Goal of the programme
Data science combines computer science and statistics to solve exciting data-intensive problems in industry and in many fields of science. Data scientists help organisations make sense of their data. As data is collected and analysed in all areas of society, demand for professional data scientists is high and will grow higher. The emerging Internet of Things, for instance, will produce a whole new range of problems and opportunities in data analysis.
In the Data Science master’s programme, you will gain a solid understanding of the methods used in data science. You will learn not only to apply data science: you will acquire insight into how and why methods work so you will be able to construct solutions to new challenges in data science. In the Data Science master’s programme, you will also be able to work on problems specific to a scientific discipline and to combine domain knowledge with the latest data analysis methods and tools. The teachers of the programme are themselves active data science researchers, and the programme is heavily based on first-hand research experience.
Upon graduating from the Data Science MSc programme, you will have solid knowledge of the central concepts, theories, and research methods of data science as well as applied skills. In particular, you will be able to
- Understand the general computational and probabilistic principles underlying modern machine learning and data mining algorithms
- Apply various computational and statistical methods to analyse scientific and business data
- Assess the suitability of each method for the purpose of data collection and use
- Implement state-of-the-art machine learning solutions efficiently using high-performance computing platforms
- Undertake creative work, making systematic use of investigation or experimentation, to discover new knowledge
- Report results in a clear and understandable manner
- Analyse scientific and industrial data to devise new applications and support decision making.
The MSc programme is offered jointly by the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Department of Physics, with support from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP), all located on the Kumpula Science campus. In your applied data science studies you can also include multidisciplinary studies from other master’s programmes, such as digital humanities, and natural and medical sciences.
Further information about the studies on the Master’s programme website.
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees.You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees. Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.
Information on the languages of instruction
All teaching is in English. You can also take exams and complete work, such as your Master’s thesis, in Finnish or Swedish.
The Data Science MSc programme combines elements from computer science and mathematical sciences to provide you with skills in topics such as machine learning, distributed systems and statistical methods. You might also find that knowledge in a particular scientific field is useful for your future career. You can obtain this through elective studies in the MSc programme, or it might already be part of your bachelor-level degree.
Studies in the Data Science MSc programme include both theoretical and practical components, including a variety of study methods (lectures, exercises, projects, seminars; done both individually and in groups). Especially in applied data science, we also use problem-based learning methods, so that you can address real-world issues. You will also practise academic skills such as scientific writing and oral presentation throughout your studies. You are encouraged to include an internship in your degree in order to obtain practical experience in the field.
Elective studies give you a wider perspective of Data Science. Your elective studies can be an application area of Data Science (such as physics or the humanities), a discipline that supports application of Data Science (such as language technology), or a methodological subject needed for the development of new Data Science methods and models (such as computer science, statistics, or mathematics).
Selection of the study track
You can specialise either in the core areas of data science — algorithms, infrastructure and statistics — or in its applications. This means that you can focus on the development of new models and methods in data science, supported by the data science research carried out at the University of Helsinki; or you can become a data science specialist in an application field by incorporating studies in another subject. In addition to mainstream data science topics, the programme offers two largely unique opportunities for specialisation: the data science computing environment and infrastructure, and data science in natural sciences, especially physics.
You should be able to complete the MSc Programme in Data Science of 120 credits (ECTS) in two years of full-time study. The programme consists of
- Common core studies of basic data science courses
- Several modules on specific topics within data science algorithms, data science infrastructures and statistical data science, and on data science tools
- Seminars and colloquia
- Courses on academic skills and tools
- Possibly an internship in a research group or company
- Studies in an application domain
- Master’s thesis (30 credits)
The programme includes a mandatory Master’s thesis. Your Master’s thesis will focus on a data science problem and on applying the knowledge you have learned during your MSc courses to solve that problem. The problem you address can be theoretical or practical in nature, but your thesis work must always have a research component and a scientific basis.
In your thesis you will demonstrate your ability to think scientifically, your command of research methods, your familiarity with the subject of study, and your aptitude for written scientific communication. Your thesis should contain a definition of the research questions, a review of the relevant literature, and theoretical, constructive or empirical parts developing answers to your research questions.
You will have a supervisor appointed to oversee your thesis. You and your supervisor will have regular meetings to ensure that your work is progressing smoothly and on schedule. The thesis is worth 30 credits, roughly corresponding to one semester of full-time studies.
Although your thesis is independent work, you can often write it as part of a research group. You might also be able to write your thesis for a company as long as you fulfil the academic criteria described above. You can discuss these issues with your supervisor.
Industry and science are flooded with data and are struggling to make sense of it. There is urgent demand for individuals trained to analyse data, including massive and heterogeneous data. For this reason, the opportunities are expected to grow dramatically. The interdisciplinary Data Science MSc programme will train you to work in data-intensive areas of industry and science, with the skills and knowledge needed to construct solutions to complex data analysis problems.
