Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Data Science


Data science is a new profession emerging along with the exponential growth in size, and availability of 'big data'. A data scientist provides insight into future trends from looking at past and current data. This is an essential skillset in a world where everything from education to commerce, communication to transport, involves large-scale data collection and digitalisation.

This postgraduate diploma is designed to accommodate students from a range of backgrounds (not just those with Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science majors), who want to enhance or build their data science capabilities and combine these with the skills and knowledge they bring from their previous studies. So long as you are data-hungry and industry-aware; this degree can add to your employability and career prospects.

Features of the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Data Science (PGDipADS)

Entry requirements

Potential students can come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds. Candidates require a B average in relevant 300-level Bachelor's courses or evidence of achievement at postgraduate level.

See the Regulations for the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Data Science for more information on what you should have before applying to enrol. 

Qualification structure and duration

The degree will comprise a minimum of 120 points as follows:

  • up to 45 points from the Foundation Courses
  • all courses from Group A: Advanced Data Science Competencies
  • at least 15 points from Group B: Domain Specific Competencies.

You can study this qualification full-time (in a minimum of 12 months) or part-time (in a maximum of five years).

Subjects and courses

Foundation Courses

You will be required to enrol in all these foundational courses unless there is evidence of prior learning in the fundamentals of data science (exemptions must be approved by the Programme Director). 

The courses are:

Group A: Advanced Data Science Competencies

You will be required to take the following courses (unless the Programme Director approves a substitution):

* In 2018 students are recommended to take DATA471-S1 Special Topic (Digital Humanities Research Methods) instead of DIGI405

Group B: Domain Specific Competencies

The remaining courses will be any relevant 400 or 600-level courses in: Biological SciencesComputer ScienceDigital HumanitiesEconomics, Environmental ScienceFinanceGeographyGeologyMathematicsPhysicsPsychologyStatistics. Or in any other relevant subject as approved by the Programme Director and the relevant Head of Department.

Further study

Provided you have not graduated with the diploma and you fulfil the entry requirements, you can transfer to the Master of Applied Data Science.

Career opportunities

According to industry experts, data scientists know what the technology can offer, what analytics are possible and can communicate on all those aspects to the wider business. This applies no matter the field or sector, as data and analytics have become so important and integral to organisational decision making. Graduates will be ready to work in a range of industries including: government, corporates, the IT sector, market research and finance, agriculture and transport.

New Zealand and other countries are currently experiencing a skills shortage in this area, and the need for data savvy professionals with applied experience is growing.

A PGDipADS graduate's skills will include:

  • advanced knowledge in data science
  • the ability to use data to inform workplace solutions
  • planning and implementing data-informed projects
  • working in multidisciplinary teams
  • have an understanding of what programming can offer.

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Data Science.

For study planning help contact the School of Mathematics and Statistics or the College of Engineering:

College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 369 2233
Email collegeofengineering@canterbury.ac.nz