Data Science & Artificial Intelligence @UM

You are considering enrolling for a Data Science or Artificial Intelligence programme at Maastricht University. But what is it like? Since it's temporarily not possible to visit in person or attend an open day, we've tried our best to give you an impression. 

We're working hard on offering you more (virtual) contact opportunities, so make sure to check back soon!

Presenting: the virtual tour
Let's pretend everything is normal for a moment. What would you do? You would probably talk to students, have a look at our facilities and try to figure out what the lectures are like. You'd check in with our admissions officers, scope out some of the professors and possibly judge us on the quality of the free snacks.

However, everything is not normal right now. We feel the same. That's why we've tried our best to recreate those experiences and give you a virtual impression of the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering.

Welcome to the online tour!

This virtual tour is suitable for students considering one of the following three programmes:

General programme information

Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at Maastricht University: firmly rooted in reality

To prepare yourself for your future career, you'll want to pick up more skills than you can get from lectures alone. Our department offers a unique curriculum based on project-centred learning, where you immediately apply what you have learned to real-life situations.

Our way of teaching: project-centred learning
Alongside your courses, you work on two big projects per year. You tackle challenging real-life problems in small groups. Weekly meetings with your tutor ensure you stay on the right track. Through your project work, you will develop a variety of skills including project management, writing, presenting and working in a team. We offer skill workshops to further develop these competences, which will support you in your future career.

As a result, our students frequently publish their work already during their studies. The sky is the limit with your diploma: our alumni work at companies like Facebook, Amazon, Tesla and the European Space Agency. Curious what sort of projects you will work on and where our programmes can take you? Have a look at the highlights below.

DKE student research
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BSc & MSc

Student research

Did you know that around 10% of our bachelor's students and 30% of our master's students publishes their work in academic journals and at top-tier research conferences? Project work, theses, internships and honours projects often find their way into scientific literature, and our students frequently travel to present their work.

Here's a few recent examples:

  • Philippe published his bachelor's thesis for the Data Science and Knowledge Engineering programme with the IEEE Web Intelligence Conference in Santiago, Chile, where he also presented his work. Read more about Philippe's trip and his bachelor's thesis
  • As a master's student Artificial Intelligence, Lianne published her internship work with the IEEE Conference on Games. She travelled to London to give a presentation. Read more about Lianne's work and her research internship.
  • Five master's students Data Science for Decision Making bagged a Best Paper Award, international media coverage and attention from the Dutch government with the chatbot they built for their project work. Read more about the #MeTooMaastricht chatbot in the MSc project highlights. 
DKE bachelor's projects
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BSc projects

Simulating space missions & more

Remember how in July 2019, NASA announced its Dragonfly mission to Titan? The space agency revealed it would be sending a rover to Saturn's moon, that will hopefully reach it by 2034.

While the world gasped in surprise, we have to admit that we're pretty used to thinking about this sort of space mission. In fact, one of the first year Data Science and Knowledge Engineering bachelor's projects is to simulate space missions to... You guessed it, Titan!

The ultimate goal: a manned return mission
During the project, you work on simulating increasingly difficult space missions. One of the first things to do is to simulate the movement of celestial bodies. From there, you try simulating your first mission: simply shooting an object in the direction of Titan. The final mission? Simulating a manned return mission - ideally without casualties, this is not Kerbal Space Program.

So how do you go about doing that? All projects run for five months each, and take place alongside your courses where you pick up the skills and knowledge you will need to complete the project. You work in project groups of 5-7 students, and you meet with your tutor once a week to discuss your progress.

Other projects
Other projects you may encounter during the bachelor's include creating an intelligent agent capable of playing a game (year 2), designing and implementing a traffic simulator (year 2) or enabling a robot arm to autonomously play tic-tac-toe with human players (year 3). There are many other projects and they rotate, so which one you'll get remains a surprise.

KE@Work and MaRBLe 2.0
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BSc honours tracks

Excel during your bachelor's studies

Did you absolutely nail your first year as a bachelor's student? Are you looking for an extra challenge? Lucky you: we offer honours tracks to top-performing students of the Data Science and Knowledge Engineering programme. As an honours student, you explore research or professional life during year 2 and year 3 of the programme.

