MSc in Cognitive Computing

General

Program Description

Programme

In this Master's specialization, you learn how models based on neural information processing can be used to develop artificial systems, such as neuromorphic hardware and deep neural networks, as well as the development of new computational models, machine learning approaches, and classification techniques to better understand how the human brain realizes cognition. You will learn about fundamental questions with respect to the brain and cognition, like how we can explain and make sense of our sensory inputs, and how the brain can be so remarkably efficient given bounded resources.

Our cognitive focus leads to a highly interdisciplinary AI program where students gain skills and knowledge from a number of different areas such as mathematics, computer science, psychology and neuroscience combined with a core foundation of artificial intelligence. Together with the world-renowned Donders Institute, the Behavioural Science Institute and various other leading research centers in Nijmegen, we train our students to become excellent researchers in AI. Master’s students are free to use state-of-the-art facilities available on campus, like equipment for brain imaging as EEG, fMRI, and MEG.

To help you decide on a research topic we organize a yearly AI Thesis Conference where graduating students present their work, companies will offer internship possibilities, and Donders PIs will present recent and potential research projects. Our Good AIfternoon seminar series often hosts company and NGO representatives giving a teaser of research possibilities. We are also open to any of your own ideas for research. Our AI students are a close-knit group; they have their own room in which they often get together to interact, debate and develop their ideas. Every student also receives personal guidance and supervision from a member of our expert staff.

Facts & Figures

  • Degree: Master of Science (MSc)
  • Faculty: Social Sciences
  • Croho code: 66981
  • Duration: 2 year (120 EC), full time
  • Start month(s): September
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Enrolled students: 25-50 students start the Master's program per year
  • Contact hours: 5-10 hours per week

Master's in Cognitive Computing: something for you?

  • You will study exciting topics at the forefront of cognitive AI, such as brain-inspired computing, deep neural network technology, and the foundations of cognition.
  • You can specialize to become an expert in machine learning, in computational neuroscience, or in formal and computational modeling.
  • You have the opportunity to study for a double degree, for example in Artificial Intelligence: Cognitive Computing and Cognitive Neuroscience: Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication.
  • This specialization is closely tied to the research done in the AI groups at the Donders Institute: You will have the opportunity to actively work with our staff members on research projects.

Specializations

Cognitive Computing is a specialization of the Master's program in Artificial Intelligence. The other specialization is Intelligent Technology.

Double degree opportunities

At Radboud University there is the unique opportunity to combine Artificial Intelligence with either Cognitive Neuroscience or with the Data Science specialization of Computer Science. You can obtain both Master’s degrees (AI and CNS or AI and CS) using nominally 180 EC (three years) of study as the double degree variant allows at most 60 EC of overlapping courses that count for both programs. With the dual degree to your name, you will be a step ahead of the majority of students. It shows your perseverance to complete not one but two Master’s degrees and simply increases the knowledge you gain.

Our research in this field

The program is closely related to the research carried out in the internationally renowned Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour. This institute has several unique facilities for brain imaging using EEG, fMRI, and MEG. You will be able to use these facilities for developing new experimental research techniques, as well as for developing new machine learning algorithms to analyze the brain data and integrate them with brain-computer interfacing systems.

“The interaction between information processing in artificial and natural agents leads to exciting new research. Recently we developed a mathematical model that approximates how people represent information about their environment. Using this model we were able to reconstruct what a person sees from measurements of brain activity obtained with an MRI scanner.”

Marcel van Gerven researcher Donders Centre for Cognition

Some examples of possible thesis subjects:

Deep learning (PI Group Van Gerven)

Recent breakthroughs in AI have led to the development of artificial neural networks that achieve human-level performance in object recognition. This has led companies like Google and Facebook to invest a lot of research in this technology. Within the AI department, you can do research on this topic. This can range from developing deep neural networks to map and decode thoughts from human brain activity to the development of speech recognition systems or neural networks that can play arcade games.

Computational framework for counterfactual predictive processing (PI group Kwisthout)

In a recent paper, we introduced a computational framework, based on causal Bayesian networks, to computationally flesh out the predictive processing framework in neuroscience. In this project, we want to extend this to so-called counterfactually rich generative models in predictive processing. Such models encode sensorimotor contingencies, that is, they represent 'what-if' relations between actions and sensory inputs. We aim to further operationalize this account using Pearl's intervention and counterfactual semantics. In this project, you will combine formal computational modeling with conceptual analysis.

Brain-Computer Interfacing (PI Group Desain)

Brain-computer interfaces are systems that decode a user's mental state online in real-time for the purpose of communication or control. An effective BCI requires both neuro-scientific insight (which mental states should we decode?) and technical expertise (which measurement systems and decoding algorithms should be used?). A project could be to develop new mental tasks that induce stronger/easier to decode signals, such as using broadband stimuli. Another project could be to develop new decoding methods better able to tease a weak signal from the background noise, such as adaptive-beam forming. Results for both would be assessed by performing empirical studies with target users in one of the EEG/MEG/fMRI labs available in the institute.

