MSc in Human-Machine Communication

University of Groningen

Program Description

MSc in Human-Machine Communication

University of Groningen

University of Groningen


How can we model human task performance? How do our brains combine visual and auditory information? What is the ideal interface for a tired air traffic controller?

The Master's degree programme in Human-Machine Communication (HMC) focuses on Cognitive Science and its applications. By knowing more about cognition you can, for example, improve the communication between humans and complex computer systems, use language and speech technology or develop simulation models of users. HMC provides you with insights into human cognition and teaches you to use this knowledge in applied settings, such as tutoring systems, speech technology and human-computer interaction.

Two questions form the basis for this programme:

  • How does human cognition work?
  • How can we use this knowledge in applied settings?

To answer these questions, you have to know how humans perform specific tasks and how this performance limits and affects task performance. How do humans acquire new skills and how do they learn to adapt to a new task? It is important to know in which way information is transferred; the most natural way of human communication is language. But what about machines? Maybe keyboards, choice menus or multi-touch are more suitable.

Programme options

Cognitive Engineering (specialization)

Cognitive Language Modelling (specialization)

Cognitive Modelling (specialization)

Computational Cognitive Neuroscience (specialization)

HTSM Honours Master (honours program)

This Master's degree programme gives access to the additional, highly selective, High Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM) Honours Master.

The HTSM Honours Master is organized in cooperation with Philips and other major industry partners.

2-year programme; credits per year: 60 ECTS; most courses are 5 ECTS.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 60 EC

Exchange: All our science and engineering programmes offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America. Our exchange programmes have a typical duration of one semester and count toward your final degree.

Admission requirements

previous education A Bachelor's degree in Artificial Intelligence, Psychology or a relevant degree including the following subjects: Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology or Cognitive Science, Statistics and Research methods, practical skills in Programming. This is merely an indication of required background knowledge. The admissions board determines whether the specific contents of this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the master programme for which you applied.
other admission requirements SCHOLARSHIPS

In cooperation with major national and international companies, we welcome students with several scholarships

ASML Scholarship: ASML is one of the world's leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. The €5000 p/y scholarship is awarded every year to 25 exceptional students, who get the chance to become a Technology Ambassador within their scholarship period.

Language requirements

Exam Minimum score
IELTS overall band 6.5
TOEFL paper-based 580
TOEFL computer-based 237
TOEFL internet-based 92

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Programme form
EU/EEA 2017-2018 € 2006 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2017-2018 € 14200 full-time

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
EU/EEA students 01 November 2017, 01 May 2018 01 February 2018, 01 September 2018
non-EU/EEA students 01 November 2017, 01 April 2018 01 February 2018, 01 September 2018

Job prospects

Once you have obtained your Master's degree, you can then use your skills in industrial research & development departments or usability labs, where you make sure that knowledge about human thinking and acting is used as early as possible in the design process.

In companies where computer software and new media applications are made, user interface design experts, usability testers and interaction designers are needed. If you have specialized in the field of speech and language technology, you can, for instance, get a job at a telecommunication company.

You could also choose to get a job at a research institute where you work as a researcher. This can be done at a university (PhD studentship) or at a research institute like TNO. About 50% of our students choose a career as a scientist, mostly as PhD student.

Job examples

  • Work for a telecommunication company
  • Interaction designer
  • Usability tester
  • PhD research position

Interdisciplinary in nature

Within the Master's degree programme Human-Machine Communication, much of the research is connected to the Department of Artificial Intelligence and the research institute ALICE (Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering). Most of the teachers in the Master's programme participate as a researcher in ALICE and the content of the courses is closely linked to their research themes.

The research in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering is inherently interdisciplinary in nature. With Computing Science, an interest in formal modelling is shared, where these models may be symbolic, statistical or hybrid in nature. With Psychology and Biology, an interest in natural cognition is shared, where the goal is to describe fundamental qualities of cognition in such an explicit way that computational models of perceptual, cognitive, and behavioural control functions can be constructed. The research program of ALICE covers three interrelated areas in Artificial Intelligence:

  • Cognitive Modeling
  • Multi-Agent Systems
  • Autonomous Perceptive Systems

Good ties with the research of other institutes at the University of Groningen

The master HMC also has good ties with the research of other institutes at the University of Groningen. There are ties with the Department of Psychology (Heymans Institute - Prof Addie Johnson), the department Alfa-computer science (the Centre for Language and Cognition Groningen - Dr Petra Hendriks, Dr Leonie Bosveld-de Smet, Dr Gosse Bouma, Prof Ir John Nerbonne, Dr Gertjan van Noord) and the research centre Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences (Prof Ir Diek Duifhuis).

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Feb. 2019
Sept. 2019
24 months
14,200 EUR
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
Start date : Feb. 2019
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Start date : Sept. 2019
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Feb. 2019
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
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Sept. 2019
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
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