Announcing the new Professional Master's program in Big Data

The School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University is offering a NEW Professional Masters program in Big Data. This four-semester, hands-on program will prepare you for an exciting and well-paid career as a data scientist.

This program is intended for students with some previous programming experience who wish to learn about the state-of-the-art in big data analysis.



Applications for the Fall 2015 Cohort have closed on Feb. 1st.

Stay tuned for the next intake! Fall 2016 applications will open in October 2015.

Why Big Data?

Big Data refers to tremendous amounts of information that is becoming increasingly available due to widespread use of the Internet and computing systems.

Deluge of Data: According to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt:  "Every two days now we generate as much data as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003".

Big Decisions: These massive quantities of data can be used to generate powerful insights in domain ranging from business and entertainment, to politics and healthcare.

Shortage of Big Data Specialists

According to a 2011 report from McKinsey Global Institute, entitled: Big Data, the Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity .

"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." 

From The Globe and Mail:
The fastest-growing job market you’ve never heard of

Program objectives and outcomes

The program curriculum covers the following areas:

  • Analysis of scalability of algorithms to big data.
  • Data warehouses and online analytical processing.
  • Efficient storage of big data including data streams.
  • Scalable querying and reporting on massive data sets.
  • Scalable and distributed hardware and software architectures.
  • Software as a service. Cloud Computing (e.g. Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine).
  • Big data programming models: map-reduce, distributed databases, software for implementing streaming and sketching algorithms.
  • Dealing with unstructured data such as images, text or biological sequences.
  • Scalable machine learning methods such as online learning.
  • Data mining: methods for learning descriptive and predictive models from data.
  • Distributed algorithms over very large graphs and matrices.
  • Social media analysis.
  • Visualization methods and interactive data exploration.

Students will complete 30 units of graduate work. These units are divided into three main sections: 15 credits of graduate course work; 12 credits of specialized lab work; 3 credits for co-op.

To learn more about co-op, please click here.

Industry collaboration

We have developed this program in close collaboration with our industrial partners. We have worked with a dozen companies in Canada and in the US, including Simba Technologies, IBM and SAP. Students participating in the program will be eligible to complete an internship with one of our industrial partners, and will be considered for a full-time position.

Please watch the program overview video, which includes a statement from the CEO of Simba Technologies.

Our qualifications

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). The School is one of the largest in Western Canada with 1300 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students.

The main SFU campus is located atop Burnaby Mountain in cosmopolitan Metro Vancouver, known for its multi-cultural population. All SFU campus locations— Burnaby Mountain and the SFU Surrey campus are within easy reach of Downtown Vancouver. Click here to read the media release announcing the new Professional Master's Program in Big Data.

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