Master's Degree in Data Science: Data Science Program

Program Director

faculty

Omiros Papaspiliopoulos

PhD, Lancaster University

ICREA-UPF and Barcelona GSE

Steering Committee

faculty

Christian Fons-Rosen

PhD, London School of Economics

UPF and Barcelona GSE - on leave
faculty

Piotr Zwiernik

PhD, University of Warwick

UPF and Barcelona GSE

The digital revolution brings with it an explosion of data that carries significant potential value for businesses, science, and society.

As data becomes easily available as never before, so too does its volume grow, and extracting useful quantitative insights becomes more and more challenging. 

The Barcelona GSE Master in Data Science prepares its graduates to design and build data-driven systems for decision-making in the private or public sector, offering a thorough training in predictive, descriptive, and prescriptive analytics.

The curriculum will guide students from modeling and theory to computational practice and cutting edge tools, teaching skills that are in growing global demand. 

Data Science students will be armed with a solid knowledge of statistical and machine learning methods, optimization and computing, and the ability to spot, assess, and seize the opportunity of data-driven value creation.

Students will learn how to apply classroom examples using real data and answering concrete business questions from the perspectives of different industries. Through an independent master's project and the opportunity for industrial practicum work conducted with local businesses, students can have the opportunity to solve actual analytics problems hands-on.

Our courses are taught by leading academics and researchers in the fields of Economics, Operations, and Statistics, as well as experienced professionals from the analytics industry.

The program also invites guest speakers and entrepreneurs working at the frontiers of the Data Science.

 


logoAccenture Data Science Scholarship

Accenture sponsors a full scholarship for one student in the Barcelona GSE Data Science master program.

Scholarship criteria and details


logoBarcelona GSE Data Science Center Scholarships

The Data Science Center offers scholarships in the form of research assistantships (RAs) that require the student to be involved with the Center's data science projects.

About the Barcelona GSE Data Science Center


Program schedule: 

The Data Science program is organized around four pillars:

  • Statistics and Machine Learning
  • Optimization and Operational Research
  • Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, and Big Data Analytics
  • Economics, Finance, and Policy-Making

In September, students are required to take two brush-up courses. Students who can provide evidence of sufficient past coursework may be exempt:


Course offer is subject to change.

Fall Term (September - December)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
All courses are mandatory.
Statistical Modelling and Inference 6 Omiros Papaspiliopoulos
Deterministic Models and Optimization 6 Marc Noy
Piotr Zwiernik
Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence 3 Guglielmo Bartolozzi
Computational Machine Learning I 3

Ioannis Arapakis
Ilias Leontiadis
Nandan Rao

Economic Methods for Data Science 3

Caterina Calsamiglia
Antonio Penta
Nandan Rao

 

Winter Term (January - March)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Machine Learning 6 Gábor Lugosi
Computational Machine Learning 3 Alexandros Karatzoglou
Select from the following:
Quantitative and Statistical Methods II 6 Joan Llull
Macroeconomics and Finance: Financial Econometrics 6 Christian Brownlees
Macroeconomics and Finance: Pricing Financial Derivatives (Part I and Part II) 6 Eulàlia Nualart
Stochastic Models and Optimization 3 Mihalis Markakis
Data Visualization 3 Michael Greenacre
Ioannis Arapakis
Quantitative Methods of Market Regulation 3 Albert Banal

Spring Term (April - June)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Master project 6 Coordinator: Christian Fons-Rosen
Select from the following:
Note: This list is not exhaustive. Other electives will be available.
Industrial Practicum
Complements the master project with credits if student is placed in company working full-time
6 Subject to availability and selection process.
Coordinator: Christian Fons-Rosen
Topics in Big Data Analytics I 3 Emiliano Carluccio
Topics in Data Science 3 Gergely Neu
Carlos Segura
Gaston Besanson
Networks: Concepts and Algorithms 3 Joan de Martí
Networks: Models and Applications 3 Joan de Martí
Text Mining for Social Sciences 3 Hannes Mueller
Omiros Papaspiliopoulos 
Nandan Rao
Machine Learning for Finance 3 Argimiro Arratia
Digital Economy 3 Massimo Motta
Juan-José Ganuza
Rosa Ferrer
Policy Lessons **  3 Albert Bravo-Biosca
Juan Francisco Jimeno
Blockchain: From First Principles to Analytics 3 Veronica Torras
Gaston Besanson

** Requires some prerequisite knowledge and authorization of the program director. Availability depending on sufficient demand.


