Master in Information Sciences


Program Description

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.

Study programme

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

Career prospects

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.

Why VU Amsterdam?

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.

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.

Admission requirements

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.

Overview Information Sciences.

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
  • Start date: 2 September
  • Study type: Full-time
  • Field of interest: Computer, Science, Mathematics and Business

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 130 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Read less