Practical track: KE@Work
KE@Work gives you the opportunity to take what you learn during your studies at DKE and apply it directly in a real-world setting at a company or organization. Instead of the regular group projects in year 2 and 3 of the bachelor's, you work at a KE@Work partner organization for two days a week, where you tackle challenges in the field of Data Science and/or Artificial Intelligence. In return, you receive a monthly stipend and a CV full of relevant working experience - before you even graduate!

Read more about being a KE@Work student

Research track: MaRBLe 2.0
MaRBLe 2.0 - 'Maastricht Research-Based Learning 2.0' - lets you get up close and personal with ongoing research in our department. During this two-year programme, your work is organised in a similar way as in professional research institutes: you work together with other students as individual experts on a team project, while being embedded in one of our research groups. You work towards a journal publication as a team.

DKE #MeTooMaastricht in the news
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MSc projects

#MeTooMaastricht chatbot

Last September, five students of the Data Science for Decision Making MSc programme built a chatbot to assist survivors of sexual harassment. 

After sci & tech blog The Register wrote about the chatbot, newspapers in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands followed suit. The student project went all the way to the Dutch government, where the chatbot became the subject of questions to the parliament. 

Academically, the chatbot was a hit too: the publication received the Best Paper Award at the 4th Workshop on Data Science for Social Good (SoGood 2019) in Würzburg, Germany. Have a look at an early version of the paper!

More projects
Want to know more about project-centred learning? The DKE student projects blog collects a selection of layman's write-ups, which is one of the tasks you're asked to complete for the projects. It features bachelors theses and master's projects.

Explainable AI
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MSc projects

Explainable Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence will change the world... Well, provided that we overcome a few hurdles. Explainability is one of those things. It's a hot topic at the moment: how can we find out why black box AIs make the decisions they do? When it comes to life-changing decisions that impact people's lives, for example in the legal domain, "because the neural network said so" won't get you far. 

Five master's students of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Science for Decision Making programmes tackled black box models and looked into ways of making them interpretable. You can read the write-up of their problem statement and results in this blog.

More projects
Want to know more about project-centred learning? The DKE student projects blog collects a selection of layman's write-ups, which is one of the tasks you're asked to complete for the projects. It features bachelors theses and master's projects.

DKE courses highlights 2019
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BSc & MSc

Course highlights

If you study with us, you'll engage with project-centred learning: you work on two big projects per year alongside your classes.

So classes are just about sitting and listening to lectures right? Well, not all of them. Here are some of the things that happened in class this year:

If you would like to check out the course catalogue of our individual programmes, follow the links below:
Course catalogue BSc Data Science and Knowledge Engineering
Course catalogue MSc Artificial Intelligence
Course catalogue MSc Data Science for Decision Making

DKE graduations
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Meet our alumni

After your diploma

Since we've started teaching in 1992, the demand for experts in data science and artificial intelligence has shot through the roof. Our diplomas offer excellent job prospects both within and outside of the Netherlands.

Will you work for a start-up company, a large multinational, as a researcher, in Silicon Valley or will you be your own boss? Will you apply your skills in the domain of healthcare, robotics, logistics, ICT, gaming, finance or elsewhere? Here's a selection of positions that our alumni hold:

  • Research scientist at Facebook AI Research
  • Software Development Engineer at Amazon
  • Senior Program Manager Business Operations at Tesla
  • Software Engineer at Google
  • Chief Technology Officer at myTomorrows
  • PhD student at University College London
  • Data and Software Engineer at the European Space Agency
  • Team Lead Data Science at
  • Consultant Financial Advisory & Analytics at Deloitte
  • Methodologist at CBS (Statistics Netherlands)
  • Senior Algorithm Software Engineer at Pie Medical Imaging

If you're curious what some of our bachelor's and master's alumni from the class of 2019 are up to, have a look at this article.

