The University of Liverpool Online MSc in Big Data Analytics consists of seven core modules and one elective module.

Core modules cover a wide range of topics, including data mining, predictive analytics, data visualisation and warehousing, and professional issues in computing.

In addition, your professional portfolio of evidence will allow you to gather solutions-based artefacts to demonstrate your strategic mindset and showcase your growth and decision-making skills to employers.

The first module takes 10 weeks. Each subsequent module lasts eight weeks.

Students of this programme now have access to career services by joining the Global Career Advisor Network.

Core modules

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The Global Technology Environment (10 weeks)

To lay the foundation for successful study, and provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts associated with the computing environment.

Start your personal and professional journey with this on-boarding module for the MSc in Cyber Security programme, where you will be introduced to the online learning environment. The module provides a critical "state-of the-art" review of the domain of information technology (IT). It is designed to offer a wide-ranging understanding on topics such as software engineering, cyber security and big data analytics.

By completing the module, you will have a comprehensive global view of the current IT landscape in the context of both commercial and non-commercial enterprises. The module blends both theory and practice, so that a solid foundation is provided for future study.

Curriculum insights

  • Key concepts in the IT industry
  • Enterprise-oriented software and systems enterprise development
  • Data management and big data analytics
  • Cyber security and risk management
  • Current and emerging IT trends
  • Global characteristics of IT

Big Data (8 weeks)

To provide students with a comprehensive understanding of big data tools and techniques, related issues, and the different kinds of big data ecosystems that can be used to support advanced data analytics.

This module will consider big data management frameworks in general, but with a focus on the Hadoop open-source data storage and processing platform and its underpinning sub-systems. It also provides you with a critical awareness of how big data systems support data-driven decision making.

Curriculum insights

  • Key concepts and technologies in big data
  • Hadoop
  • Practical solutions to big data problems
  • Integration and deployment of big data

Data Mining (8 weeks)

To provide students with a detailed understanding of the concepts of data mining, including the processes involved and the tools and techniques commonly used.

During this module, you will be provided the opportunity to apply the tools and techniques of data mining to a variety of example data sets. This is intended to give you a critical insight into their operation, and an understanding of when and where such tools and techniques can best be applied.

You will also be given the chance, using the ‘R’ programming language, to implement several different kinds of data mining algorithms to gain a comprehensive understanding of their operation.

Curriculum insights

  • Extracting knowledge from data
  • Data pre-processing requirements
  • The data mining process
  • Tools and techniques of data mining
  • Data mining algorithms
  • Matching concepts to organisational requirements

Data Visualisation and Warehousing (8 weeks)

To introduce students to the concepts and challenges of creating data warehouses, and how data visualisation tools can be used to ‘tell a story’.

By taking this module, you will gain practical experience of how to create data warehouses using data from multiple sources. It will also introduce you to best practices in data visualisation and data storytelling, using state-of-the-art data visualisation technology.

The module is intended to help you understand the approaches and benefits of data warehousing, and how to quickly gain and communicate insights into the data stored in data warehouses using data visualisation techniques.

Curriculum insights

  • Data warehousing concepts and technologies
  • Creating a data warehouse
  • The importance of data visualisation
  • Creating data visualisations
  • Telling a ‘data story’

Professional Issues in Computing (8 weeks)

To offer students the opportunity to consider, understand and evaluate common non-technical issues faced by IT leaders.

To function effectively, professional IT practitioners need not only the appropriate technical knowledge, skills and experience, but also a broad understanding of the context in which they operate. IT professionals must understand the relationship between technological change, society and the law, and the powerful role that computers and computer professionals play in a technological society.

This module is designed to help you operate effectively in work and community situations and to be aware of your environment.

Curriculum insights

  • Professional and ethical issues arising from IT systems
  • Common legal and social challenges faced by IT professionals
  • Key management skills needed in IT

Predictive Analytics for Decision Making (8 weeks)

To provide students with an insight into how predictive analytics can be used to help organizations and their customers make better decisions.

Completing this module is designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of how results from predictive analytics can be used by organisations to grow their customer base and run operations more efficiently. This module is oriented towards practical applications of predictive analytics.

