Data Science (including Professional Practice) MSc

Develop your skills in the various methods used to analyse big data sets and build a career in this exciting area where your knowledge and experience will be in high demand. This course also features the opportunity to undertake a professional placement in its second year. 

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Course format

Integrated placements


22 months full-time

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Explore Data Science at Aston University

Starting in January?

Pay your deposit early and secure our Early Payment Discount of £2,000. 

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Teaching staff from the Mathematics department discuss what makes Maths a fascinating subject.

Why study a postgraduate degree at Aston University?

A postgraduate degree is a great way to improve your career prospects. As well as opening doors, it builds on your experience, develops your skills, and gives you a competitive edge in a crowded job market.

Shivani jang photo

“My time at Aston University has been absolutely wonderful! I believe I have gained so much out of my degree in terms of knowledge and the applications to various fields. Moreover, I have met some amazing friends and members of staff that have constantly supported me in my learning and general well-being.”

Shivani Jang
Mathematics student

Shivani jang photo

“My time at Aston University has been absolutely wonderful! I believe I have gained so much out of my degree in terms of knowledge and the applications to various fields. Moreover, I have met some amazing friends and members of staff that have constantly supported me in my learning and general well-being.”

Shivani Jang
Mathematics student

Course outline and modules

Data plays an increasingly important role in modern life, yet the talent to extract information and value from complex data is scarce.  
This course is for you if you want to use your mathematical and numerical skills to build your career. During the course you will develop an informed and critical appreciation of scientific and industrial developments in data science and analytics.  

What you’ll learn 

You’ll gain a thorough grounding in the fundamental concepts to understand the data lifecycle, including problem formulation, data collection and cleaning, exploratory data analysis and visualisation, statistical inference and decision making. A range of methods will be covered including algorithmic and computational modelling and statistical machine learning. 

You will be trained in a wide range of modern data science and analytics methods in the MSc in Data Science programme including the following modules:

Mathematics is the cornerstone of all data analytics methods. As such, our Fundamentals of Data Analytics module covers the guiding mathematical principles that one requires in order to become a data scientist.

Core modules

•    Statistical Machine Learning
•    Specialist Research Skills and Techniques
•    Understanding Data
•    Probabilistic Modelling
•    Data Science Programming
•    Artificial Neural Networks
•    Network Science

60 credit module:

•    Research Project
•    Professional Practice

Optional modules

Choose one of the following: 

•    Algorithmic and Computational Mathematics
•    Fundamentals of Data Analytics

Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:


Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 10am-4pm)

Please click here for guidance on completing the postgraduate application. 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We expect applications from graduates of Mathematics, Statistics or Data Science and we encourage applications from candidates with degrees in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics and related disciplines where the candidate has experience of mathematics and programming as part of their degree, with a qualification equivalent to a UK BSc with Honours at 2:2 or higher. 

Applicants should have had prior learning in probability theory, statistics, linear algebra, multivariable calculus and optimisation. 

The Mathematics and Programming grades should all be equivalent to UK 60% or higher in the case where the applicant’s background is not in mathematics, statistics or data science. All candidates should supply a degree transcript with their application evidencing their knowledge as above, and may also be interviewed prior to the offer decision.

As well as:  

One professional reference
A completed application form.

International students 
  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements
  • Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.
  • For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage. Information on visas for international students
  • For International Students intending to do a foundation year. Click here to find out more.
Extensive work experience

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications, but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor. 


Learning, teaching and assessment

Our Data Science masters course combines tutorial-based teaching with self-directed study, so you’ll be equipped with the relevant learning materials and then given regular tutorials where you have the opportunity to discuss and demonstrate what you’ve learned alongside potential applications. 
The learning hours include one hour of face-to-face tutorial time per week, per module, along with online activities, reading, independent study, and opportunities to reflect on assignment feedback.  

The taught modules will be assessed via coursework, and the project via a combination of dissertation and viva examination. 

You will complete all of these modules apart from your Research Project across 2 terms (September until Easter). You will work on your Research Project until the following September. This course also contains a Professional Practice placement which will take place after you've completed the dissertation, and will last for 9 months. International students undertaking this course will be offered a visa for the full duration of the course lasting 22 months.

Professional Practice

The difference between this course and the MSc Data Science course is that this one features a professional placement.

Taking the Professional Practice route allows you to extend the duration of your Masters to 22 months and gain valuable working experience to support your career aspirations. The placement commences after completion of your MSc dissertation and can be paid work. study abroad exchanges or unpaid research projects or even a mix of these options. You will return to Aston the following May for an intensive period on campus to draw all your learning together and finalise the assessments.

Although you are responsible for finding your placement, you will have access to the support of our award-winning Careers and Placements Team, who have helped so many of our students to secure placement and work opportunities, including by providing CV and application preparation, and practice interviews. In addition, you will participate in a programme of activities within the School designed to develop your personal and professional skills such as industry seminars and networking activities. Opportunities for one-to-one coaching and mentoring will also support your learning journey and help you become more work-ready.

Take a look at our specific placement information and support.

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2024/25)

Annual tuition fees: £12,400

International/EU students (2024/25)

Annual tuition fees: £24,000

UK postgraduate loans are now open

Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

UK postgraduate loans available 

If you’re starting a masters course on or after 1 August 2022, you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 to help with course fees and living costs. Find out more.


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our UK student scholarships here. Find out more about our international student scholarships here.

20 per cent postgraduate alumni scholarship

Cost shouldn't limit your career aspirations, which is why we are delighted to offer all Aston University graduates (including exchange students) a 20% loyalty scholarship in standard taught MA, MSc and Full-time MBA course fees. As an Aston University graduate, you will automatically qualify. For more information visit our webpage.

Career prospects

Our graduates leave with the in-depth knowledge and skills they need to develop careers across the field of data science.  
Students on similar programmes have gone on to roles including: finance and investment analysts and advisers; IT business analysts, architects and systems designers; management consultants and business analysts; as well as programmers and software development professionals at some of the world’s most prestigious companies. 
International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. More information on post-work visas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why study Data Science at Aston? 

In the information age we live in, understanding data and how to use it is increasingly important. The skills and knowledge you gain are in high demand across many sectors, which will offer you many potential opportunities.  

What will I be doing on the Data Science course at Aston? 

You’ll develop an informed and critical appreciation of scientific and industrial developments in data science and analytics through a combination of modelling, computation and hands-on project experience. 

How does this course differ from the MSc Data Science course?

This version of this course with professional practice features the opportunity to undertake a work placement during your time studying at Aston, however the MSc Data Science course that doesn’t include a professional practice does not include a work placement opportunity as part of the course.

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