Master degree awarded

Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a Master Degree in Data Science awarded jointly by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF).

All Barcelona GSE master degrees have been recognized by the Catalan and Spanish Education authorities within the framework of the Bologna Process (in Spanish, “Master Universitario o Master Oficial”). Indicadors de qualitat


What skills and knowledge will I acquire in this program?
  • Expertise in modern computational, high-dimensional and simulation-based Statistics and Machine Learning
  • Solid evaluation of the opportunities of data-driven value creation within companies and organizations
  • Ability to apply appropriate statistical methodologies and optimization techniques in solving complex problems
  • Innovation with database management systems and distributed processing in a cloud computing environment
  • Experience analyzing Big Data from the Internet of Things (industrial sensor data), the Internet of People (social and location data), and business transaction data
  • Effective communication of data analysis results through presentation and aesthetic charting skills
Who will benefit from this program?

Data Science students usually come from backgrounds in Economics, Business, and other quantitative subjects. They typically have a solid economics grounding, a keen interest in quantitative methods, and the ambition to work on real-world problems and data. Programming professionals and aspiring PhD students looking to acquire analytical and quantitative tools will also benefit from the Barcelona GSE Data Science Program.

See undergraduate institutions, work experience, and more details in this year's Data Science Student Profile

Industrial Practicum

The industrial practicum is an in-depth analytics project that takes place during the final three months of the master. The practicum gives Data Science students the opportunity to complete a "deep dive" analytics project using real data from selected companies around Barcelona.

Students will dedicate 300 hours to the practicum, collaborating with companies on-site using real data to solve a specific challenge that requires the types of "skill bundles" they have acquired during the first two terms of the master program.

Companies that have expressed interest in offering practicum projects to Barcelona GSE students include commercial banks, consulting firms, mobile application developers, risk analysts, and online retail platforms, among others. With a wide menu of companies competing for their attention, students are very likely to be matched with a practicum in the industry where they might prefer to work after graduation.

Some of the companies collaborating with the industrial practicum are: 

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Sample practicum project titles

  • Skill Assessment of Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Forecast over Europe
  • Client Clusterization Among Banking Clients
  • Voice Feature Analytics for Early Detection of Parkinson Disease in Speech
  • Player Retention in Mobile Gaming: Social Interactions
  • Optimizing Transport Simulation Systems
  • Smart Tourism
  • Volatility Clustering for Financial Risk Management
  • Augmenting Mobile Phone Data with Public Data for Credit Scoring
  • Dimensionality Models and Optimization of Network Distributions
  • Redundancy in Government Documents
Who hires Data Science graduates?
  • Consulting Firms
  • Financial Services
  • Government & Authorities
  • International Organizations / Non-profits
  • Technology
  • Research & Academic Institutions
  • Other Industries

Examples of recent professional placements:

  • Accenture - Analyst (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Blackrock - Data Science Intern (London, United Kingdom)
  • Centre for Research in Health & Economics and UPF (CRES-UPF) - Data Scientist (Barcelona, Spain)
  • CoinFi - Data Scientist (Hong Kong, China)
  • Criteo - Local Analyst (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • International Telecommunication Union - Market Analyst (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • OECD Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development - Data Science Intern (Paris, France)
  • Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab at Brown University - Data Scientist (Providence, RI, USA)
  • Social Point - Data Analyst (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Telefónica - Research Data Scientist (Barcelona, Spain)
  • UNICEF - Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist (Kinshasa, Congo)

Examples of recent Data Science PhD placements:

  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) (Barcelona, Spain)
  • University College London (London, United Kingdom)
  • University of California San Diego (San Diego, USA)

Download first placement results for recent Data Science graduates

Faculty

Students

Data Science Student Profile 2018-19

25 students from 17 countries (84% international)

Most represented countries this year:

  • Germany (5)
  • Spain (4)
  • United States (2)

Most common academic backgrounds:

  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
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Alumni

Data Science alumni career paths

An overview of Data Science career paths in the first three cohorts (Class of 2016, 2017, 2018)

  • Most common job titles:
    Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Consultant
  • Most common industries:
    Technology, Financial Services, Consulting
  • Cities with most Data Science alumni:
    Barcelona, London, Frankfurt
data_science_career_paths
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    alumni

