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Big Data Analytics - MSc

The MSc Big Data Analytics course will provide you with an insight into areas of data mining, big data management, and advanced statistics. You will develop in-depth practical skills through using tools and techniques from the forefront of the emerging field of data analytics. You will use these to effectively model complex organisational requirements and propose suitable solutions....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

Overview

The MSc Big Data Analytics course will provide you with an insight into areas of data mining, big data management, and advanced statistics. You will develop in-depth practical skills through using tools and techniques from the forefront of the emerging field of data analytics. You will use these to effectively model complex organisational requirements and propose suitable solutions.

What's covered in the course?

The demand for big data analysis and management is continually increasing in business and computer science. For companies it can provide valuable insights, and results such as increased market share, profitability, possible cost savings and procedural efficiency. This course will equip you with the necessary skills to exploit big data tools and methods in order to drive innovation and growth in modern global organisations and society.

The learning activities on this Masters in Data Analytics degree are designed to encourage and facilitate your ability to gain employment and sustain a professional career in data analytics - by building your confidence and skills through hands-on experience and structured feedback. The course combines formal lectures and tutor-led workshops with independent study. You will develop key analytical and problem-solving skills, and will gain an aptitude for research, academic writing, and time management.

Technology enhanced learning will be used through the provision of online resources and discussion forums. Teaching will be conducted in a work-related context: you will work collaboratively with tutors, researchers, and businesses to prepare you for employment. Potential careers for Big Data Analytics graduates include roles in data science, data warehousing, consultancy, data security and data administration.

Tailor your degree

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course. This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market.

Introducing STEAMhouse

STEAMhouse is a centre for technology, innovation, creative thinking

Our brand new £70 million pound building, STEAMhouse, will become the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology from the start of the 2022 academic year.

Find out more

This course is open to International students.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • Engineering Council Accredited Degree

The course is very well structured and it helped me develop the skills required in the field of Data Science. The course was inclusive and involved theoretical concepts and practical real world scenarios. I enjoyed the application of Advanced Analytics, Machine Learning and Big data technologies which improved decision making and business skills. Every course module concluded with a practice assignment that allowed me to transfer the knowledge to real life learning. The faculty was extremely supportive, always approachable and very helpful in providing timely feedback and directions to sharpen my skillsets.
Radhika Rajagopa

Why Choose Us?

  • Research-led, practice-driven teaching - Our teaching is underpinned by our versatile research projects and strong industry links. 

  • Professional placement option - Gain desirable employability skills with the option of a professional placement. 

  • Experienced academic staff - Our academic staff have extensive professional experience and are engaged with both the government and industry in helping to solve complex problems. 

  • Excellent industry partnerships - Our previous students have gained work experience and graduate roles at companies such as: Hewlett-Packard, BT, Capgemini, Cisco, IBM and more.  

  • Committed to enhancing graduates’ employability - We support students through continuing professional development and learning in a global environment. 

  • Established data analytics group- which can supervise PhD projects.
  • Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT - The course meets standards set by the profession.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area from our academics.

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

In order to be considered for a place on this course, you must have passed a honours degree at minimum of 2:2 or equivalent. .

Students with a business or management degree will be considered, if there has been a substantial element of computing within the degree programme.

Students who do not hold the standard entry requirements may be considered for admission provided they can demonstrate that their qualifications and/or industrial experience are equivalent.

Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

International applicants are required to have IELTS overall band of 6.0 or equivalent.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £9,000 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement (see below*)
  • £9,900 in 2022/23
  • £1000 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 80 credits
  • Year 2 - 100 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement (see below*)
  • £9,900 in 2022/23
  • Part Time
  • 20 months
  • TBC

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £16,300 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement (see below*)
  • £17,930 in 2022/23

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement (see below*)
  • £17,930 in 2022/23

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and NVivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Media consumable items (optional)

This course requires the use of consumables.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Professional Placement option*

The Professional Placement option will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market.  Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement.  The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study.  You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School. 

