How do we make sense of data and help organisations and researchers exploit its value?

From analysing the stock market to help us understand human behaviour, to modelling the human brain when performing specific tasks, the volume, diversity and complexity of data being gathered today is growing fast.

The challenge now facing organisations is how to analyse it and, more importantly, how to use it to inform decisions.

To solve this problem, organisations need data scientists who are not only highly skilled in a wide range of statistical and data analysis tools, but who can go far beyond classical statistics and machine learning to gain real insights from data.

Join our online MSc Data Science and you’ll learn to do just that.

Why this data science degree is different

Unlike many other data science programmes, this degree goes beyond statistics and big data, taking a Computational Thinking (CT) approach to data science. So you’ll learn to apply logical thinking, sequencing and algorithms to create solutions to problems across many disciplines and industries.

Who can study our online MSc in Data Science?

We welcome applications from anyone who wants to improve their data science skills and employability. You do not need to have a background in science, technology, engineering or medicine (STEM). This degree’s multidisciplinary nature makes it ideal for social science and business graduates too.

By the end of this degree, you’ll be able to...

  • Utilise the algorithms, tools and workflows used at the forefront of data science today, including Wolfram Mathematica.
  • Apply the essential analysis and computational thinking skills needed to extract knowledge and insights from data.
  • Work effectively in multidisciplinary teams to extract knowledge and insights from data.
  • Combine your mathematical modelling and programming skills in the context of data science.

Why study data science online with the University of Aberdeen?

Top 4

Top 4 in the UK for Computer Science

We’re ranked 4th in the UK for Computer Science & Information Systems (Guardian University Guide 2023).

Over 525 years of excellence

Graduate with a respected degree from the fifth-oldest university in the English-speaking world, founded in 1495.

20% alumni discount

University of Aberdeen alumni receive 20% off fees for this online degree.

What you’ll study

You’ll study the following courses that make up the 180 credits of this Masters degree.

You can also choose to exit early, earning a:

  • Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) or
  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits).

How you’ll study

Online learning

Our distance-learning MSc Data Science is delivered 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world, with no need for a study visa.

Each course that’s part of this degree is taught intensively over a period of three weeks.

Your teaching

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including online access to our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library. 

Your tutors

You’ll learn from a team of academic experts from our School of Natural and Computing Sciences, who work in data science and mathematical modelling.

Industry input

We have strong links to industry and developed this degree in collaboration with industry partners, including Wolfram Research. This ensures you’ll cover the algorithms, tools and workflows needed by industry today.


MSc Data Science is assessed entirely online. We use a range of assessment methods throughout your degree, including online tests, essays and projects.

Hours for taught courses

Each 15-credit course that is part of this degree is delivered intensively.

Each course:

  • is delivered over three weeks, followed by an assessment
  • takes around 150 hours of study and assessment time to complete
  • will require around 40 hours per week of study time for three weeks, including preparing for assessments.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes.

You can take one to four courses per term, to progress through the degree at a pace that suits you.

Courses are delivered one at a time, consecutively.

You can to an extent set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study around the clock.

Activities at fixed times

There will be some activities that are scheduled at fixed times, such as online meetings with your tutor, or assessments with deadlines.

Hours for 60-credit project

A 60-credit project is around 600 hours of study time. This is around one term of full-time study.

You can dedicate a full term to your project and work on it full-time. Or you can complete it part-time, spreading the hours you dedicate to it over two or more terms.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment to your course will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your course each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors via MyAberdeen and email. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

Your support team

Our friendly team are here to answer any queries you have before, during and after your studies.

Professor Marco Thiel

Marco is the degree coordinator. He’ll be on hand to answer any questions about degree content before you start and to help you throughout your studies.

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer is part of the School’s postgraduate teaching support team. She’ll be there throughout your studies to answer any of your non-academic queries.

Get in touch

Our online education team is here to answer any questions you have right now about this qualification, or about studying online.

Ask us a question

Where this will take you

You’ll graduate with a Masters degree in Data Science that will be recognised by industry and academic institutions around the globe. You’ll attain exactly the same degree as you would studying on campus with us.


There are great graduate prospects in the field of Data Science. The demand for data scientists and data analysis experts far outstrips the supply of highly qualified graduates. This is amplified by the fact that there are now very few areas where data analysis skills are not needed.

You’ll be able to pursue a range of careers across sectors, including roles as a:

  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Data Architect
  • Data Mining Engineer
  • Data Scientist.

Average salaries

According to, entry-level annual salaries for Data Scientists range from £25,000 to £30,000, rising to £40,000 depending on your experience.

  • With a few years’ experience, you could expect to earn £40,000 to £60,000.
  • Lead and chief data scientists can earn upwards of £60,000, in some cases reaching more than £100,000.

Lifelong career support

Our careers support doesn’t stop when you graduate.

You have access to our free careers service while you study, and beyond.

We’re here with 1:1 appointments, CV checks, interview prep, and to connect you with job opportunities around the world.

Fees and funding

The fee quoted above is based on you starting your studies with us in the 2023/24 academic year.

Fees for future academic years are provisional. Our indicative cost assumes a 5% fee rise each year.

Pay as you go

Don’t worry, you do not have to pay the full degree fee upfront.

You can pay for your degree one term at a time. This gives you a flexible way to spread the cost.

Pay as you go allows you to spread payments over several terms.

When you pay

You make a payment before the start of each term.

How much you pay

You only pay for the credits you want to study in the upcoming term.

It’s up to you how many credits you take each term. This gives you control over your costs and your workload.

