BSc Data Science and Analytics (Including Foundation Year)

Overview

Data is the lifeblood of our society. From medicine to government offices, and market research to the environment, the collection and analysis of data is crucial to understanding how to improve, create and guide products and services across the globe.

Harvard Business Review recently described the job of Data Scientist as “the sexiest job of the 21st century”. Data science is about doing some detective work and carrying out the investigations needed to inform important decisions and to predict new trends. Technology is growing and evolving at an incredible speed, and both the rate of growth of data we generate and the devices we use to process it can only increase.

Our BSc Data Science and Analytics (including foundation year) is open to Home and EU students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your English language and academic skills.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory English language and academic skills module.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Mathematical Sciences.

At Essex, we help you to understand how utilising the speed and processing-power of computers can assist in using data to make better decisions. You discover the new methods and the smart, unusual questions needed to make sense of both numerical and textual data. Your course balances solid theory with practical application through exploring topics including:

  • Mathematical skills
  • Computer science and programming
  • Statistics and operations research
  • Artificial intelligence, databases and information retrieval
  • Ethical issues around the use and processing of data
  • Specialist skills in the areas of big data, data analytics and data science

A successful career in data science requires you to possess truly interdisciplinary knowledge, so we ensure that you graduate with a wide-ranging yet specialised set of skills in this area. You are taught mainly within our Department of Mathematical Sciences and our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, but also benefit from input from our Essex Business School, and our Essex Pathways Department.

Data scientists are required in every sector, carrying out statistical analysis or mining data on social media, so our course can open the door to almost any industry, from health, to government, to publishing.

Our Department of Mathematical Sciences is genuinely innovative and student-focused. Our research groups are working on a broad range of collaborative areas tackling real-world issues. Here are a few examples:

  • Our data scientists carefully consider how not to lie, and how not to get lied to with data. Interpreting data correctly is especially important because much of our data science research is applied directly or indirectly to social policies, including health, care and education.
  • We do practical research with financial data (for example, assessing the risk of collapse of the UK’s banking system) as well as theoretical research in financial instruments such as insurance policies or asset portfolios.
  • We also research how physical processes develop in time and space. Applications of this range from modelling epilepsy to modelling electronic cables.
  • Our optimisation experts work out how to do the same job with less resource, or how to do more with the same resource.
  • Our pure maths group are currently working on two new funded projects entitled ‘Machine learning for recognising tangled 3D objects’ and ‘Searching for gems in the landscape of cyclically presented groups’.
  • We also do research into mathematical education and use exciting technologies such as electroencephalography or eye tracking to measure exactly what a learner is feeling. Our research aims to encourage the implementation of ‘the four Cs’ of modern education, which are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Our expert staff

Today’s computer scientists are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental. We are home to many of the world’s top scientists, and our staff are driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence. We conduct world-leading research in areas such as explorative data analysis, classification and clustering, evolutionary computation, data visualisation and financial forecasting. Specialist staff working on data science and analytics include:

  • Dr Luca Citi – machine learning, learning from biological signals and data (EEG, etc)
  • Dr Hongsheng Dai – computational Bayesian statistics
  • Professor Maria Fasli – machine learning, adaptation, semantic information extraction, ontologies, data exploration, recommendation technologies
  • Professor Udo Kruschwitz – natural language processing, analysis textual/unstructured data, information retrieval
  • Professor Berthold Lausen – biostatistics, classification and clustering, data science education, event time data, machine learning, predictive modelling
  • Dr Aris Perperoglou – data analysis and data visualisation, statistical modelling and smoothing, survival analysis, clinical trials
  • Professor Abdel Salhi – data mining, numerical analysis, optimisation
  • Professor Edward Tsang – applied AI, constraint satisfaction, computational finance and economics, agent-based simulations
  • Dr Spyros Vrontos – actuarial mathematics and actuarial modelling
  • Dr Xinan Yang – approximate dynamic programming, Markov decision process

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering also offers excellent on-campus facilities:

  • We have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress
  • All computers run either Windows 10 or are dual boot with Linux
  • Software includes Java, Prolog, C++, Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project
  • Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OPNET)
  • We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robotics, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.

Your future

Demand for skilled graduates in the areas of big data and data science is growing rapidly in both the public and private sector, and there is a predicted shortage of data scientists with the skills to understand and make commercial decisions based on the analysis of big data. And an incredible 89% of our maths students and 92% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020).

Our graduates in data science have been very successful in finding employment in the public sector, consulting, technology, retail, and utilities, while a number have gone on to postgraduate study or research.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • Aviva
  • AXA
  • BT
  • Profusion
  • EDS
  • Mondaq
  • IBM
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Accenture
  • Buck Consultants
  • Google
  • Force India F1

Our Schools have a large pool of external contacts, ranging from companies providing robots for the media industry, through vehicle diagnostics, to the transforming of unstructured data to cloud-based multidimensional data cubes, who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities.

We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.


Why we’re great

  • You join a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development.
  • We are home to many of the world’s top scientists and engineers in their field.
  • You have access to our ultramodern facilities at our new STEM building that provide real-world experience.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.


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