Data Science with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

Modern societies produce huge amounts of data, which is only useful if we can analyse it and gain practical insights. Data science combines powerful computing technology, sophisticated statistical methods, and expert subject knowledge to carry out this analysis. An emerging field in recent decades, data science is now an exciting, fulfilling and high-profile career choice.

Overview

Our specialist BSc Data Science programme combines the expertise of internationally-renowned statisticians and mathematicians from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science and computer scientists and machine learners from the School of Computing to ensure that you develop the expertise and quantitative skills required for a successful future career in the field.

Our degree programme

The BSc Data Science with a Foundation year is studied over four years full time. The Foundation Year provides an opportunity for you to develop your mathematics and computing skills and start learning some university-level material, fully preparing you for university study before you progress onto Stage 1 of the BSc Data Science. Upon successful completion of the Foundation Year, you will have the choice of taking a placement year between stages 2 and 3 by transferring onto the BSc Data Science with a Year in Industry.

On this new programme you gain a systematic understanding of key aspects of knowledge associated with data science and the capability to deploy established approaches accurately. You learn to analyse and solve problems using a high level of skill in calculation and manipulation of the material in the following areas: data mining and modelling, artificial intelligence techniques/statistical machine learning and big data analytics.

You also learn how to apply key aspects of big data science and artificial intelligence/statistical machine learning in well-defined contexts. In addition, you plan and develop a project themed in a data science area such as business, environment, finance, medicine, pharmacy and public health.

Year in industry

If you want to gain paid industry experience as part of your degree programme, our Data Science with a Year in Industry programme may be for you. If you decide to take the Year in Industry, our Placements Team will support you in developing the skills and knowledge needed to successfully secure a placement through a specialist programme of workshops and events.

The School of Computing and the SMSAS have had rich experience in running industrial placement related BSc programmes with a wide range of links to industry, currently holding the top two largest placement student groups in the University.

Study resources

Facilities to support the study of Data Science include The Shed, the School of Computing's Makerspace. You have access to a range of professional mathematical, statistical and computing software such as:

  • R
  • Python
  • Maple
  • MATLAB
  • Minitab.

Extra activities

You join a thriving student culture, with students from all degree programmes and all degree stages participating in student activities and taking on active roles within the University. As a School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science student you benefit from free membership of the Kent Maths Society and Invicta Actuarial Society.

You can also become a Student Rep and share the views of your fellow students to bring about changes. You could be employed as a Student Ambassador, earning money while you study by inspiring the next generation of mathematicians. Or join one of the society committees and organise socials and events for CEMS students.

Entry requirements

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

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    A level

    CCD including a C in Mathematics. Use of Maths A level is not accepted as a required subject.

  • medal-empty GCSE

    Mathematics grade 4/C

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 13 points HL including HL Maths or HL Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches at 4 or SL Maths or SL Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches at 6

  • International Foundation Programme

    N/A

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

In stages 1 and 2 will you will study a number of core modules in statistics, mathematics, computer science and artificial intelligence, while in stage 3 you will have a choice from a range of modules in addition to core modules.

Foundation Year

Indicative modules:

MA361 - Foundation Mathematics 1

MA362 - Vectors and Mechanics

MA363 - Foundation Mathematics 2

MA364 - Mathematical Skills

MA025 - Foundation Statistics

MA016 - Geometry and Trigonometry

LZ047 - Academic Skills for Mathematics and Science Foundation

For students entering with A-level mathematics or equivalent:

MA018 - Exploring the Mathematical Sciences

All other students take:

  • Foundation Algebra and Functions

Stage 1

Indicative core modules:

CO337 - Computers and the Cloud

MA348 - Mathematical Methods 1

CO320 - Introduction to Object-oriented Programming

MA351 - Probability

CO323 - Databases and the Web

MA306 - Statistics

MA347 - Linear Mathematics

  • Programming for Artificial Intelligence

Stage 2

Indicative core modules:

CO359 - Web Development

CO383 - Problem Solving with Algorithms

  • Optimisation for Data Science
  • Data Collection and Analytics
  • Introduction to Intelligent Systems

CO532 - Database Systems

MA5956 - Big Data and other Analytical Techniques

MA5501 - Applied Statistical Modelling 1

Stage 3

Indicative core modules:

  • Statistical Machine Learning
  • Capstone Project
  • Deep Learning and Decision Making

Plus your choice from a selection of optional modules.

Fees

The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for Home undergraduates have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home undergraduates for 2021/22 entry are £9,250.

  • Home full-time TBC
  • International full-time TBC

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

Teaching is based on lectures, with practical classes and seminars, but we are also introducing more innovative ways of teaching, such as virtual learning environments and work-based tuition. 

