Taught course

Master of Data Science

Durham University · Faculty of Science

Entry requirements

A UK first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent in ANY degree that doesn’t include a strong data science component including those in social sciences, the arts and humanities, business, and sciences.

Evidence of competence in written and spoken English if the applicant’s first language is not English:

  • minimum TOEFL requirement is 102 IBT (no element under 23)
  • minimum IELTS score is 7.0 overall with no element under 6.0 or equivalent

Months of entry


Course content

Are you looking to follow a career in data, or are you passionate about progressing in your chosen area of expertise? With data playing an increasingly significant role, and impacting all areas of our lives, expertise in data science is becoming ever more important.

The Master of Data Science is for students holding a degree that is not highly quantitative in nature. It provides the opportunity to study a programme rich in the substance of data science.

This course with a hard-core of data science will provide you with a Masters-level education focused on data science. Whether you have a background in social sciences, arts and humanities or any other discipline without data science at its core, this programme provides a range of options for you.

Programme choices

Master of Data Science (Digital Humanities)

Master of Data Science (Social Analytics)

Master of Data Science (Health)

Master of Data Science (Earth and Environment)

Master of Data Science (Bioinformatics and Biological Modelling)

Why Master of Data Science?

All around us, massive amounts of increasingly complex data are being generated and collected, for instance, from mobile devices, cameras, cars, houses, offices, cities, and satellites. Businesses, researchers, government, communities, and families can use that data to make informed and rational decisions that lead to better outcomes. It is impossible for anyone individual or group of individuals to keep on top of all the relevant data: there is simply far too much. Data science enables us to analyse large amounts of data effectively and efficiently and as a result, has become one of the fastest growing career areas.

The advent of new techniques and increases in computing power means that data science is now much more accessible to all. Our programme will support you to learn how to access, clean, analyse, and visualize complex data. This learning, along with your expertise in your degree subject or discipline, and experience will enable you to grasp the full meaning and significance of data in your area, undertaking data analysis intelligently and providing a significant employment advantage.

The programme

Whether you choose the core Master of Data Science or one of our more specific programmes relating to your knowledge, discipline expertise or area interest, you will find all introductory modules are designed to bring students up to speed with the background necessary for data science. This is done on a need-to-know basis, focusing on understanding in practice rather than abstract theory. Core modules then introduce you to the full range of data science methods, building from elementary techniques to advanced modern methods such as neural networks and deep learning. Optional modules allow you to focus on an area of interest.

The course provides training in relevant areas of contemporary data science in a supportive research-led interdisciplinary learning environment. The broad aims are:

  • To provide you with an advanced understanding of data science, with the skills needed to apply this to your work
  • To develop your skills to enable you to critically review, interpret and apply relevant data science knowledge to practical situations
  • To develop the ability to conduct research into data science issues that requires familiarity with a range of data, research sources and appropriate methodologies and ethical issues.

A number of subjects can be identified and defined within each application domain. Whilst a Masters cannot incorporate all subjects, a selection of subjects representative of each domain ensures that the course incorporates the necessary breadth and depth of material to ensure a skilled graduate.

The Masters allows for progressive deepening in your knowledge and understanding, culminating in the research project which is an in-depth investigation of a specific topic or issue.

The global dimension is reinforced through the use of international examples and case studies where appropriate.

Course Structure

Core modules

The Master of Data Science is comprised of the following core modules:

  • Introduction to Computer Science (optional under certain conditions)
  • Introduction to Statistics for Data Science
  • Ethics and Bias in Data Analytics
  • Machine Learning
  • Programming for Data Science
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Introduction to Mathematics for Data Science (optional under certain conditions)
  • Research Project

Examples of optional modules:

  • Text Mining and Language Analytics
  • Data Exploration, Visualization, and Unsupervised Learning
  • Multilevel Modelling

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
£12,900 per year
International students
£29,500 per year

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MDS
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details