MSc Data Science (2 years)

The course

Course type
Entry date
January, September


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


Data Scientist has been dubbed the 'sexiest job title' (Harvard Business Review, 2012) with IBM predicting a 28% growth of jobs by 2020. The UK government has set out their strategy for the UK to be a world leader in data science to enable the growth of the UK economy. Data Scientists require a combination of statistical analytical skills, the ability to process large volumes of data efficiently, c.f. Big Data, and then to generate visualisations to explain the results.

This two year programme offers an opportunity for graduates looking to transition to a new career path in Data Science, yet coming from a background outside Computing. Whether your experience lies in Science, Technology, Mathematics or the Arts, this pathway programme is a rare opportunity to become well-versed in the advanced, challenging field of Data Science. Computer Science at Heriot-Watt is ranked 6th in Scotland by The Complete University league tables (2021).

January 2022 entry

The deadline for applications from Scottish and RUK students is 18 December 2021. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 1 December 2021. Applications from EU and overseas applicants received after this date will be considered, where possible, for September 2022 entry.

September 2022 entry

The deadline for applications from Scottish and RUK students is 31 August 2022. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 8 August 2022.

Course content

The two year MSc in Data Science is a full-time postgraduate programme comprising two stages in two successive years.

Year 1

4 courses are taken in each of 2 semesters in year 1 and normally include all core courses.

Core courses:

  • Advanced Software Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Agents
  • Databases and Information Systems
  • Software Engineering Foundations

Optional courses:

  • Advanced Interaction Design
  • Data Communications and Networking
  • Knowledge Management
  • Operating Systems and Concurrency
  • Research Preparation in English I and II
  • Sociotechnical and Soft Systems

Year 2

4 courses are taken in each of 2 semesters in year 2 and normally include all core courses.

Core courses:

  • Big Data Management
  • Data Mining and Machine Learning
  • Data Visualisation and Analytics
  • Research Methods and Project Planning
  • Statistical Modelling and Analysis

Optional courses:

  • Biologically Inspired Computation
  • Computer Network Security
  • Conversational Agents and Spoken Language Processing
  • Digital and Knowledge Economy
  • Distributed and Parallel Technologies
  • Industrial Programming

After semester 2, students continue full-time on the MSc project from May until August. It is assessed by a 15000 word dissertation on a challenging practical problem in this subject area.

Entry requirements

Admission requires a good honours degree at UK 2:2 level (minimum), with evidence of numeracy and familiarity with a programming language.

This programme is designed for students with a non-Computer Science background who would benefit from a foundational year to help them to make a successful transition into Data Science. Therefore students will only be recruited into Year 1 of this programme. There is no direct entry into Year 2 of this programme.

English requirements

Important: If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.0 (with no component under 5.5), we also accept TOEFL (score of 90).

Students, who have an IELTS level less than 6.5, will be required to take the two research preparation English courses in Year 1 in order to bring their English up to the normal postgraduate level.


Additional fees information

Tuition fees for Sept 2022 entry
Status Full-time
UK tbc
Overseas tbc
  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.
  3. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Please note that fees are payable for each year of this two year MSc.

Year 2 - Tuition fees
Status Full-time
UK tbc
Overseas tbc

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.