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Course Content

Course content

This MSc teaches advanced analytical and computational skills for success in a data rich world. Designed to be both mathematically rigorous and relevant, the programme covers fundamental aspects of machine learning and statistics, with potential options in information retrieval, bioinformatics, quantitative finance, artificial intelligence and machine vision.

About this degree

The programme aims to provide graduates with the foundational principles and the practical experience needed by employers in the area of machine learning and statistics. Graduates of this programme will have had the opportunity to develop their skills by tackling problems related to industrial needs or to leading-edge research.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), four to six optional modules (60 to 90 credits), up to two elective modules (up to 30 credits) and a research project (60 credits). Please note that not all combinations of optional modules will be available due to timetabling restrictions.

Core modules

  • Supervised Learning (15 credits)
  • Statistical Modelling and Data Analysis (15 credits)

Optional modules

Students must choose 15 credits from Group One Options. Of the remaining credits, students must choose a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 60 from Group Two, 15 credits from Group Three and a maximum of 30 credits from Electives.

Group One Options (15 credits)

  • Graphical Models (15 credits)
  • Probabilistic and Unsupervised Learning (15 credits)

Group Two Options (30 to 60 credits)

  • Advanced Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning (15 credits)
  • Advanced Topics in Machine Learning (15 credits)
  • Applied Machine Learning (15 credits)
  • Approximate Inference and Learning in Probabilistic Models (15 credits)
  • Information Retrieval and Data Mining (15 credits)
  • Introduction to Deep Learning (15 credits)
  • Machine Vision (15 credits)
  • Statistical Natural Language Processing (15 credits)

Group Three Options (15 credits)

  • Applied Bayesian Methods (15 credits)
  • Statistical Design of Investigations (15 credits)
  • Statistical Inference (15 credits)

Please note: the availability and delivery of optional modules may vary, depending on your selection.

A list of acceptable elective modules is available on the Departmental page.

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project, which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, discussions, practical sessions and project work. Student performance is assessed through unseen written examinations, coursework, practical application and the project assessment process.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Computational Statistics and Machine Learning MSc

Careers

There is a strong national and international demand for graduates with skills at the interface of traditional statistics and machine learning. Substantial sectors of UK industry, including leading, large companies already make extensive use of computational statistics and machine learning techniques in the course of their business activities. Globally there are a large number of very successful users of this technology, many located in the UK. Areas in which expertise in statistics and machine learning is in particular demand include: finance, banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, and computer security. Graduates have gone on to further study at, for example, the Universities of Cambridge, Helsinki, Chicago, as well as at UCL. The MSc is also ideal preparation for a PhD, in statistics, machine learning or a related area.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Data Scientist, Interpretive
  • Software Engineer, Google
  • Data Scientist, YouGov
  • Research Engineer, DeepMind
  • PhD in Computer Science, UCL

Employability

Scientific experiments and companies now routinely generate vast databases and machine learning and statistical methodologies are core to their analysis. There is a considerable shortfall in the number of qualified graduates in this area internationally. CSML graduates have been in high demand for PhD positions across the sciences. In London there are many companies looking to understand their customers better who have hired our CSML graduates. Similarly graduates now work in companies in, amongst others, Germany, Iceland, France and the US in large-scale data analysis. The finance sector has also hired several graduates recently.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Centre for Computational Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML) is a major European Centre for machine learning having coordinated the PASCAL European Network of Excellence.

Coupled with the internationally renowned Gatsby Computational Neuroscience and the Machine Learning Unit, and UCL Statistical Science, this MSc programme draws on world-class research and teaching talents. The centre has excellent links with world-leading companies in internet technology, finance and related information areas.

The programme is designed to train students in both the practical and theoretical sides of machine learning. A significant grounding in computational statistics is also provided.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Computer Science

96% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.


Visit the Computational Statistics and Machine Learning (MSc) page on the University College London website for more details!

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