collaborations that turn research results into business, technology and social innovation.

Supporting students during Covid-19

During the Covid19 pandemic, many students on my course have experienced uncertainty about their studies. These unprecedented events have caused confusion and some concerns in terms of university experience and assignments. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the University of Plymouth has provided full support to its students and addressed all concerns no matter how big or small they may have seemed.


All voices have been heard and made important. Also, students have been able to access a wealth of resources, with new ones being constantly made available, and they have been able to request whatever else has been needed. In addition, a safety net was introduced to allow students to focus on their remaining coursework and produce high-quality work for their degree programmes rather than worrying about not being able to meet deadlines. Furthermore, the support received from the MSc Data Science and Business Analytics programme leader, teaching staff and tutors has been exceptional, as everyone has been truly understanding and always available at short notice for all queries and questions.

The University of Plymouth has kept students’ spirits up and done everything possible in order to provide the quality education that students expect. Even at this time of crisis, anything is possible with appropriate support and a dedicated team."


Guoste Pivoraite, MSc Data Science and Business Analytics student

Meet some of your lecturers

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

Considering conversion?

We offer a number of postgraduate programmes that allow you to pursue a career or gain additional skills and knowledge that your undergraduate course did not prepare you for. 

MSc Data Science and Business Analytics is one of our conversion programmes, discover how you could change the direction of your career.