Data Science MSc – 3rd Intensive Week @ Dundee

EducationJust back from the third intensive week at Dundee. Wow – it certainly lives up to it’s name of intensive – it’s very draining, but very exhilarating at the same time.  We cover an awful lot of ground in a very short time. Stats, Bayesian stats, probability, R, data mining, machine learning, neural nets & D3.js to mention but a few.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m dong a part-time MSc at Dundee in Data Science. It consists of 6 modules spread across two years, with two intensive weeks per year. The intensive weeks are run at the University and are basically 5 days of 9-5:30 lectures. It’s very intense and we cover a lot of ground in a very short time. It would be very easy to get overwhelmed by this – the amount of information that is thrown at you is very intense. For example, this week, we cover:

If your saying you can’t possibility teach that number of subjects in a mere week, your right. Each of them could easily have an entire week devoted to them exclusively. What we get is a surprisingly thorough grounding. The expectation is that we will explore the subjects in the remaining weeks of the semester while we’re studying remotely. This is the point of an MSc, you aren’t spoon-fed the material, your expected to discover and learn a lot of it for yourself.

So why isn’t this completely overwhelming? Two things, the lecturers and the students. Being a University run course, the organisers have access to all the lecturers from the different departments of the university. Meaning we had lectures & practicals from Professors and senior lecturers in Analytical Computing, Data Science, Statistics, Machine Learning & Computer Vision. You literally get taught by some of the foremost experts in the country.

The other thing that makes it great are the other people on the course, the students. There are 19 of us and, as you’d expect, they’re all really bright people – and I do mean really bright. But they’re also really nice people and that makes a huge difference. Just being able to chat with a bunch of like-minded people during the breaks and evenings helps you clarify your understanding.

If you haven’t tried it, you really should 😀


Let life happen to you. Believe me, life is in the right, always.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Author: Jamie

I blend and clarify data in novel ways to create new and illuminating insights.

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  1. Quite interesting how you can do all that in 5 days! Now I want to become a Data Scientist and I want to study at Dundee. Quite convenient they do block sessions as well. You’ve got a very informative blog. I will be following your blog and your progress. I wish you best of luck.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, John :-). It is a great course to do part-time because they pack so much in. I had to book 10 days holiday for the two intensive weeks (5×2), and a couple of extra days for the exams. It means it’s doable within a normal holiday allocation and you can still have a week’s holiday and some long weekends with your family.

      Post a Reply
  2. Jamie
    Its nice to find your blog during by exploration of BIG DATA adventure.
    I am a BI consultant and a big data enthusiast and would like to move into this domain. I am going to apply MSc data science course in Dundee soon.
    Hope we’ll meet there soon:)

    and of course your blog is very informative and useful for everyone.


    Post a Reply
    • Ramesh,

      Did you go through the program? I’m looking into doing the 1 year full-time at Dundee. Just curious as to students’ experiences.

      Post a Reply
  3. Hi Jamie,
    why don’t you describe also the first two intensive weeks? It would be very interesting!


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  4. Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for the great site, its very interesting!
    Do you mind me asking a couple of questions please?
    Would you mind providing a breakdown of how the 2 years part time course at Dundee pans out because their website only gives a very brief description of the 1 year route.
    Would you advise previous experience of programming and statistics and how much?
    Thank you,

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  5. Jamie! I’m so glad I came across your blog. I’m actually considering the Data Science MSc but as full-time. I’m from the USA so I would be living in Dundee from January until about June/July when I can come back to the US and work on the final project. Can you just tell me more about the overall experience? Do you know anyone who has done the 1 year full-time option? Feel free to email me back as well.

    Thank you!


    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jason,
      The overall experience is wonderful but I’m biased :D. What can I say, the classes are taught to a very high standard. The two courses organiser, Mark and Andy, draw on the resources from the whole university and beyond, to put the course together. You get taught Stats by the professor of Stats (professor in the UK is a very specific title it means it’s the head of the department, literally the best in the university). Machine learning is by one of the very active researchers, Hadoop was taught by an Hadoop expert from Teradata etc. The list goes on. The course material itself is constantly updated with the latest developments, even to the point where what we were told we were going to do in year 2 wasn’t what we actually did. They shuffled the year 2 modules around to make sure we got taught the most up to date topics.

      In comparison to other course, I think this is one of the most technical and challenging courses out there. It is not business based, but is skills and technology based. You learn an incredible amount.

      But Data Science is not only about extracting information and knowledge from data, it’s about being able to communicate it. And to help students with this they run an optional Conference in the early summer, usually just after the exams, where students can present on a topic of their choice. Personally I’ve done a lot of presenting, but a lot of fellow students hadn’t and it can be a daunting proposition to stand up in front of 30 or 40 people and speak. But the BIDS conference is the perfect way to start because the audience is guarenteed to be 100% supportive – no points scoring here 🙂

      The other great thing with this course is the calibre of the other students. All the people were on the course are very bright people, very bright indeed, and very friendly. There is a lot of cross-fertilisation of ideas among the students. And a lot of contact during and after the course. There are regular chapter meeting in various parts of the country where ex-students get together just to talk. It’s a very strong community.

      If your happy with it, I’ll pass your email address to some of the people who did the full time course when I did it and ask if they have any thoughts they’d like to share with you.

      Best wishes,


      Post a Reply

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