Curriculum insights

  • Key predictive analytics techniques
  • Business problems predictive analytics can solve
  • Predictive analytics in commercial environments
  • Applying predictive analytics tools

Cloud Computing (8 weeks)

To provide students with a comprehensive overview of advances in cloud computing and the possibilities it has unleashed.

Cloud computing is an important new paradigm in information technology that provides a basis for a new wave of technology developments. Cloud computing embodies advances in computing, networking, and storage technologies which individually and collectively include major hardware and software breakthroughs. These include computer virtualisation, distributed and replicated storage, and software-based networking.

Cloud computing motivates further technology advancement and changes how modern IT infrastructures are built and evolved. There is a growing demand for specialists with strong technical background and deep knowledge of cloud computing technologies.

Curriculum insights

  • Cloud architecture and foundations
  • Building cloud-based infrastructure, services and applications
  • Existing cloud architecture models
  • Cloud industry standardisation
  • Middleware platforms
  • Cloud provider platforms

Elective modules

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This programme allows you to choose 1 elective

Applied Cryptography (8 weeks)

To provide students with an insight into cryptographic algorithms and protocols.

By completing this module, you will acquire a critical understanding of how to use cryptographic algorithms and protocols to solve practical security problems (such as confidentiality, integrity and authenticity). The module also allows you to acquire a systematic understanding of open-source tools to build secure applications, and how best to apply such tools.

Curriculum insights

  • Symmetric key encryption algorithms
  • Hash function algorithms
  • Public key cryptography algorithms
  • Key agreement protocols
  • Current industrial standards for cryptography
  • Quantum computing techniques
  • Open-source cryptographic techniques

Security Engineering and Compliance (8 weeks)

To provide students with an in-depth understanding of information security concepts and models.

This module provides an insight into information security principles, security policy models/protocols, industry standards for security compliance, and risk assessment. You will acquire a critical understanding of how to use information security techniques to solve practical security problems.

You will also have the opportunity to gain skills for designing/implementing security infrastructure and writing security/incident response polices. Practical, extensive, hands-on project work is designed to ensure you are ready to apply in the workplace the knowledge gained in the module.

Curriculum insights

  • Threats to, vulnerabilities of, and attacks on IT systems
  • Security compliance and industry standards
  • Information security models
  • Protocols for solving security problems
  • Risk assessments
  • Security infrastructures
  • Security/incident response policies
  • Penetration testing

Understanding Organisations and Human Behaviour (8 weeks)

To enable students to assess the roles of individuals and teams within organisations so that they can become proficient leaders and managers.

This module is broadly designed to provide the necessary know-how to allow you to manage people operating in a technology-rich environment. As well as the traditional aspects of organisational behaviour, such as individual/team roles, human resource management and change management, you will examine the use of information technology to support managerial functions, including outsourcing, offshoring and other critical issues fundamental to the way contemporary organisations are run.

Curriculum insights

  • Assessing the roles and individuals and teams within organisations
  • Using IT to support managerial functions
  • People management in technology-rich environments
  • Managerial techniques that benefit organisations and employees

Technology Innovation and Change Management (8 weeks)

To enable students to build a theoretical and practical academic foundation relating to the techniques and challenges of technology innovation and change management.

This module aims to give you a comprehensive understanding of change models and the impact of change related to technology innovation, adoption and implementation. You will gain both the theoretical and practical knowledge required to be able to manage the design and use of technology to foster growth, innovation and change within organisations.

The module will also give you a comprehensive understanding of how innovation can act as a change enabler and the importance of building readiness for change within organisations.

Curriculum insights

  • Strategic IT implementations involving new resources and environments
  • Generating competitive advantages through innovation
  • Implementing and assessing innovation and change

Strategic Technology Management (8 weeks)

To provide comprehensive knowledge of the strategic importance of IT within organisations.

The module is designed to allow you to acquire a detailed understanding of how technology becomes an enabler for business. You will study how IT strategies support organisational goals, and how they help to create a sustained competitive advantage in business.

