Computer Science

Practical expertise, theoretical excellence

Practical expertise, theoretical excellence

Computer Science studies the technology that has become ubiquitous in our global, connected society. Traditionally, the computer had been the primary object of study. Nowadays, globally distributed information processing services have taken center stage, with the Internet connecting a wide variety of information processing devices, ranging from mobile phones to data centers operated by the world leadership companies. The technical side of Computer Science deals with computer operations, like system software, computer networks, and programming environments. The theoretical foundations cover, for example, limits of what can be computed, computational efficiency, correctness, and the intricacies of concurrent execution. Software engineering studies construction and maintenance of large and often mission-critical software systems that need to be maintained by large teams of people. Because of its prominent role in everyday life, non-functional aspects of information technology are gaining importance in Computer Science, most notably the energy efficiency of data centers, and the security of computer systems.

Students aiming to enroll in the Master Computer Science are required to have a solid background on the level of a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, or similar. The program is structured in multiple, focused specializations from which a student chooses one according to personal preferences. The program is organized in close collaboration with the University of Amsterdam.

From the academic year 2016 on, students will be awarded a joint degree from both universities. Classes are taught both at the VU campus, and at Science Park Amsterdam. Both locations are conveniently connected by both public transportation and bicycle paths.

If you are interested in this programme, you could also check out our Master's programme in Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems, founded by Prof. Andrew S. Tanenbaum.

The Master's programme of Computer Science currently offers six distinct tracks:

 

Joint degree programme with VU Amsterdam
Computer Science is a joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Courses are taught at locations of both universities. UvA and VU jointly issue a degree certificate to graduates. As a Computer Science student in Amsterdam you benefit from expertise, networks and research projects at both universities and affiliated research institutes.

VUvA logo

Curriculum overview

The Master Program Computer Science is a two-year Master Program, consisting of 120 ECTS. 

General structure of the programme:
 

  • Master core
  • Track core
  • Restricted choices to cover all areas of competences
  • Free choice

Master core: (54EC)

Distributed Systems; laying the foundation of today’s IT systems where everything is connected with everything else

History of Digital Cultures; placing CS into its societal and historical context

Literature study and seminar; investigating existing solutions to a research question and presenting findings within one of the research groups

Master project (36EC); independently executing a project, turning everything learned so-far into a 'master piece'

Restricted choices: (6 - 18 EC)

For ensuring the breadth of the program, all students must have followed at least one course out of each of the following restricted choice areas. 

Foundations of Computing and Concurrency, choose one from: 
Logical Verification 
Term Rewriting Systems 
Distributed Algorithms 
Advanced Logic 
Protocol Validation
 

Mathematics, choose one from: 
Coding and Cryptography 
Experimental Design and Data Analysis 

Programming, choose one from: 
Individual Systems Practical 
Kernel Programming  
Internet programming 
Programming Multi-core and Many-core Systems 
Parallel Programming Practical 
Android lab 
Software Testing Practical 
Concurrency and Multithreading 
High Performance Computing and Big Data 

Software Engineering, choose one from: 
Service Oriented Design 
Software Asset Management 
Software Architecture 
Software Testing 

Specializations

The Master's programme of Computer Science currently offers six distinct tracks:

A track consists of 6 courses (potentially containing some constrained choices).

Track courses are only given in the 8-week periods.

The courses are scheduled in such a way that these can be followed consecutively during the first three semesters:
Semester 1 = Year 1, periods 1 & 2
Semester 2 = Year 1, periods 4 & 5
Semester 3 = Year 2, periods 1 & 2

Students are allowed to follow in Semester 1 track courses scheduled for Semester 3, and vice versa.
It is possible for students to change track after Semester 1.

Free choice: (18 - 30 EC)

A list of pre-approved courses for free choice, consisting of the restricted-choice courses, and all other courses (Master level) given by the CS dept of the VU and the Informatics Institute of the UvA. This explicitly covers courses from the Masters Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics, and Logics.  

Computer Science courses in study guide.

The vast majority of our students (90%) embark on a career in areas like consultancy, the software business, other private sector businesses or the government sector. Computer scientists are welcome in a variety of jobs including systems manager, information analyst, software engineer, policy advisor or project manager. Many of our former students now work at companies such as Philips, Deloitte en Touche, IBM and the Royal Dutch Navy. Others have created their own company, sometimes right after graduation. 

