Master of Science in Applied Sciences and Engineering: Computer Science
The Master in Computer Science is a two-year (120 ECTS) advanced study in computer science organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The programme is designed for students with a solid, fundamental academic background in computer science (i.e., bachelor in computer science, or equivalent). It will provide you with a deeper knowledge and understanding of computer science in general, and one of four specialisations in particular. The programme prepares you for an active role in computer science research and development, in academia as well as in ICT industry.
In addition to a meticulously designed core programme complemented by state-of-the-art specialisations, the curriculum offers a wide range of electives that allow you to tailor your education to your own interests.
Our courses promote an active style of learning. In addition to regular lectures, a broad range of instruction techniques are employed, such as group and individual projects, seminars, workshops, invited talks by experts in the field, and research trainings.
The courses are strongly embedded in the ongoing research activities of research groups that participate in various international networks and projects, and have experience in developing research trajectories with societal and economic impact – often in collaboration with industrial partners.
The following specialisations are offered:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Software Languages and Software Engineering
- Web & Information Systems
Outline of the programme – 120 ECTS
• A core of 30 ECTS
• One of the 4 specialisations: Artificial Intelligence, Multimedia, Software Languages and Software Engineering, or Web and Information Systems.
Each of these specialisations consists of a number of mandatory and optional courses; students should follow at least 30 ECTS within their chosen specialisation.
• 30 ECTS electives
These electives can be chosen from any of the four specialisations (i.e., regardless of the chosen specialisation).
6 ECTS can be taken from any of the master’s-level courses of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
• A research training of 6 ECTS related to the chosen specialisation
• A master’s thesis of 24 ECTS related to the chosen specialisation
The focus is on building intelligent software artefacts. The theories of complex dynamic systems and self-organisation are emphasised starting from the theory of complex dynamic systems as developed in related fields, such as mathematics, physics, and biology. Besides datamining and big data subjects, students will be exposed to current research in the areas of adaptive systems, multi-agent systems, the origins of language, and bioinformatics.
You will conduct in-depth exploration of techniques for signal processing and communication of multimedia content. The programme is designed to build thorough technological and scientific knowledge of various multimedia domains, such as digital television, telephony and videophony, computer animation, computer games, and the Internet. Students will gain experience with complex ICT architectures for the processing, distribution, and consumption of multimedia content.
- Software Languages and Software Engineering
You will study languages, techniques, tools and methods to build complex software applications and software-intensive systems.
The profile includes an in-depth study and practical use of cutting edge programming languages such as Haskell, Clojure, Scala, Scheme, Erlang, ... as well as a solid academic foundation for the various advanced composition and abstraction techniques and concepts that are needed to build and maintain large scale applications. In the practical part of most courses, you will apply this knowledge in the context of a wide variety of innovative hardware such as mobile devices, manycore machines, wearables, etc. We offer electives varying from theoretical foundations (type theory), specialised programming paradigms (e.g. multicore programming), virtual machines, advanced software engineering principles (e.g. quality assurance, meta programming), up to the more process-oriented aspects such as agile development.
- Web and Information Systems
This specialisation is geared towards information-system development, and application development in the context of the Web. Students will learn about data and semantic representation methods and techniques, data visualization techniques, user interfaces and innovative user interaction techniques. They will acquire thorough technological and scientific knowledge related to the newest technological developments for the Web. Students can participate in research in the area of the development of new media systems (Virtual Reality, serious games, social systems, and the “Internet of Things”), multi-modal interaction systems, innovative document systems, and large-scale data processing.
Strong embedding in ongoing research
Our courses and specialisations are strongly embedded in the ongoing activities of research groups each specialised in a particular domain of computer science. The groups publish in international journals and at international conferences, and participate in various international research networks and projects. Master students carry out at least half of their studies within one of these groups. By being part of a professional research team, students receive maximal opportunities to learn and develop scientific skills, and to participate in worldclass research. The groups also have experience in developing research trajectories with societal and economic impact. They have implemented an active policy in technology and knowledge transfer, patenting, spin-off creation, industrial collaboration, and innovation.
A truly international context
About half of the students in our master’s programme come from Belgium, whereas the other half come from all over the world. Courses are taught and guided by a similarly diverse mix of professors and assistants. The membership of the research groups is truly international, and you can communicate with the university administration in English.
For an overview of all Master courses, click here.
Click here to take a look at example timetables for all four specialisations.
Did you know you can go abroad during your studies Computer Science at VUB? This is possible through the well-known Erasmus+ programme, but there is also a whole range of other possibilities both inside and outside of Europe.
You can go on Erasmus exchange to:
- Germany Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
- Germany Technische Universität München (TUM)
- Germany Universität Konstanz
- Spain Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona
- Sweden Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg
- Switzerland École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
- Switzerland ETH Zurich
For more information you can contact:
Exchange Coordinator Computer Science
Coordinator Internationalisation - Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences
This master programme presupposes a broad and good basic knowledge of computer science. Application prerequisite for the programme Master of Computer Science is an academic bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or equivalent. Equivalency and admission to the programme will be based on a review of the student’s academic record and will be evaluated case by case. Starting in the second semester (February) is possible under certain conditions.
Admission is based upon acceptance of the application (proof of meeting the academic and language requirements, satisfactory background...). All necessary information regarding the admission requirements, deadlines and application forms can be found on the application page.
To be admitted to the programme, students need to be proficient in English.
4 specialisations, 4 pathways to a succesful career
After obtaining your master’s degree, you are perfectly prepared for a high-level job in ICT industry, but also for research in an academic or industrial context. You will have a wildcard to an unimaginable range of professional sectors, but no matter where you will be employed, you are boundto find yourself at the cutting edge of technological innovation.
