MSc Big Data

Big Data skills are in high demand. Gain skills in big data technology, advanced analytics and industrial and scientific applications on our advanced Masters course.

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2021, January 2022, September 2022, January 2023
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules


BCS (Chartered Institute for IT)

British Computer Society logo


Big data is increasingly important in today’s commercial landscape. As a data scientist specialising in big data, you’ll help companies make sense of large amounts of structured and unstructured data, providing rapid insights that enable them to make better, quicker decisions.

The MSc Big Data is a taught advanced Masters degree covering the technology of Big Data and the science of data analytics. You’ll gain practical skills in big data technology, advanced analytics and industrial and scientific applications.

The course will teach you how to collect, manage and analyse big, fast moving data for science or commerce. You’ll learn skills in cutting-edge technology such as Data Analytics, R, Hadoop, NoSQL and Machine Learning. At the same time, you’ll delve into important maths and computing theory, and learn the advanced computational techniques you need to develop your career in data science.

Our MSc has been developed in partnership with global and local companies who employ data scientists. Since the course was launched in 2012 we have developed a great relationship with employers who are looking for the skills that we teach.

The University of Stirling is associated with The Data Lab, an Innovation Centre that aims to develop the data science talent and skills required by industry in Scotland. It also supports our students with funding, networking and routes into employment. We also have close links with the Scottish Informatics and Computing Science Alliance (SICSA).

As a graduate in Big Data you’ll be able to work in a wide range of sectors such as digital technologies, energy and utilities, financial services, public sector and healthcare.

Scotland is a growing and dynamic country with an exciting future at the heart of the data science revolution. £661 million invested in vision of turning capital city into the ‘Data Capital of Europe’ (Source: Scottish Development International).

I chose to study at the University of Stirling because of the vast and challenging variety of modules. The academic staff have been great doing a tremendous job. They're very helpful and always there to talk to. The campus is really beautiful and very comfortable to study with all necessary amenities around.

Vinod Kumar Sudan, MSc Big Data student

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

The syllabus for the MSc Big Data includes:

  • Mathematics and Statistics for Big Data
  • Python scripting
  • Business and scientific applications of Big Data
  • Big databases and NoSQL including MongoDB, Cassandra and Neo4J
  • Analytics, machine learning and data visualisation using Weka, R and ScikitLearn
  • Cluster computing with Hadoop, Spark, Hive and MapReduce
  • Student projects including the possibility of paid internships

On this Masters course you’ll gain:

  • an understanding of the issues of scalability of databases, data analysis, search and optimisation
  • the ability to choose the right solution for a commercial task involving big data, including databases, architectures and cloud services
  • an understanding of the analysis of big data including methods to visualise and automatically learn from vast quantities of data
  • the programming skills to build solutions using big data technologies such as MapReduce and scripting for NoSQL, and the ability to write parallel algorithms for multi-processor execution

Professional accreditation

BCS (Chartered Institute for IT)

Free Microsoft Azure accreditation

Students on this programme are offered the opportunity to take Microsoft accredited courses in addition to their academic study. The additional courses are free and include access to the Microsoft Azure platform and the course exam. This year we offered Azure AI Fundamentals. The courses take one week and are taught by university lecturers. Students who pass the course receive Microsoft accreditation, which is highly sought after in the job market.

Work placements

The course features a substantial summer project, generally in partnership with a company or technology provider.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Research overview

Our team of academics in the department of Computing Science and Mathematics investigate novel and effective approaches to dynamic and uncertain real-world problems in complex systems and environments. They explore the interdisciplinary connections between computer science, mathematics, life sciences, social sciences and management.

We work collaboratively with a number of organisations, including The Data Lab (Scotland’s Data Science Innovation Centre, which supports students with funding, networking and routes to employment) and the Scottish Informatics and Computing Science Alliance (SICSA), to ensure our students have the best platform to succeed.

What our students said

Suprith Kumar
Suprith Kumar
MSc Big Data
Studying MSc Big Data at Stirling helped me learn more on advanced technologies, research works, new opportunities in the field of data science, and interpersonal skills. As part of the course, I did a placement with the Epidemiology Research Unit (FISH VET GROUP) as a Data Scientist Intern.
Read Suprith's story
Beth Watson
Beth Watson
MSc Big Data
The Big Data course was very well designed. The range of topics and technologies covered meant that students gained a basic knowledge in a variety of areas which can be further expanded in a future career.
Read Beth's story
Jinmo Yang
Jinmo Yang
Korea, South
MSc Big Data
What firstly attracted me to study Big Data at Stirling was the well-structured nature of the course. I like that I can get a general and practical understanding of the Big Data field.
Read Jinmo's story

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

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