Master of Data Science From the University of British Columbia – 12 Reasons Why


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Anand Patinge

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Canada’s Big Data Consortium has estimated that Canada will see a shortage of up to 19,000 professionals with data and analytical skills. 

So data science is the future, especially in Canada’s job market. 

And there might be nowhere better to study for a master’s in data science in Canada than at the University of British Columbia to secure your future career. 

But before we get into how it does that, here are the basic program details you need to know.

Master of Data Science From the University of British Columbia - 12 Reasons Why

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About the Master of Data Science (MDS) at the University of British Columbia.

Program details:

The master’s in Data Science is a 10-month, full-time, accelerated program at UBC. It’s a truly professional program that offers a short-term commitment for long-term gain.

Course structure:

The program structure includes 24 one-credit courses and a 6-credit capstone project at the end. 

The one-credit courses are scheduled 4 at a time, and last 4 weeks each. 

At the end of the 6, 4-week segments, the students are allowed to apply their newly acquired knowledge, while working with other students with real-life data sets in their capstone project.

All courses are lab-oriented and delivered in-person, along with some blended online content.

Here’s the course structure you can expect as part of the MDS program. 

About the Master of Data Science (MDS) at the University of British Columbia

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About the Master of Data Science (MDS) at the University of British Columbia

About the Master of Data Science (MDS) at the University of British Columbia

Tuition Fee:

The program tuition is much lower than the cost of most other graduate programs in Canada

And it is an affordable option for even international students who want to pursue Masters’s in Data Science in Canada.

As of 2022, the tuition fee for the program is:

  • 33,784.83 CAD for domestic students (i.e.: Canadian citizens and permanent residents)
  • 49,644.06 CAD for international students


You will be elated to know that UBS has program-specific scholarships that you can apply for once you are admitted into the Master of Data Science program. 

The MDS program offers the following scholarships:

  • MDS international scholarship: Up to 25,000 CAD, offered annually.
  • MDS domestic scholarship: Up to 25,000 CAD, offered annually.
  • MDS scholarship for indigenous students: Up to the full cost of the tuition fee, offered annually.
  • MDS scholarship for black or POC students: Up to the full cost of the tuition fee, offered annually. (Available for both domestic and international students.)


The program is offered on both the UBC Vancouver campus and the UBC Okanagan campus. 

Now let’s get into why the program is your best bet for a Master of Data Science in Canada.

Why MDS at the University of British Columbia?

1. Accelerated learning:

Most other data science programs last 2 full years and cost almost double the tuition fee. 

But MDS at the University of British Columbia is designed to be an intensive 10-month program that gives you all the knowledge and skills you need in a short period. 

Thus saving you both time and money.

Don’t worry if you don’t come from a background in data science or CS. 

This program was designed to deliver the same benefits even for students with no background in data science.

Like alumni, Rain Shen came with a bachelor’s in food science and seamlessly transitioned into data science through the 10-month MDS program. 

And Subi Zhang, a 2018 student, who came from a background in HR and management, and now works as a Data Science Consultant at Deloitte. 

Or Jordan Dubchak, who studied biology at the undergrad level, and after passing out of the MDS program was able to secure a position as a Data Scientist at Teck Resources Ltd.

And hundreds of other alumni, who used this MDS degree to transition into the field of data science and have since excelled in the field. 

2. Practical and industry-focused program

The MDS program is designed to give students an incredibly practical and diverse data science exposure to help them be fully industry-ready.

Real-world data sets are integrated into all courses in the program. This gives give students practical experience across a range of domains. 

And focused one-credit courses allow you in-depth focus on a limited set of topics at one time.

And their students can’t seem to stop raving about it…

“The program exposed us to most of the big topics in computational linguistics such as sentiment analysis, text classification, or machine translation…I believe many companies would be ecstatic to find talent fresh out of university with these skills,” says Ravi Gill, who is now a Validation Engineer at Intel Corporation.

Or as Niki Hajmoshir says, “What I like about this program is that we get more hands-on experience and work with data sets and corpora so when we go into the industry we won’t be lost because we know how to handle these things”.

3. Real-world experience with industry partners:

Following that ideology, UBS also gives students the opportunities to learn outside the classroom by working to find solutions to real-world problems.

They do this by connecting students to their extensive network of industry partners. These partners offer students the chance to get real-world experience in a variety of different roles and industries through their eight-week capstone project.

This capstone project allows students to work in teams and apply their skills to solve a real-world project for the partner company. This helps them build industry contacts and become future-ready for their post-graduation lives.

