Master in Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Program Description

Master in Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Master in Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems

This Master’s emphasizes hands-on experiments, featuring many software lab courses that train you to solve challenging research problems using software experiments. You will work on design, implementation, testing and performance analysis of complex system software. Operating in small teams, you will train your collaborative research skills. Courses include Parallel Programming and Distributed Systems, Cluster and Grid Computing and Computer Graphics.

The programme in a nutshell

The curriculum requires that you take compulsory subjects worth 32 ECTS and optional subjects worth 27 ECTS. The emphasis shifts gradually from classroom lectures to independent and research-oriented study with practical work, seminars and the identification of open research questions.

Compulsory subjects include:

  • Distributed Systems
  • Parallel Programming
  • Computer & Network Security

Career prospects

PDCS is a research Master’s, which means that most of our students are preparing for a career in academic or industrial research. Many of our graduates continue their studies by obtaining a PhD research position at a top university. Others join industrial research laboratories. The PDCS programme is also an excellent preparation for students who are considering a different career path. For example, some students may want to join high-tech companies where their specific skills are needed for the execution of innovative projects. Others will be snapped up by firms looking for the ideal combination of engineering skills and creative problem-solving abilities. Some graduates have an entrepreneurial drive and start their own companies.

Specific requirements master’s programme

  • Dutch applicants
    The Master’s programme in Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems is an internationally oriented, multidisciplinary programme based on outstanding research at VU Amsterdam. The requirements, procedures and regulations are therefore different from those of a standard Master’s programme. First of all, students have to undergo a selection procedure to gain admission. Competition is tough as the programme is open to foreign students and is widely advertised abroad. You will be competing for a limited number of places with students from Europe, the US, India, China and elsewhere. Standards will be very high indeed. This is a specialized Master’s, consisting mainly of classes, practicals and projects in computer systems. Students preferring to take a wide-ranging Master’s are advised to opt for a standard programme. In keeping with the programme’s international orientation, the application procedure is based on the system in such countries as the UK, the US and Canada. The same procedure, rules and application date apply to Dutch students, with the following exceptions: Dutch students pay the standard tuition fees. The general rules with regard to student grants and loans apply. Dutch students do not have to pay part of their tuition fees before 15 April. Dutch students are not required to supply proof of funds.

  • HBO-applicants
    Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from an institute of higher vocational education (HBO) are also eligible to apply. However, in many cases these students will have to take additional courses in order to meet the admission requirements. This may take anything up to a year. We recommend completing a university Bachelor’s programme before applying. However, students who have obtained excellent marks in vocational programmes are welcome to compete for a place directly.

  • International applicants
    Since this international Master's is taught completely in English, applications from foreign students are welcome. The starting level of Dutch university Master’s studies is comparable to that of other West European countries. International students who wish to follow a full two-year Master’s programme have to meet the standard Dutch entrance requirements. This is a Bachelor’s degree or a statement that the applicant has completed courses in relevant subjects for a total of at least three full years of academic study or at least 180 ECTS credits in relevant subjects.

General language proficiency requirements

Vrije Universiteit 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.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated July 12, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
2 years
Full time
1,984 EUR
Apr. 1, 2017
deadline for international students
Start date Sept. 2017
Netherlands Amsterdam
Application deadline Apr. 1, 2017
deadline for international students
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 1,984 EUR
for EEA students; €12.000 for Non-EEA