The most typical job our graduates pursue is that of software engineer. Examples of other jobs are:

  • web engineer
  • data warehouse consultant
  • user interface designer
  • systems specialist
  • IT project manager
  • IT consultant
  • systems engineer.

PhD positions

Graduate students with excellent grades can apply for a PhD position. These are normally awarded for four years, during which time the student is expected to finish his or her PhD thesis. A PhD can lead to a career in business or research. Some of our recent PhD graduates now work as researchers or engineers at companies like Google.com or Amazon.com. Others embarked on an academic career, either at VU University Amsterdam or other prestigious universities such as MIT, Cornell University and ETH Zurich.

SBBA Bèta Career Event

Each year the Stichting Bèta Bedrijvencontactdag Amsterdam organizes a Career Event. The career event offers lectures, workshops and a speed-date lunch to enable students to meet with future employers.

More information on SBBA can be obtained at www.sbba.nl.

The Master's programme of Computer Science currently offers six distinct tracks:

  • Big Data Engineering
  • Computer Systems Security
  • Foundations of Computing and Concurrency
  • Internet and Web Technology
  • Parallel Computing Systems
  • Software Engineering and Green IT

Big Data Engineering

In the internet era, data plays center stage. We all continuously communicate via social networks, we expect all information to be accessible online continuously, and the world economies thrive on data processing services where revenue is created by generating insights from raw data. These developments are enabled by a global data processing infrastructure, connecting the whole range from small company computer clusters to data centers run by the world-leading IT giants. In the Big Data Engineering track you study the technology from which these infrastructures are built, allowing you to design and operate solutions for processing, analyzing and managing large quantities of data. This track is part of the joint Master in Computer Science, in which renowned researchers from both VU and UvA contribute their varied expertise in one of the strongest Computer Science programmes available in Europe.

Track coordinator: Adam Belloum

Track core courses:
Large-Scale Data Engineering
Web Data Processing Systems
Web Services and Cloud-based Systems
Information Visualization
Data Mining Techniques

covers compulsory choices: Programming

Computer Systems Security

The Amsterdam-based Master track in Computer Systems Security is unique in the Netherlands in focusing on system security issues in operating systems, hardware and applications. Have you ever wondered how attackers bypass even the most advanced security mechanisms, how we can reverse engineer state-of-the-art malware, or in general, what "hacking a system" is all about? This specialization in Computer Systems Security, a joint effort by VU University and University of Amsterdam, is different from security tracks in other universities which tend to focus more on formal methods or the math behind cryptography. Instead, we focus on systems. Our philosophy is that you learn by doing and, moreover, the way to learn most about security solutions is to break them. So, you will learn how to write exploits and how to bypass some of the strongest defenses commonly deployed. The courses are extremely challenging and most of them have a very hands-on character.

In particular, students graduating in the Computer Systems Security specialization have knowledge of

  • security issues in system-level software including weaknesses and defenses (and how to bypass them)
  • static and dynamic analysis techniques for software (benign and malicious, binary and source)
  • research in attacks and defenses
  • reverse engineering and forensics


Track coordinator: Herbert Bos

Track core courses:
Computer and Network Security
Cybercrime and Forensics
Binary and Malware Analysis
Kernel Programming
Secure Software

covers compulsory choices: Programming  

Foundations of Computing and Concurrency
 

This track aims at Computer Science students with a general interest in Computing and Concurrency and the application of formal methods for system design. Computing is a fundamental phenomenon in computer science and we provide courses addressing this field in a wide range: from distributed algorithms to protocol validation, and from term rewriting to logical verification. In order to enhance background knowledge and to support the further study of foundational questions some general courses in logic and mathematics are provided as well. Concurrency naturally occurs in the specification of distributed systems, and their analysis, verification and implementation require a systematic approach, aided by formal methods.

Track coordinator: Femke van Raamsdonk

Track core courses:
Protocol Validation
Distributed Algorithms
Advanced Logic
Logical Verification
Term Rewriting Systems

covers compulsory choices: Foundations

Internet and Web Technology

Internet and the World Wide Web play a central role in our society, and have changed the way software systems are engineered and provisioned. Recent advances in virtualization techniques as well as the emergence of Software-as-a Service (SaaS) and cloud-based paradigms have enabled new ways of providing and exploiting computing and IT resources over the Internet. This track aims specifically at preparing students to work in such a complex, dynamic and distributed environment. It gives both in-depth understanding of the key components in developing distributed software- and service-based systems over the Internet, and provide the students with technical and critical thinking skills for the design and performance evaluation of such systems.

