Master’s (MSc) in Data Analytics for Government

Latest news

Updated on 15 September 2023

Check out our new MDataGov funding guidance, application guidance and guidance for managers. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

About the MDataGov

The Master’s (MSc) in Data Analytics for Government (MDataGov) is a postgraduate programme tailored for public sector organisations. It is a joint initiative between the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus and academic partners across the UK, available to all public sector employees.

Launched in October 2017, the MDataGov programme equips public sector employees with the skills required from a modern public sector data analyst, helping to increase data science capability in public sector organisations. We work closely with our university partners to ensure that the MDataGov content and structure are up to date and relevant to public sector employees.

We currently have four university partners delivering the MDataGov courses:

MDataGov courses

The MDataGov offers great flexibility to allow public sector employees to fit in the programme with their work commitments. It can be done as a full-time or part-time master’s degree (MSc), Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip), Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) and standalone courses for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Full-time or part-time MScTaught modules: 120 credits
Dissertation: 60 credits
PgDipTaught modules: 120 credits
PgCertTaught modules: 60 credits
CPD modules with optional assessment*Taught modules: 5, 10 or 20 credits

* Students taking assessed CPD modules can also accumulate the credits towards a certificate if they decide to complete an MSc, PgDip or PgCert qualification at a later stage. More information on the Recognition of Prior Learning section.

Time commitment

A 10-credit module translates to a time commitment of approximately 100 hours when studying with any our university partners. This includes teaching time, independent work, reading and course assessment. The actual time commitment will vary depending on students’ previous experience. Please navigate to your chosen university for further details on the expected time commitment per module.

Modes of delivery

The MDataGov can be completed online, face-to-face or hybrid, depending on the university delivering the course.

UniversityMode of delivery
Cardiff UniversityFace-to-face
University of SouthamptonFace-to-face
Oxford Brookes UniversityOnline and hybrid (mix of face-to face and online)
University of GlasgowOnline

Cardiff University

The MDataGov at Cardiff University is offered as a full-time MSc and part-time MSc, PgDip, PgCert and CPD modules. Lessons are delivered face-to-face in Cardiff.

Cardiff University operates a flexible delivery route on the MDataGov for all part-time study, so students taking the part-time MSc, PgDip, PgCert or CPD modules must apply for individual CPD modules. If you plan on completing one of the MDataGov qualifications, you must study and pass the four core modules before taking any optional modules.

On average, the time commitment for 10-credit and 20-credit modules is:

  • a 10-credit module delivered over a half semester (six weeks) usually requires 4 to 5 hours of contact time per week
  • a 10-credit module delivered over a full semester (12 weeks) usually requires 2 to 3 hours of contact time per week
  • a 20-credit module delivered over a full semester (12 weeks) will usually require 4 to 5 hours of contact time per week

University of Southampton

The MDataGov at University of Southampton is available as a full-time or part-time and CPD modules, which are offered as face-to-face modules in Highfield.

Information about specific modules can be found on the university’s website. This information can be found under “Learning and Teaching” in the “Modules” section on the left-hand side of the page. The Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute website contains the module schedule and application form.

Oxford Brookes University

The MDataGov at Oxford Brookes University is offered as a part-time MSc, PgDip or PgCert, available as a hybrid mix of face-to-face and online lessons, and CPD modules are delivered online. Face-to-face lectures take place in Wheatley.

MSc, PgDip or PgCert students are able to take all available modules in the CPD format, if preferred.

For CPD modules, you will be required to apply at least three weeks in advance of the module start date if you want to take the assessed option or at least one week in advance of the module start date for the unassessed option.

10-credit modules contain around 20 hours of teaching time (lecture and practical session). The other 80 hours are independent study and preparation for the assessed work.

University of Glasgow

The MDataGov at University of Glasgow is offered as a part-time MSc, PgDip and PgCert and CPD modules. Lessons are delivered fully online, including assessment.

For CPD modules, applying as a “for-credit learner” means that you will take the assessment, while applying as a “not-for-credit learner” indicates that you will not be taking the assessment.

The 100 hours of learning roughly equates to 8 to 9 hours per week over an 11 to 12 week semester per 10-credit course. This includes time to complete assessments and attend or watch hourly live sessions. Assessments can take anywhere from one hour for smaller quizzes to several hours over two to three weeks for larger projects.

This is highly dependent on the student’s previous experience. In practice, we estimate students may spend around three to six hours studying per course, per week. More time may be needed if there are assessments during a particular week.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Students taking assessed standalone CPD modules can accumulate credits towards a certificate if they decide to complete an MSc, PgDip or PgCert qualification at a later stage. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Do I have to request to use the RPL route by a certain time?

If you would like to use the RPL route, please contact the relevant university for more information, as there may be time constraints associated with this.

Can I transfer credits I have accumulated from another university?

Credits are not transferable across MDataGov university providers.

Can I skip modules where I already have significant knowledge?

If you are working towards a qualification and already have significant knowledge or experience in one of the core modules, you may be able to get an exemption via the RPL process. Please contact the relevant university for more information on their procedures.

Please note that if you choose to accumulate credits towards an MSc, PgDip or PgCert qualification with University of Southampton, you will be required to pay the full fee for your chosen qualification on top of the cost of the individual CPD modules you completed.

Cardiff University are working on a flexible delivery route so students can accumulate standalone CPD module credits towards a qualification.

Funding your studies

Our new MDataGov funding guidance helps you find and access funding, including opportunities through your organisation.

Funding your studies through your organisation

Many public sector organisations offer funding to employees for professional development. If you are interested in taking an MDataGov course, speak with your line manager who will be able to put you in contact with the correct department in your organisation to apply for funding. This will usually be the finance, business support, capability or learning and development departments.

You may be asked to write a business case explaining why your organisation should fund your course and how you will use the knowledge and skills you learn to make a positive impact in your organisation. You can find tips on how to develop a strong business case in the MDataGov funding guidance.

Sponsorship of MDataGov CPD modules

We typically sponsor public sector students for one CPD module per academic year with our university partners. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, we are unable to offer sponsorship for the 2023/24 academic year. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about future opportunities.

Applying for the MDataGov

Applications are submitted through your chosen university and successful applicants are offered places on a first come first, served basis. Check out our MDataGov application guidance for more useful information, including an applicant checklist.

Our MDataGov guidance for managers helps support staff and prospective students by providing advice on overcoming challenges and maximising the benefits of MDataGov study.

Cardiff UniversityFull-time MSc
Part-time MSc, PgDip, PgCert and CPD modules
Guidance notes
University of SouthamptonMSc
CPD modules
Oxford Brookes UniversityMSc, PgDip and PgCert
CPD modules
University of GlasgowMSc, PgDip and PgCert
CPD modules


We asked our past and present MDataGov students their thoughts, advice and experience on the programme. Here’s what they had to say about it!


We review and update this page regularly. If you have any queries, please contact us at

For queries regarding specific MDataGov university application processes, dates and modules, please contact the relevant university directly.

Cardiff UniversityAdmissions
CPD queries
MSc, PgDip and PgCert queries
University of SouthamptonAdmissions
Course queries
Oxford Brookes UniversityAdmissions
CPD queries
Course queries
University of GlasgowAdmissions and course queries