Professional Master's Program in Big Data

In 2014, the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University launched the Professional Master's Program in Big Data. This hands-on program is intended for students with some programming experience who wish to learn more about the state-of-the-art in data analysis. The M.Sc. in Big Data is geared towards students who wish to prepare for an exciting, well-paid career in the data science industry.


Want to be part of our next Big Data cohort? Applications for the fall 2017 intake will open in October 2016. Read about our admission requirements and learn how to apply.


Big data refers to tremendous amounts of information which is becoming increasingly available due to widespread use of the internet and computing systems.  

According to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, we are dealing with a deluge of data:  

"Every two days now we generate as much data as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003."

Why is big data important? Basically, big data allows us to make big decisions. Massive quantities of data can be used to generate powerful insights in domains ranging from business and entertainment, to politics and healthcare. However, experts predict a vast shortage of big data specialists:

"There will be a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data. By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions."

(Big Data, the Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity. McKinsey Global Institute, 2011.)

Big data is the next big thing. The Globe and Mail calls it the "Fastest-Growing Job Market You’ve Never Heard of." Read the article here.


Check out these examples of big data at work:

Click here to read the media release announcing the new Professional Master's Program in Big Data.



SFU has been one of the top-three ranked universities in Canada, recognized by Maclean’s magazine every year since 2008. The School of Computing Science at SFU is home to more than 50 top-notch researchers and instructors in database systems, data mining, systems and algorithms. Recently, the School was ranked as one of the top 100 computer science departments in the world and the fourth in Canada (2012 ARWU University Ranking). One of the largest in Western Canada, the School of Computing Science hosts 1300 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students.

The main SFU campus is located atop Burnaby Mountain in cosmopolitan Metro Vancouver, known for its multicultural population. All SFU campus locations— Burnaby Mountain and the SFU Surrey campus are within easy reach of Downtown Vancouver.


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