Data Engineering MSc

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Science & Engineering
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Why study this course at Dundee?

This course will give you the skills you’ll need to succeed as a Data Engineer or Data Scientist, taking you from  techniques to handle Big Data through to analysing and visualising this data to give meaningful insights. Subjects include:

  • Big Data Theory and Practice, how do we manage the volume, velocity and variety of big data.
  • NoSql Databases including Cassandra, Neo4j, Mongodb and a host of others.
  • Parallel data analysis (Hadoop, Spark)
  • Machine learning and data mining
  • Languages for Data Engineering (Python, R, Matlab etc)
  • Devops and Microservices for deploying Big Data solutions to the cloud.

The role of "Data Scientist" has been described as the "sexiest job of the 21st Century”, but it is the emerging role of Data Engineer that is set to have the biggest impact on companies data analytics.  Companies are realising they need employees with a specific set of skills to bridge the gap between the work of Data Scientists and the infrastructure needed for a  reliable and scalable solution.  The Data Engineer needs to understand the work of Data Scientists at the same level of detail and take it to the next step, a working solution that will deliver day in and day out.

Funded Places

The Data Lab and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) are funding 17 places on this course

Scottish or EU fee category students are eligible to apply to have their tuition fees paid in full. See SFC Funding Programmes for more details

This MSc has been created with industry input to prepare its students with the skills to handle this wave of data and to be at the forefront of its exploitation. Students on the sister programmes ("Data Science" and "Business Intelligence") have gone on to work for some of the biggest companies in the industry and we are confident that graduates from this MSc will have the same success.

The University of Dundee has been successfully offering related MSc programmes such as Business Intelligence and Data Science since 2010. These innovative programmes attract around 40 students per year, drawn from across Europe and Overseas.

The University of Dundee is part of The Data Lab which is an Innovation Centre with the aim of developing the data science talent and skills required by industry in Scotland. The Data Lab MSc is a collaborative effort between Robert Gordon University, The University of Dundee, The University of Stirling and The Data Lab, with the aim of developing the data science talent and skills required by industry in Scotland. Through this collaboration, each university has developed an MSc program based on its own strengths and capabilities, with the support of The Data Lab to facilitate industry involvement and collaboration, and provide funding and resources.

An inside look at our MSc in Data Engineering.

What is so good about this course?

Our facilities

You will have 24-hour access to our award winning and purpose-built Queen Mother Building. It has an unusual mixture of lab space and breakout areas, with a range of conventional and special equipment for you to use. Our close ties to industry allows us access to facilities such as Windows Azure and Teradata University along with industry standard software such as Tableau and the SQL server stack for you to evaluate and use. Our experience with open source big data tools such as Cassandra, Hadoop, Spark and Storm will help you get started in building your own cluster, either physical or in the cloud.

The university maintains a  friendly, intimate and supportive atmosphere, and we take pride in the fact that we know all of our students. We have a thriving postgraduate department with regular seminars and guest speakers. As part of the Data Lab program,  you will be invited to specially arranged industry talks across Scotland.

Special features

The University of Dundee has close ties with the Big Data industry, including Teradata, Datastax and Microsoft. We have worked with SAS, Outplay, Tag, GFI Max, BrightSolid and BIPB, and our students have enjoyed guest lectures from Big Data users such as O2, Sainsbury’s, M&S and IBM.

You will be able to work with a range of leading researchers and tutors, including vision and imaging researchers, Business Intelligence experts along with industrial and research data scientists.

Related Courses

The start date is October and the course lasts for 12 months on a full time basis.

How you will be taught

The course will be taught by staff of Computing.Depending on the modules you take this will include

  • Andy Cobley
  • Dr Keith Edwards
  • Professor Mark Whitehorn
  • Professor Stephen McKenna
  • Professor Manuel Trucco
  • Professor Chris Reed
  • Dr Jianguo Zhang.

How you will be assessed

The course is assessed through a combination of

  • examinations
  • coursework
  • presentations
  • interviews.