You will also develop your ability to evaluate IT strategies, and how best to deploy such strategies, in the context of systems or business applications within the IT industry.

Curriculum insights

  • The role of the chief information officer (CIO) in organisations
  • Aligning IT and business strategies
  • Assessing the maturity of IT systems
  • Detailed understanding of IT governance
  • Systems information system planning (SISP)

Cyber Crime Prevention and Protection (8 weeks)

To provide students with a deep understanding of the mechanisms and techniques that can be used to prevent, or at least mitigate, cybercrime.

This module considers the motivations for cybercrime, as well as providing a comprehensive understanding of the tools that can be used to prevent it – including the deployment of cybercrime prevention strategies.

You will have the opportunity to build an ‘ethical hacking’ environment with which you can experiment. In addition, the module aims to provide you with a hands-on knowledge of cybercrime prevention for application in the workplace.

Curriculum insights

  • Understanding the information security management landscape
  • The potential of cybercrime (through ethical hacking)
  • Tools and techniques for cybercrime prevention
  • Cybercrime prevention in commercial and non-commercial settings

Cyber Forensics (8 weeks)

To give students knowledge of the practice of extracting evidence from computers and digital storage media.

This module provides you with the knowledge that allows you to identify, extract, document, interpret and preserve computer media as digital evidence, as well the understanding of how to analyse the root cause of security breaches. It covers issues including crypto-literacy, data hiding and hostile code.

Curriculum insights

  • Identification and extraction of computer media
  • Documenting, interpreting and preserving computer media
  • Assessing, comparing and judging computer media

Security Risk Management (8 weeks)

To provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge of, and insight into the formal, systemic approaches to, cyber security risk management (CSRM).

Threats to information security are becoming more sophisticated. Laws and regulations impose strict CSRM requirements on all enterprises to prevent, or at least limit, the potential of cyber-attacks.

This module aims to provide the theoretical and practical knowledge to deliver a formal, systematic and in-depth approach to the application of the concepts, techniques, methods, approaches and processes of CSRM in a pragmatic manner and in the context of enterprises of all kinds.

Curriculum insights

  • Information security policy and management
  • Advanced security issues knowledge
  • Practical ability in security risk management

Information Technology Leadership (8 weeks)

To promote a broader understanding of leadership and a greater awareness of how leadership choices can impact organisations.

In this module, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of contemporary IT leadership models, as well as knowledge of the role of leadership in shaping IT organisations. You will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge of:

  • The nature of leadership styles and behaviours in management in terms of IT organisations.
  • Issues concerning change management.
  • Communicating a vision.
  • Effective management of technical teams executing IT projects.

Curriculum insights

  • Key concepts and theories of IT leadership
  • Systematic understanding of leadership and leadership styles
  • Collaboration and change management
  • Responsibilities and privileges of leadership
  • Moral and ethical dimensions of authority and power


Students refine their dissertation topic in conjunction with their Personal Dissertation Advisor, an academic supervisor who will provide support throughout the writing process.

Dissertation Project

The dissertation project module commences with a research methods training component during which students will be given instruction and guidance on the planning and organisation of their work. During the course of the research methods training students will also be expected to start formulating their project. The project itself, following on from the research methods training, will be individually supervised via online communication within the learning platform also used for all other online modules. There is an interim assessment point during the course of the project where students submit their project specification and design. At the end of the project students are expected to submit a dissertation describing their project.

  • To provide a systematic analysis of the nature and conduct of Information Technology and Computer Science research
  • To allow students to successfully develop a Final Project and Dissertation
  • To equip students with the ability to undertake independent research
  • To examine the foundations of research and associated legal and ethical issues
Learning Outcomes:
  • Conduct research in IT
  • Produce a dissertation in the accepted format
  • Conduct extensive literature searches
  • Appraise research papers
  • Critically analyse project results
  • Assess ethical issues in relation to IT projects
Key Texts:

Dawson, C.W. (2009) Projects in Computing and Information Systems: A Student's Guide, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Harlow. ISBN: 978-0-273-72131-4

Please note that current scheduling may be subject to change and that we cannot guarantee that all modules will be offered in every calendar year.

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