You will be equipped with exactly those skills that are paramount to a successful career in high-end industry or academia: a sharp, inquisitive mind dedicated to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and human accomplishment.
You can even become part of one of the highly professional research teams at VUB with a societal and economic impact. Here you will be able to implement an active policy in technology and knowledge transfer, patenting, spin-off creation, industrial networking and innovation.
Career guidance? VUB Career Center is your one-stop shop!
The VUB alumni are known to be critical, independent and open-minded people. Even then your first steps on the job market are not always easy. The VUB Career Center gives you that extra push you need to make it work. They offer individual advice on career opportunities and can help you to pimp your cv, or prepare for your first job interview. And you don't have to wait until after graduation. Pay them a first visit during your studies to find out what the job market has to offer you.
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a dynamic and modern university with three campuses in the Brussels-Capital region. The main campus in Etterbeek offers high-quality education and research in a green and stimulating environment. With all fields of study being represented there, you can go above and beyond your own discipline. At our student restaurant, you will easily find an engineering student standing next to a future philosopher trying to decide together between a pasta meal or the vegetarian selection of the day.
Our students do not feel like they are just a number in a long row of unknown students. They have good relationships with their lecturers and assistants who have an open-door policy where students with questions are always welcome. Small group workshops are also used to ensure close interaction and hands-on experience. Educational assessment conducted annually indicates that our students are “satisfied” to “very satisfied” with 90% of their courses.
Lecture halls and laboratories are furnished with the most up-to-date equipment. Modern sports facilities, including gymnasiums, fitness rooms, tennis and squash courts, and a swimming pool, can be found on campus.
Brussels is the capital of Europe, but it wasn't always. Actually, Victor Hugo was amongst the first pro-Europeans who redeemed Brussels' geographical location ideal to be the capital of Europe.
You will encounter a strange mix of skyscrapers and small curving streets, of bourgeois and bohémien, of oui and non. It will get you lost, but it does so with everyone.
Brussels gives you what you expect from a real city: high buildings, busy traffic, an underground art scene, eccentric old ladies dressed in drag, bars on every corner, and a lot of love from the locals. Brussels is officially a bilingual city, which means that everywhere you go you'll see signs in French and in Dutch (and very often in English too). However, you'll find that most people in Brussels are native French speakers rather than Dutch speakers.
Here, in our belle Bruxelles you'll discover one of the greatest cities in Europe...
Brussels is a challenging city which you can explore endlessly, but you have to take some time to discover its true face. For a push in the right direction, take a look at the following pages:
I am from Egypt and just graduated from the two-year Master in Computer Science, profile Artificial Intelligence (AI). I would definitely recommend this challenging programme to all graduate students who want to reach a high level of research. The diversity of courses also allowed me to grasp the essence of research in different disciplines. I had a great time in Brussels, learned so much and made friends from all over the world.
I am currently studying Computer Science, profile Web & Information Systems. I specifically chose this programme, because I wanted to get more experience and knowledge in the rapidly growing area of web technologies, methodologies and applications. The programme is demanding and it is not always easy to manage our time for the projects we are required to during the year. You need to manage your time well, but this prepares us for the pressure that comes with the job. We are also required to read a lot of papers and books. This helps to have an open mind, and helps you to realise there are so many recent technologies and there is so much research going on. I highly recommend this programme, even to some of the professors from my previous university.
Being an international student, from Indonesia, at VUB is truly one of the greatest experiences in my life so far. I made friends from different countries. We share and discuss not only things related to our study programme, but also about our cultures, food, languages, etc.
I am from Vietnam, a beautiful country in South East Asia. After finishing my Bachelor's degree, I worked there as a software developer for three years. I was tired of the daily routine and repetitiveness of my job. This stimulated me to try to pursue a higher education degree and to go out and see the world. I chose VUB because it is in Brussels - the heart of Europe - and it warmly welcomes international students. The Computer Science program in VUB is more challenging than I expected, but that also means I have learned a lot. It gave me the opportunity to learn many new challenging paradigms and programming languages. The professors and teaching assistants are friendly and approachable, and they inspire me a lot.
Thu Huong Ly
I arrived in Brussels two years ago from Germany. My first time in Belgium. The aim was to finish my masters in Computer Science, but it was not easy in the beginning. That's why I entered the job market in Brussels and worked for a few months for a start-up, followed by an internship at an NGO.
After my internship, I decided to restart my studies. The profile of the VUB's Master in Computer Science looked promising. So, I decided to give it a shot. And I'm not disappointed. I like the focus on projects in a lot of the courses. I really feel that I am learning something, because I have the freedom to explore the scope of my studies independently while still being guided by the teaching staff. I can really see the application of computer science into practice, and that is what I like most of all!
Thanks to the diversity of courses taught in the Computer Science programme I was able to find and refine my interests in this very broad field. The Artificial Intelligence specialisation offered a challenging and interesting path into a subject that is embedded in nearly every new technological advancement.
The style of teaching pushed us to keep exploring beyond the course material, and allowed me to gain a deep familiarity with the latest research. There was an important emphasis on the foundations of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, something that helps me in my career when keeping up with the latest academic work.
Tom Jaspers, Google UK, London
During my Bachelor studies, I became interested in programming languages because they are the primary tools with which computer scientists can express themselves. By designing a programming language, you are defining the rules by which programmers can transform their thoughts into software. In the Master’s programme, the Software Languages and Software Engineering specialisation provided me with a profound understanding of the fundamental concepts used to design and use programming languages. The language-related courses focussed on well-designed academic languages as well as on mainstream ones. While writing my master’s thesis, I came into contact with researchers from Microsoft, and went on to perform an internship at Microsoft Research in Redmond. There, I worked on an innovative programming language and development environment for mobile applications.
Tim Coppieters, PhD student at the Software Languages Lab