Each module is different: for instance the Big data module has 40% coursework, consisting of Erlang programming and a presentation on nosql databases, along with an examination worth 60%.

What you will study

The course will be taught in 20 credit modules with a 60 credit dissertation. Students will require to complete 180 credits for the award of the MSc (including 60 credits for the dissertation). Students completing 120 credits (without the dissertation) will be eligible for a Postgraduate Diploma.

Detailed module information is available online.


Semester 1

  • Introduction to Data Mining and Machine Learning part 1
  • Programming Languages for Data Engineering part 1

Options (dependent on experience)

  • Big Data
  • Computer Vision
  • Devops and Microservices
  • Secure Internet programming
  • Technology Innovation Management

Semester 2

  • Introduction to Data Mining and Machine Learning part 2
  • Programming Languages for Data Engineering part 2
  • Business Intelligence Systems
  • Research Methods

Semester 3

  • Research project with optional industrial collaboration

Course content

Each module on the course is designed to give the student the skills and understanding they need to succeed in the Data Engineering/ Science field. Content on the course includes (but is not limited to):

  • CAP theorem
  • Lamda Architecture
  • Cassandra, Neo4j and other nosql databases
  • The Storm distributed real time computation system
  • Hadoop, HDFS, MapReduce, and other Hadoop/SQL technologies
  • Spark framework
  • Data Engineering languages such as Python, erlang, R, Matlab
  • Continuous deployment and delivery  to the cloud.
  • Microservices using containers to deliver reliable infrastructure.
  • Vision systems, which are becoming increasingly important in data engineering for extracting features from large quantities of images such as from traffic, medical and industrial
  • RDBMS systems which will continue to play an important role in data handing and storage. You will be expected to research the history of RDMBS and delve in to the internals of modern systems
  • OLAP cubes and Business Intelligence systems, which can be the best and quickest way to extract information from data stores
  • Goals of machine learning and data mining
  • Clustering: K-means, mixture models, hierarchical
  • Dimensionality reduction and visualisation
  • Inference: Bayes, MCMC
  • Perceptrons, logistic regression, neural networks
  • Max-margin methods (SVMs)
  • Mining association rules
  • Bayesian networks

Our experience suggests that graduates of this course will have most impact in the following areas:

  • Cloud and web based industries that handle large volumes of fast moving data that need to be stored, analysed and maintained. Examples include the publishing industry (paper, TV and internet), messaging services, data aggregators and advertising services
  • Internet of Things. A large amount of data is being generated by devices (robotic assembly lines, home power management, sensors etc.) all of which needs to be stored and analysed.
  • Health. The NHS (and others) are starting to store and analyse patient data on an unprecedented scale. The healthcare industry is also combining data sources from a large number of databases to improve patient well-being and health outcomes
  • Games industry. The games industry records an extraordinary amount of data about its customers' play activities, all of which needs to be stored and analysed. This course will equip students with the knowledge and skill to engage with the industry

Year of Entry: 2016

Applicants should normally have an Honours degree at 2.1 level or above in computing or a related subject. All prospective students need to undergo a technical interview to ensure they have the necessary background knowledge, including Mathematics, to undertake the course.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The Data Lab, Scottish Funding Council (SFC), will fund 40 places across the 3 participating universities during the 2015/16 academic year.  The University of Dundee has been awarded 17 of these funded places.  If you are a Scottish or EU student*, you will be eligible to have your tuition fees paid in full through this scheme,
* You maybe eligible to apply for a place if you have been living in Scotland for a continuous period of 3 years prior to 1 August 2015. Please not that this does not include residency for the purposes of study only.  You  will not be eligible if you are not free of Immigration status.
Please indicate your interest in being considered for a funded place when you apply through UKPASS.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2016/17
Scottish, Rest of UK and EU students £5,500 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £15,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

Please read the Postgraduate "How to Apply" section for information on how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Apply online via UKPASS

Course Contact

Mr Andrew Cobley
Science and Engineering
+44 (0)1382 385078