Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (Astrophysics)
Using the latest scientific computing and data analysis techniques, explore the fascinating field of astrophysics and address some of the biggest research questions in fundamental science.
12 months full-time
Developments in many areas of science and engineering are increasingly driven by experts in computational techniques. Those with the skills to write code for the most powerful computers in the world and to process the biggest data sets in the world can truly make a difference.
Our suite of Masters in Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (MISCADA) offers an application-focused course to deliver these skills with three interwoven strands:
The MISCADA specialist qualification in Astrophysics is designed to equip you with the background knowledge and skills to address some of the biggest research questions in fundamental science, such as how we can use large surveys and supercomputer simulations to probe the nature of dark matter and dark energy. The course explores areas such as stellar structure and evolution, galaxy formation, large-scale structure and simulations of structure formation. You can find out more here.
There’s great synergy between the modules and you will be given plenty of opportunities to put your learning into practice from the start of the course. Our research-led approach allows you to take some of the newest theoretical ideas and directly translate them into working codes in their respective application areas. If you have an undergraduate degree in a science subject with a strong quantitative element, including computer science and mathematics and want to work at the highest level in astrophysics, either in academia or in industry, then this could be the course you’re looking for.
Introduction to Machine Learning and Statistics provides knowledge and understanding of the fundamental ideas and techniques in the application of data analysis, statistics and machine learning to scientific data.
Introduction to Scientific and High Performance Computing provides knowledge and understanding of paradigms, fundamental ideas and trends in High Performance Computing (HPC) and methods of numerical simulation.
Professional Skills delivers C refresher training with an outlook into large-scale code usage. You will also develop wider professional skills in areas such as entrepreneurship, intellectual property and build the skill you will need to communicate novel ideas in science and reflect on the ethical issues around data and research.
The Project is a substantive piece of research into an unfamiliar area of astrophysics, scientific computing or data analysis, or a related area in cooperation with an industry partner. The project will develop your research, analysis and report-writing skills.
Astrophysics teaches you state-of-the-art research and science across a broad range of astrophysics topics, from stellar populations to galaxy formation and high-energy astrophysics. This module introduces the basic research skills needed for postgraduate research.
Plus optional modules which may include:
This degree is jointly organised by the Department of Computer Science with specialisations offered in collaboration with the Department of Mathematical Sciences, the Department of Physics and the Department of Earth Sciences. Teaching and learning methods are varied, they include a combination of lectures, practical classes/computer labs, independent study, research and analysis, a project (dissertation) and coursework. Some modules also include group and individual presentations.
You will also be given the opportunity to work with a wide variety of high-quality computer kit and software. This includes HPC systems such as GPU clusters, systems with heterogeneous architectures and specialist software installations (such as performance analysis tools), AI tools and data acquisition tools.
Assessment takes a combination of forms including coursework, presentations and a project which is worth one-third of your total mark. You will complete your dissertation-style project on a topic of your choice from within the methodological academic departments (Mathematical Sciences or Computer Science), or within the astrophysics field, or in close cooperation with our industrial partners.
A UK first or upper second class honours degree (BSc) or equivalent
We strongly encourage students to sign up for a specialisation area for which they already have a strong background or affinity. At the moment, the course targets primarily Physics, Earth Sciences and Mathematics (finances) students. If you do not have a degree from these subjects, we strongly recommend you to contact the University beforehand to clarify whether you bring along the right background.
Please note that standard business degrees are not sufficient, as they lack the required level of mathematical education.
Programming knowledge on a graduate level in both C and Python is required.
There is a minimum SPEAKING requirement of IELTS 6.5/ TOEFL iBT 25/ Cambridge Scale 176/ Pearson Academic 62 for this course.
|Home students||£13,500 per year|
|EU students||£30,900 per year|
|Island students||£13,500 per year|
|International students||£30,900 per year|
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities.Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries
Qualifications in computer science are highly sought after by employers across the globe and an award from our Department provides the academic skills, industry insight and research-informed approach that sets postgraduates up for careers in a broad range of sectors.
Many postgraduates have gone on to work as software engineers, analysts, consultants, programmers and developers. Some have founded their own start-ups or work in leading software companies, high-technology consultancies, banking and finance, retail, engineering, the communications and IT industry.
The Department has strong research links, spanning both industry and government, including the automotive sector with Jaguar Land Rover and Renault, the defence and security sector with QinetiQ and Boeing, with government in the Civil Service and at GCHQ and in the manufacturing sector with Procter & Gamble. Other high-profile employers include BAE Systems, Google and BT.
For further information on career options and employability, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.
The Department is at the heart of the fast-paced world of applications and algorithms. We maintain an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of computation and are fully up to speed with the latest technologies that emerge at an ever-increasing rate.
Learning from academics who lead cutting-edge research provides valuable insight into high quality projects, and gives our postgraduate community the opportunity to play a role in shaping a future in which crucial developments in society are supported by technological innovation.
Taught courses balance fundamental knowledge and an emphasis on programming and mathematical skills with practical applications. The content and structure are such that they suit postgraduates who already have experience in the industry or other employment and want to add a formal qualification to their achievements.
Researchers in the Department offer a range of expertise across the computer science spectrum in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science, bioinformatics, high-performance computing, graphics and fundamental algorithms.
We ensure our research-led activity does not function in isolation and keep close links with local high-technology industries as well as national and international employers. Those relationships ensure we are at the leading edge of developments across the sector and can revise and adapt the Department’s curriculum to reflect the changes.
The Department is located in a £40 million purpose-built building in the heart of Durham at Upper Mountjoy and features open-plan work areas, breakout spaces for collaboration projects, laboratories and computer rooms.
We are fortunate to have supercomputers for High-Performance Computing and for data analysis and machine learning as well as access to several visualisation and data postprocessing laboratories.
We are also able to host local computer hardware which give postgraduate researchers a safe environment to test prototype solutions, explore innovative technologies they are developing or to actually design new solutions.
Learn more about our facilities and equipment.
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