MDataGov open day 2021

On Wednesday 14 July 2021, we held a virtual open day for prospective students of the Master’s in Data Analytics for Government (MDataGov)

Our partner Universities presented their offerings and took questions. There was also an overview session with an opportunity to ask the Academic Manager responsible for the MDataGov at the Data Science Campus questions about the programme.

On this page you will find presentations from our partner universities and some of the questions that prospective students asked them to help you when making your own decision about the programme.

Presentations

Cardiff University

University of Southampton 

University of Glasgow 

Oxford Brookes University

Questions and answers

Cardiff University

Questions Answers
Are the four core modules available as standalone for CPD? Yes, all four core modules are available as standalone CPD courses.
Is the full-time course two days per week? Yes, the full-time course is two full days (or four half days) of contact time per week. The remaining week days will be needed for study.
If I was to undertake the full masters, would I still be able to work full-time whilst doing so? It would be possible to work full-time and undertake the MSc as a part-time student after negotiating time commitments with your line manager. Due to the demands of full-time study, it would not be possible to complete the full-time MSc whilst working full-time.
Did you say it was not possible to do a full-time course, while working full time as well? Yes, that is correct. As a full-time student doing the course over one year, it wouldn’t be possible to work full-time at the same time as you would be required to be studying full-time. You might have the option of taking a year off to study – you would need to agree this with your line manager. For this reason, Cardiff are working to develop a part-time MSc, as well as PgCert and PgDip.
Is there an option to do a part-time MSc, PGDip or PGCert? A flexible delivery route is currently being developed for this course which will provide a part-time study option.
How do I follow the flexible delivery route for this course? While the flexible delivery route is under development, you can start with CPD modules and then transfer to the route once available in order to gain a PGCert, PGDip or MSc. Part-time students can undertake 60 credits per year and funding is pro rata based on number of credits offered by the module.
Are all the CPD modules offered online? None of the modules are offered online under normal circumstances, only due to COVID restrictions. If more than 60 people enrol onto a module, it will be partially conducted online, but still have face-to-face sessions.
So you would have to be local to Cardiff even for just one CPD module? Yes, applicants need to be local or willing to travel for face-to-face sessions. Distance learning was only an option this year because of COVID.

Oxford Brookes University

Questions Answers
Is it possible to do the course entirely online? The full course is normally run on-campus with additional opportunities to take some of the modules during January and July for which the intention is to stay fully online post- COVID. To date, some students have successfully completed in-Semester modules by utilising the recordings for those sessions they are unable to travel to.
Do face-to-face sessions take place on specific days of the week? Sessions are timetabled for Mondays or Fridays only and learning is compressed into one of these days.
How are your fees structured? The University’s published fees are per 10 credits (note that some universities are doing this per 20 credits) and currently stand at £535 per 10 credits. A flexible approach is taken in which students simply pay per module.

