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Visual Analytics MSc by Research

Learn about the course below

Visual Analytics MSc by Research

October 2022
January 2022
1 year full-time
Usually 2 years part-time
£5,100 (UK)*
£14,400 (EU/INT)*
Course leader
Kai Xu

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.

Why study MSc by Research Visual Analytics at Middlesex University?

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.

Find out more

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What will you study on the MSc by Research Visual Analytics?

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.

  • Workshop schedule

    • 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 system 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 visual analytics 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.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the MSc by Research Visual Analytics taught?

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.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Additional costs

How can the MSc by Research Visual Analysis support your career?

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.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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