Track coordinator: Spyros Voulgaris

Track core courses:
Internet programming
Service Oriented Design
Distributed Algorithms
Performance of Networked Systems
Web Services and Cloud-based Systems

covers compulsory choices: Programming, Foundations, Software Engineering

Parallel Computing Systems

Parallel computing systems are ubiquitous today. From laptops and mobile phones to global-scale compute infrastructures, parallel computing systems drive the world we live in. Although motivated by advances in hardware design, the many-core revolution has a profound impact on engineering software: Only software explicitly dedicated to parallel architectures can fully exploit today's hardware potential and benefit from future gains in hardware performance. Only software engineers who are true experts in parallel computing systems can make an impact on future software. For this track, leading research groups in the areas of parallel system architecture, programming parallel systems, and performance optimization team up to educate the future experts of the many-core age. This track covers all aspects of parallel computing systems, from hardware to software, and the entire range of scale from laptops to compute servers, GPU accelerators, heterogeneous systems and large-scale, high-performance compute infrastructures. The track includes much practical work that uses a unique, world-class infrastructure, the Distributed ASCI Supercomputer (DAS). Being around for almost two decades, the brand new 5th generation system DAS-5 covers the entire range of scale of parallel systems today and is equipped with a variety of the latest many-core devices. The track also optimally benefits from the local SURFsara supercomputing center and the Netherlands eScience Center, that both are involved in numerous real-world applications.

Track coordinator: Clemens Grelck

Track core courses:
Parallel System Architectures
Programming Large-scale Parallel Systems
Parallel Programming Practical
Programming Multi-core and Many-core Systems
Performance Engineering

covers compulsory choices: Programming

Software Engineering and Green IT

Software engineering applies a systematic and quantifiable approach to the development, execution and maintenance of complex software. Green IT is the study and practice of environmentally sustainable computing. The combination of Software Engineering and Green IT in one track provides the students with the instruments necessary to gain a holistic understanding of large-scale and complex software systems, to manage their evolution, assess their quality and environmental impact, quantify their value and sustainability potential, and organize their development in different local and distributed contexts. Software engineering and Green IT is a broad and comprehensive field, in which engineering plays an important role, next to social, economic and environmental aspects. The field continually evolves, as the types of systems and the world at large do change as well. The field is being influenced by practices and development paradigms such as outsourcing, global software development, service orientation, smart and pervasive computing, and energy-aware software engineering.

Track coordinator: Patricia Lago

Track core courses:
Service Oriented Design
Software Asset Management
Software Architecture
Software Testing
Green Lab

covers compulsory choices: Software Engineering

Reputation of the programme 
The Computer Science programme at VU University Amsterdam has a solid reputation for its approach to the subject. One faculty member, Professor Andrew S. Tanenbaum recently won the prestigious IEEE James H. Mulligan Jr. Education Award and a grant from the European Research Council of 2.4 million euros. Also, nearly 100% of computer science students find a full-time job that matches their qualifications before the day of their graduation. As a student, you will profit from the expertise of VU University Amsterdam’s research groups, and from their contacts at national and international level. 

Individual programme of study 
You will be encouraged to compile your personal programme of study, in consultation with your own coordinator who remains on hand to help with any queries you may have throughout your programme. 

Interdisciplinary programme 
Computer Science at VU University Amsterdam is very broad and wide-ranging compared to other universities. You will choose a specialization as part of the programme. Beside the compulsory courses, you will have the opportunity to take optional courses from the whole range of computer science. 

International setting 
The city of Amsterdam is a very welcoming environment for international students and staff. Our Computer Science department is also very international-oriented: 40 nationalities are represented among our academic staff, and our students come from many more different countries.

If you would like to know more

Come to one of our information days or get in touch with a faculty representative.

Information days 
Order the brochure
Contact the Master's coordinator

Innovative study facilities

Overview Computer Science

Language of instruction

English

Duration

2 years

Tuition fee

Application deadline

1 June for Dutch students. 1 April for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students.* * EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam University Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

Start date

1 September / 1 February

Study type

Full-time

Specializations

- Big Data Engineering
- Computer Systems Security
- Foundations of Computing and Concurrency
- Internet and Web Technology
- Parallel Computing Systems
- Software Engineering and Green IT

Admission requirements

Field of Interest

Computer Science, Mathematics and Business

The software behind mobile phones 
New types of mobile phones with all kinds of novel features seem to appear every day. But the software inside is not redesigned and rewritten every time. The programs can simply be expanded by adding new “building blocks” from time to time. But just how do you go about doing that?

