Big Data Analytics - PgCert / PgDip / MSc

Full Time, Part Time
September 2019
£8,100 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)

This 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 course 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.

Read our blog post by Dr Jagdev Bhogal, Senior Lecturer in Data Technologies

Big Data and Climate Change

Why Choose Us?

  • We provide research-led, practice-driven teaching underpinned by our versatile research projects and strong industry links.
  • You will have the chance to participate in our student engagement initiatives (OpportUNIty), which will enable you to work collaboratively with the University to enhance your student experience.
  • Our academic staff have extensive professional experience and are engaged with both the government and industry in helping to solve complex problems.
  • We have 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. 
  • We are committed to enhancing our graduates’ employability through continuing professional development, and learning in a global environment.
  • We have an established data analytics group that can supervise PhD projects.

This course is open to International students

School of Computing and Digital Technology

Discover the School of Computing and Digital Technology

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Jagdev Bhogal.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

We are members of:

WISE member logo2 WISE members inspire girls to choose maths, physics and computing.

Entry Requirements

UK students

Applicants are expected to have obtained an Honours degree in a technology-related subject, with at least a 2:2 (Second Class) classification.

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.

International students

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

International Students

Entry requirements here

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months £8,100 per year
PT 24 months £4,050 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months £12,300 per year

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. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Course duration

Please note, there are no taught classes over the summer months (June to August) for postgraduate courses, so the total time spent in University for this course is:

  • September start (full-time) 12 months
  • September start (part-time) 20 months

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


Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


Research Methods and Project Management
20 credits

This module will prepare you for the research project that you will undertake towards the end of your Master’s course. It will equip you with transferable skills and knowledge that will help you with your final year studies as well as your future career. A combination of lectures, tutorials, and practical workshops will help you to become familiar with the research literature in your chosen subject area and the research methods used in Computer Sciences. This module will help you to improve your written and verbal communication skills, as well as your time management and project management. 

Applied Statistics
20 credits

This module focuses on the application of statistical techniques to data sets using a range of software and data analytics tools. You will plan, select, and employ a variety of techniques, using the appropriate software and tools, and you will be able to evaluate your results. The module will introduce statistical methods and techniques through practice-based activities associated with real world issues, and you will develop the evaluation and communication skills required to present your findings and suggestions in a professionally prepared report which meets the needs of an organisation.  

Databases for Enterprise
20 credits

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to database technology, a vitally important core IT topic that is found in almost every IT installation in the world, providing you with good transferable skills. You will develop traditional database skills and knowledge including data models, normalisation, and SQL, as well as looking forward into the future of IT, advanced optimisation, and security. The module will introduce database design and implementation methods and techniques associated with real-world scenarios, and using these techniques you will develop a database design and model suitable for implementation, and also implement a security policy to manage users’ access.

Big Data Management
20 credits

In this module you will consider big data systems in the context of the five V’s: Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, and Valence. These systems provide operational capabilities for real-time, interactive workloads, where data is primarily captured and stored to support analytics. Big Data has driven the creation of new technology architectures that have enabled the development of new types of products and services. You will consider their capabilities, effectiveness, and the ethics of their design. In this module you will critically evaluate modern Big Data processing, and from this you will use appropriate modelling techniques to implement your own Big Data solution.                                                                                         

Data Mining
20 credits

Data mining is the process of finding patterns and building models from stored data, providing readily available business intelligence and solutions to many Big Data problems. In this module you will develop descriptive and predictive data mining methods, and you will use modern data mining tools to build and numerically validate models and patterns extracted from the data. You will gain an insight into how specific data mining techniques are being used in organisations, and then you will study the underpinning theory and practical application of these techniques. You will critically evaluate different data mining techniques for suitability to a given problem, and professionally report your findings and solutions. 

Web/Social Media Analytics and Visualisation
20 credits

This module explores the opportunities that exist today to leverage the power of the Web and social media. You will develop expertise in assessing analytic and data mining tools, evaluating web optimisation efforts, and measuring user experience, and you will collect and analyse actionable insights from web clickstream, social media chatter, usability testing, and experiments. Taking a global view on social media analytics, you will use hands-on software tools to extract knowledge from the web and social media, and you will critically analyse this knowledge to produce meaningful information. 

Individual Master’s Project
60 credits

You will undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed project, exploring an area of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide on your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. Your topic must be aligned to the programme you are studying and informed by the research strategy of your school. You should also consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development. You are expected to work independently but will receive additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area.

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.

Further study

The University can offer postgraduate research (MPhil and PhD) programmes. Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.

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.


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 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.

Graduate jobs

The career options for successful graduates from the programme include roles such as:

  • Data Scientist
  • Data Warehousing Specialist
  • Consultancy
  • Solutions Architect
  • Technical Authoring

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:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

As a student at the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you have access to networked laboratories equipped to industry standards and running the latest software, giving you the best possible introduction to the technologies you will encounter in the world of work.

Dedicated facilities are provided for systems analysis, computer networks, programming in a wide range of languages, artificial intelligence, modelling and visual programming, e-commerce and .net environments, and business intelligence, as well as supporting the application areas of mechatronics, games technology, electronics and computer forensics.

Computer networking

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), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

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 database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

Systems laboratories

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 microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

Electronic Systems

Electronic systems

To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.

Forensic computing

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. The laboratory includes high-spec PC’s with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

More on our facilities


You will be taught by experienced academic staff, many of whom have worked in industry for a considerable number of years and bring with them a wealth of IT skills and knowledge.