Academic support

We provide excellent support for you throughout your time at Kent. This includes access to web-based information systems, podcasts and web forums for students who can benefit from extra help. We use innovative teaching methodologies, including BlueJ and LEGO© Mindstorms for teaching Java programming.

Teaching staff

Our staff have written internationally acclaimed textbooks for learning programming, which have been translated into eight languages and are used worldwide.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • attract and meet the needs of those contemplating a career as a data scientist
  • equip students with the technical appreciation, skills and knowledge appropriate to graduates in Data Science
  • develop students’ facilities of rigorous reasoning and precise expression
  • develop students’ capabilities to formulate and solve problems, relevant to Data Science
  • develop in students an appreciation of recent developments in Data Science, and of the links between the theory and practical application
  • develop in students a logical approach to solving problems
  • develop in students an enhanced capacity for independent thought and work
  • ensure students are skilled in the use of relevant Data Science software
  • provide students with opportunities to study advanced topics in Data Science
  • engage in research at some level, and develop communication and personal skills.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  • core mathematical principles of calculus, algebra, mathematical methods and linear algebra
  • the subjects of probability and inference
  • information technology skills as relevant to Data Science
  • methods and techniques appropriate to Computing and Statistics
  • the role of logical mathematical argument and deductive reasoning
  • practice, including problem identification, deploying established approaches accurately to analyse and solve problems and testing and evaluation
  • software, including programming languages and practice, tools and packages, computer applications, structuring of data and information
  • the legal background, security and ethical issues involved in data science.

Intellectual skills

You will gain the ability:

  • to demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the basic body of knowledge for Computing, Mathematics and Statistics used in data science
  • to demonstrate a reasonable level of skill in calculation and manipulation of mathematical and statistical material written within the programme and some capability to solve problems formulated within it
  • to apply a range of core concepts and principles in well-defined contexts relevant to Computing, Mathematics and Statistics used in data science
  • to use logical argument
  • to demonstrate skill in solving problems in Data Science by various appropriate methods
  • in relevant computer skills and usage
  • to work with relatively little guidance
  • to present succinctly to a range of audiences rational and reasoned arguments.

Subject-specific skills

You will gain these subject-specific skills:

  • ability to demonstrate knowledge of key mathematical and statistical concepts and topics, both explicitly and by applying them to the solution of problems.
  • ability to demonstrate skills in codification and storage of data and in pre-processing raw data for later retrieval and analysis.
  • ability to demonstrate understanding of fundamental computational concepts and algorithmic thinking, including recursive, distributed and parallel possibilities; the role of these in devising artificial intelligence/machine learning algorithms and in statistical modelling as well as in delivering innovative solutions to applied problems.
  • ability to comprehend problems, abstract the essentials of problems and formulate them mathematically and in symbolic form in order to facilitate their analysis and solution.
  • ability to use key aspects of statistics, artificial intelligence/machine learning and optimisation in a principled fashion to address the challenges of small and large data sets in well-defined contexts, showing judgement in the selection and application of tools and techniques.
  • ability to use computational and more general IT facilities as an aid to mathematical and statistical processes
  • ability to present mathematical and statistical arguments and the conclusions from them with clarity and accuracy
  • ability to critically evaluate and analyse complex problems, argument and evidence, including those with incomplete information, and devise appropriate computing solutions, within the constraints of a budget.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information
  • communication skills
  • numeracy and computational skills
  • information technology skills such as word-processing, internet communication, etc.
  • personal and interpersonal skills and management skills
  • time-management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working
  • study skills needed for continuing professional development.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Independent rankings

Mathematics at Kent scored 91% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Computer Science at Kent (which includes all programmes offered by the School of Computing) scored 90% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021

Computer Science at Kent was ranked 8th for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • software engineering
  • mobile applications development
  • systems analysis
  • consultancy
  • networking
  • web design and e-commerce
  • finance and insurance
  • commerce
  • engineering
  • education
  • government
  • healthcare.

Recent graduates have gone on to develop successful careers at leading companies such as:

  • BAE Systems
  • Cisco
  • IBM
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Citigroup
  • BT.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

The School has a dedicated Employability Coordinator who is a useful contact for all student employability queries.

Work experience

You can gain commercial experience working as a student consultant within the Kent IT Consultancy. You can also gain teaching experience by taking the Computing in the Classroom module.

Career-enhancing skills

You graduate with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of data science and a range of professional skills, including:

  • programming
  • modelling
  • design.

To help you appeal to employers, you also learn key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:

  • think critically
  • communicate your ideas and opinions
  • analyse situations and troubleshoot problems
  • work independently or as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Applications

Start to consider your options any time and you'll be able to submit your application from September 2021.

Visiting universities, virtually or in-person, helps you to discover the places and courses that suit you. Why not start by signing up for a Virtual Open Day at Kent.

Use our timeline for applying to Kent to help you plan your future.

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk