Information Sciences

Digitizing business

Information Sciences is the multidisciplinary area spanning Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and its practical application in society. Are you interested in how information is created and processed in companies and organizations? Are you interested in technology and its application in practice? Do you believe it is important to consider the role of people, organizations and cultures in the design, modelling, and sharing of information? If so, then the Master’s programme in Information Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an excellent choice for you.

Information Sciences brings together computer science, organizational studies, and knowledge management. It features courses that keep you ahead of the rapid pace of developments within this sector. The programme distinguishes two tracks. The Business Information Systems track focuses on the optimization of information technology in enterprise settings, with a particular emphasis on the optimization of business processes and digital innovation. The Web & Media track centers on the innovative application of the web to retrieve, disclose, and share information, in particular in media-rich settings. Both tracks aim to promote scientific insight and convey a sense of social responsibility. As part of the program, a total value of 15 credits can be elected from a list of approved courses.

Our Master’s courses evolve over the years to reflect ongoing developments and the research that is ongoing in the Information Sciences discipline. They involve fundamental courses, guest lectures, and cutting-edge courses by the SIKS National Graduate Research School. Our current courses include: Business Process Management, Knowledge and Media, Digital Innovation, The Social Web, Business Process Analytics, Information Retrieval, Software Architecture, and Knowledge Engineering. 

The Master’s programme in Information Sciences trains you to become an outstanding professional who is capable of independent and team problem solving with respect to the design, application and real-life use of complex information systems in organizations. The distinguishing factor of the programme is the well-tuned balance between scientific rigor and practical relevance of the course content. 

The programme consists of Information Sciences courses exclusively developed and taught at the VU, as well as courses shared with other programmes within and outside the VU. A close collaboration exists with the UvA: A number of courses is shared between Information Sciences at the VU and the "Information Studies" Master’s programme at the UvA. Both programmes do have their own, distinct signature, where Information Sciences at the VU aims for the combination of both depth and breadth in its topics. 

The programme is set up in such a way that you can still follow the majority of the courses at the VU, if you prefer. VU and UvA courses are scheduled on different weekdays to prevent travel overhead.

CURRICULUM MASTER INFORMATION SCIENCES

The Master programme Information Sciences contains the following parts: 

Regular courses: 30 EC

See study guide, courses can vary over the years.

Academic research: 30 EC

This part consists of three elements:

· Research Methods Interdisciplinary Research Methods in IS (6 EC, period 2) 
This is a general course addressing both qualitative and quantitative methods for performing academic research. This course is jointly organized by UvA and VU. You will need to complete this course before you can your thesis work.

· Thesis Design (6 EC, period 3) 
With your thesis supervisor, you prepare a thesis proposal and work plan, indicating which research methods you plan to use and a planning. The thesis design should include a study of relevant literature.

· Thesis (18 EC, second semester) 
This is the actual master project that is to be carried out, based on the thesis design. The resulting thesis can be a regular thesis or a 10-page academic paper; this choice is left to the student, in consultation with the supervisor.

OVERALL STRUCTURE

  • Students can start once a year in September. The programme has a duration of 1 year.
  • To prevent travelling overhead, VU and UvA courses are scheduled on different days of the week: 
    - VU courses: Monday, Thursday 
    - UvA courses: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Information Sciences courses in the study guide

The career perspectives for Information Sciences graduates are excellent.

Graduates of the programme work in a wide range of industries and public institutions, both inside and outside the ICT sector. They take on positions as consultants, analysts, designers, project coordinators, ICT programme managers and researchers. Specific examples include jobs as application consultant at a global business services company, business process analyst at a multinational brewery, Web editor for a broadcasting company, an ICT manager at a bank/insurance company, and an ICT coordinator in a museum. Typically, graduates get jobs in which they act as liaison role between ICT and non-ICT people: they speak both ‘languages’ and understand both domains. There is an enormous and growing demand for such people. Of course, the programme is an excellent preparation for your development as a scientific researcher in the area of information management.

Continuing your studies
Graduate students with excellent grades are invited to apply for a PhD position. These are normally awarded for four years, during which time the student is expected to conduct research, present at conferences, teach, and work on a PhD thesis.

A one-year Master’s programme
Information Sciences at VU University Amsterdam can be completed in one year. 
 
Business processes and Semantic web
Information Sciences builds on the world-class reputation of VU University Amsterdam in the areas of business process management and the semantic web. Also, we run The Network Institute, a research facility where the Faculties of Computer Science, Economics & Business Administration, and Social Sciences work together (see emptywww.networkinstitute.org). VU University Amsterdam offers you a high-quality working environment with talented teaching staff and modern study facilities.


