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Machine Learning (Year in Industry) (MSc)

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Course overview

This degree, offered by the Department of Computer Science, allows you to develop a deeper understanding of  Machine Learning – the science of systems that can learn from data – which companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo require to create, innovate, and define the next generation of search and analysis technologies.

As part of the course, you will take an industrial placement, where you will gain valuable experience by putting your knowledge and skills into practice.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Science
Duration 2 years full-time
Department and Faculty Computer Science, Faculty of Science
Partner institution(s) --
Course director  Yuri Kalnishkan
Contact for more information  msc-admissions@cs.rhul.ac.uk

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent in Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, or other subjects that include a strong element of both mathematics and computing.

Relevant professional qualifications and relevant experience in an associated area.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall and minimum of 5.5 in each subscore, for equivalencies see here.


Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.


Why choose this course?

  • Big Data is now part of every sector and function of the global economy.  Planning and strategic decision-making processes rely on large pools of data that need to be captured, aggregated, stored, and analysed.  
  • You will gain in-depth knowledge and practical skills in Machine Learning techniques, which are used by companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to develop the next generation of search and analysis technologies. People with this set of skills are in short supply and high demand.
  • You will have the opportunity to choose options among an exciting range of topics in Computer Science, Economics, Information Security, Management and Mathematics.
  • You will also be well prepared to pursue studies at PhD level, which several companies prefer for their research laboratories and more advanced roles.
  • Taking a placement is an excellent opportunity to gain industrial experience (which gives you an extra edge when applying for jobs in the future) and acquire skills that can only be fully picked up in a work environment.
  • Industry connections have informed the content and design of the course. External contacts in both academia and industry enrich the programme of seminars and guest lectures, which are an integral part of the course.
  • Royal Holloway is located in the ‘M4 corridor’, west of London, a major high-technology hub also called ‘England’s Silicon Valley’.
  • Royal Holloway is a very prestigious university in which to study.  We are ranked not only as one of the 16 most beautiful universities in the world, but also one of the best:  in 2012/13, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed the College 15th in the UK, 45th in Europe and 119th in the world. 

Department research and industry highlights

  • The excellence of our research in Machine Learning is recognized worldwide, and the topics taught reflect that excellence.
  • In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), the Department ranked 11th among UK Computer Science departments for its research output.
  • The Department is ranked third in the UK for graduate employability by the Times Good University Guide 2013.
  • The Department has an Industrial Liaison Board that comprises senior representatives from Microsoft, Cognex, CSC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Kalido, Bathwick Group, Pentatonix, Blackrock, Oracle, Investec and QubeSoft. 

Course content and structure

You will take taught modules during Term One (October to December) and Term Two (January to March). Examinations are held in May.  You then take an industrial placement, after which you come back for your project/dissertation (12 weeks).

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • A highly analytical approach to problem solving.
  • A strong background in data modelling and business intelligence.
  • Knowledge of computational and statistical data analysis.
  • A background in machine learning, statistics, and data mining.
  • Ability to develop, validate, and use effectively machine learning models and statistical models.
  • Ability to apply machine learning and data mining techniques to Information Retrieval and Natural Language Processing.
  • Knowledge of and ability to work with software to automate tasks and perform data analysis.
  • Knowledge of and ability to work with structured, unstructured, and time-series data.
  • Ability to extract value and insight from data.
  • Knowledge of and ability to work with methods and techniques such as clustering, regression, support vector machines, boosting, decision trees, neural networks.
  • Appreciation and knowledge of non-statistical approaches to data analysis and machine learning.
  • Ability to work with software packages such as MATLAB and R.
  • Knowledge of and ability to work with relational databases (SQL), non-relational databases (mongodb), as well as with Hadoop/pig scripting and other big data manipulation techniques.
  • Knowledge of and ability to work with Python, Perl, and Shell Scripting.
  • Work experience and appreciation of how your work fits into the organizational and development processes of a company.

View the full course specification for Machine Learning (Year in Industry) (MSc) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework and a dissertation. The placement is assessed as part of your degree.

Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are among the most employable in the UK – we rank third in the UK for graduate employability – and, in recent years, have entered many different Computer Science-related roles including network systems design and engineering, web development and production. Other graduates choose to enter careers with a management or financial slant. Our graduates have found employment at a wide range of organisations including Logica, British Telecom, British Aerospace, Microsoft, Amazon.com, American Express, Sky and Orbis Technology.  At the same time, this course also equips you with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies.

Your careers ambitions are supported by our College Careers Service, located right next door to the Department. They offer application and interview coaching, career strategy discussions, and the opportunity to network with major employers on campus. Our careers service is provided by the Careers Group, the main provider of graduate recruitment services in London.

To find out what Computer Science graduates from Royal Holloway are doing now, please check the department's website.  


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