  • Taking fewer credits will increase the length of your studies.

We break down the total cost of this qualification into cost per 15-credit course and your dissertation.

Costs for this degree, starting in academic year 2023/24

15-credit courses

  • £1,410 in academic year 2023/24.
  • £1,480 in academic year 2024/25 (provisional).
  • £1,555 in academic year 2025/26 (provisional).

60-credit project

  • £3,360 in academic year 2024/25 (provisional).
  • £3,520 in academic year 2025/26 (provisional).

Tuition fees typically rise a little each academic year. The fees quoted for 2024/25 and 2025/26 are provisional and subject to change.

This is an example payment schedule for tuition fees. It’s based on the typical route through the degree.

You can take more or fewer credits per term than is shown in this example.

Term 1) September – December 2023 | Academic year 2023/24

  • Take two 15-credit courses @£1,410 each.
  • Fee for term = £2,820.
  • Payment due in September.

Term 2) January – April 2024

  • Take two 15-credit courses @£1,410 each.
  • Fee for term = £2,820.
  • Payment due in January.

PgCert exit point

With 60 credits earned, you now have the option to exit with a PgCert.

Total fee for this route to your PgCert = £5,640.

Term 3) May – August 2024

  • Summer break. There is no teaching in the first summer of your degree.
  • No payment due.

Term 4) September – December 2024 | Academic year 2024/25

  • Take two 15-credit courses @£1,480 each (provisional).
  • Fee for term = £2,960 (provisional).
  • Payment due in September.

Term 5) January – April 2025

  • Take two 15-credit courses @£1,480 each (provisional).
  • Fee for term = £2,960 (provisional).
  • Payment due in January.

PgDip exit point

With 120 credits earned, you now have the option to exit with a PgDip.

Total fee for this route to your PgDip = £11,560 (provisional).

Term 6) May – August 2025

  • Embark on your 60-credit project.
  • Fee for project = £3,360 (provisional).
  • Payment due in May.

Term 7) September – December 2025 | Academic year 2025/26

  • Complete your project.
  • No further payment is due.

MSc complete

On passing your project, you’ll have earned 180 credits and will be awarded an MSc.

Total fee for this route to your MSc = £14,920 (provisional).

Note: Fees for academic year 2024/25 are provisional and subject to change.

Infographic summarising the example payment schedule described above.

Learning resources

All books and resources you need are included in your tuition fee. They will be available online and you do not have to you buy your own copies.

External hard drive

Because this degree involves handling large data sets, you may have to purchase an external hard drive if you do not already have one, for storing data and coursework.


You may wish to set aside a small budget for printing, depending on how you like to work.

There are several ways you may be able to get help funding your studies:

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

20% Alumni discount

You’re entitled to 20% off our postgraduate taught degrees and short courses if you have a degree from the University of Aberdeen. View Alumni discount details and eligibility criteria.

How discounts work

Discounts are applied during your application process. You can only use one discount per application.

Entry requirements

MSc, PgDip and PgCert

  • A 2:2 (lower-second) honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject.

This is our minimum entry requirement. It is given as a guide and does not guarantee entry.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

See the minimum entry requirements above. If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check equivalent qualifications from your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a visa to study online with us.

Do you need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency?

Teaching is delivered in English.

We can assess your English language proficiency through your:

  • nationality
  • qualifications, or
  • a recognised English language test.

Use our English requirements checklist to find out if we need to see evidence of your English language proficiency when you apply.

English language tests and scores

If you do need to provide English language test scores, these are the tests and minimum scores we accept for this course or degree.

These are our Postgraduate Standard requirements.

IELTS Academic and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 6.0 for writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 18 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 169 for writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken)

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For full information about language requirements, see our English Language Requirements page.

You apply through our online Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents.

Applying to the University of Aberdeen is always free.

What you need to apply for this degree

  • Degree transcript
  • Personal statement
  • Degree certificate
  • CV / Resume

Apply now

Start with our step-by-step guide. It explains degree transcripts, what to write in your personal statement and how to use our Applicant Portal.

You can apply to start in either January or September.

Apply as early as you can. This is so we have time to review your application and get a decision to you. We also want to ensure you have time to enrol before teaching starts.

September 2023 intake

Teaching starts on 18 September 2023.

Application deadlines will be announced in due course.

January 2024 intake

Teaching starts on 22 January 2024.

Application deadlines will be announced in due course.

Studying Data Science involves storing and processing large datasets. You will need:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either

  • Windows 10 or later; in this case you would ideally have a secondary Linux system installed.
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Computer specifications

Any desktop or laptop should be the highest spec you can afford, with:

  • a minimum of 16GB RAM (ideally 32GB or more); 8GB will suffice for most content, but will not be sufficient for the analysis of some datasets.
  • a good graphics card (ideally, but not necessarily, NVIDIA).
  • a fast processor (ideally Intel i5, i7 or i9).
  • a sizeable hard drive or SSD (ideally 1TB or above).

External hard drive and memory stick

For storing and backing up your data and coursework, we suggest using an external hard drive with at least 1TB of storage space.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum 6Mbps download speed and 2Mbps upload speed so you can take part fully in live sessions.

We will occasionally download large datasets or connect to databases, requiring fast connection speeds.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one from some interactive sessions.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If a course requires any specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

Master of Science

180 credits


This indicative cost is based on 180 credits of study over two years, starting in September 2023.

Apply for this programme

Start month
September or January

This indicative cost is based on 180 credits of study over two years, starting in September 2023.

Apply via our Applicant Portal
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