As the volume and complexity of big data grows, so does the demand for skills and expertise to translate data into knowledge. Simon Fraser University seeks to empower people with the training and expertise they need to put big data to work for research, innovation and community impact. 

Through leading academic programs, workshops, events and other hands-on training opportunities, we are closing the talent gap and delivering job-ready, big data leaders to meet global demand across all sectors. Whether you’re a newbie, a seasoned expert, or just curious about big data and its potential, SFU connects you to education in big data tools and approaches across SFU, at every level, in every discipline.

Big Data Primer Glossary

Big data tools and approaches can make a big impact on your coursework, research, teaching or business. Learning some of the key terminology and core concepts behind big data analysis is a great place to begin. Download our glossary to get started.

of the world's data was created in the past 2 years
hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
increase in Canadian data professionals
search queries are processed by Google every second

Academic Programs

SFU's academic programs are training the next generation of big data leaders. Engaging students from diverse disciplines at all levels, SFU is providing education in big data approaches and tools, visualization, digital scholarship, data access, curation, security and more. Through our extensive range of program options, we are meeting the student demand for data-intensive educational experiences and delivering job-ready big data experts. 


Professional Master’s Program in Big Data

SFU's Professional Master’s Program in Big Data develops data architects who apply a deep knowledge of computer science to create new tools that find value in the vast amounts of information generated today.

Students are well-prepared to become data scientists, programmers, solutions architects and chief data officers capable of offering insights that influence strategic decision-making. The program is challenging and ideal for those with a strong aptitude in computer science or in quantitative fields, such as engineering or physics.  

Students tackle real-world challenges, gain valuable project management experience, and grow their network of industry contacts through SFU's respected co-op program.

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Terrorism, Risk, and Security Studies Professional Master’s Program (TRSS)

The Terrorism, Risk, and Security Studies Professional Master’s Program (TRSS) is a unique, interdisciplinary program, delivered completely online, that addresses security challenges from a number of perspectives. The TRSS program leverages SFU’s recognized strengths in Terrorism Studies, Human Intelligence, Computation and Big Data, Risk Assessment, Decision Analysis, and Public Policy to address security issues from a variety of diverse, yet complimentary, disciplinary perspectives.

The new TRSS MA Program will be able to offer a wide range of specialized course content to not only ensure the dissemination of industry best practices, but also encourage a broader perspective among security and intelligence professionals.

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NSERC-CREATE SFU-UBC Graduate Program in Bioinformatics

The definition of bioinformatics is currently controversial, but bioinformatics can be loosely defined as the use of computers and computer science to study biological questions. It forms the intersection between molecular biology (and related biological disciplines) and computing science. This graduate studies program provide training in areas ranging from the organizational and management of data, the development of data, the development of algorithms and software and the application of these approaches to questions in wide-ranging areas of biology. This field is currently evolving, but one point is agreed upon: Bioinformatics is a blossoming field within which there remain many significant discoveries to be made.

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Bioinformatics Graduate Diploma

The Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, in partnership with the School of Computing Science, offers a graduate diploma that provides advanced education in bioinformatics for students with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, computer science, mathematics, or related disciplines. Admission is highly competitive.

This program supports students sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Bioinformatics in Health Science Training Grant in which Simon Fraser University is a full partner with the University of British Columbia and the BC Genome Sciences Centre. Students who are not part of the program are strongly encouraged to choose their courses from those offered at Simon Fraser University.

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Graduate Certificate Program in Visual Analytics

The graduate certificate in Visual Analytics provides an interdisciplinary program of study at the Masters level that integrates three key aspects of Visual Analytics:

  • Designing, implementing, and evaluating technologies for visualization and computational information processing.
  • Understanding the impact of interactive visual information systems on human cognition.
  • Promoting the effective use of interactive visual information systems in in dealing with complex and data-rich problems in organizations and society

Certificate students work on both developing new technologies and on their use to improve decision-making and operational effectiveness in application areas that include health care, business and finance, aerospace, public policy, criminology, environmental management, and scientific research. 

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Modelling of Complex Social Systems (MoCSSy) Graduate Certificate

The Modelling of Complex Social Systems (MoCSSY) certificate program is an interdisciplinary graduate program crosscutting the study of social issues in criminology, health sciences, urban dynamics, computing science and mathematical modeling under the unifying theme of modeling the complex dynamics in urban neighbourhoods.

MoCSSy's Graduate Certificate Program offers a unique opportunity for graduate students to apply their interdisciplinary knowledge to research, in an environment that is second to none in Canada.

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Certificate in Business Analytics and Decision Making 

The Beedie School of Business offers its major and joint major undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue a Business Analytics and Decision Making Certificate. The certificate is motivated by the rapid growth in the use of large data sets and sophisticated analytic methods in business decisions, which in turn is driven by the improvement in competitiveness and profitability that these methods provide. Beyond providing data management and analysis skills, the certificate courses emphasize problem definition, business understanding, and technical communication skills that are especially critical for managers who may not be specialists but who will require that sharp understanding.

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Genomics Certificate Program 

Genomics draws upon its multidisciplinary roots in molecular genetics, chemistry, physics, computer science and engineering; and involves the generation and analysis of large quantities of DNA and protein sequence data, as well as data concerning the function of the genome. It has important, evolving applications to nearly all aspects of the life sciences, especially with regard to biomedical and health research, clinical applications, and the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, agricultural and forestry industries. This program will help students develop skills in generating, analyzing and managing genomic data. It will also facilitate understanding the applications of genomics in the context of the more traditional life science disciplines.

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Operations Research Major

Operations Research is the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions for industrial problems such as scheduling, transportation, inventory planning, quality control, and project management. Students will work on real world industry problems and pursue studies in related areas such as business, economics, actuarial science, and resource management. The Operations Research Program includes coursework in mathematics, statistics, and computing science, and introduces students to software that is currently used in the industry.

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Management Information Systems

Management Information Systems (MIS) integrates our understanding of people, information, technology and strategy to find ways to make organizations more agile, effective, and efficient. The focus areas include how Information Systems and emerging technologies affect business processes, decision-making and organizational and societal change. Students learn to manage project teams, to manage and use information, and to design and build systems in support of business processes. This is an excellent concentration for those interested in business analysis and managing change through projects. MIS is also a good complement and catalyst to other concentrations.

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Data Science Program

Data Science is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program at SFU involving coursework in four different areas: Statistics, Computing Science, Mathematics, and Business. The program was designed in light of consultations with industry, analysis of employment trends, and faculty research in upcoming data technologies. The result is an applied, skills-based program that gives students the tools and abilities they need to gain employment and be successful in the area of Data Science.

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SFU's Big Data Graduate Scholarships

SFU creates invaluable opportunities for students to receive hands-on experience with data. No matter their domain, discipline, or level of expertise, SFU's Big Data Graduate Scholarship is empowering students to unlock the potential of big data. Join the next generation of big data research leaders in this unique opportunity at SFU. 

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