    Richard Knudsen '18

    Data Scientist
    Originally fromGermany
    Currently living in
    Barcelona
    Spain
    For me the time at BGSE was truly amazing. Besides receiving excellent academic training in Data Science I gained much from working with such talented, motivated and passionate professors and students on a daily basis. I never thought that learning this much in just 9 months was actually possible – experiencing that it motivates me every day now to push myself a little more. Moreover, it was often fun (despite being exhausting), I made some really good friends and fell in love with beautiful Barcelona.
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    alumni

    Travis Dunlop '18

    Data Analyst
    Originally fromUnited States
    Currently living inUnited States
    Living in Barcelona for a year was a dream. Through the program I gained confidence in applying data science to real world problems and worked with talented and thoughtful machine learning researchers. But, what made me happiest was the friendships I fostered with like-minded ambitious people from around the world.
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    Michele Costa '18

    Quantitative Research Analyst
    Originally fromItaly
    Currently living inUnited Kingdom
    I pursued the Data Science master at BGSE in a moment when I needed to step up my level of quantitative analysis and research. It has the peculiarity of a small student cohort, which gives a great boost to the interaction with the faculty and all other classmates. With the current hindsight, I can say that the Data Science master provided me enough plug-in tools to make a direct contribution in the work environment, as well as theoretical framework to look at less trivial problems. I learnt a great deal from my classmates about thinking out of the box and helping the team and friends succeeding.
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    alumni

    Laurits Marschall '18

    Trainee
    Originally fromGermany
    Currently living inGermany
    The master taught me first and foremost how to conquer knowledge myself and a way-of-thinking. The field of Machine Learning is extremely dynamic, therefore, the skill to teach yourself is much more valuable that actual knowledge. In the end, working under constant pressure without losing enthusiasm, still enjoying life, and building up amazing friendships was the mixture for a fantastic year...
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    alumni

    Matthew Keys '18

    Statistician, CRES-UPF
    Originally fromUnited Kingdom
    Currently living in
    Barcelona
    Spain
    The Master's in Data Science is an exceptional program. World class experts and a gold standard curriculum aside, it demands creativity and encourages exploration of individual interests in both technical skills and applications. The result is an incredibly inspiring and collaborative environment where you are pushed to use and combine individual strengths to innovate, and learn not only from the lecturers but also your peers. In the end everyone graduates with unique but equally impressive skillsets and initiate their careers in a highly diverse array of fields. I really look forward to continuing to learn from the people that I shared the most rewarding year of my life with yet.
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    alumni

    Jie Hao Kwa '18

    Data Scientist
    Originally fromSingapore
    Currently living inSingapore
    The BGSE Data Science masters was without a doubt the most academically rigorous and intense period I've experienced. It provided me with a very solid foundation to approach and solve problems in a statistically sound way. Personally, I feel like I've gained lifelong friends in my fellow coursemates and professors, who helped me and supported me emotionally and academically throughout what was a very challenging year. Professionally, it equipped me with the skills I needed to make a switch and pursue a career in Data Science. In addition, the practicum programme provided good networking opportunities - I found my current job through one of the Data Scientists at Schibsted, a practicum partner to the BGSE programme, who was looking to hire for his new firm.
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    alumni

    Kinga Ritter '18

    Analyst
    Originally from
    Budapest
    Hungary
    Currently living in
    Barcelona
    Spain
    ...Not only our faculty was inspiring, but my classmates were all original, extremely clever and diverse people. I have never been in such a great group of people, and I truly believe that one of the most unique attribute of the program is the people (both faculty and students) that it brings together. The program was designed in a way that it always encouraged cooperation among us, and it never turned into a competition. We suffered a lot together, helped and inspired each other, laughed, partied and still keep in touch...I believe that working with data and data science is not only a set of skills that one can acquire on the go. It is a rather a mindset of understanding problems, forming questions and figuring out a solution. The program at Barcelona GSE keeps that in focus by providing strong theoretical foundations that gave me a professional confidence...
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    alumni