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course.  All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Module

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

As technological advances accelerate development and revolutionise the shape of our future, businesses and individuals compete ever so vigorously to maximise their efficiency. The competition involves cutting costs and making data-informed decisions. Also, the nature of data itself is evolving with the arrival of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, at its extreme, even the entire working or living environment can be treated as data: natural evolution is a well-established scientific theory that supports such a notion. 

Information from data is required by many organisations and this module focuses on the application of statistical techniques to data sets primary using statistical and data analytics software. Hence a mixed learning and teaching approach is proposed that consists of both computer lab work with applying theory in practice through the use of specialist software and interactive taught sessions in a seminar room where you can work together putting theory into organisational context. 

Within this module, you will gain knowledge and experience of advanced concepts of database systems and implementation techniques of database management systems. The module begins with reviewing the fundamental concepts necessary for designing, using, and implementing relational database systems. This includes conceptual design, relational modelling, Structured Query language (SQL) programming and database implementation techniques. The module then explores some of the advanced concepts of databases relevant to the role of database administrator. This includes query planning and optimization; transaction processing and concurrency control; and big data technologies. The objective is to enhance the comprehension and the advanced use of database system in order to optimize its performance. In addition, the module contains a substantial practical element utilising advanced SQL, NoSQL, enabling students to gain transferable skills in designing and developing relatively complex ‘real life’ database applications.

This module focuses on aspects of managing big data systems with respect to the five V’s (Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, and Valence); i.e. systems that provide operational capabilities for realtime, interactive workloads where data is primarily captured and stored to support any analytical capabilities.

Big Data has driven the creation of new technology architectures with the likes of NoSQL, MPP databases and Hadoop that enable new types of products and services. Operational systems, such as the NoSQL databases, focus on servicing highly concurrent requests while exhibiting low latency for responses operating on highly selective access criteria. 

Data mining is the non-trivial process of finding patterns and building models from data stored in data repositories such as databases and data warehouses. At the heart of Big Data Analytics and business intelligence, data mining algorithms provide readily available solutions to many Big Data problems. Data mining is an established field that provides both predictive and descriptive analytics solutions. Such solutions are often generic and can be applied to a wide range of applications from business to scientific and governmental applications.

In this module, you will be taught the internal mechanisms of developing descriptive and predictive data mining methods. Also you will be taught how to use modern data mining tools to build and numerically validate models and patterns extracted from data. You also will be able to critically evaluate current trends in data mining.

The exponential growth of social media has transformed the social, political, and technological landscapes. An increasing amount of data is generated from today’s social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. People use social media to publish rich content, annotate it with descriptive metadata, communicate and respond to each other. Data analytics is a powerful tool to identify trends and patterns in social media and explore how social media have been used in times of disasters, crisis or during important events such as political campaigns. This course is multidiscipline that combines social network analysis (SNA), natural language processing, and data analytics for mining social data. We aim in this course to understand an end-to-end process of social media analytics starting form data collection to extracting insights and deriving conclusions.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed Level 7 project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying and informed by the research strategy of your school, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

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Course breakdown

The MSc programme is normally studied over one year full-time or two years part-time (one year and one term full-time for January start). You may move between full and part-time modes of attendance. The course is divided into taught modules of 20 credits and a Masters project of 60 credits. Students complete 60 credits for Postgraduate Certificate, 120 credits for Postgraduate Diploma and 180 credits for the full MSc. Each credit represents 10 notional hours of student learning and assessment. The structure of the course, the module, levels and credit ratings and the awards that can be gained are shown below.

A range of assessment methods are employed, assessment criteria being published in each assignment brief. Knowledge and skills are assessed, formatively and summatively, by a number of methods: coursework, examinations (seen and unseen, open and closed-book), presentations, practical assignments, vivas, online forums, podcasts and project work.


