MIT in Big Data Science (Stream C)

The University of Pretoria is proud to introduce its master's degree in Information Technology (Stream C: Big Data Science). Data science is the scientific investigation that employs innovative approaches and algorithms for processing and analysing big data. Big data constitutes extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions. The University has existing world-class expertise in multiple disciplines that closely relate to big data and data science.


What is a master's degree in Big Data Science? 

The MIT (Stream C: Big Data Science) degree is multi-disciplinary and spreads across a number of academic faculties and departments. It is administered by the Department of Computer Science. The degree's focus is to provide postgraduate opportunities to big data science researchers and practitioners who are aware of the data needs on the South African landscape. Graduate professionals from industry can leverage this degree to re-skill themselves in the foundational building blocks of big data science, while researchers can excel in big data and data science as research disciplines.

A blended mode of delivery will be followed. For each module, instructors facilitate discussions in face-to-face classes. Assignments proportional to the number of credits are assigned to each module. These assignments may be based on individual or group activities, such as writing reports and participating in online discussions.


What you will learn? 

The core modules include the following aspects:

  • Big Data Science and its application in different domains
  • Machine and statistical learning
  • Hands-on experience in technologies such as R, Python, Spark, and Hadoop
  • Information ethics and its place in Big Data Science
  • Mathematical optimisation for Big Data Science
  • Governance, administration and organisation of large volumes of both structured and unstructured data
  • Different architectures available for the processing of Big Data
  • Research methods for Big Data Science
  • Big Data Science project, which provides a hands-on experience of the entire big data lifecycle
  • Research-based mini dissertation: Students may choose a Big Data Science-related research topic and subsequently be assigned a supervisor or co-supervisor from any of the participating departments across various faculties. These departments include, but are not limited to: Computer Science, Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Informatics, Information Science, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Health Science departments and various Institutes at UP



The degree requires a minimum of two years' part-time study. It must be completed in a maximum of three years. Students are required to attend lectures for approximately two days a month on the University of Pretoria's Hatfield Campus. Students will have to apply to the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology if they need more than three years to complete the degree.



The curriculum contains 180 credits, half of which are required courses and the other half is a research-based mini-dissertation. One of the key features of the MIT (Stream C: Big Data Science) curriculum is a practical project, which makes the theoretical big data science knowledge gained in the programme operational in the real world. Apart from the core component, students will also be able to choose from electives offered by all the participating departments. This master's degree programme is only presented in English.


Admission requirements 

A limited number of applicants are selected for admission into the MIT (Stream C: Big Data Science) programme every year. Applicants should take note of the following admission requirements:

  • An appropriate honours degree
  • A minimum pass rate of 65% for the honours degree
  • A pass mark in the following first-year level higher education modules:
    • Mathematical Statistics or Statistics or at the discretion of the Programme Organiser
    • Mathematics (preferably Calculus and Linear Algebra) or at the discretion of the Programme Organiser
    • Programming or at the discretion of the Programme Organiser

A selection process will take place. The result of the selection is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Success in the selection process is based on previous education and passing an English test.

More information about the application process and closing dates can be found at:


Conferment of the degree 

The MIT (Stream C: Big Data Science) degree is conferred on a student who successfully completes the following:

  • Mini-dissertation: 90 credits
  • Core modules: 55 credits
  • Research methods: 5 credits
  • Project: 20 credits
  • Elective modules: 10 credits
  • Total: 180 credits


Contact information 

Email: [email protected]

- Author Carina de Villiers

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