About the Master of Science in Health Data Science at UNSW

The Master of Science in Health Data Science is a 1.7-year full-time (3-year part-time) degree delivered within the UNSW Faculty of Medicine.

What is Health Data Science?

Today, health data is measured in the trillions of gigabytes. Health data doubles every 75 days. Data is recorded through iPhones and Fitbits, through interactions with health services and captured at the point-of-care, and it's gathered in genomic data that's produced in research - it’s a huge amount of numbers and measurements. But how can we find the right data, collate it and what insights into our well-being can it give us?

The emerging profession of Health Data Scientist is a new health sector profession that uses big data to derive new knowledge through information wrangling and management, machine learning and data mining to improve diagnosis and health outcomes.

The Master, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate in Health Data Science are pioneering degree programs that use critical thinking and analytics to examine data-driven solutions to complex health problems. This exciting discipline takes place at the intersection of biostatistics, computer science and health, and at UNSW Medicine, we’re pioneers of this new approach to healthcare.

This degree is designed, delivered and run by the Centre for Big Data Research in Health, the leading Australian and international hub for health research using big data. The centre, based in UNSW Medicine, aims to maximise the productive use of all possible sources of health data including mathematics, statistics and computer science, and transform that knowledge into practical applications within health.

  • Hands-on learning with real-world health data problems and industry leading practices
  • Workplace, dissertation project and internship opportunities
  • Teaching by world-leading experts in the field 
  • Be part of a vibrant community of researchers, educators and PhD students
  • Flexible study options on campus or fully online
  • World-leading research and teaching institute.

The role of a Health Data Scientist is dynamic and everchanging as their work spans across any of the multiple stages making up the health data pipeline. From designing and leading research studies and analysing data, through to building machine learning processes to understand complex health issues, a Health Data Scientist’s work draws on a multiplicity of skills.

Because it’s a profession in its early development stages, new roles and opportunities in this exciting sector are being birthed all the time. The Health Data Scientist may, for example, manage a team of data analysts to work out processes to gather data, assess how to model the data, or devise ways to implement health policy change based on the outcomes of their studies and findings.

There’s a vast and growing demand in Australian workplaces as well as globally, for professionals with specialised skills in health data science. A degree in Health Data Science could lead to a career in:

  • Government departments of health (national, state or local)
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Universities and research institutes
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health insurance companies 
  • Private data analytics consultancies

Because of the high demand for data scientists, a career in this specialisation can be lucrative. According to Payscale.com the starting salary for a data scientist in Sydney varies between $52,000 to AU$94,000. After 5 years, you can expect this to rise to $79,000 to $147,000.

UNSW Medicine’s Health Data Science degree is designed for professionals who are working in a similar field and want to upskill themselves, as well as those seeking a career change. Our degree welcomes students from a wide range of backgrounds. You could be:

  • a statistician who wants to build on your current skills with exposure to a field where you can make an impact
  • a clinician or nurse who wants to expand your capabilities and improve the quality of care received by your patients
  • a keen programmer looking to convert your ‘on-the-job’ experience into a formal qualification.

What our Academics Say

Louisa Jorm

“We sit at a key point in history, where big data are poised to become a dominant driver in what happens in health and healthcare. We’ve designed our programs in response to a significant and growing gap in the global health workforce: skilled data scientists who understand the context of health and can apply data analytics to drive health improvement.

The Health Data Science programs aim to equip graduates with the essential cognitive, analytical and communication skills needed to make sense of health big data.

How we make use of this data and transform it into action to better support clinical care, inform health policy and improve population health has never been more important than now.”

-    Professor Louisa Jorm, Director, Centre for Big Data Research in Health