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 practical applications? 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 addresses the optimization of information technology in enterprise settings and innovative application of the web to retrieve, disclose, and share information, in particular in media-rich settings. The programme promotes scientific insight and conveys a sense of social responsibility. A large degree of flexibility exists in the programme, with a total value of 18 credits that can be elected from a list of approved courses.

Our Master’s courses evolve over the years to reflect ongoing research  and developments in the discipline of Information Sciences. They include fundamental courses, guest lectures, and cutting-edge courses by the SIKS National Graduate Research School. Our current courses include: Knowledge and Media, Service Oriented Design, Digital Innovation, The Social Web, Information Retrieval, Software Architecture, ICT for Development, Knowledge Engineering and Entrepreneurship.

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 content of the courses. 

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 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 a way that allows students to follow the majority of the courses at the VU, if they prefer to do so. 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
Courses can vary over the years, see the study guide.

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. 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 to 15-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, ICT manager at a bank/insurance company, and ICT coordinator in a museum. Typically, graduates get jobs in which they act as liaison 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 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 Amsterdam can be completed in one year. 
 
Business processes and Semantic web
Information Sciences builds on the world-class reputation of VU Amsterdam in the areas of software and services 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. VU Amsterdam offers you a high-quality working environment with talented teaching staff and modern study facilities.

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 visit Internship Office for Mathematics and Computer Science for information about student placement opportunities.

Overview Information Sciences

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April for non Dutch EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students*
1 June for holders of a Dutch bachelor’s degree (with a Dutch or EU/EEA nationality).
* non Dutch EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through VU Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

START DATE

2 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

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 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 the Master's track coordinator (see Contact).

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). We do not require a premaster assessment.

General language proficiency requirements
VU Amsterdam requires international applicants and students with a HBO degree 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 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.

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.

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. If you have any questions, please contact Sara Lusini, programme coordinator via s.lusini@vu.nl.

International students

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

Specific requirements master’s programme

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 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).

General language proficiency requirements
VU 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 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.

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 Amsterdam, the Dutch governement and other organisations offer scholarships, fellowships and grants.

Information about the programme

Practical information for international students

Would you like to know more about our courses, scholarships and application & registration procedure? Please contact our International Office: masters.fs@vu.nl.

General information about VU Amsterdam

Do you have questions?

  • You can call us on +31 20 5985000 (on working days from 10.00 till 16.00).
  • Or email us at contact@vu.nl.
  • Furthermore, you can also send us a text message on Whatsapp on +316 107 87 317.

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.

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