The technology behind P2P 
What kind of technology makes BitTorrent work? Nowadays, millions of people use P2P programs. These networks have to manage their structure autonomously, regardless of the number of people joining or leaving the system at any time. 
Are these transactions secure? What kinds of technologies are at work here?

Digital social networks 
Social networks are very important in most people’s lives. Nowadays, there are also lots of digital social communities, like Facebook or Hyves. How are these social networks built up, what specific technologies make them tick?

GSEEM stands for Global Software Engineering European Master. It is an international Double Degree Master programme for students in Computer Science and specializing in Software Engineering. A student enrolled in GSEEM spends one academic year at the VU University Amsterdam and one academic year at one partner university. Students from our GSEEM partner universities are encouraged to opt for this programme through their respective contact persons:

Partner universityContact person
Mälardalen University (Västerås, Sweden)Prof. Ivica Crnkovic
University of L'Aquila (L'Aquila, Italy)Dr. Henry Mucciniempty
VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands)Dr. Patricia Lago
empty


Programme overview
GSEEM provides Master education in Software Engineering with a focus on the domains that are strategically important for IT and IT-intensive products and services. It further helps its students developing the skills needed to work in companies active in global software engineering. In GSEEM you can choose among three specialization profiles, each one consisting of a number of core and optional modules:

  • Software Architecting (SA)
  • Real-time Embedded Systems Engineering (RT)
  • Web Systems and Services Engineering (WS)


VU University Amsterdam offers two profiles (SA and WS). The other universities offer:

  • Mälardalen University, Sweden: SA, RT
  • University of L'Aquila, Italy: SA

Each profile is made of a package of modules, to be agreed with each partner university. All modules are taught in English.

Double Degree and Mobility
A student registered in GSEEM studies one year at one of the three partner universities and one year at VU University Amsterdam. It is possible to spend abroad either the first year or the second year. The Master project is carried out during the second year, eventually abroad.

Each partner university recognizes a Double Degree to all students that are regularly enrolled and that obtained at both visited universities at least 60 ECTS points in Master modules (including 30 ECTS of Master thesis in the second year). Students visiting VU University Amsterdam, in addition, must be regularly enrolled at the moment in which the Degree is granted. The degree granted by VU University Amsterdam is the Master in Computer Science with specialization in software engineering. The Master diploma further specifies the taken modules. Further information can be obtained through the official GSEEM website.

Admission requirements
You must have completed your Bachelor study when you start with the first year of Master studies. In addition, you must pass 60 ECTS in Master modules/thesis, or plan to achieve this objective before starting your stay abroad. Exceptions can de discussed case by case with the local International Master Coordinator.

Student experiences from VU Amsterdam.

Foto Alessio Sclocco
Alessio Sclocco
University of L'Aquila
  

How and when to apply?

  • Please note that you can only apply for GSEEM if you are a student from one of the above mentioned partner universities!
  • Contact the International Relations Officer, email international@few.vu.nl, to express your interest and receive further information. 
  • Contact your local International Master Coordinator to discuss your study plans. You will need a formal approval from your coordinator stating that you are a suitable candidate for this programme.
  • Before April 1st, 2011, send the following documents by email (international@few.vu.nl) and ordinary mail to:
    empty
    Faculty of Sciences
    Attn: Ms. Greetje Gorens
    VU Amsterdam
    De Boelelaan 1083 / Room P-362
    1081 HV Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

    1. A completed application form 

    2. A form with the list of completed courses taken and a list of courses you still intend to take at your home university, signed by your local International Master Coordinator; 

    3. A proof of proficiency in English: TOEFL (score 580 or computer based test 237) or IELTS (Test for English as a Foreign Language) (score 6.5); 

    4. A letter of recommendation from a senior member of your faculty (professor at your department).

Links to the courses and content of the programme
The courses that are given in this master can be found through the online studyguide
Note that at the moment there is no seperate section which contains all the GSEEM courses.
The courses that are required and the optional ones can be found on the GSEEM website. 