    Davide Viviano '17

    PhD Student
    Originally fromItaly
    Currently living inUnited States
    The Master's in Data Science at Barcelona GSE had a positive impact from an academic and personal perspective and it gave me a strong competitive advantage as a Ph.D. student in Economics. As a social scientist, I gained a set of incredibly useful tools for research in applied fields. As a statistician, I acquired knowledge and, more importantly, the language useful for more theoretical-oriented research. Today I collaborate with faculties and students in different departments and the ability to speak the different languages of statisticians, computer scientists and social scientists is a powerful tool that only this master could give me...
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    alumni

    Akhil Lohia '17

    Data Scientist
    Originally fromIndia
    Currently living inIndia
    The Master's in Data Science was a great learning experience for me. The classes had a rigorous mix of in-depth theory behind machine learning and statistical models as well their practical applications and how to deal with real world datasets. The well-rounded course structure encompassed the breadth of modern data science from basic statistics all the way to NLP and deep learning which makes this program unique...
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    alumni

    Robert Lange '17

    Researcher
    Originally fromGermany
    Currently living inGermany
    The Barcelona GSE Data Science Master’s program enabled me to follow my dream and to transition from Economics to Computational Neurosciences. The program provides the perfect structure to acquire deep theoretical insights as well as fundamental skills required to execute a complete data-driven project. BGSE's unique learning environment, selection of outstanding students as well as the world leading expertise of the faculty provide an unforgettable experience in one of the worlds most exciting cities. I recommend the program to anyone who is hard working and fascinated by pattern recognition as well as scalable automated solutions.
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    alumni

    David Rosenfeld '17

    Economist
    Originally fromUnited Kingdom
    Currently living inUnited Kingdom
    The Master's in Data Science provided me with tools to conduct economic analysis with cutting-edge data analysis techniques. I really appreciated the possibility in the Barcelona GSE Master's to explore the topics that we found most interesting, and work on collaborative projects which made clear the practical implications of what we learned. A big plus was also that the teaching staff encourage collaboration over competition, which is particularly nice given the diversity of student backgrounds.
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    alumni

    Hans-Peter Hoellwirth '17

    IT Project Manager
    Originally from
    Linz
    Austria
    Currently living in
    Linz
    Austria
    As someone with an IT background who already took some machine learning courses in my bachelor degree at the University of Edinburgh, the BGSE data science program mainly attracted me because of its well-balanced mix of statistics, applied IT, and economics - something I didn’t find in any other program at that time. I enjoyed many aspects of the program - the variety of offered courses, the close contact with the professors and lecturers, and fellow students from with so many different backgrounds and nationalities you become friends with. Even though I am currently not (yet) working as a data scientist, I still feel I can apply much of the obtained skill set in my current job and even in my daily life, for example to critically question conclusions someone has drawn based on some data, to visualize data in a way that effectively conveys information, or simply to understand the value and potential of a given data set.
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    alumni

    Michael Cameron '17

    Trading Analyst
    Originally fromUnited Kingdom
    Currently living inUnited Kingdom
    The program is not easy! But it is incredibly rewarding. I arrived with little background in statistics, computing or economics but the fast paced and challenging nature of the course meant that I came out the other side having learnt a wide range of topics, in detail, which I had never covered before...The program completely opened up a new area of employment that I hadn't previously even considered. I now feel confident and excited by the direction of my career path which started at the Barcelona GSE. There is also an incredible careers service within BGSE, who are always available to give useful advice and guidance.
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    alumni

    Guglielmo Pelino '16

    PhD Student
    Originally fromItaly
    Currently living inItaly
    ...The Barcelona days have helped me in understanding more about myself, my ambitions and future plans. Academically, I am very happy to have chosen this course, because I am convinced that it completed my formation in a quite unique way. I really enjoy studying per se, so I value the Master even at a purely cultural level. On a professional point of view, I feel that I still did not exploit fully the potential knowledge and expertise gained at Barcelona GSE, due to the fact that with my PhD studies I came a bit back towards theoretical Math. At the same time though, I used some theoretical knowledge acquired at BGSE both in my research and for teaching purposes...
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    alumni

    Aimee Barciauskas '16

    Data Engineer
    Originally from
    Seattle, WA
    United States
    Currently living in
    Washington, DC
    United States
    I chose the Barcelona GSE Master's in Data Science because I was impressed by the faculty and the program of courses. It was important to me the program emphasized mathematical theory. It’s relatively easy to teach yourself data visualization, coding and to apply different machine learning algorithms - so I knew it was important to focus on the “hard stuff” while in school. For me this would be the mathematical theory and proofs behind why the models and methods work.
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    alumni

