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.
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 within our Department of Mathematical Sciences and our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.
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.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement with an external organisation, as part of one of our placement year degrees. The learning outcomes associated with this programme focus on using the specialist technical skills acquired in the first two years of the course and developing communications skills with customers. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our placements team.
Students are provided with support to secure a placement. Recent placements undertaken by our students have been with ARM, Microsoft, Intel, Nestlé, British Aerospace, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as well a range of SME software and hardware companies.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Today’s statisticians and 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.
- 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
- You 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
Why we’re great
- You join a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development.
- 89% of our maths students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020).
- You have access to our ultramodern facilities at our new STEM building that provide real-world experience.
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.