Admission requirements

Students with a Dutch degree

Master’s program in Artificial Intelligence

There are two specializations that are part of the Master’s program in Artificial Intelligence. Both specializations have their own specific admission requirements. In order to be admitted to the Master’s program in Artificial Intelligence, you will need to meet the general admission requirements as well as the specific requirements for the specialization of your choice. Students with a Dutch degree should send all the required documents to applicationmasters@ai.ru.nl.

General Requirements
  1. Completed Bachelor’s degree
    • A completed Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a Research University in Artificial Intelligence or a related program with a comparable content that sufficiently prepares for an advanced Master’s program in AI. An acceptable candidate should have:
      • Substantial knowledge of Computer Science (in particular sufficient programming experience and software development experience, at least 15-24 EC)
      • A sufficient Mathematics background (knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, statistics)
      • Broad knowledge of core Artificial Intelligence techniques (such as logic, machine learning, search & planning, reasoning under uncertainty) at an introductory level (12-18 EC)
  2. Proficiency in English
    • In order to take part in this program, you need to have fluency in both written and spoken English. This requirement has been satisfied when you meet one of the following conditions:
      • You have a Dutch vwo diploma; or
      • You are a citizen of Australia, Canada (with exception of Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or the United States of America; or
      • You have successfully completed a Bachelor's program that was taught completely in the English language in one of the following countries: EU/EEA-countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America.
    • All other students must obtain one of the following certificates (certificates may not be older than two years):
      • A TOEFL score of ≥575 (paper-based) or ≥90 (internet-based)
      • An IELTS score of ≥6.5
      • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher.
Specialization specific admission requirements for Cognitive Computing

In order to be eligible for this specialization, a candidate should also have demonstrable knowledge (at least 18-24 EC) in disciplines such as cognitive science or cognitive neuroscience as well as more advanced knowledge of Artificial Intelligence methods and techniques such as neural and Bayesian networks and computational and formal modeling.

Specialization specific admission requirements for Intelligent Technology

In order to be eligible for this specialization, a candidate should also have demonstrable knowledge (at least 18-24 EC) in disciplines such as robotics, computational linguistics, or ambient intelligence as well as more advanced knowledge of Artificial Intelligence models and techniques such as data mining and multi-agent systems.

Admission for students with a bachelor diploma from a university of applied sciences (Dutch: hbo; German: Fachhochschule)

If you have a degree from a university of applied sciences, you are not directly admissible to the AI Master's program. Please contact the Student Advisor for advice about how you can improve your academic preparation for the Master's program.

For those who don’t meet the requirements

Radboud University does not offer a pre-Master’s in Artificial Intelligence. If you do not meet the above academic requirements and would like to enter this Master’s program you will first need to complete the Bachelor Programme Artificial Intelligence.

Students with an international degree

Master’s program in Artificial Intelligence

There are two specializations that are part of the Master’s program in Artificial Intelligence. Both specializations have their own specific admission requirements. In order to be admitted to the Master’s program in Artificial Intelligence, you will need to meet the general admission requirements as well as the specific requirements for the specialization of your choice.

General Requirements
  1. Completed Bachelor’s degree
    • A completed Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a Research University in Artificial Intelligence or a related program with a comparable content that sufficiently prepares for an advanced Master’s program in AI. An acceptable candidate should have:
      • Substantial knowledge of Computer Science (in particular sufficient programming experience and software development experience, at least 15-24 EC)
      • A sufficient Mathematics background (knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, statistics)
      • Broad knowledge of core Artificial Intelligence techniques (such as logic, machine learning, search & planning, reasoning under uncertainty) at an introductory level (12-18 EC)
  2. Proficiency in English
    • In order to take part in this program, you need to have fluency in both written and spoken English. This requirement has been satisfied when you meet one of the following conditions:
      • You have a Dutch vwo diploma; or
      • You are a citizen of Australia, Canada (with exception of Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or the United States of America; or
      • You have successfully completed a Bachelor's program that was taught completely in the English language in one of the following countries: EU/EEA-countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America.
    • All other students must obtain one of the following certificates (certificates may not be older than two years):
      • A TOEFL score of ≥575 (paper-based) or ≥90 (internet-based)
      • An IELTS score of ≥6.5
      • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher.
Specialization specific admission requirements for Cognitive Computing

In order to be eligible for this specialization, a candidate should also have demonstrable knowledge (at least 18-24 EC) in disciplines such as cognitive science or cognitive neuroscience as well as more advanced knowledge of Artificial Intelligence methods and techniques such as neural and Bayesian networks and computational and formal modeling.

Specialization specific admission requirements for Intelligent Technology

In order to be eligible for this specialization, a candidate should also have demonstrable knowledge (at least 18-24 EC) in disciplines such as robotics, computational linguistics, or ambient intelligence as well as more advanced knowledge of Artificial Intelligence models and techniques such as data mining and multi-agent systems.

Admission for students with a bachelor diploma from a university of applied sciences (Dutch: hbo; German: Fachhochschule)

If you have a degree from a university of applied sciences, you are not directly admissible to the AI Master's program. Please contact the Student Advisor for advice about how you can improve your academic preparation for the Master's program.