    Thomas Vicente '16

    Machine Learning Engineer
    Originally fromFrance
    Currently living in
    Barcelona
    Spain
    The program was a great occasion to meet people who are also passionate about finding the proper answer to complex mathematical and computational problems. I am still often in touch with some of them. I believe the program in one year gave us strong theoretical foundations, and allowed us to be autonomous in research or engineering environments. I was involved in many projects including my master thesis, on what I believe was an innovative subject. These works played a big role for many job interviews after the master.
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    alumni

    Sarah Inman '16

    PhD Student
    Originally fromUnited Kingdom
    Currently living inUnited States
    The Barcelona GSE Master's in Data Science gave me solid practical skills in statistics and computing that have proved enormously helpful in pretty much every project I have worked on since then...Since the program, I worked for two years at a research institute combining public policy and data science, and I'm now doing a PhD at Columbia University. In my research I am hoping to combine the data science I learned on the Master's with the social science that I learned during my undergrad to come up with some innovative solutions to problems in the field of sustainability.
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    Zsuzsa Éva Holler '15

    Data Scientist, e-marketing company
    Originally fromHungary
    Currently living inHungary
    The reason I applied to the Data Science program is because I wanted to make a career shift. I felt that with all the hype around data science I needed a structured way to gain real knowledge in the field. I believe that the program was a perfect fit for me. Both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills I gained were exactly what I aimed for. We were challenged by the professors constantly and there was also a healthy amount of competition but the experience I gained made it completely worth the effort. A huge plus for me was that I got to do my internship at Telefonica Research which was an amazing place to learn about cutting-edge deep learning research. Also, I loved to live and be a student in Barcelona.
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    instructor

    Timothée Stumpf-Fétizon '15

    PhD Student
    Originally fromGermany
    Currently living inUnited Kingdom
    With hindsight, I think that more than anything the program encouraged us to move to the edge of our comfort zone. I came in as a generic economics graduate, and four years later, I'm doing research in applied probability. In the meantime, I've worked with statistics professors, computer scientists, software engineers and product managers, each time taking a step away from what I was already confident in doing...
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    alumni

    Laura Cozma '15

    Analyst
    Originally from
    Iași
    Romania
    Currently living in
    Barcelona
    Spain
    Attending the Data Science master courses gave me the right mix of skills that any employer would value. Not long after graduating, I found myself with 5 very interesting job offers to choose from, any one of which would have given me the opportunity to dig deeper into machine learning, text mining, data visualization, and the statistical techniques I studied at the BGSE. If I had the chance, I would do it all over again!
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    alumni

    Gaston Besanson '15

    Data Science Manager
    Originally from
    Buenos Aires
    Argentina
    Currently living in
    Barcelona
    Spain
    I was part of the first cohort from the Master's in Data Science (2014-2015). It allowed three things: 1) time for the Data Science market and how it will evolve in the next 3 years, thanks to its holistic approach, merging methodologies, techniques and technologies 2) Go beyond just implementing (coding) ML solutions for problems, by allowing me to push at the same time for theoretical and methodological soundness. 3) Provided new friends (fellow alumni from that first cohort) that I have the pleasure to enjoy in my everyday life at my current job.
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    alumni

    Sílvia Ariza '15

    Data Scientist
    Originally from
    Lleida
    Spain
    Currently living in
    Mexico City
    Mexico
    Right after graduating from the Master's in Data Science I had a wide variety of job offers as a data scientist. The data sector is growing quickly, and many companies in Barcelona are starting to realize how important it is to have a Big Data department. It was very encouraging to see that my efforts were so recognized.
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    alumni

    Anestis Papanikolaou '15

    Data Science Lead
    Originally from
    Thessaloniki
    Greece
    Currently living in
    London
    United Kingdom
    ...Although there are nowadays plenty of data science programs and online courses for someone to get a training on the field, I found Barcelona GSE's approach to Data Science unique, namely the combination of robust statistical/ML theory, optimization and economics, with additional lectures on how to apply Data Science in practice. The basics of ML/Stats are essential but the optimization and economics behind data science is what really distinguishes the Barcelona GSE Data Science Master, offering a profound background on how to develop the models, but also how to use them to take the most meaningful decisions in the optimal way depending on the context, and for this reason, the BGSE Data Science master is a category on its own...