4. Phenomenal faculty:

All MDS courses are taught by a core faculty team who are dedicated to teaching MDS full-time. Thus they can provide focused one-to-one support to students throughout the program.

Another alumni, Juan Roesel, attests to this. He says, “While several resources on the Internet can help people get the knowledge and skills needed to become a Data Scientist or NLP engineer, I think the structure of the MDS-CL program and the quality of the teaching staff take the learning experience to a higher level.”

5. Smaller class sizes:

MDS is the University of British Columbia is focused on making the entire program the best possible environment for students to learn and excel. So the cohort size in the university is restricted to keep it an intimate class size.

“The smaller cohort in the Okanagan makes it more personable and it makes me feel more connected to the program,” says Christian Hluchy, a graduate of the MDS program at UBC. 

But it goes much beyond just helping students feel more connected. 

It has been proven by numerous studies that students tend to learn faster and perform better in smaller classes. 

They get more attention, can interact better with their peers, participate more, and even receive better feedback to improve.

6. Diverse cohort group

In college, you don’t just learn from your professors. A lot of your learning and growth happens with your peers. 

And the MDS program at UBS gives you a ripe garden of learning with the diversity of their cohort group.

You get to learn from classmates who come from a wide range of academic backgrounds and experiences. We’re talking about people who come from business, computer science, and behavioral neuroscience, to law and biology backgrounds.

Diverse cohort group

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7. Post-graduation job opportunities:

And last, but not least, we come down to what happens after you graduate from this well-rounded program.

The University of British Columbia was ranked top #38 in the world, in terms of graduate employability ranking by QS. 

And the Master of Data Science program does justice to this reputation. They offer:

  • Individual Career Advising:

    All students have access to the program’s dedicated career advisor. The advisor guides them on each stage of their job search or identifying future career prospects.

  • Career-Related Workshops:

    The program hosts regular career workshops on topics like:
    job search and networking skills

    • LinkedIn profile writing
    • resume and cover letter writing
    • behavioral interview skills
    • technical interview skills practice, etc.
  • Employer Information Sessions:

    The program has a good mix of both educational and recruitment-focused sessions that provide industry insights to the students, while also allowing them to interact and network with employers.


Post-graduation job opportunities

Post-graduation job opportunities

Outside of the program structure, the university itself also offers a whole host of benefits to help you succeed in the field.

8. World-class university

The University of British Columbia is among the top 50 best universities worldwide, according to the QS World University Ranking 2022.

Not only is it one of the best places to study master’s in data science in Canada, but UBC is also among the top universities in Canada. 

In the QS 2022 report, it was ranked 3rd among the top universities in Canada, based on its academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, and a host of other factors.

9. Lots of international students and faculty

The University of British Columbia is also an incredibly friendly place to be for international students. 

It has a great international student ratio of 79, and an international faculty ratio of 89.1! 

About 30% of master’s students and 44% of Ph.D. students at the University of British Columbia are international students. So a diverse culture and supportive communities follow suit.

10. Extracurriculars and campus life

Extracurriculars and campus life

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As one of the world’s leading universities, the University of British Columbia has an exceptional learning environment. But its campus is a thriving place to be for both graduate and undergrad students. 

UBC has over 300 student-run clubs and societies on-campus. You can find everything from an astronomy club to a beads and crafts club. Apart from that UBC recreation offers a variety of gym and sports facilities to keep you engaged and fit. 

You can find a community for tennis, soccer, rowing, swimming, dancing, bouldering, and more.

11. Strong alumni support

The support of the UBC doesn’t end once you are done with your degree. The university has a strong local and global alumni network spanning more than 150 countries. 

Their alumni network offers you a range of services ranging from career resources, intellectual programming, and reunions, to network connections, mentoring opportunities, and more.

12. Life in Vancouver

Life in Vancouver

Outside the campus too, Vancouver is one of the largest metropolises in Canada. 

From snow-capped mountains to sun-soaked beaches, this city has something to offer in every season. It also has thriving art, theatre, and music scenes. Vancouver’s public transport system and cycling lanes make transport in the city very convenient even for newcomers. 

If you’re still not sure if MDS at the University of British Columbia is your perfect choice, or if you want a backup university to also consider for your master’s in data science in Canada… 

Then use a smart tool like SelectRight to ensure you find the perfect university for your specific needs. 

This tool allows you to instantly shortlist the best universities that meet your specific needs by matching 6 million data points across 10,000+ programs to give you transparent and unbiased recommendations on the best-matched programs.

So you can skip days of scrolling through the internet or falling prey to scam consultancies, by relying on data instead. 

Until then, happy applying.

Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

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