School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

MSc Data Science and Business Analytics

This one year conversion MSc is designed for graduates of a wide range of disciplines and experience. It will give you skills in data analytics, computing and business. You can choose your focus through optional modules and your choice of masters level project topic.

The growing availability of huge amounts of data in business and industry is generating a high demand for people able to handle and exploit big data. Using sophisticated analytics techniques, including social network visualisation and sentiment analysis, and professional software, including R tidyverse, Python, C# and SQL/NoSQL databases, you will gain the skills and knowledge to transform data into commercial value and boost your employability.

Key features

  • Equipping applicants from all undergraduate degrees with broad professional competence in one of the world economy’s most sought-after postgraduate subject areas.
  • Offering an equal number of taught credits in the three areas of data modelling, computer science and business, with a wide choice of available business modules.
  • Providing a flexible individual project in one or more of the three taught areas supervised by world-leading subject experts.
  • Establishing high proficiency in the use and application of state-of-the-art programming languages including R tidyverse, Python, C# and SQL/NoSQL databases.
  • Benefitting 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.
  • Developing modern analytics expertise for obtaining business, scientific and social insights from big data sources and social networks such as Twitter.
  • Enjoy research-led teaching from leading academics with world-renowned expertise in data science, data analytics, statistics, computer science and business.

Course details

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


    Core modules
    • ISAD517 Non-Relational Databases in a Big Data Environment

      The module provides an introduction to current and emerging practices for dealing with big data and large-scale database systems used by many social networking services. Students will analyse semi-structured datasets and choose appropriate storage structures for them. Two representatives of recent non-relational trends are presented, namely, graph-oriented (Neo4j) and document-oriented (MongoDB) databases, while Python scripts are used to pre- and post-process data.

    • MATH501 Modelling and Analytics for Data Science

      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.

    • MATH513 Big Data and Social Network Visualization

      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.

    • PROJ516 MSc Project

      The student will complete a research or developmental project of their choosing (from a Project Catalogue, or self-proposed), and communicate their motivation, methodology, and conclusions through a formal dissertation. The project will build on their area of previous expertise.

    • SOFT562 Software Development and Databases

      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 model and to create advanced queries using SQL. The module will include structured programming and object oriented and event-based methodologies.

    Optional modules
    • ACF703 International Finance

      This module provides a wide perspective on international finance and how this relates to foreign exchange markets, derivatives markets and international parity theories. It also offers a thorough treatment of managing currency risks with modern instruments of hedging.

    • ACF705 Financial Statement Analysis

      This module provides the student with a broad overview of the financial reporting environment in which companies operate. It introduces the analytical tools which can be used to assess and compare companies within specific sectors. It also introduces the concept of corporate governance and its impact on companies, results and reputation.

    • MKT704 Branding and Marketing Communications

      The module analyses the key elements of the marketing communications, mix, and outlines and assesses their role and significance in developing and maintaining brands. The main themes of customer-based brand equity, brand positioning, managing brand elements, using integrated marketing communications to build brand equity and secondary brand associations are introduced and critically appraised through reference to contemporary journal academic literature.

    • MKT718 Social Media Theory

      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.

    • STO702 Global Supply Chain Management

      One of the sweeping changes in the current global economy is global supply chain management (SCM). Effective management of global supply chains can take the advantages of not only global market but also global resources, to provide supply chains with formidable competitiveness. However, global SCM faces unprecedented challenges and can be more vulnerable because of their geographically long distance, high uncertainty and more sources of risks. This module will provide students with comprehensive knowledge in managing global supply chains, develop students, skills in analysing decisions related to global issues in SCM, and equip students with state-of-the-art technologies to move towards modern, professional and forward thinking supply chain specialists.

    • STO703 International Strategic Management

      This module focuses on the organisational structures and strategies appropriate to successful business management in a variety of different sectors and countries. It provides student with the opportunity to compare and contrast the practice of international strategic management in different business sectors, and within different cultural and economic contexts. The focus is on the managerial implications of a changing global business environment, the opportunities and threats of emerging economies and the impact this is having on dominant business management paradigms, structures and strategies.

    • STO704 Operations and Project Management

      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 practices.

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:

MScDataScienceAndBusinessAnalytics ProgrammeSpecification September2018 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 good honours degree, first or second class, or equivalent, in any discipline.

English language requirements

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.

Plymouth University 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

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,500 £9,500
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) £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.

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.


Career progression

IBM predicts that the demand for data scientists will soar by 28 per cent by 2020. 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.

From psychology to data science

Cathryn Milligan, Data Scientist at Harrier LLC

"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."

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: C#, 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.

Funding for postgraduates

Find out more about what funding options are available to you as a postgraduate student.
Further information

Meet some of your lecturers

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.