Further information
Further information can be obtained through the official GSEEM website or by contacting Dr. Patricia Lago

We offer a special programme in Computer Science for outstanding students from our partner universities that consists of one full year of study at VU University Amsterdam. You should be able to obtain at least 60 ECTS in courses and complete a Master’s project in this one year. Application for this programme is open to those who have finished courses at the Master's level at one of our partner universities for at least 60 ECTS which provide exemptions from Master’s courses at VU University Amsterdam.

Students from our partner universities are encouraged to opt for this programme through their respective contact persons:

Partner universityContact person
Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary)Prof. Z. Horvath 
University of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)Prof. Janina Mincer-Daszkiewicz empty
Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland)Prof. K. Ciesielski
Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic)Tomas Bures 
Amrita University (India)Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh (director, Amrita center for international programs)


Fellowships

A limited number of fellowships (VUFP) is available for (partial) funding of this programme. Please note that the application deadline for VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP) is 1 March 2013. Students that would like to apply for VUFP, also have to apply for the short track master programme before 1 March 2013! 
More information on the VU Fellowship Programme

Student loan
If you pay tuition fees and do not receive another Dutch income on the basis of your study, you may be entitled to a student loan. Please apply well in advance. For information please contact the Informatie Beheer Groep by telephone (+31 505 997755) or visit their website:  www.duo.nl.

How and when to apply?

  • Please note that you can only apply for the Short Track Master programme if you are a student from one of the above mentioned partner universities!
  • Contact your coordinator to discuss your study plans. You need a formal approval from your coordinator that you are selected for the Short track Master (preferably before February 1st 2013). Your coordinator will inform us if you have been selected;
  • Apply online as described here. Please note that you will not find the option 'Short track master' in Studielink, so just select the regular master programme of your choice. Application deadline is 1st of April, however if you also would like to apply for VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), you should send in both applications before 1st of March 2013. 
  • You will have to upload a set of documents for your online application. In case of any questions about the requested documents, please contact admissionsfs@vu.nl. Please start your application, even if you cannot provide all documents.

Please send the following documents (also) by regular mail to:

VU University Amsterdam
International Office / Degree Mobility Unit
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
THE NETHERLANDS 

  
1. A completed application form signed by a senior faculty representative at your home university; please mention your VU student number (which you will receive once you have started your online application) 
2. Your CV / Resume in English;
3. A form with list of completed courses (transcript of records) taken at your home university and a list of courses that you still intend to take at your home university. Please have these lists signed by a faculty representative from your home university;
4. Recommendation letters from a senior member of your faculty (professor at your department). 

Admission and scholarship assignment 
In April 2013, the Examination Board of the Faculty of Sciences will decide which applicants will be admitted to the Short Track Master's programme in Computer Science. Requests for courses exemptions will be evaluated as well. Applicants will be notified by May 2012 the result of their application, and if applicable, scholarship.

 

More information?
For practical matters, like accommodation, living costs, financial aid, work, etc., please contact our International Office: admissionsfs@vu.nl 

 

Please consult the website of the Internship Office for Mathematics and Computer Science for information on internships and work placement opportunities. See 

Internship office Computer Science 

Student experiences

Michal Szymaniak, software engineer @ Google Headquarters, California

Michal SzymaniakCan you summarize your study curriculum at VU university Amsterdam?
I did my bachelor studies in Warsaw university, and the first year of my master's. I then took the opportunity to follow an international short track master's program in Amsterdam, which gave me a joint master degree from both universities. I enjoyed my stay at the VU so I started a PhD in the same group. My research topic was "Latency-Driven Replication for Globally Distributed Systems".

How did you end up working for Google?
I received my doctorate from the VU in 2007 and then started working for Google. It was in fact a straightforward transition after my summer internship with Google in 2005, when I validated some of my research ideas on the Google's global infrastructure. The internship was also a great opportunity to find out how Google works and how it touches lives of millions of people every day. Looking back, I think it was that prospect that ultimately convinced me to join.

What is exciting in your job?
Very often, we launch new product features to a small group of users and then analyze how they react to it. If the response is favorable, then we launch the feature to more users. Otherwise, we drop or fix the feature and try again. Being a researcher, I like this approach a lot - its being based on facts helps us quickly make right choices without being overly attached to any initial intuition.  

What kind of work do you do?
As for my own career at Google, I first worked on the system that identifies Google users such that they can personalize our applications to their own needs.

