Birkbeck awarded £50,000 to develop new conversion Master’s degree in Data Science

Birkbeck’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems has been awarded a grant of £50,000 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to develop a new conversion Master’s degree in Data Science.

The funds will enable the Department to develop the course, which will allow students without any previous computer or data science experience at undergraduate level to study towards a Master’s degree in this area of emerging importance.  Crucially, the course will cover both data science and software engineering, a combination of skills sought after in industry.

The new course will build on an existing programme, the conversion master’s degree in Computer Science, which has been run by the Department for nearly three decades.

The course will initially admit up to 15 part-time students, beginning with the 2016/17 academic year this autumn.

The new course forms part of a wider initiative involving 32 universities and colleges – receiving £1.7 million in total – to develop a range of engineering and computer science conversion courses.

It follows the Digital Economy Unit at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport making funding available to develop a number of computer science conversion courses, in particular those focussing on data science, cyber security, and software engineering, as part of a wider push in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop a range of engineering conversion courses to improve the UK’s skills base.

Speaking about the award and the development of the new course at Birkbeck, Professor Peter Wood, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Birkbeck’s Department of Computer Science, said:

“This new Master’s degree conversion course will enable anyone, regardless of their undergraduate academic background, to pursue further study in data science.

“It reflects what is at the heart of what Birkbeck offers – the opportunity for working Londoners to gain new skills in emerging sectors of the economy and specialise in a way which will enable them to progress in their chosen career.”

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:

“There is ever growing demand for those trained in data science, cybersecurity, and software engineering.

“By supporting innovative course developments in universities and colleges, these awards will open up careers in these areas to a wider range of graduates, benefiting both students and employers in key sectors such as manufacturing, food and agri-tech, data science, and energy.”

Further information:

A new UK Government £10,000 loan scheme for postgraduates is available for courses beginning this autumn. Find out more