The Data Lab MSc

The Data Lab MSc is a collaborative programme between The Data Lab and eleven Scottish universities. It facilitates industry involvement and collaboration, and provides full funding and resources for students.

This is an exciting time to learn and work in data science. Over the last decade there’s been a massive explosion in the amount of data generated with many industries realising just how important this field is to informing their day-to-day decisions. Data Science is booming and companies are desperately looking for smart data scientists. So if you learn data science now, then for the next decade, you will have a profession that’s in great demand.

Learning data science allows you to understand and creatively solve a range of business and social problems. This makes you suitable for a variety of roles in a broad range of Scottish industry sectors such as digital technologies, energy and utilities, financial services, public sector, healthcare, among many others.

The Data Lab MSc differs from other academic courses as it focuses on applying academic knowledge to the world of industry, and developing non-technical skills that are essential to becoming a data scientist. Our programme allows you to take the skills you learn in the classroom to solve real life organisational problems and challenges.

We can help you start your journey to become a data scientist or data engineer.


"I’m delighted I chose to do a The Data Lab MSc. It’s been a very positive experience. I'm now in the fortunate position of having two job offers and feel ready to take the next step into a career in data science on Scotland."
John Bell, MSc Big Data at University of Stirling

"Both The Data Lab and the University of Stirling have been extremely supportive in allowing me to follow a more flexible pathway. I’m studying on a part-time basis over 2 years and this flexibility has enabled me to continue working part-time alongside my academic studies."
Natalie Polack, MSc Big Data part time at University of Stirling

"The programme enabled me to gain real data science work experience through an industrial placement at Chevron Energy Technology Company. This has encouraged my research ambitions and I am soon to start a PhD at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics."Miruna Clinciu, MSc Artificial Intelligence at the University of Aberdeen


"The past year was an exciting part of my life and I have gained lots of experience and furthered my knowledge of Data Science through the MSc in Data Science at Heriot-Watt University. SnapDragon Monitoring offered me a job before I completed my placement and so I plan on staying in Edinburgh." Kostas Gavriilidis, MSc AI with Speech and Multimodal Interaction at Heriot-Watt University

5 Reasons to Apply for The Data Lab MSc programmes:

As part of The Data Lab MSc you will receive additional technical and ‘business-ready’ skills training. The Data Lab MSc courses are guided by both the needs of Scottish industry and the cutting-edge research of Scottish academia to make sure that you are equipped with the skills needed placed to start your data science career.

We also run a year-long data competition for all students. This comprises a series of fun events and hackathons that allows you to apply your skills using real datasets to make a real change for Scotland. Find out more about the 2017/17 Challenge Competition.

Placements in Scottish Industry: Students will have the opportunity to complete a paid three-month industrial placement for their dissertation project. Through these projects, students get the chance to apply their learnt skills to real life problems and get familiar with the business life.

Data Talent Scotland: This yearly event brings together employers and students. Attended by over 400 people in 2017, the event gives you access to Scottish organisations recruiting data scientists. Travel to this event is provided for free for all scholarship students.

You will join Scotland’s thriving Data Science Community and will be invited to events across the country to learn from leading academics, innovators and business people, and to build a great network for your future career

The Data Lab is funding 130 places across the 11 participating universities during the 2017/18 academic year. If you are a Scottish or EU student, you will be eligible to have your tuition fees paid in full through this scheme. Funding is provided by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and is channelled by The Data Lab to participating universities. Each programme has an allocated number of funded places, which will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis, so make sure you apply as early as possible.

* For students applying from the UK, according to the terms of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), you are eligible to apply for a place if you have been living in Scotland for a continuous period of 3 years prior to 1 August 2017. Please not that this does not include residency for the purposes of study only.

A recent EMC survey found 75% of firms in Scotland, against 57% in the UK as a whole, have the infrastructure to analyse both internal and external data.

Scotland is fortunate to have some of the best data in the world. Few other countries have the opportunity to link high quality, consistent data that has national coverage for public service improvement.


Where to Study?

The Data Lab MSc is a collaborative effort between 11 Scottish Universities and The Data Lab, with the aim of developing the next generation of Data Science talent and skills required by industry in Scotland. Through this collaboration, each university has developed an MSc programme based on its own strengths and capabilities, with the support of The Data Lab to facilitate industry involvement from Scottish organisations, and provide funding and resources.

The following programmes are available for the 2018/19 academic year:


University of Aberdeen

University of Dundee

Edinburgh Napier University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Robert Gordon University

University of The West Of Scotland


Summer internships with The Data Lab: two MSc students share their experience


"Feeling positive about starting a new career in data science!" - read all about the MSc experience from one of our students.


Life as one of The Data Lab's MSc students - read advice & thoughts from 3 of our MSc students.




See what you could be doing as part of The Data Lab MSc:

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