University of Glasgow

Questions Answers
Would you recommend this course to someone already comfortable with programming in R and Python? Yes we would! The R course covers a wide range of uses, some of which you may not be familiar with – the same can be said for the Python course. Having prior knowledge will give you a “head start” in these courses, but will help to refresh your memory with some methods and introduce concepts you may not be familiar with. Both courses start from the basics, building up to more advanced methods, so there is a breadth of material covered which should interest all experience levels. Both languages will then be applied across the other course modules.
For a CPD module, do I need to apply before the start of the academic year or just before the module starts? For CPD modules, you do not have to register at the start of the academic year, just prior to the module beginning – please see the course website for cut-off points. Contact the University directly if you have missed the date given or have any other questions.
Do we need to do the maths test to take CPD modules? No, there is no maths test requirement for CPD modules, including the assessed ‘student-learner’ version.
Is there a current deadline for the PGCert commencing in September 2021? It is best to apply as early as possible, but applications are accepted up until 20th Sept, which is when teaching begins. Please allow time to complete the pre-sessional maths course and assessment if this may be needed. We would recommend completing this prior to the 13 September to allow time for registration to be processed.
If doing an individual CPD course, do you do assessments? For learners taking individual CPD courses, you can apply as a student learner where you will complete assessments or as a non-student learner where you will not complete assessments.
How are the assessments split, is it a mixture of assignment and exams, all assignments, etc? The assessments vary on a course-by-course basis. We use a mixture of online quizzes, take home assignments, projects, group-based work, mini vivas and online timed tests.
If I decided to do the PGCert, then wanted to progress to complete the full masters, could I use these credits and complete the remaining time left on the degree? This would be possible, and you would build up the remaining credits with courses you have not yet taken. It is more common though to begin on the MSc, and then consider moving down to the PGCert or PGDip.
If I want to do the PGCert, would you recommend that I apply via the MSc route then exit after a year? We would recommend starting on the MSc route to begin with if you do intend on following this route. You will be able to discuss this in more detail once you are registered on the programme. If you know at the outset that you do not want to pursue the full MSc, you can register directly for the PGCert (60 credits) or PGDip (120 credits). It is also possible to switch to the MSc from one of the other routes if you wish.
Can credits gained from completing assessed CPD modules count towards the full MSc in the future? Yes, credits from CPD modules taken as a student learner can be used toward the full MSc. Please contact the University directly for more details.
Is there an alumni discount? Yes, there is a 20% discount available to all alumni. You can find more information on our website.
Is it the same price regardless of how long completion takes? Yes, the price is based on a per module basis (priced by how many you do a year), so this remains the same irrelevant of duration.
If I don’t get funding for my course from my organisation, will I still get a public sector employee rate if I pay for the course myself? Yes, the public sector employee rate is available for students who are self-funding.
Would you be able to attend graduation like an on-campus student? Yes, once COVID restrictions permit you will have the opportunity to attend on-campus graduation on completion of the programme.
Is it possible for international students from NSOs to undertake the course? Yes, the programme is open to international students from public sector organisations.
Does it tell you somewhere on the website how many credits each course is worth? Each taught course is 10 credits, while the project is worth 60 credits.
Are the learning sessions done live or are they recorded? Learning sessions are a mixture of live and recorded. Lecture-style sessions are recorded and form part of the learning materials. Tutorials and similar sessions are live.
Is the Statistics for Government module available as CPD? Yes, the Statistics for Government module is available as CPD and dates will be published for this soon.
How many hours commitment a week would be expected? A commitment of approximately 5-7 hours study time a week per module would be needed, if taking the three-year route (assuming 2 10-credit courses per semester). In addition is the time taken by continuous assessment throughout the semester (if applicable) and time for weekly live sessions. This estimate greatly depends on prior experience.
How is the part-time PGCert structured? How often would lectures take place and how would these fit with full-time work? With some variation between modules, over one year there would be two courses a trimester, with a live session once per week (or fortnight) per module, so two hours per week of live sessions. The rest of the materials will be provided to be worked through according to your schedule – in most cases materials are released 2-3 weeks in advance. Where possible, live sessions are scheduled outside of core working hours. All live sessions are recorded with the option to watch live session recordings afterwards.
Do you have timetables available in advance so can be planned alongside work commitments? The pattern of the year is released at the start of the academic year to enable participants to plan ahead. Semester dates for the next academic year are already available in the handbook.
I hold an MSc in Psychology (which had statistical modules). I am also a Methodologist. Would I need to complete a maths test to meet the entry requirements? If your degree component contained Level 1 mathematics and Level 2 algebra and calculus (based on the Scottish University system), this would be acceptable. If not, you would be required to undertake an assessment of your mathematical skills. You should also have at least an Upper Second for your degree.  You can contact student admissions for more information.
Could you provide links for key information on this programme?

