MSc in Big Data
This is a one year, full time taught MSc. designed to lead to a job in data science or analytics.
Big Data skills are in high demand and they attract high salaries. The MSc Big Data at the University of Stirling is a taught advanced Master's degree covering the technology of Big Data and the science of data analytics.
The course is taught in the beautiful Stirling campus in the heart of Scotland with support from companies who recruit data scientists.
The course covers Big Data technology, advanced analytics and industrial and scientific applications. The syllabus includes:
- Mathematics for Big Data
- Python scripting
- Big Data theory and computing foundations
- Big databases and NoSQL
- Analytics, machine learning and data visualisation
- Optimisation and heuristics for big problems
- Hadoop and MapReduce
- Scientific and commercial applications
- Student projects
- An understanding of the issues of scalability of databases, data analysis, search and optimisation
- The ability to choose the right solution for a commercial task involving big data, including databases, architectures and cloud services
- An understanding of the analysis of big data including methods to visualise and automatically learn from vast quantities of data
- An appreciation of the size of search spaces in large problems and the ability to choose an appropriate heuristic to find a near optimal solution
- The programming skills to build simple solutions using big data technologies such as MapReduce and scripting for NoSQL, and the ability to write parallel algorithms for multi processor execution.
Structure and content
Our Big Data MSc is a mix of practical technology such as Hadoop, NoSQL, and Map-Reduce, important maths and computing theory, and advanced computational techniques. The course will teach you what you need to know to collect, manage and analyse big, fast moving data for science or commerce.
Foundation Maths and Computing
Our foundation maths and computing courses make sure you have the theoretical grounding to build on for the rest of the course.
After a recap of SQL, this course takes you through the various NoSQL databases such as document stores like MongoDB, column stores like Cassandra and graph databases like Neo4j. You'll learn to pick the right database for your application and how to build, search and distribute the data in them.
Big Data Analytics
Sometimes, the more data you have, the better hidden the important facts become. Distilling information from big data needs fast, parallel analytics. We guide you through machine learning, data visualisation, web analytics and sentiment analysis. You'll learn the practicalities of big data analytics with techniques from data mining, machine learning, statistics, data visualisation and web analytics. Learn how we are training computers to understand the present and predict the future with data from finance, marketing, and social media.
Hadoop and MapReduce
This course covers distributed data processing with Hadoop and MapReduce in addition to the use of Condor for distributed computation.
Heuristics for Big Problems
Many big problems from scheduling a large airport to routing a fleet of trucks cannot be solved to perfection. This course covers computational heuristics for function optimisation where the search space is far too large to search exhaustively.
Scientific and Commercial Applications
With guest lectures from science and industry, this course presents a set of case studies of Big Data in action. You'll learn first hand how companies are using big data in fields such as banking, travel, telecoms, genetics and neuroscience.
Each student will carry out a project using a Big Data technology of their choice. With support from our staff you will choose a specialist topic and become a real expert. You'll start with an indepth analysis of the topic and its technology. Then you'll build a solution that will showcase your skills to employers and give you the knowledge to win a high level, high pay job.
This is a practical course and the assessment reflects that. Each module has an assignment and an exam, but the emphasis is on the course work.
Demand for people with big data skills is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Average salaries are higher in Big Data jobs than the IT average and the skills shortage will make that gap bigger.
The Stirling Big Data MSc is run in partnership with industry and is designed to produce graduates with the skills that companies need.
e-Skills UK estimate that:
- The number of Big Data jobs in the UK rose by 41% from 2012 - 2013
- By 2020 there will be 56,000 Big Data jobs in the UK alone
- Big Data professionals earn on average 31% more than other IT professionals
- 77% of companies say it is difficult to recruit people with the Big Data skill they need
- 2016/17 Overseas £13,950
- 2016/17 Home/EU £4,500
- 2015/16 Overseas £13,500
- 2015/16 Home/EU £4,500
A minimum of a second class Honours degree or equivalent in a numerate subject such as maths, computing, engineering or an analytic science. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate work experience are encouraged to apply.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
- IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
- Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
- IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
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Last updated August 16, 2016