Skip to main content

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Check also the following links for additional information that you might find useful:

Applications are made online.  You don't need to pay in order to apply.

General information on the application process is available here.  Feel free to contact our admissions team if you require any further information.

Processing an application may take some time, so we encourage you to apply in advance. Please refer to this page for specific deadlines.

You also need to consider that visa application process is likely to take time, which can vary from country to country, and from city to city in each country. If you need a visa, you need to give us time to issue the CAS letter that is needed for you to apply for your visa; you will be required to pay a deposit for the CAS letter to be issued. Please check the Visas and Immigration page for relevant information.  

If you intend to apply for a scholarship, you also need to take into account the deadline and the fact that, usually, you need an offer in order to apply.

There are also deadlines for applying for accommodation.

If your first language is not English, you are required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency. We accept the internationally recognised English language qualifications IELTS, Pearson Test of English and Cambridge ESOL. From a number of countries we are also able to accept local English language qualifications, details of which are provided on our country-specific information pages.

For English language requirements, refer to the English language requirements for international students page.

We also offer a Pre-Master’s Programme for International Students including the Online pathway, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

The short answer is 'yes'. Our degree programmes require a fair level of maturity in a number of topics in mathematics. See below `What should I revise before I start?' for details.

We have put together a short test that you can use to determine what command of mathematics you should have to do well. You can also use it as a guidance for your revision.

Work experience in an area related to the programme of studies will be taken into account when assessing your application, especially when you don't strictly meet the required academic requirements. All applications are treated on an individual basis. You should describe your relevant work experience in your personal statement and CV when you apply.

We may also request an interview, preferably over Skype, to ascertain that your background and current skills are strong enough for you to succeed.

You can study part-time for any our degree programmes except for the Year-in-Industry pathways. You will have a maximum five years to complete your degree.

Part-time students need to come to the university to attend lectures during working hours: there are no evening classe; we do not offer distance-learning either. However, all core modules are delivered on a single day of the week. We have also scheduled some of the optional modules in the same way so that you can complete the degree in day-release mode, i.e. by coming to the university only once a week.

Please check the part-time page for more details. 

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a relaxed mode of study where students take individual modules that interest them. You will only be billed for the modules that you register on.

There can be a number of motivations for taking courses in CPD mode, including a desire to improve baseline skills in a particular area, or to take a first module on its own before committing to taking a full MSc programme.

CPD students will be given a Certificate of Attendance but may also choose to enter for the examination to earn credit towards a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or a full MSc programme (which will include the dissertation). You will have five years to complete your studies to earn a qualification.

Please note that we do not offer distance learning: you will  to come to the university to attend lectures during working hours. However, all core modules and several optional modules are delivered on a single day of the week.

To apply for CPD you should choose 'Part Time' as the mode of study when you apply and contact us to advise that you wish to study in CPD mode.

The academic year starts in the middle of September, starting with Welcome Week. Please follow this link for the term dates.

In exceptional circumstances, we may allow you to arrive late but never after the second week of lectures.

Please notice that MSc Artificial Intelligence, MSc Computational Finance, MSc Data Science and Analytics, and MSc Machine Learning start only in September and MSc Applied Data Science starts only in January. You cannot start these courses in a different term.

We accept requests to change from the degree for which you applied to another degree provided that you meet the entry requirements.

You can also request a change after you started provided that you can meet the requirements of the programme you want to change to in terms of its core modules.

Students on MSc Artificial Intelligence, MSc Computational Finance, MSc Data Science and Analytics, and MSc Machine Learning have a default selection of Autumn Term modules, but those with strong prior background can swap standard modules for other electives during the first two weeks. We will run special tests to assess whether your background is strong enough, but the decision is ultimately yours!

For the Spring Term, you will need to select elective modules. The process will run during the Autumn Term. For the students who want to get more out of their studies there is also a possibility to take extra modules.

Your personal advisor and the Course Director will be available to advise on which options are likely to best suit your profile or intended career.

Students on MSc Applied Data Science have a fixed diet of modules.

For the students on September-start courses, revision lectures on mathematics will be organised during Welcome Week. Tests in Python Programming and Databases are also organised during Welcome Week to help decide if you should take Principles of Computation and Programming or Databases in Term One.