Information Sciences professor launches textbook: Worldwide uptake  Prof. Hajo Reijers, educational director of the Information Sciences programme, worked together with three of his international colleagues to develop the first textbook on Business Process Management, the discipline that is concerned with the management and optimization of business operations using IT. The textbook is currently in use in more than 100 universities and educational institutes across the world. It also forms the basis of a Massive Open Onlince Course (MOOC), as launched by Queensland University of Technology in 2015. The textbook is intensively used in the Information Sciences programme, which has the added benefit for VU students that they can personally interact with prof. Reijers and learn about this exciting area first-hand. Further details can be found at: http://fundamentals-of-bpm.org/           
  

Personal
The Information Sciences programme is characterized by its personal style in the supervision of students during their project work and master thesis, as well as academic counselling which is available.  
 
Contacts with trade and industry 
The faculty has close contacts with local, national and international trade and industry. New developments are integrated seamlessly into the programme. Specifically, we work with consultancy companies, the financial services, the music industry, electricity suppliers and cultural institutions.


Master projects are very often carried out in cooperation with companies and organizations. Students are encouraged to involve industrial partners in their projects and, if need be, can rely on the network of their thesis supervisors to get in touch with these. It is also possible to carry out internships within the VU. Please see the website of the Internship Office for Mathematics and Computer Science for information about student placement opportunities and examples of Master projects: http://wiki.cs.vu.nl/mp/index.php/Information_Sciences

Overview Information Sciences

Language of instruction

English

Duration

1 year

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

2 September

Study type

Full-time

Admission requirements

Field of Interest

Computer Science, Mathematics and Business

Student experiences

Juan Manuel Bedregal -  MSc Information Sciences, Business Information Systems track

Juan Manuel'I think that coming to study the Master in Information Sciences at the VU was a great decision, one that has advanced my career and as a result, changed my life'

"One year has passed since I came to study a Master's degree in Information Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit and it has been one of the best decisions of my life. The program provides a wide variety of courses from which to choose, allowing you to tailor the curricula according to your specific professional interests.

Something that I found very interesting was the diverse background of the students. Besides the range of international students, there were students from different fields such as economics, computer science, mathematics, business administration, etc. The in-class discussions were approached from many points of view, which made the learning experience even more richer. This feature gave the program a really unique feeling.

I could tell that the courses were really well prepared, the professors were experts in their subjects with many years of professional experience, and the material used was of excellent quality. The final projects were fun, interesting and practical, they demanded “out of the box thinking” , the projects often required creativity and originality in order to do a good work. The teaching staff always kept in mind the practicality of the concepts being taught and how they are applied in real life situations. I really value this aspect of the program, it always kept you engaged in class and eager to learn more.

I had the opportunity to do an internship in an IT consulting company as part of my Master’s project thesis.I could use the concepts learned throughout the Master in a real life professional project. This was a great experience from which I learned a lot."

Benjamin Timmermans -  MSc Information Sciences, Web & Media track

Benjamin Timmermans'The master programme was excellent, and it was over before I realized it'

"With a bachelor degree Business IT and Management, I was looking for a similar master study. My main interests were information, data science and the web. This made me choose for Information Sciences with a specialization in Business, Web and Media. I chose for the Vrije Universiteit because of this program.

In this master programme, there is a close collaboration between the UvA and VU, which is great: Each university has research groups with different specializations. Because Information Sciences covers many fields of computer science, this allows you to learn from the best scientists of all fields, something that otherwise would not be possible. Many courses have assignments to apply the theory in practice, which lets you understand the real problems businesses have. In many courses you can develop your ideas with creativity into things that you find interesting.

My thesis project was crowdsourcing disagreement on open-domain questions for IBM Watson. These questions were generated by Watson, but were found to be difficult to find an answer to. Using crowdsourcing, I gathered information to train Watson to better understand these questions and their corresponding answers. My thesis was part of the Crowd Watson, now called CrowdTruth project, which is a unique collaboration between researchers of the Vrije Universiteit and IBM."

Kevin Wezeman - MSc Information Sciences, Business Information Systems track

Kevin Wezeman'This study was a lot of fun'

"After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Business Mathematics/Applied Mathematics I started looking for an interesting Master’s program to finish my education before starting my career. Out of the available, options, Information Sciences provided the best perspectives due to its interdisciplinary nature. I expected that completing the programme would increase my knowledge in the ICT field in a business context and provide me with a lot of career options.

During the program I followed courses about Service Oriented Design, Serious Games and The Social Web. The course that really captured my attention was Business Process Management. I found this course so interesting that I wanted to really expand my knowledge in this area. I chose this area for my master thesis project and worked together with Philips Healthcare. I looked at the way their Center of Expertise redesigns the business processes of their customers to accommodate new IT solutions. The project was a challenge but also a great opportunity to work on this project: I am glad that I was part of it.