 

Peter Mika, researcher @ Yahoo! Research, Barcelona

Peter Mika"After finishing my MSc and PhD degree both at VU, I got a job as a researcher at the European research lab of Yahoo in Barcelona, Spain. The most visible part of my work is that I contributed to the conceptualization and design of SearchMonkey. SearchMonkey uses semantic technologies to improve how search results are displayed, by including images, links and data inside the abstracts. I like this job because I'm interested in applying semantic technologies to improve search. This not only means Web search, but also searching inside the vast content assets owned by Yahoo, including news, finance and product data, emails, videos and images, social networks, user profiles and much more."

 

Christian Rossow: PhD student @ VU University, Amsterdam

"VU Amsterdam is an excellent learning environment with international multi-cultural flair. Driven by my interests, I followed the Computer Science Master studies at VU University Amsterdam and was never disappointed in my choice throughout the two years. I particularly liked the flexible study programme, which allows you to choose theoretical and practical subjects from a wide study catalog. And whatever course I took, I was satisfied with a high quality of teaching. To me the studies at VU University Amsterdam were a perfect preparation for my current PhD career." Any questions? You can visit my personal website for contact details: http://www.christian-rossow.de

 

 

Alessio Sclocco: finishing the GSEEM international double degree programme @ Italy

Alessio was in Amsterdam at VU Amsterdam in 2010. We asked him some questions about his experiences here.

Foto Alessio ScloccoWho are you and what master have you done?
My name is Alessio Sclocco and I come from a small town in the center of Italy called Pescara. At the VU I am enrolled in the GSEEM program (Global Software Engineering European Master), an international double degree master in computer science - software engineering specialisation

Which bachelor did you do before and how did you hear about this master?
I did my bachelor in computer science at the University of L'Aquila, a small university not so far from my hometown. One of our professors back there told us about the opportunity to enroll in this master and study at two universities in different countries. I really wanted to have an international experience so I applied few days after my graduation.

What are you experiences with this master?
I liked the international background of this master, having to travel to a different country, meeting students from all over the world, it was great. It was an opportunity to form an international network for me; I should say that before coming to Amsterdam all my friends were from, almost, the same place as me and we were talking the same language. I had the opportunity to get in touch with some companies during my studies in Amsterdam, but I preferred to postpone everything until my graduation.

Where are you now and how did you like the VU?
Now I am living in my hometown in Italy, where I am finishing to write my master thesis and giving the last exams of the master.

The VU was a great place to study and I am looking forward to be back there for my master presentation. The courses I took were really interesting, and I had the opportunity to discover fields of computer science that previously I didn't know a lot about. For example I had no experience in parallel computing before the VU, and now I am doing my master project in this field.

Something that I really liked is that you can really feel that what you are studying is at the border line with research, so you always study new and exciting things, and many times the lecturers are also the authors of the scientific papers you are studying on. I am still in contact with some of my fellow students at the VU, and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet them.

What are your plans after finishing the master?
I still have to decide. I want to apply for a PhD in computer science, but if I will find a challenging job before, then I can decide to move into the private industry. However I will decide as soon as I will finish to write my thesis.

 

 

Tudor Didilescu is doing his MSc in Computer Science with a specialization in HPDC (High Performance Distributed Computing).

Tudor_DidilescuI applied for a MSc. at the VU Amsterdam in January 2009, while finishing my bachelor at "Gh. Asachi" Technical University of Iasi, Romania. For my bachelor, I have majored in Information Technology, graduating in the top 5 students of my year. Fortunately, my application has been approved and I received a VUFP scholarship for the first year, a financial study aid that I was able to extend for my second year as well by having good academic results. 

I have initially followed a Software Engineering track, thinking that it would allow me to work more with design patterns and high level application development techniques while developing actual software. The courses on this track are more theoretical than I expected and since I am a very practical person, I decided to switch to the HPDC specialization. It gives me the necessary balance between the theoretical content (Parallel Programming, Distributed Systems) and practical work (Parallel Programming Practical, Cluster and Grid Computing, Operating Systems Practical).

I like this master because it is challenging. It gives you a glimpse of the immensity of computing power out there and all the possibilities that it brings with it. It looks at emerging paradigms such as Cloud computing and lets you explore this for yourself in a competitive manner. Large scale distributed computing is the future and I am confident that this master will help me greatly in my future career.