If you are focusing on the core areas of data science, you will typically find employment as a researcher or consultant, sometimes after taking a PhD in Computer Science or Statistics to deepen your knowledge of the field and research methods. If your focus is on the use of data science for specific applications, you will typically find work in industry or in other fields of science such as physics, digital humanities, biology or medicine.
A Master’s degree gives eligibility to apply to positions that require a second cycle academic degree i.e. a Master’s level degree.
You may apply if you meet the following three requirements:
- You have completed by 31 July 2019 a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) or second-cycle degree (e.g., master’s degree) or a postgraduate degree in Finland or abroad.
- You have completed or will complete studies required for the master’s programme by 11 January 2019. Below are more details concerning applicable studies.
- You are able to demonstrate your proficiency in English, Finnish or Swedish (Updated 18/12/2018: Finnish and Swedish added). For further instructions on demonstrating your language skills, see the section “Required enclosures”.
If you are currently or have previously been a student at the University of Helsinki, please note the following rules.
If you have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation, and you do not have the official documents to prove your eligibility to apply for higher education, you can still apply to the University of Helsinki.
You may be admitted if
- You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
- You submit the application and the required attachments within the specified deadline. The application form is open from 3 December 2018 (8:00h Finnish time) to 11 January 2019 (15:00h Finnish time). Read more about what will happen after the application period.
- You have a first-cycle degree in computer science, statistics or mathematics, a first-cycle degree in an applied field of data science or another applicable degree.
- You have completed at least 10 credits in programming, algorithms and data structures, at least 5 credits in statistics and probability and at least 10 credits in linear algebra, differential calculus, integral calculus or other studies in mathematics.
Please note: even if the degree you are using as grounds for application is not completed during the application round, you must have a sufficient amount of applicable studies completed by 11 January 2019.
Together with their application, applicants must submit officially certified copies of certificates on all previously completed studies that serve as the basis for their application.
The applicability of the field and the sufficiency of the completed studies will be evaluated in conjunction with admission. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies.
Choosing the language of your Master’s degree
In the Master’s Programme in Data Science, you can choose the language of your degree to be Finnish, Swedish or English. This means that even though most of the teaching will be offered in English, you can answer examination questions and write course assignments and your Master’s thesis in the language that you select as the language of the degree. Please note that you can apply to pursue this Master’s programme in one language only and you must demonstrate your language skills accordingly. You must select the language of your degree when submitting your application.
Factors affecting admissions
Your success in the selection process will be influenced by the evaluation of your academic performance; the focus will be on the amount, quality and grades of completed studies that are applicable to the programme, your motivation letter, and the study plan contained in it.
In the admission procedure, your application will be scored in the following three categories:
- Applicability of your previous studies
- Academic performance in the studies serving as the grounds for your application
- Your motivation letter (as part of the application form)
When evaluating the applicability and quality of completed studies, the focus will be on the mastery of the most important mathematical concepts and computational methods behind data science. This evaluation will be based on the analysis provided by the applicants on the application form of their previous studies in key subfields such as programming and programming languages, algorithms and data structures, the operation of computers, operating systems, databases, inferential statistics, probability calculus, linear algebra and differential calculus. Studies in one or several applied areas of data science will be considered a merit. For the evaluation of studies in this applied area of data science, if any, applicants must justify in their motivation letter, how studies in the applied area and data science support each other.
The motivation letter and analysis of previous studies form part of the admission criteria and when writing them you must answer the provided questions. They are part of the application form.
If several applicants have completed studies applicable to the programme, but not all can be accommodated in the programme’s quota, the applicants will be compared against each other, and the most qualified will be admitted. The programmes need not fill their student quotas to the maximum.
If in this round of admissions you are applying for more than one Master’s programme at the Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, you must rank them in order of preference on your application form. If you could be admitted to more than one programme, you can only be admitted to the one you have ranked the highest.
The Master’s programme admits no more than 30 students regardless of their selected language of degree and application option.
Applicants will be informed of the results of the student selection by 12 April 2019 at the latest. Please note the one study place per term provision if you are applying for more than one study programme in spring 2019.
Study right to be awarded
If you are admitted, you will be granted the right to pursue the degree of Master of Science in the Master’s Programme in Data Science.
Statistics on applicants can be found on the University’s webpage.
The application must be accompanied by the following documents, and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:
- Official photocopy of the degree certificate/diploma
- Official transcript
- Diploma supplement (if available)
- Certificate of language proficiency
- Authorised translations into English, Finnish or Swedish
- A photocopy of your passport, your official identity card or your Finnish residence permit card
- Motivation letter and study plan (to be filled in on the application form)
1) Read carefully the instructions on application enclosures and their submission.
2) You must demonstrate your proficiency in English. Read the instructions on proving your language skills.
3) If the degree serving as grounds for application to the programme is still incomplete, you need not submit a degree certificate/diploma with the application documents. If you are admitted, the admission decision will be conditional, and you will receive instructions with your letter of admission for submitting the official degree certificate/diploma. NB! The final degree certificate/diploma must be presented by 14 August 2019 at the latest.
|Due date||11.1.2019, 15:00|
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