The programme, especially all the assignments, gave me a lot of experience working in groups, presenting and other useful skills required in present day IT-companies. It was a great year where keeping my motivation at the required level was never an issue."

Dutch students

The requirements are split up into Masters’ specialization specific requirements and general requirements.

Specific requirements master’s programme

  • Students with a Dutch preliminary education
    The Master’s is open to students with an academic Bachelor's degree in Information Sciences or in related fields like Computer Science, Informatics, Business Analytics or Artificial Intelligence. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, you may conditionally enrol for the Master’s programme in Information Sciences. The general entry requirement is successful completion of a number of relevant university courses (either at VU University Amsterdam or equivalent), typically including the following subjects:
    - Information Sciences courses: Business Modelling and Requirements Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Sciences project.
    - Computer Sciences courses: base-level courses in Programming, Software Engineering, and Databases.
    - Courses from other disciplines (business/economics, social sciences, culture & communication studies).
  • Students with a Dutch HBO education
    Holders of diplomas from selected Dutch hbo programmes may be granted admission after following a Pre-Master’s programme. This Pre-Master’s programme is worth 30 ECTS credits. Applicable hbo programmes include:
    - Business Computer Science 
    - Communication systems 
    - Computer technology 
    - Engineering, design and innovation 
    - HEAO business computer science 
    - Industrial automation
    - Computer Science 
    - Computer and information science 
    - Network Infrastructure Design (NID) 
    - HTS Technical computer science 
    - Information engineering
    If you have a diploma that is not listed above but is closely related to those mentioned, please contact Dr. Pieter de Leenheer.
  • Study programme Pre-master for HBO graduates 
    For further information regarding procedures on composing the pre-Masters Programme for Dutch HBO graduates see Study programme pre-master for HBO graduates (Dutch)

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 (‘harde knip’) will be applied to all VU programmes as of 1 September 2013. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September 2013 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 of the academic year 2012-2013, and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September 2013, 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.

Check all general information on admission and application to Master's programmes here.

Always contact the Master's coordinator for advice before sending in your application.

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the study advisors:

Business Information Systems track:

Prof. Hajo Reijers 
T +31 (0)20 59 87824 
h.a.reijers@vu.nl

Web & Media track:

Dr. Lora Aroyo 
T +31 (0)20 598 2868 
l.m.aroyo@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.

International students

The requirements are split up into Masters’ specialization specific requirements and general requirements.

Specific requirements master’s programme

  • Students with a Dutch preliminary education
    The Master’s is open to students with an academic Bachelor's degree in Information Sciences or in related fields like Computer Science, Informatics, Business Analytics or Artificial Intelligence. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, you may conditionally enrol for the Master’s programme in Information Sciences. The general entry requirement is successful completion of a number of relevant university courses (either at VU University Amsterdam or equivalent), typically including the following subjects:
    - Information Sciences courses: Business Modelling and Requirements Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Sciences project.
    - Computer Sciences courses: base-level courses in Programming, Software Engineering, and Databases.
    - Courses from other disciplines (business/economics, social sciences, culture & communication studies).
  • Students with a Dutch HBO education
    Holders of diplomas from selected Dutch hbo programmes may be granted admission after following a Pre-Master’s programme. This Pre-Master’s programme is worth 30 ECTS credits. Applicable hbo programmes include:
    - Business Computer Science 
    - Communication systems 
    - Computer technology 
    - Engineering, design and innovation 
    - HEAO business computer science 
    - Industrial automation
    - Computer Science 
    - Computer and information science 
    - Network Infrastructure Design (NID) 
    - HTS Technical computer science 
    - Information engineering
    If you have a diploma that is not listed above but is closely related to those mentioned, please contact Dr. Pieter de Leenheer.
  • Study programme Pre-master for HBO graduates 
    For further information regarding procedures on composing the pre-Masters Programme for Dutch HBO graduates see Study programme pre-master for HBO graduates (Dutch)

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 (‘harde knip’) will be applied to all VU programmes as of 1 September 2013. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September 2013 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 of the academic year 2012-2013, and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September 2013, 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.

Check all general information on admission and application to Master's programmes here.

Always contact the Master's coordinator for advice before sending in your application.

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

Information about the programme

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the study advisors:

Business Information Systems track:

Prof. Hajo Reijers
T +31 (0)20 59 87824
E h.a.reijers@vu.nl

Web & Media track:

Dr. Lora Aroyo
T +31 (0)20 598 2868
E l.m.aroyo@vu.nl 

Practical information for international students

Would you like to know more about our courses, scholarships and application & registration procedure? Please contact our International Office.

Email: admissionsfs@vu.nl

General information about VU Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also email 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.