logo

Computer Science

Do you already have an academic bachelor in Computer Science and would you like to work towards an even deeper scientific understanding and knowledge? Then our master in Computer Science is the programme you’re looking for! The two-year programme has a broad scope, but also offers a wide variety of highly specialised elective courses. As such, it actively prepares students for positions in scientific research and in state-of-the-art development projects.

Strong embedding in ongoing research

Our courses and specialisations are strongly embedded in the ongoing activities of research groups that are each specialised in a particular domain of computer science. The groups publish in international journals and at international conferences, and participate in 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 have the best opportunities to learn and develop scientific skills, and to participate in world-class 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.

This master's programme is jointly organised by two departments, the Department of Computer Science at the Faculty of Sciences and the Department of Electronics at the Department of Engineering. Together, they employ more than 200 researchers, who cover a wide range of research topics.

A truly international context

About half of the students in our master’s programme come from Belgium, 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. 

Tom Jaspers, VUB alumnus Computer Science, Google UK, London

Important emphasis on foundations

“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.”

Yasmin Fathy, VUB alumna Computer Science

Grasped the essence of research in different disciplines

"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."

More about next academic year?

Check out the latest updates

VUB in the media

For all VUB news and recent developments, check our newspage vubtoday!

Four specialisations

Our master programme has been designed for students with a solid, fundamental academic background in computer science (such as a bachelor in computer science, or equivalent). It will provide you with a deeper knowledge and understanding of computer science in general, as well as of the state of the art in one of four specialisations:

  • The Artificial Intelligence specialisation is all about building intelligent software artefacts. We emphasise the theories of complex dynamic systems and self-organisation, starting from the theory of complex dynamic systems as developed in related fields, such as mathematics, physics and biology. In addition to data mining and big data, students will be exposed to current research in the areas of adaptive systems, multi-agent systems, the origins of language and bioinformatics.
  • The Data Management and Analytics specialisation (as from 2020-2021) covers scalable and distributed data management systems, information retrieval and data mining algorithms, as well as information visualisation and human-data interaction techniques. You will study algorithms, techniques, architectures and methods for the management, processing and interaction with both structured and unstructured data. The acquired theoretical knowledge will be applied in the design of applications that extract insights from streams as data such as for instance produced by Internet of Things devices. 
  • The Multimedia specialisation explores 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.
  • The Software Languages and Software Engineering specialisation covers the programming languages, development tools, and abstraction & composition mechanisms that are needed for building large-scale applications. We offer courses ranging from theoretical foundations (e.g., type theory in Haskell, formal proofs in Agda), over programming language paradigms (e.g., multicore and distributed programming in Clojure and Scala) and implementation techniques (e.g., compilers and virtual machines), to advanced software engineering topics (e.g., security, quality assurance, meta programming).

The programme prepares you for an active role in computer science research and development, in academia as well as in the 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 interests. Our courses promote an active style of learning. As well as regular lectures, we use a broad range of instruction techniques, such as group and individual projects, seminars, workshops, talks by invited experts in the field, and research trainings. Find out more about the programme of each specialisation, and their common core, below:

Artificial Intelligence

Specialisation

Data Management and Analytics

Specialisation

Multimedia

Specialisation

Software Languages and Software Engineering

Specialisation

Example time table

Take a look at an example of your future timetable!

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes describe the intended knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes that you must master after completing your studies.

Do you want to know more about the specific learning outcomes of this programme? Click here for more information.

After Graduation: Industry or Academia?

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.

Phd?


If you want to continue your academic career, you can apply for a PhD position at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. All you need is a promoter, research subject and sufficient funding. Are you up for this challenge?

More info

Admission criteria

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. Entering in the second semester (February) is possible under certain conditions.

Application

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

For more details on admission requirements and application

Click here

More about next academic year?

Check out the latest updates

Impact of COVID-19

We are aware that the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on international mobility is generating many concerns and questions from prospective international students who are interested in starting our Computer Science master programme. 

Our master programme is built upon a combination of lectures and practical teaching activities, such as programming lab sessions, project work, assignments, seminars, etc., which are essential to the learning experience and outcomes of our master programme. 

We have carefully considered how to manage delivery of the programme in the forthcoming academic year; especially if some of the students cannot be present at the start of the academic year, due to Covid-19-related travelling restrictions, etc.

Click here to download this information as pdf.

Academic year 2020-2021

Should the health situation and the associated measures taken by the Belgian authorities prevent on-campus teaching at the start of academic year, then the courses will go digital for all students. 

Our master programme has a core set of courses, but also a very wide range of electives. We have prepared a list of courses that are guaranteed to be available for distance learning in the academic year 2020-2021. There are three requirements:

  1. You will need to be registered in full for the programme and for the courses you select, because you will need access to the learning platform of the VUB and the individual spaces of each course.
  2. We expect you to have access to a reliable, modern computer and network connection including a webcam, microphone and loudspeakers.
  3. We expect flexibility from you regarding the live on-line lectures, seminars, Q&A sessions etc. as they will take place during standard office hours in the Brussels time zone, and therefore they may take place at times which are unusual for your time zone.

Of course we hope to welcome you in person to Brussels in September, but if this is not possible we guarantee that you will be able to start the Computer Science master programme by choosing from the list of courses that we have carefully prepared for this purpose.

Click here to download this information as pdf.

Courses available for distance learning

The following courses are guaranteed to be available for distance learning in the academic year 2020-2021.

The different working methods for distance learning include digitally recorded lectures, live on-line lectures, Q&A, and exercise sessions, instructional movies, remote assignments, etc. Different combinations of these working methods are used depending on the course.

Click here to download this information as pdf.