I live at the Uilenstede campus, in Amstelveen - a 15 min walk to the university. The university is very European; it has a great deal of cultures and diversity. I like the infrastructure and facilities that are made available to students, and especially students from the Faculty of Sciences. I consider it to be a good place to study and a great place to meet lots of interesting and really smart people (either professors or fellow students)

After finishing this master, I plan to work in the industry as an IT professional at one of the major corporations out there today (Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc.) and get the opportunity of participating maybe in some of the projects that will shape the face of computing in the following decades.

 

Alexandru Irimiea is an High Performance Distributed Computing (HPDC) student at the VU

Alexandru Irimiea.jpegAfter finishing my Bachelor in Computer Science I had a hard time deciding between going directly into Industry or following a Master Program in a foreign country. I eventually chose the Industry and only after another two years did I pursue my initial intuition.
Being intrigued by the increasing presence of the paradigm of distributed computing I picked the HPDC track of the Computer Science Master Program here at VU. Of course, I made a number of assumptions about life in The Netherlads, the teaching level at VU and other aspects. In hindsight, though not all were correct or complete, after almost one and a half years spent here I believe that I made a very good choice. The teaching environment was all that I expected and more. All the professors are passionate about their particular field of interest and manage very effectively to inspire and motivate students. The courses are varied and offer together an in depth understanding of the broad field, allowing the students to make an informed decision regarding their future careers. Each year the content is updated and refined in order to fit in new advancements or to address student observations. The intense theoretical courses are combined with stimulating practical ones, where the challenges range from modifying the Minix kernel to programming clusters, grids and event the clouds of Amazon. To our surprise, for the last example we even needed a credit card! God forbid there is an unobserved bug that leaves processes running (and thus cash flowing out of your credit card!) Don't worry, it's not that expensive :-).
But what about social life? Well, the University and the campus offer a true international environment, which, of course, is infused in the particular culture of the country. I honestly cannot keep up with all the social and sports events that are available to me. The various student organizations make sure that you don't miss your weekly borrel, the chance to ski in the Alps or the hitchhike competition to I don't know what European capital. This place really confirms that indeed you can study harder and enjoy life better at the same time. I made a lot of new friends from all over the world, had new experiences and learned new things from them.
What will happen next is that I will choose a company that does something that I find particularly exciting and apply to work for it. I did not decide yet since I still have some time left here and am eager to start working for the Master Project, which can have quite some impact on this decision. With the toolkit that I will have built in the two years spent here I am confident that I will succeed in any environment.

 

 

Bas van Dijk is busy with this master: Internet and Web Technology

Bas van DijkMy name is Bas van Dijk, I am currently taking a masters degree in computer science with a specialisation in Internet and Web Technology. Before I started at the VU, I was in an accelerated program of informatics at the HvA Amsterdam. This master offers me a wide variety of courses like operating systems, distributed systems and human computer interaction, and offers me flexibility in planning my study. I especially liked the more practical courses like computer graphics and network programming. 
I live in a small city near Amsterdam, traveling to the VU takes me about 50 minutes by public transport. The reason I chose the VU was for its informal atmosphere and its interesting program.  Starting at a university as an HBO student turned out to be quite hard for me. There was a large difference between the way I was used to work and the way things work at a university. Nowadays, I am quite used to it and have found my flow.
After my master I plan to start a new web development company together with a fellow student of mine. Five years ago I started my own company (http://www.happyfish.nl) and after my master I want to expand this even further. I like the freedom of entrepreneurship and I am really looking forward to getting started.

 

 

Dutch students

Please note that starting in 2016-2017 the Master’s programme Computer Science is a joint degree programme with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Courses are given at the two Faculties of Science. Graduates receive a diploma accredited by both universities. 

The Computer Science programme is open to both Dutch and International Students with a background in Computer Science. Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. 

Students with a Dutch degree from another university than VU Amsterdam can check the Dutch info on application here. Already a Master-student at VU and do you want to re-apply for next year? Please check VUnet. If you have nearly completed your Bachelor and want to do a Master, please apply on studielink.

Admission to a Master’s programme: the Bachelor-before-Master rule 

The Bachelor-before-Master rule is applied to all VU programmes. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September if you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Uncompleted Bachelor’s subjects are not permitted if you want to start a Master programme. 

What does this mean now for students? - You may have to adjust your study plan. For example, if you’re planning a semester abroad in the first semester and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September, please note that every part of the Bachelor’s study programme has to be completed – not only the compulsory parts of the programme. Other (short) interruptions of your study programme can also have an effect on your ability to proceed onto a Master’s programme. If the Bachelor’s programme is not fully completed, you cannot start the Master’s programme until the start of the next academic year. Take this into account when planning your study path! Please contact our faculty’s study advisors when you have any questions.

