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Data Visualisation (MASc/PGDip/PGCert) (2022 Entry)

About this taught graduate course

Course overview

The MASc in Data Visualisation is an innovative, interdisciplinary course which enables students to acquire crucial knowledge and skills in visualisation as a methodology for data-intensive research, communication and engagement. Students will be trained in concepts, methods and techniques from across data science, digital humanities and design research, whilst developing a portfolio of work that prepares them for diverse career opportunities.

The programme aims to develop the methodological, conceptual and practical skills needed to design, deploy and interpret data visualisations successfully in academic, policy and public contexts. The course combines academic training in methodological and conceptual aspects with the development of technical, creative and practical competences in data visualisation as a way of communicating knowledge, as a form of engagement, and as a way of seeing the world.

During the programme you will develop:

  • End-to-end skills and joined-up understanding that enable you to design, create and code visualisations, work with data, and analyse and understand your data visualisations and those of others.
  • Critical, interdisciplinary perspectives required by employers, integrating expertise in tools, techniques, knowledges and methods of analysis which lead to a 360 view of what data visualisations are and do, and the limits of this medium.
  • A portfolio of work to kickstart your career progressed through diverse projects in your modules, a practice- or theory-led dissertation, and within the Data-Design Camp.
  • Expertise in the interactions between Data + Code + Design + Theory developed through learn to code as a basis for creating visualisations, as well as furthering your understanding of visualisations through critique and analysis.

What is an MASc?

The MASc is a flexible degree where students customise their learning trajectory through interdisciplinary topics and modules that might usually be isolated to either MA or MSc qualifications. Through optional module choices, project directions and final dissertation, you can tune your degree to fit your learning and career goals.

Skills from this degree

  • Coding and software skills for visualisation
  • Design and visual analysis skills building on the fundamentals of data visualisation
  • Substantial design experience through project work
  • Analytical skills to conceptually frame and relate visualisation designs to wider societal, cultural, and political debates
  • Writing and communication skills for analysis/discussing technical content
  • Critical academic research skills with an interdisciplinary focus

General entry requirements

Minimum requirements

2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent). There is no requirement for prior knowledge of coding or programming.

English language requirements

You can find out more about our English language requirements. This course requires the following:

  • Band B
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.

International qualifications

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.

For more information, please visit the international entry requirements page.

Additional requirements

There are no additional entry requirements for this course.

Core modules

Visualisation Foundations

Data visualisations (graphs, maps, networks) have become a fundamental currency for the exploration of data and the exchange of information. This module develops foundational understanding in what visualisations are and how they operate. Coding skills are developed alongside the conceptual understanding, allowing students to develop visualisations and their understanding in terms of design, theory, data and code.

As visualisation is such an interdisciplinary topic, students will engage with diverse topics spanning data science and psychology, graphic design and the arts, and critical cartography and data feminism.

Data Visualisation in Science, Culture and Public Policy

The module introduces concepts, methods and empirical cases that enable an understanding of the affordances, power and limitations of data visualisation in science, culture, and public policy.

Data visualisations have opened-up diverse challenges and opportunities for contemporary science, culture and public policy that show how visualisations mediate knowledge and enable communications through persuasion and real-world engagements. The module draws from social, cultural and political theory, science and technology studies, as well as digital and environmental humanities, equipping students with an ability to analyse and research the affordances of data visualisation as forms of knowledge, intervention and participation.

Advanced Visualisation Design Labs

In this module, students develop three visualisation projects that further advance their independence in visualisation design, development, analysis and critique. Each project responds to a visualisation challenge drawn from methodological, societal, scientific and policy topics. At least one of the challenges involves a real-world problem proposed by an external partner.

Students respond to project briefs through hands-on workshops, prototyping, and expanding their design and technical skills in dialogue with their methodological and critical understanding. Master-classes expand students’ methodological and technical repertoire in areas such as human-centred design, typography, storytelling, stencilling, and digital cartography. In dialogue with their visualisation portfolio, students produce a design manifesto exploring their methodological and aesthetic approach, in relation to ethics and visual cultures.

Optional modules

Optional modules can vary from year to year. Example optional modules may include:

  • Data Science Across Disciplines: Principles, Practice and Critique
  • User Interface Cultures: Design, Method and Critique
  • Urban Data
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Machine Learning
  • Media Activism
  • Approaches to the Digital
  • Complexity in the Social Sciences
  • Digital Objects, Digital Methods
  • Big Data Research: Hype or Revolution?


Modules in this course make use of a range of teaching and learning techniques, including, for example:

  • Online Virtual Learning Environment
  • Student Group and Project Work
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Reading and Directed Critical Discussion
  • Independent Research by Students
  • Practice-Based Activities

Modules in this course make use of a range of teaching and learning techniques, including, for example:

  • Student group and project work
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Coding sessions
  • Blended learning including the use of an online virtual learning environment
  • Reading and directed critical discussion
  • Independent research by students
  • Practice-based activities

A one-week Data-Design Camp enables students to advance their projects through interactions with leading visualisation professionals.

Class sizes

A typical seminar size for this course consists of around 12-18 students.

Typical contact hours

There are typically around 7-9 hours contact hours per week, depending on optional modules chosen.


A combination of essays, reports, design projects, a portfolio, technical report writing, practice assessments, group work and presentations and an individual research project (5,000 word Final Project, MASc only).

Reading lists

Most departments have reading lists available through Warwick Library. If you would like to view reading lists for the current cohort of students you can visit our Warwick Library web page.

Your timetable

Your personalised timetable will be complete when you have been registered for all modules, compulsory and optional, and you have been allocated to your lectures, seminars and other small group classes. Your compulsory modules will be registered for you and you will be able to choose your optional modules shortly before the start of the academic year.

Department content block about careers
Department content block about department

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.

Taught course fees  Research course fees

Fee Status Guidance

The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.

If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information, however we are awaiting guidance from the UK government regarding fee status for EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK for academic year 2021/22 onwards. We are not able to confirm the fee status for these students until the relevant eligibility criteria have been confirmed. Once we have received further information from the UK government, we will provide you with an update on your fee status and let you know if any additional information is required. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.

Additional course costs

Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:

  • Core text books
  • Printer credits
  • Dissertation binding
  • Robe hire for your degree ceremony

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and financial support

Find out about the different funding routes available, including; postgraduate loans, scholarships, fee awards and academic department bursaries.

Living costs

Find out more about the cost of living as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.

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