Year of entry2018
Start dateOctober 2018
Two years part-time
Two to three evenings a week
Other entry years for this course2017
This intensive programme in data science and software engineering is designed for graduates who are new to computer science and provides an excellent grounding for working as a data scientist or analyst in industry. You will gain a broad knowledge of computing and acquire programming and data analysis skills, as well as comprehensive, practical problem-solving and analytical skills. You will also critically explore current research and methodologies and have the opportunity to investigate an area of current research in more depth via a project.
If you are new to computer science, this programme provides a solid foundation for a career in IT as a data scientist or analyst. For those already working in IT, the programme is an ideal opportunity to strengthen and update your knowledge and skills in the areas of data science and software engineering, while obtaining a formal Master's qualification.
This programme has beenHigher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), as part of an innovative initiative to fund conversion courses in computing and engineering. This course uniquely enables 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 covers both data science and software engineering, a combination of skills sought after in industry.
- This programme is ideal if you are new to computer science and want to develop a career in IT as a data scientist or analyst.
- Our Department of Computer Science and Information Systems is one of the longest-established in the world - we are celebrating our 60th anniversary in 2017.
- We provide a stimulating teaching and research environment, with academic specialists in all fields, including information and knowledge management, web and pervasive technologies, computational intelligence, and information systems development, among others.
- Our research dates back to the late 1940s, when one of the first electronic computers was developed at Birkbeck by Dr Andrew Booth. We now house the and the , both of which collaborate with other research groups and with industry, in the UK and abroad, and undertake interdisciplinary research in the life, natural and social sciences, and the humanities.
- We are also part of the London Knowledge Lab, a unique collaboration between Birkbeck and the UCL Institute of Education, which brings together computer and social scientists to explore how we learn, the role of technology in this process, and how technology relates to broader social, economic and cultural factors.
- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), more than 75% of our research outputs in Computer Science were ranked world-leading or internationally excellent.
- You will have 24-hour access to several laboratories of networked PCs with a range of language compilers, database and other application software. We are connected, via the SuperJANET network, to the computers of other academic institutions in London, elsewhere in the UK and abroad.
The programme consists of six compulsory modules, two option modules and a project.
In Year 1, you take five compulsory modules.
In Year 2, you take one compulsory module, choose two option modules, and undertake a project in data science.
Year 1 compulsory modules
- Big Data Analytics using R
- Computer Systems
- Fundamentals of Computing
- Principles of Programming I
- Programming with Data
Year 2 compulsory module
- Advances in Data Management
- Cloud Computing
- Data Warehousing and Data Mining
- Information and Network Security
- Information Retrieval and Organisation
- Information Systems
- Machine Learning
- Principles of Programming II
- Semantic Technologies
MSc Data Science project
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
The degree is designed for graduates who are new to computer science, so the main requirement is a second-class honours degree, or equivalent, in any subject other than single-honours Computer Science, along with demonstrated aptitude as tested during the application process.
Applicants with less than the required level of academic qualification may be considered if they have significant experience in the IT industry.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)
If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
Fees (2017/8)Part-time home/EU students: £ 4250 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.
Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.
Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.
In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.
Methods of teaching on this course
Formal lectures are the principal teaching method, but these frequently incorporate practical sessions, for example in programming, and also group exercises carried out in class.
There is a large element of practical coursework which students carry out in their own time, although some of these coursework assignments are carried out in groups. You also undertake an individual project in data science, including background research, which is supervised by a member of staff. The project provides an opportunity for you to investigate in depth an aspect of data science that particularly interests you.
Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).
Indicative class size
Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.
Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:
- academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
- written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
- numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).
Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.
Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.
Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.
Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.
Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.
Methods of assessment on this course
Assessment is via coursework assignments, written examinations and the project proposal and final report.
As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.
Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.
Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.
Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Graduates go on to careers in software engineering, information systems management, consultancy, or research. Possible professions include database administrator, IT consultant, or systems developer. This degree can also be useful in becoming a systems analyst, information systems manager, IT sales professional, or technical author.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.
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