Contact the Information Officer for more information about the programme:

Erik van Zwol
t: +31 (0)20 59 87499
e: admissionsfs@vu.nl

Contact the Track Coordinators for specific information about the different tracks:

SpecializationContact
Big Data EngineeringAdam Belloum
Computer Systems Securityprof. dr. H.J. Bos
Foundations of Computing & Concurrencydr. F van Raamsdonk
Internet & Web Technologydr. S. Voulgaris
Parallel Computing SystemsClemens Grelck
Software Engineering & Green ITdr. P. Lago


Master's evening: 6 December

International students

The Computer Science programme is open to both Dutch and International Students with a background in Computer Science. Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. 

In order to gain admission to the Computer Science Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. A Bachelor degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).

Specific requirements for the Computer Science master’s programme 

For admission to the Computer Science programme, a Bachelor degree in Computer Science or a closely related Bachelor is required. In general, we expect the following subjects to be part of your Bachelors programme:

- Programming
- Algorithms
- Computer Systems
- Computer Networks
- Software Engineering
- Logic

Any one of the following subjects will increase your chances of admission:

- Databases
- Automata
- Graph Theory
- Compilers
- Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence
- Mathematics (Linear Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, Statistics)

This list is not exhaustive and having these courses on your diploma does not guarantee admission, however they are a strong indication of your admissibility.

General language proficiency requirements

VU University Amsterdam requires international applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.

Admission to a Master’s programme: the Bachelor-before-Master rule 

The Bachelor-before-Master rule is applied to all VU programmes. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September (or on 1 February) if you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Uncompleted Bachelor’s subjects are not permitted if you want to start a Master programme. 

What does this mean now for students? - You may have to adjust your study plan. For example, if you’re planning a semester abroad in the first semester and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September, please note that every part of the Bachelor’s study programme has to be completed – not only the compulsory parts of the programme. Other (short) interruptions of your study programme can also have an effect on your ability to proceed onto a Master’s programme. If the Bachelor’s programme is not fully completed, you cannot start the Master’s programme until the start of the next academic year. Take this into account when planning your study path! Please contact our faculty’s study advisors when you have any questions.

Please note that starting in 2016-2017 the Master’s programme Computer Science is a joint degree programme with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Courses are given at the two Faculties of Science. Graduates receive a diploma accredited by both universities. 

If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. 

Students with a Dutch degree from another university than VU Amsterdam can check the Dutch info on application here.

      Schema 

Step 1: Meet the admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online

Dutch students or students with a Dutch University degree, please follow: Online application for students with a Dutch University degree

Students with an international degree, please follow: Online application for students with an International University degree

For International degree holders, digital scans of the following documents are required:

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Diploma(s) / statement of expected graduation
  • A transcript of the marks obtained during the Bachelor's programme.
  • Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education 
  • English language test 

Detailed descriptions of the required documents can be found here

Step 3: Await decision on admission

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. The conditions include sending a certified copy of your diploma and submitting the results of your English language test. Also, arrange payment of the tuition fees or authorize VU University to withdraw the fees (you need to have a European bank account for this option). Here you will find an explanation of the registration procedure and the relevant deadlines. When all conditions are met you will receive a confirmation of your registration and you will be ready to start your programme at VU University Amsterdam!

Further information about

Accommodation
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Scholarships

Contact for International Degree Students

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Central International Office

International Student Advisor:
Erik van Zwol
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 7499 
E admissionsfs@vu.nl

There are several possibilities for obtaining funding. VU University Amsterdam, the Dutch governement and other organisations offer scholarships, fellowships and grants.

Contact the Information Officer for more information about the programme:

Erik van Zwol
t: +31 (0)20 59 87499
e: admissionsfs@vu.nl

Contact the Track Coordinators for specific information about the different tracks:

SpecializationContact
Big Data EngineeringAdam Belloum
Computer Systems Securityprof. dr. H.J. Bos
Foundations of Computing & Concurrencydr. F van Raamsdonk
Internet & Web Technologydr. S. Voulgaris
Parallel Computing SystemsClemens Grelck
Software Engineering & Green ITdr. P. Lago


General information about VU Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.

Master's evening: 6 December