"Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003... That's something like five exabytes of data…" Eric Schmidt, Google CEO
Visual analytics is a key requirement of the early 21st century. As our human activity generates rapidly increasing amounts of new data every day, there is an urgent need to make sense of it and a huge potential to elicit new knowledge and insights from it.
World events and phenomena like climate change, 9/11, global finance systems and public health are data rich and increasingly complex. Visual analytics turns large and complex, data sets into interactive visualisations that can prompt visceral comprehension and moments of insight that are compelling and offer an unparalleled richness of possibility for data analysts. In this uncharted world of boundless data, visual analytics is providing our new maps and new ways of navigating. Data analytics is recognised as a key trend that will have a major impact on the IT and Communications industry in the next 5 years
Middlesex University is the recognised centre for excellence in visual analytics the UK and leads the UK Visual Analytics Consortium (UKVAC). This group is working at the leading edge of Visual Analytics and works on a global basis. The UK partners are: Imperial College, University College London (UCL), Swansea, Bangor and Oxford Universities.
We are growing our community of practice in visual analytics and this is a chance to join our team, to work alongside some of the best UK researchers and to get involved in leading edge work. The course will build your professional network, your understanding and your portfolio of experience. Visual Analytics is an interdisciplinary, creative and technical activity. That's why we've built a masters course that is unique. You'll be working for most of the time on your own research and development project, supported by great supervisors, and connecting with new people, theories and practices through workshops that are spread throughout the year. You'll leave with unique insights, strong skills and great contacts; you'll also pick up an MSc along the way.
As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.
This unique, research-based course doesn’t follow the traditional model of lectures, examinations and thesis writing. We will induct you into our community through an ongoing series of workshops and then help you to build a project that meets your current needs and future plans. We’ll also tailor learning experiences for you to fill identified gaps in your knowledge and to prepare you for novel application areas. We’d expect your project to be greeted with interest in the academic sector and to give you the leverage that you need in the jobs market place. The normal study period with us will be 12 months full time or 24 months part time. We do not offer this course by distance learning as we need you to be fully engaged with our community and working actively with your peer group; visual analytics is moving fast and we intend to stay at the leading edge.
Our workshop schedule includes:
Logic and Sense-making: how do we reason about the world, and how do we make sense of the information that is presented to us?
Human Perception and Information Visualisation: how does human visual perception work, and how do we navigate, interact and evaluate in domains that present information visually. What modalities can we use to represent information about entities and their relationships (e.g. temporal, locative, etc), and how do these modalities impact on human processes?
HCI and System Modelling: how do we apply the principles of user and activity centred design to VA systems? How do we design representations that support decision making? How do we determine what relationships in the data sets should be represented? How do we design the interactions that simplify analytical procedures, evidence collation and conclusion formation?
Visual Analytics System Architecture: how do we design systems architectures that bring together complex data sets so that they can be visualised to support intended applications? This could include areas such as data integrity, data granularity and data provenance.
Operational Issues and e-Discovery: how do VA systems integrate into real working practices, with particular reference to environments where they will be used for e-Discovery such as complex documentation sets?
Data Analysis and Knowledge Engineering: advanced techniques for analysing data sets and extracting knowledge.
In addition, there will be a series of supporting seminars to cover required areas of research methods, mathematical skills and programming.
Visual Analytics is an interdisciplinary activity that requires creativity and technical knowledge and skill. It is a human centred activity and is developing rapidly. There are opportunities for a broad range of specialists to make a productive contribution and a future career.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensive Pre-sessional English course.
Entry onto this course does not require an interview, portfolio or audition.
Applications for postgraduate study should be made directly to the university. Please visit our Postgraduate application page for further information and to apply.
"People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s? The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades."
Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, October 2008
During the course you will work alongside some of the UK's best researchers and get involved in leading edge work. The course will build your professional network, your understanding and your portfolio of experience. You’ll be supported by great supervisors, and connecting with new people, theories and practices through workshops that are spread throughout the year. You’ll leave with unique insights, strong skills and great contacts.
During the course there will be placement opportunities such as working at the Middlesex Design and Innovation Centre. For outstanding students there are also opportunities to visit or exchange with our US partners including the leading visual analytics institutes such as the Purdue University and National Visual Analytics Centre located at the Pacific Northwest National Lab.
Graduates from the degree will have the opportunity to continue the study towards a PhD. For those who would prefer to go into industry, there is also excellent prospects to work as “data analysts”, which is in high demand in software houses,consultancies, and end-user companies in a variety of sectors.
Data analysts perform complex data analysis in support of management and/or customer requests. More specifically, data analysts:
• Discuss information or business intelligence needs with internal staff and/or external clients
• Collect and collate appropriate data for use in databases and conduct related research
• Generate reports using IT / database systems and assist in their analysis
• Monitor and maintain the quality of database systems and secure access and use
• Assist in development and upgrading of database systems and analytical techniques.
Starting salaries are typically £18,000 to £28,000 depending on size and type of employer. With a couple of years’ experience and knowledge of latest systems and techniques, this can rise to £30,000 to £50,000.
To apply for the MSc by Research you will need to:
To apply for this course please use the MPhil/PhD/Masters by Research form.
Email your research proposal, application form and all compulsory supporting documents to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any enquiries please email email@example.com or call us on 020 8411 5739.
Please note that you can apply for a research degree at any time of the year.
You can start your MSc by Research at three specific times of the year. These are September 15th, January 15th and May 15th. In order to start at a particular time you must apply by the previous entry point. For example, if you want to start October 15th, please apply by May 15th.
If your application is suitable, you will be invited for interview (in person or by Skype) within two and a half months of your date of application.
Please contact Dr Kai Xu for further information on this course by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates already based in the UK who wish to enrol on this MSc by Research may also apply by the the last day of July using our online application.
As part of your application, you will need to provide a research proposal. In this, you identify the specific area of research that interests you.
Your proposal should be three to four pages of A4 and should include the following:
Research proposals usually identify a gap in the literature, which you intend to fill. In your proposal, you should demonstrate that you have found an issue that needs to be investigated and the reasons why you feel it is important.
Find out about our wide range of postgraduate scholarships worth up to 50% of the tuition fee.
The tuition fee for the MSc by Research - Visual Analytics is as follows:
Full-time students: £4,052
Part-time students: £2,026 (flat fee per year)
Find out about our flexible payment plans for UK/EU students, and how they can help you spread the cost of your course.
Full-time students: £10,500
Part-time students: £5,250 (flat fee per year)