MDataGov on the university website

Course handbook

Booking for CPD courses

University of Southampton

Do you offer online distance learning? There are currently no plans for the programme to be fully online (aside from 2020 to 2021 adjustments due to COVID-19), so students will need to attend the university for some sessions.
Are the CPD modules offered online? The CPD offering is to attend individual modules from the course, so they are not distinct. Therefore, they have the same format, and attendance at the University is required.
If I want to do the course part time over several years is the fee split across the years? Yes, fees are split across the years for the 2021-2022 academic year entry:

  • years 1 & 2: £3270,
  • year 3: £2125,
  • year 4 £830.

These are paid as you progress through the years and, once paid, no extra is due. You must pay the full fee (£9495) before you can graduate, even if you complete in less than 4 years.

Is there a reduced cost for PGCert? Yes, as long as the PGCert is registered for directly, the cost will be the first year’s fee plus a top up fee to achieve the PGCert in the second year.
What’s the fee for an individual CPD course? CPD modules cost £800 in 2021-2022, but will be higher for the following academic year.
If I have completed two CPD modules as RPL (recognised prior learning) and decide to progress to the PGCert, would I still need to pay the full first year MSc fees on top of the fees I have already paid? Yes, as it is not possible to provide a discount for the modules already completed, it is more affordable to register for the PGCert at the outset to avoid additional fees. Carrying two modules in as RPL (recognised prior learning) is fine, but the PGCert must be paid for in addition to what has already been paid for the CPD modules.
Do you still offer a discount if we did our undergrad at UoS? Yes, please check our website for the current alumni discount: Alumni Postgraduate Discount | University of Southampton
What would be the different routes to achieving a PGCert? To achieve the PGCert, you must complete four core modules plus two optional modules from those available. It is possible to progress into any of the options (PGCert, PGDip or MSc) from the CPD modules, but there are limits on how many CPD modules you can carry in credit from – for the PGCert this is a maximum of two modules. Students must register for their chosen course in order to gain an award, this cannot be done by only gaining sufficient credits from CPD.
Can you achieve a higher diploma after a number of modules and, if so, is there a time limit on accruing CPD modules? The diploma is achieved by completing the MSc taught content without the dissertation, but must be registered for, rather than simply taking multiple CPD modules. If modules were completed up to three years beforehand, they can be carried in, again subject to a limit (4 modules for the Diploma).
Are the five data Science Modules taught every year or are they rotated like the statistics modules? They are taught every year.
Are there any options to take modules from outside of the courses listed options (for example from a Computer Science  MSc)? It is possible in principle to take modules from other courses, as long as they are relevant to the MDataGov and you are accepted onto the module. They typically won’t be designed for week release, as the MDataGov is, so would require more attendance over an extended period of time. If your employer is funding your place, it would also be necessary to check that they are happy with the relevance of the alternative module.
For the modules with exams, when are the exam dates? After the taught week or the end of the semester? The two semesters are structured as follows: Oct-Jan with a revision week after Christmas, followed by a couple of weeks of exams; in May there are two weeks at end of teaching for exams. Term, semester and exam period dates are available online for the next seven years.
As the university of Southampton fees are annual, is it possible for it be completed part-time in a single year or would you need to do it as a full-time course to complete it in a year? It would not be possible to complete the course part-time in a year; it is necessary to register as full-time to achieve this. The full-time MSc equates to 1200 hours of study plus dissertation and is not considered compatible with full-time work. It is possible to register for a full-time version, nonetheless, and the fee is the same either way. More information on the course requirements is available.
Do you have to do the MSc in four years or can you do it in three? E.g. two years of teaching and one year for dissertation. The MSc can be done in three years. Some people have managed it in two, but this is very demanding. The fees remain the same.
Just to confirm, if I wanted to do the MSc part-time it would take 4 years? The maximum time available to complete the taught part of the MSc is four years plus the dissertation. There is some flexibility if you would like to progress more quickly than this, as stated in a previous question.