This course is accredited by the following organisations:

Our accreditations from these bodies show employers that you have the level of knowledge and skills they need when you graduate.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

This degree has been accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by BCS. An accredited degree entitles you to professional membership of BCS, which is an important part of the criteria for achieving Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status through the Institute. Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

Engineering Council Accredited Degree
Engineering Council Accredited Degree

This degree has been accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT on behalf of the Engineering Council. Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). An accredited degree will provide you with some or all of the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for eventual registration as an Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng). Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords. 

Employability

Enhancing your employability

This course is suitable for undergraduates and those who have worked in the industry but do not have the recognised qualifications.

The school boasts graduates who have gone on to work for Hewlett Packard, Bell Micro, Birmingham City Council, BT, Cap Gemini, Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, Fujitsu, IBM, Intel Corporation, NHS, Motorola, National Express, NEC, Royal Mail, Shell IT, JP Morgan Chase and Co, Carillion plc, Siemens and Nokia and many more.

Placements

The School has exceptionally strong links with industry. Collaboration with industry is at the heart of our teaching, enabling us to keep our courses relevant and up-to-date and putting you in prime position for industrial placements, chances to contribute to real-life projects and career opportunities.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities & Staff

Our Facilities

As a student in the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you will have access to our labs, software, professional sound studios, computer games labs and industry-standard facilities to develop your practical skills in audio, video and multimedia application development, content creation and more.

We are currently undertaking a £340 million investment programme in our facilities, including a major expansion of our City Centre Campus. This includes our brand new £70 million development, STEAMhouse, which will be the new home to Computing and Digital Technology students. This state-of-the-art centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and equipment, as well as opportunities to collaborate with businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects.

Our facilities in Millennium Point have undergone a £6.5million investment with a new maker area, engineering labs/equipment and IT equipment.

Thanks to our partnerships with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Juniper, SAS and LPI you will have access to the latest technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. Our students also have access to software such as the Adobe Suite including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Computer Labs

System Labs

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include:

  • Schematic capture and printed circuit board (PCB) design software – ORCAD
  • Analogue and digital circuit design and simulation software – PSpice
  • Graphical microcontroller software – Matrix Multimedia Flowcode
  • Microcontroller development board – PIC Microchip
  • E-block microcontroller training kit
  • FPGA & CPLD development board
  • Robotics design and development
Software Development and Computer Programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including:

  • Software development environments for modern programming languages - Visual Studio
  • Computing programming languages – Python, C#, ASP.NET, PHP, Unity
  • Operating systems – Linux, Windows and macOS
  • Database management systems – MySQL
  • Neural network simulators
  • Computer architecture simulators – RISC
  • Application development software – iPhone, Android Studio
  • Integrated development environments – Netbeans / FPGA /CPLD
  • JAVA programming – BlueJ.
Network Labs

Our industry standard kit can be accessed by students who are at home or anywhere on the globe – remote access – 24/7 (NETACAD)

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as: Voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), Security technologies, Forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), Cybersecurity and software Defined Networking including NFV.

Forensics Room 

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study.

Industry standard forensic hardware and software is available for analysis of PC’s and mobile phones.

Some of the features of the lab includes: fingerprint readers and recognition software development kits, facial recognition cameras and software development kits and more.

Games Lab

Our state-of-the-art computer games lab is home to a PS4 Development Kit and has Xbox One Console Development ability. We have a Nintendo Switch Development Kit in procurement and HTC Vive, Oculus CV1 and VR development facility.

The Games Lab is a key feature during our Games Jam and society events. All students can join our computer games societies and use our facilities if interested in gaming.

Digital Technology Facilities

We operate well-resourced high-spec computer labs which are fully equipped with up-to-date, industry standard software for the design and development of advanced multimedia applications.

