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Computer Science and Applied Maths

Programme overview

“Big Data” captures the idea of managing vast amounts of data using a variety of modern computing technologies and infrastructure from a variety of different kinds of sources. To manage, develop and understand the required technologies, people trained in the intersection of subjects ranging from statistics, information and computer science, system design and social sciences are needed. There are individuals who are able to leverage emerging technologies and interact with interdisciplinary teams of specialists. The “BSc Honours in Big Data Analytics” programme is designed by the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Wits to blend multi-disciplinary subjects together and to provide students with the research and professional skills to master and design smart technologies.

The course will introduce postgraduate computer science students to the field of big data analytics. The course has a focus on strong computational and mathematical foundations embedded in practical application.

Students having completed the course would have been exposed to all facets of the big data analytics pipeline from technology deployment, through machine learning, to optimisation and multivariate statistics. Specifically the course is composed of seven lectured topics, five of which are compulsory and two of which are elective. The five compulsory courses are specifically chosen to give students a broad introduction to big data analytics with the electives being subjects the students can use to specialise their skills.

As part of the course students are required to complete a hands on research project with a focus on a real world/industry big data analytics problem. Students are encouraged to find mentorship within industry and additional supervision is provided by subject matter experts from within the school.  The research project takes the student through all aspects of research design methodology from proposal through literature review to implementation and finally results evaluation. The skills acquired in learning how to do research – critical thinking, written and oral presentation skills, collation and analysis of large amounts of new information, and the actual conducting of research  are invaluable in industry as well as for further study.

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The programme comprises lectured courses and a major project. You are required to do the 6 compulsory courses, choose one optional course from those offered and the Research Project.

Compulsory courses may include

  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Research Project: Big Data Analytics
  • Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning
  • Database
  • Data Analysis and Exploration
  • Data Visualisation and Communication
  • Discrete Optimization

Eelective course may include

  • Applications of Algorithms
  • Computer Vision
  • Distributed Computing
  • High Performance Computing and Scientific Data Management
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Special Topics in Computer Science (Big Data)


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Entry Requirements


  • A Bachelor of Science degree or equivalent.
  • A pass in the relevant major course at this University or any other university whose programme has been approved by Senate.
Additional Entry Requirements

Admission into the Big Data Analytics Honours programme is highly selective. To be accepted, students must have performed well in their undergraduate degrees (we use a guideline of 65% in third-year level courses, though this is by no means a guarantee of acceptance into the programme).

Contact course coordinator.

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Application Process

  • Please apply online. If you are unable to apply online, please download and complete the application form.
  • Some programmes require additional departmental forms. Please fill in these additional forms as the application is not complete until this is done and ensure you provide all the requested supporting documentation within the timeframes for submission of the documentation. Applications that remain incomplete are withdrawn by the University.
  • It should be noted that no more than two choices of degree and/or diploma are permitted.
  • All additional documentation required by the University must be uploaded via the Self Service Portal  The University would request for the duly certified hard copies of all academic qualifications only if your application to study is successful.
  • All postgraduate applicants are required to pay an application fee of R200. Current University of the Witwatersrand students who apply online are not liable for this fee.
  • Once the application is complete in terms of the requested documentation, the application is then referred to the relevant School for assessment.  Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.
  • All applicants will receive their correspondence via their e-mail and can also view it on the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants that are requested to provide an Academic Transcript and Degree Certificate are reminded that we require these documents for all tertiary qualifications, please note that credit certificates or statement of results are not acceptable. Applicants that are currently studying would be required to upload the Final Academic Record only once the final results become available towards the end of the academic year.      

For more information, please visit the Postgraduate Study at Wits site, or contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

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Online applications

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