For those who don’t meet the requirements

Radboud University does not offer a pre-Master’s in Artificial Intelligence. If you do not meet the above academic requirements and would like to enter this Master’s program you will first need to complete the Bachelor Programme Artificial Intelligence.

Deadlines

Deadlines for students with a Dutch degree

All of our Master’s programs begin in the first week of September with a few programs also offering a February intake. Please check the specific program pages for this information. If you wish to study at Radboud University, please be aware that we have set application deadlines for each intake.

Students with a Dutch university Bachelor's degree need to make sure that they have completed their application before 1 September (for the September intake), and before 1 February (for the February intake).

If you require an admission statement, please request this from the Board of Examiners no later than 1 July (for the September intake).

Some (Research) Master's have set their own additional deadlines for enrolment. Please go to the program of your choice to find out about these deadlines.

Deadlines for students with an international degree

September intake
Non-EU/EEA applicants with scholarship

Non-EU/EEA students must submit a complete application before 1 March if they wish to be considered for a scholarship, for example, Radboud Scholarship Programme, and/or the Orange Tulip Scholarship. Please note that different deadlines may apply for other scholarships. Please check the scholarship website to see if you or your chosen program is eligible for a scholarship.

Non-EU/EEA applicants without scholarship

All other non-EU/EEA applicants must submit a complete application before 1 April. This is the final deadline and includes pre-arrival services. This consists of assistance with accommodation and support with the visa application process.

EU/EEA applicants (1)

EU/EEA applicants must submit a complete application before 1 May to receive assistance with an accommodation. Radboud University will still consider EU/EEA applications until 1 July, but we may not be able to offer assistance with accommodation.

Students will receive an admissions decision approximately 3 weeks after they have completed their application in the online application system OSIRIS Application.

Some (Research) Master's have set their own additional deadlines for enrolment. Please go to the program of your choice to find out about these deadlines.

February intake
Non-EU/EEA applicants

Non-EU/EEA applicants must submit a complete application before 1 November to receive the service package. This consists of assistance with accommodation and support with the visa and residence permit process.

EU/EEA applicants (1)

EU/EEA applicants must submit a complete application before 1 December to receive assistance with an accommodation.

Students will receive an admissions decision approximately 4 weeks after they have completed their application in the online application system OSIRIS Application.

Some (Research) Master's have set their own additional deadlines for enrolment. Please go to the program of your choice to find out about these deadlines.

This list could be subject to change.

Enrolment deadlines

Students who have been (conditionally) admitted must complete their enrolment by the dates below:

Non-EU/EEA students who require help with their visa application need to send legally certified hard copies of their enrolment documents (outlined in admission letter) before 1 June (for September intake) or 1 December (for February intake). The other enrolment criteria must be met before 15 August (for September intake) or 15 January (for February intake).

Please note that these deadlines are very strict and must be adhered to. They are set to ensure sufficient time for students to complete the visa process.

(1) EU/EEA countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands (including the Dutch Caribbean), Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or the United Kingdom.

Career prospects

Our Artificial Intelligence graduates have excellent job prospects and are often offered a job before they have actually graduated. Many of our graduates go on to do a Ph.D. either at a major research institute or university with an AI department. Other graduates work for companies interested in cognitive design and research. Examples of companies looking for AI experts with this specialization: Google, Facebook, IBM, Philips, and the Brain Foundation. Some students have even gone on to start their own companies or joined recent startups.

Job positions

Examples of jobs that a graduate of the specialization in Cognitive Computing could get:

  • Ph.D. researcher on bio-inspired computing
  • Ph.D. researcher on neural decoding/neural information processing
  • Ph.D. researcher on neuromorphic computing
  • Machine learning expert in a software company
  • Company founder for brain-based computer games
  • Hospital-based designer of assistive technology for patients
  • Policy advisor on new developments in neurotechnology
  • Software developer for analysis and online visual displays of brain activity

Internship

Instead of an extended research project (45 ECTS), you can also choose to do a smaller (30 ECTS) research project plus a 15 ECTS internship, giving you plenty of hands-on experience with AI methods and techniques. We encourage students to do this internship abroad, although this is not mandatory. We do have connections with companies abroad, for example in China, Sweden, and the United States.

Radboud Career Service

Radboud Career Service helps students with finding internships, gives career advice and can offer tips and guidance when applying for jobs.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

At Radboud University in the Netherlands, you can obtain a high-quality and internationally accredited Master’s degree. Leading academics and excellent professors offer you what you need a a top-200 r ... Read More

At Radboud University in the Netherlands, you can obtain a high-quality and internationally accredited Master’s degree. Leading academics and excellent professors offer you what you need a a top-200 research university. We offer 11 English-taught Bachelor's programmes and 35 English-taught Master’s programmes with many specialisations which will give you the necessary skills and insights into research and practice within your own subject area. You will benefit from our personal teaching style, our top research institutes, and a green and friendly student city. Read less