Our facilities include: Sophisticated graphics software packages for image manipulation and editing; these provide a full range of drawing, editing and image composition tools. Web animation and Rich Internet Application development tools. 3D software for Rendering, Modelling, Games and Animation, and design and graphics software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

An Apple Mac sound lab, electronics and fully equipped multimedia labs are all part of the technology and multimedia experience on offer.

Sound Studios in Millennium Point

The Orchard

The Orchard is a 40-seat mac lab designed to support teaching of audio and mac-specific software. The lab features a recording booth as well as high quality audio monitors and video projector.

Sound Studios

Our studio facilities feature mixing consoles by manufacturers such as SSL and Audix, monitoring by PMC and Genelec, and a host of software and outboard hardware effects commonly found in high-end commercial recording studios. As well as acoustically designed spaces to record and mix, we have a dedicated mastering suite featuring the acclaimed PMC IB1S monitors.

In the live rooms you will find a useful range of stock instruments including drums and cymbals, guitars, basses, a tuned piano and a range of instrument amplifiers.

Mix Rooms

Our mix rooms are smaller rooms, useful for one or two students to work on projects that do not require the space afforded by our larger studio facilities. These include a Foley studio for recording of footsteps and other sound effects that are added to media. We also have a room where live desks can be set up, allowing students to explore workflows outside of a gig setup.

Microphones

We pride ourselves on an extensive microphone collection that any commercial studio would be proud of. From the classic Neumann U87, Royer 121 or Coles 4038 to staples like the AKG C414 or C451, you will find a very usable range of sounds to explore.

Live Sound Equipment

Students have access to an extensive set of live sound equipment with mixing consoles by Midas, Digidesign and Yamaha and a range of PA systems including a D&B Audiotechnik line array. Backed up with an excellent set of microphones chosen for their success in the live environment, and other production equipment such as lighting, the gear is used in a variety of destinations around the university or offsite at gigs and festivals.

The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s £57 million teaching and performance facility is the first of its kind in the digital age and is the perfect fusion of traditional and contemporary.

Featuring 9,000 sq m of purpose designed teaching, rehearsal and state of the art performance space, it offers unrivalled opportunities for our students. The audio and video digital infrastructure is designed to enhance and support live performance and to allow students to experiment with new technologies.

Read more about the Conservatoire of the Future

Curzon Street Studios

Curzon Street Studios has a number of world-class TV studios suitable for shooting commercials, films and video productions, both big and small.

Studio B boasts the largest fixed green screen in the UK, with a three wall infinity cove. The studio has been used for filming TV commercials, TV promos, music videos, web presentations and the live-streaming of online entertainment shows. Studio B offers pre-rigged lighting for green screen as well as access to the lighting rig with a hoist controller at ground floor level.

Black cyclorama and matting are also available to create a black studio. The green studio also houses our MILO motion control rig which is the most used motion control rig in the world, the Milo’s versatility, portability and high accuracy makes it the ideal choice for live action shooting and table top work.

Curzon Street Studios boasts six digital radio studios. All studios have been acoustically designed to provide ideal recording environments for both live and pre-recorded audio production and are fully soundproofed.

Our post production system has been designed to enable content to be produced, managed and distributed digitally. We offer a custom built central technical area that allows seamless interaction between all our studios and edit suites.

Learn more about what Curzon Street Studios has to offer

Makers Space

The Level 4 Makers Space is a bright communal space in Millennium Point in which students find support in building their electronic projects (i.e. Raspberry Pi or Arduino boards based).

The Makers Space is equipped with a laser cutter, 3D printers, and a variety of electronic components like motion, proximity, humidity sensors, and many more.

This space is widely used by students, including first year students who use the space to help build their gadget ready to be presented at Innovation Fest. Experienced technicians are on hand to provide support. The support extends to all other levels including Final Year, Ph.D., and KTP projects.

Student have access to high spec laptops with the latest media software for all their module needs, making the level 4 Makers Space the ideal area for the development of their project. Computer enthusiasts will enjoy our mini collection of vintage Apple computers.


Computing and Digital Technology facilities