MSc Big Data Technologies

Embark on a career in a leading-edge field and master the exciting and challenging world of big data!

Big data techniques are revolutionising how organisations and industries acquire and analyse data, offering valuable insights into how people live, work, play, travel, shop and exercise. These insights are valuable to marketers, researchers, designers, city planners, app developers, educators and many more.

GCU's MSc in Big Data Technologies helps students build the fundamental knowledge and practical skills for success in this fast-growing field. You'll develop competence in a range of emerging technologies: big data, cloud computing and the internet of things. You'll learn from the experts; GCU is internationally recognised for the strength of its research in these exciting subjects, driving 21st century innovation.

With both full-time and part-time study available, the programme is ideal for someone with a background in computer science, software engineering, web technologies or computer engineering who wants to enhance or update their skills. Those with backgrounds in mathematics and electronics are also well suited.

The up-to-date curriculum keeps a career-focused approach, so you'll gain valuable skills you can immediately put to work in the industry.

  • Apply leading-edge tools and technologies from companies such as IBM, Microsoft and SAS
  • Explore industry-standard open-source development platforms such as Hadoop
  • Achieve industry recognition with SAS joint certification in the programme's Data Analytics module

Your expertise in big data will enable you to provide new insights into human behaviour and psychology, which can help us build stronger and happier societies across the globe. Your work could shape smart, sustainable cities; remove barriers to education; help people make healthier choices day-to-day; improve public health… and so much more. All meaningful ways of contributing to the common good.

Graduate prospects

When you graduate, you'll be a competitive candidate for roles as a systems developer, architect or administrator in data and analytics. You'll find opportunities in a diverse range of industries: engineering, pharmaceuticals, finance, healthcare, retail, security, smart environments and more.

Full-time students complete six taught modules; three in trimester A and three in trimester B and an MSc dissertation project in trimester C. Part-time students complete six taught modules; three in Year 1, three in Year 2and an MSc project in Year 3.

Cloud Computing and Web Services

This module provides analytical and practical coverage of cloud computing and web services. It focuses on the technology, frameworks and associated standards: cloud models, cloud platforms and scalability. It also provides coverage of current web service technology and data transport representations, and integrated cloud and web service application development. Current examples from industry technology are used throughout.

Big Data Landscape

This module covers the process of managing Big Data throughout its lifecycle, from requirements through retirement. The lifecycle crosses different application systems, databases and storage media. Students will gain an understanding of the full Big Data value chain. They will be able to analyse the challenges and opportunities associated with the different stages that Big Data passes through.

Data Analytics

This module covers the basic concepts of statistics needed to understand the critical concepts of data mining, machine learning and predictive analytics used in the visualisation and analysis of data, particularly Big data. Students will gain an understanding of data preparation, the process models used in analytics, the algorithms and their requirements, the implementation of these algorithms using current technologies, and their applicability to different types of scenario. They will also gain advanced practical skills in the design, implementation and evaluation of analytical solutions to problems involving Big Data.

Big Data Platforms

This module covers the platforms that support data storage, processing and analytics in Big Data scenarios. It focuses on highly scalable platforms that provide operational capabilities for real-time, interactive processing and on platforms that provide analytical capabilities for retrospective, complex analysis. Students will gain an advanced understanding of the principles on which these platforms are based, and their strengths, weaknesses and applicability to different types of scenario. They will also gain advanced practical skills in the design and implementation of scalable Big Data platform solutions.

Internet of Things

This module provides fundamental and practical coverage of the set of converging technologies known as the Internet of Things (IoT). It focuses on representative IoT applications, technologies, frameworks and associated standards that support and underpin IoT applications, such as sensor networks, messaging protocols, security, data storage, analytics, services and human interaction. The module provides in-depth practical coverage of representative IoT implementation frameworks including cloud-based service delivery models.

IT Professional Issues and Project Methods

This module seeks to develop understanding and practical skills in advanced project methods which are inline with industry regulations, standards and practices and are applicable to complex IT projects. Study is undertaken in an integrated fashion to ensure that the professional frameworks within which such projects are developed, deployed and managed are fully understood.

Masters Dissertation

Students will investigate a topical or emerging theme in Cloud Computing or related technologies. The dissertation acts as a vehicle for extending the knowledge and understanding of the student and the technical community in some specialist technical area. It serves through its length, complexity and rigour as a suitable vehicle for extending students' range of personal, interpersonal and communication skills. In addition it serves to develop and extend a range of high-level thinking skills, including analysing and synthesising skills and affords the opportunity for the student to demonstrate initiative and creativity in a major piece of technical work.

