Information Sciences

Towards responsible digital transition & business

Information Sciences is the multidisciplinary area spanning Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and its practical application in a society that is increasingly digital. As such, society needs a new generation of IT professionals who understand how to create socio-technical systems supporting the needs of modern organizations, from enterprises, SMEs and NGOs, to online communities and the citizen at large. At the same time, modern society is concerned with its sustainability footprint in terms of ecologic, social, technical and economic perspectives. This requires IT professionals and organizations to become more digital while performing responsible business.

Are you interested in how information is created and processed in modern organizations? Are you interested in technology and its practical applications in an increasingly digital society? Do you believe it is important to consider the role of people, organizations and cultures in the sustainable design, modelling, and sharing of digital solutions? Do you want to help creating socio-technical systems that target ethical and sustainability goals? If so, then the Master’s programme in Information Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is the perfect choice for you.

The Master’s programme in Information Sciences trains you to become an outstanding researcher and/or professional, mastering skills for independent problem solving with respect to the design, application and real-life use of complex information systems in modern organizations. The distinguishing factor of the programme is the unique combination of strong IT competencies, understanding of the sustainability implications of digital solutions in broad society, and critical reflection and skills to support responsible businesses and organisations. The programme also offers a well-tuned balance between scientific rigor and practical relevance of the content of the courses.

The programme has a natural and unique multidisciplinary focus on digital socio-technical systems and sustainability in a broad sense. This is a one-year full-time programme. Upon successful completion of the courses, you will have obtained specialist knowledge and you will receive an internationally recognized Master of Science degree (MSc) in Information Sciences. You complete the programme by writing a Master’s thesis about your own research on the chosen topic, at the VU or as an internship in  a partner organisation.

Curriculum Master Information Sciences
Courses can vary per academic year. See the study guide for the courses in 2019-2020.

The Master programme Information Sciences in the coming academic year 2020-2021 contains the following parts:

Regular courses: 36 EC
The course offer for academic year 2020-2021 contains new courses like Digitalization and Sustainability, Eco-systems Disruption by IT, Ethics and Privacy, and Portfolio ‘Digital Transition and Sustainability’.

Academic research: 24 EC
This part consists of two elements: Research Methodology and Thesis Design (6 EC, period 3). This is a general course addressing both qualitative and quantitative methods for performing academic research. You will apply the learned methods directly to the design of your thesis project.

Thesis: 18 EC
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.

Start and duration
Students can start once a year in September. The programme has a duration of 1 year.

The career perspectives for Information Sciences graduates are excellent. Graduates of the programme work in a wide range of companies and public institutions, both inside and outside the ICT sector. They take on positions as consultants, junior architects, product owners, data analysts, data management/stewards, ethics specialists, sustainability specialists (e.g. for eco-procurement, data centers), project management officers and researchers. Typically, graduates get jobs in which they act as liaison between ICT and non-ICT professionals: they speak both ‘languages’ and understand both domains. There is a great and growing demand for such professionals. At the same time the programme is an excellent preparation for your development as a scientific researcher in the area of information sciences.

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 degree, a unique programme
Information Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can be completed in one year. At the same time, it offers unique competencies and skills for the digital transformation of responsible businesses with digital solutions addressing sustainability concerns.
 
Software, Sustainability and Semantic web
Information Sciences builds on the world-class reputation of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the areas of software and sustainability and the semantic web. Also, we are actively involved in The Network Institute (NI) and the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute (ASI). The NI is a joint initiative where the Faculties of Sciences, Economics & Business Administration, and Social Sciences work together. The ASI provides an inclusive umbrella for sustainability-related research across all disciplines. Vrije Universiteit 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 counseling 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. Among others, 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

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 Amsterdam 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 “outside 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

Benjamin Timmermans'The master programme was excellent'

"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

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 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 Hiltje Osinga, programme coordinator via studyadvice.cs.beta@vu.nl. Or contact the programme director Prof. Patricia Lago, p.lago@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. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Dutch government and other organizations offer scholarships, fellowships and grants.

Information about the programme:

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the programme director Prof. Patricia Lago, p.lago@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: 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? Visit our information days.

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