However, it is always helpful to revise or catch up in key areas of our programmes, especially in relation to mathematics or programming. To help you determine what kind of background in maths you need to have, we put together a short test.


The main areas required for data analytics are linear algebra and probability. More specifically:

Set theory: Sets, set operations (union, intersection, Cartesian product etc), functions (injections, surjections, bijections).

Linear algebra: Vectors, matrices, operations on vectors and matrices, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, bases, positive-definite matrices.

Probability: Random events and variables, independent events and conditional probabilities, Bayes formula, distributions, distribution and density functions, expectation, variance, Gaussian distribution and its properties.

You can catch up on these topics at This site starts from simple things but builds up to quite advanced topics.

Some books that may be helpful (but many others are suitable) are:

  • S. Lipschutz: Schaum's outline of theory and problems of linear algebra
  • D. Poole, Linear algebra: a modern Introduction, Brooks-Cole, 2005.
  • G. M. Clarke and D. Cooke, A basic course in statistics, 5th ed., Arnold, 2004.
  • You may also find useful Chapter 1 of the following tutorial by Martin J. Osborne:
  • R.Hammack: Book or proof


If you have not had previous exposure to programming, or feel that your existing skills are a bit rusty, we recommend you start by consulting online resources such as, or one of the numerous programming MOOCS that are available.

Python is perhaps one of the easiest language to learn for those without prior experience, and It is also the language you will be using extensively in various modules of our Big Data MSc degrees. You can consult The main concepts you need to master are: variables and the assignment operator; control structures: if-statements and loops; functions; and arrays. A book that we recommend is:

John V. Guttag. Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python. MIT Press, ISBN 978-0262525008.

This is an introduction to computing and programming designed for beginners without prior computer science background.

Given that a placement/internship is a contract between the student and the company, and that students are usually interviewed by the companies to which they apply, we cannot guarantee a placement.

However, we have an excellent record in securing placements. See the Internships and Careers page.

Our Careers Team will help you identify suitable opportunities, make applications and prepare for interviews.  We bring several companies to our campus throughout the year, both for fairs and for advanced seminars, which is an excellent opportunity to learn about what they do and discuss possible placements.  We also hold special events for companies in London where we present them our programme, especially the skills that you will have acquired and the benefits that they will have by offering you a placement.

Please note that progression to the placement is also conditional on good academic performance.


Students on a Year-in-Industry pathway are issued a visa that covers the two years of the programme, which include the placement/internship. 

The placement/internship is part of your studies; therefore, you do not need a different visa.

If you are on a Year-in-Industry pathway, you can opt out during the first year. This means that you will transfer to the one-year programme and be able to graduate with an MSc in the corresponding degree: for example, if you register for the MSc in Data Science and Analytics with a Year in Industry and opt out of the interneship, you will proceed to complete the MSc in Data Science and Analytics. This will happen automatically if either you are not allowed to progress to the placement for academic reasons or if you do not secure a placement, or if you have been offered a job, or you need to go back to your country for personal reasons. In summary, you will graduate even if you don't go on a placement.

You can also ask to be transferred to a Year-in-Industry pathway during the first year provided that you have good academic performance. However, if you are on a visa, this may be a complex and costly process because you will require a different visa and, most likely, have to go back to your country to make the application. 

Full-time students are usually entitled to work a limited number of hours during their studies. This is also the case for international students but it is subject to any specific visa requirements. Please check the Part time jobs for international students in the UK and contact the International Advice Team if you have any queries.

Please note that the summer period during which you do your individual project/dissertation is considered to be term time and therefore you are not allowed to work full-time.

Please consult our dedicated Web page for more details and tips, including opportunities for on-campus part-time work

The short answer is 'YES', provided you meet the eligibility criteria for a Graduate or Post-Study Work Visa. This is an unsponsored visa route, which means you do not need to have secured a job or found a sponsor (employer) before you apply. Students who complete a Masters course can ask for a 2-year visa.

Check the UK government site for official information on Graduate visa.

Check also the general site about work visas.

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our academic departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.