Download the Programme Specification for a detailed breakdown of its structure, what you will learn and other useful information.

Study Options

  • 2019/20


Mode of study


Start date



Full Time
1 Year
16 Sep 2019
GCU Glasgow
Full Time
16 Months
20 Jan 2020
GCU Glasgow
Part Time
2 Years
16 Sep 2019
GCU Glasgow
Part Time
2 Years
20 Jan 2020
GCU Glasgow
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
MSc Full Time 1 Year 16 Sep 2019 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply
MSc Full Time 16 Months 20 Jan 2020 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply
MSc Part Time 2 Years 16 Sep 2019 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply
MSc Part Time 2 Years 20 Jan 2020 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply

Entry Requirements

UK Honours degree 2:2 (or equivalent) in computing that includes software development as a major component. This would usually include degrees in Computing, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Web Technologies and Computer Engineering.

Other academic and vocational qualification

Each application to GCU is considered on an individual basis. If you do not have the typical academic entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant work experience and/or credits from recognised professional bodies, you may be eligible to enter this course via the University's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.

English language

Academic IELTS score of 6.0 (or equivalent) with no element below 5.5.

Please note: if you are from a majority English speaking country, you may not be required to provide further proof of your English Language proficiency.

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.

Additional information

Other academic and vocational qualifications

Each application to GCU is considered on an individual basis. If you do not have the typical academic entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant work experience and/or credits from recognised professional bodies, you may be eligible to enter this course via the University's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.

International pathways

Entry options for international applicants

If you are an international applicant and do not meet the academic requirements above you may be eligible for an International Graduate Diploma or Pre-sessional pre-masters programme at INTO Glasgow. Based in our Glasgow campus, successful completion of an INTO course with the required grades provides you with a guaranteed conditional offer of a place on this degree.

The tuition fees you pay are mostly determined by your fee status. What is my student fee status?

Tuition fees 2019/20

Home: £5500
RUK: £5500
EU: £5500
International: £12980

Part-time and distance-learning fees can be paid annually or on a module by module basis.

View part-time and distance learning fees for 2019/20.

Tuition fees 2018/19

Home: £5500
RUK: £5500
EU: £5500
International: £12600

View part-time and distance learning fees 2018/19.

Fees are subject to change and published here for guidance only. Fees and refund policy.

As a student at the University, there are additional fees and costs which may or may not apply to you, but that you should be aware of.

View additional costs


We provide high-quality education for a fair price; as the University for the Common Good, we are committed to offering accessible higher education for talented students by keeping our tuition fees low and providing a generous scholarship package of over £2.5 million per year.

View our Postgraduate scholarships.

There are a number of scholarships available which are specific to MSc Big Data Technologies, these include:

The Scotland – India Scholarship - A fees scholarship for students from India of up to £10,000 (closing date 18th June) 

The Data Lab Scholarship - A full funded fees scholarship for Scottish or EU students (to be confirmed) 

For new international students, particular care is taken around our induction events which begin on 13 September 2019 to welcome you to the UK and GCU prior to the start of teaching. There will be a whole host of fun and informative activities taking place during this period, including campus tours, city tours and social events where you can meet other international students. Where possible, we encourage you to arrange travel to allow you to arrive in time to enjoy these.

Find out more about international life at GCU.

This programme will equip students with the fundamental knowledge and skills of the core technologies for harnessing the big data challenges, including capture, curation, storage, integration, sharing, search, analysis, mining of large distributed unstructured datasets. Studies on this programme are supported and enhanced uniquely by the University’s internationally excellent research strengths, especially in cloud computing, cyber security, Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems.
Of parallel importance in our programme is to cultivate the professionalism which is expected within the industry. With all the future-proofing capabilities synthesised coherently together, graduates of the MSc in Big Data Technologies will be amongst the most highly skilled ICT graduates, responding confidently to the needs and challenges in diverse big data application domains.

Students will be made aware of placement opportunities provided by our industry partners. Typically a placement would be undertaken after graduating from the MSc programme but opportunities can sometimes be made available for students to undertake their MSc Dissertation in partnership with a commercial company.

Assessment is used to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes. The methods of assessment include class tests, coursework assignments, practical tests and technical reports. Practical implementation and evaluation form a significant part of the assessment for the taught modules and for the work of the MSc dissertation.

This degree has been accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by BCS. An accredited degree entitles you to professional membership of BCS, which is an important part of the criteria for achieving Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status through the Institute. Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.