Masters in Computer Science: Computer Systems SecurityVrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The Master track in Computer Systems Security focuses on system and security issues related to operating systems, hardware and applications (topics like hacking, malware, reverse engineering, vulnerabilities). This specialization in Computer Systems Security is a joint effort by VU Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam. The emphasis on system related issues is what sets this track apart from other master programmes on security, which tend to have a focus on formal methods or the math behind cryptography. You’ll be taught by leading researchers in the field of computer security. Many of the challenging courses have a very hands-on character.
Students graduating in the Computer Systems Security specialization have knowledge of
- security issues in system-level software including weaknesses and defenses;
- static and dynamic analysis techniques for software (benign and malicious);
- modern scalable computer and network architecture;
- secure software development for modern, highly parallel computer systems.
This track is a joint degree programme of theUniversity of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam. Courses are given at the two Faculties of Science. Graduates receive a diploma accredited by both universities.
The Computer Science programme is open to both Dutch and International Students with a background in Computer Science. Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.
In order to gain admission to the Computer Science Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. A Bachelor degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).
Specific requirements for the Computer Science master’s programme
For admission to the Computer Science programme, a Bachelor degree in Computer Science or a closely related Bachelor is required. In general, we expect the following subjects to be part of your Bachelors programme:
- Computer Systems
- Computer Networks
- Software Engineering
Any one of the following subjects will increase your chances of admission:
- Graph Theory
- Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence
- Mathematics (Linear Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, Statistics)
This list is not exhaustive and having these courses on your diploma does not guarantee admission; However they are a strong indication of your admissibility.
General language proficiency requirements
VU Amsterdam requires international applicantsto take anEnglish testand 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.
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 (or on 1 February) 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.
Does this course require proof of English proficiency?
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The Master’s in Computer Science is a two-year programme, consisting of a core programme and a selected specialisation. This is a Joint Degree of the University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam. Courses are given at the two Faculties of Science. Graduates receive a diploma accredited by both universities. There are six specialisations to choose from: Big Data Engineering, Computer Systems Security, Foundations of Computing and Concurrency, Internet and Web Technology, Parallel Computing Systems, Software Engineering and Green IT. You conclude your programme with a Master’s project. This takes the form of a graduation project in one of the research groups at the Department of Computer Science or an internship at a company. Most students complete the project on an individual basis, but it can also be completed in a group.
The cost of this program for students of EU/EEA countries is €2,143
Scholarships & funding
With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university. The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.
MSc in Computer Science
The vast majority of our students (90%) embark on a career in areas like consultancy, the software business, other private sector businesses or the government sector. Computer scientists are welcome in a variety of jobs including systems manager, information analyst, software engineer, policy advisor or project manager. Many of our former students now work at companies such as Philips, Deloitte en Touche, IBM and the Royal Dutch Navy. Others have created their own company, sometimes right after graduation.
The most typical job our graduates pursue is that of software engineer. Examples of other jobs are:
- web engineer
- data warehouse consultant
- user interface designer
- systems specialist
- IT project manager
- IT consultant
- systems engineer.
Graduate students with excellent grades can apply for a PhD position. These are normally awarded for four years, during which time the student is expected to finish his or her PhD thesis. A PhD can lead to a career in business or research. Some of our recent PhD graduates now work as researchers or engineers at companies like Google.com or Amazon.com. Others embarked on an academic career, either at VU Amsterdam or other prestigious universities such as MIT, Cornell University and ETH Zurich.
SBBA Bèta Career Event
Each year theStichting Bèta Bedrijvencontactdag Amsterdamorganizes a Career Event. The career event offers lectures, workshops and a speed-date lunch to enable students to meet with future employers.
About this institute
Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...
Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.
They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:
- Human Health and Life Sciences
- Science for Sustainability
- Connected World
- Governance for Society
As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.
In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.
The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.
At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.
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