  • BSc & MSc

    Student research

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  • BSc projects

    Simulating space missions & more

    Dit is er niet
  • BSc honours tracks

    Excel during your bachelor's studies

    Dit is er niet
  • MSc projects

    #MeTooMaastricht chatbot

    Dit is er niet
  • MSc projects

    Explainable Artificial Intelligence

    Dit is er niet
  • BSc & MSc

    Course highlights

    Dit is er niet
  • Meet our alumni

    After your diploma

    Dit is er niet

Download your programme information bundle

For more detailed information, download the information bundle for the programme of your choice. All bundles contain a study brochure, a student handbook (featuring detailed course descriptions and practical details about scheduling, rules and regulations) and information about living and studying in Maastricht. 

About the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE)

DKE is a research and teaching community of around 70 staff members and 600 students. Approximately 75% of our staff and students come from abroad. Together, we come from over 40 different countries. The department has been around since 1992!

Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering
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Get to know us

The small-scale nature of our education shows outside of the classroom as well. Professors, students and support staff all address each other on a first-name basis. We like to involve our students however we can: for example, the entire DKE community was invited to celebrate a professor's inauguration. Students provided the suggestions to name our new lecture halls, and when all three of our programmes were ranked #1 in the Dutch Keuzegids, there was free pie for everyone. On Pi Day, of course. 

To give you a sense of what goes on in our department, we've collected some of our favourite memories of last year in this overview. To see more, you can also have a look at our social media.

DKE on Instagram
DKE on Facebook
DKE on Twitter

In addition to teaching, we engage in research. These are not separated activities: as a student, you get up close and personal with ongoing research in the department.

DKE's research spans the domains of Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. Our contributions to areas such as multi-agent systems, (medical) signal and image processing, game theory and artificial intelligence search techniques are internationally recognized.

Visit DKE's research pages

Inauguration Frank Thuijsman
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February 2020

Inauguration pre-party

An inauguration is an academic ceremony, during which someone formally accepts their professorship. The new professor gives a public lecture (an 'inaugural address') about their work while other professors look on. Although the inauguration itself is a short and tightly regulated event, professors are free to extend the festivities.

When it was Professor Frank Thuijsman's turn on February 7, we celebrated the occassion with a pre-party for students, alumni and staff. The pre-party featured a pubquiz, two lightning talks by our researchers (about game theory and data challenges at the Large Hadron Collider) and a live concert by the interactive, smartphone-controlled jazz trio Tin Men and the Telephone.

DKE spaces concept
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October 2019 - January 2020

Naming the new lecture halls

Ahead of the move into our new building, we asked our students to come up with names for our six new lecture halls. Here's some honorary mentions that didn't make it:

  • Skynet, GLaDOS, KITT, HAL 9000, JARVIS, Baymax
  • House of Gauss, Haw-King's Palace, Euler's Empire, Turing Temple, Bayes' Basement, Dijkstra's District
  • Master Soda, Stormbrewer, Puke Skywalker, Obi Wine Kenobi, Darth Jaeger, Qui Gon Gin (yes but no.)

After considering all 80 submissions, we fell for a DKE space theme: Deep Space, Cyberspace, Search Space, Eigenspace, Vector Space and Memory Space. The common room will henceforth be known as The Space. 

The fun doesn't end there: we will transform the back walls of the spaces with graphic murals that match creative interpretations of their names. Please don’t be turned off by our MS Paint skills, but the above image shows what the walls could look like in the near future (except, you know, better and done by someone with actual graphics skills).

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June 2019


In collaboration with study association MSV Incognito, we organize an annual barbecue - suitably named the OMGWTFBBQ - at the end of each academic year. The OMGWTFBBQ is free for all DKE students and staff, and includes vegan and vegetarian menu options alongside the classic BBQ menu.

Last year's OMGWTFBBQ was preceded by an introductory (and voluntary) game of cricket, courtesy of one of our British lecturers.


MSV Incognito turns 25
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March 2019

25th birthday of DKE's study association, MSV Incognito

MSV Incognito is the study association for all DKE students. Our department sponsors the membership fee, so as a student you automatically get to join for free!

We're quite fond of MSV Incognito. We collaborate on a lot of activities, like the career day and the annual barbecue. When the study association celebrated its 25th birthday in March 2019, we whipped out our phone cameras and assembled a small video to say congratulations on our behalf. The quality isn't great, but it's the thought that matters...

The video features some of DKE's professors (including one that spontaneously dressed up as the MSV Incognito logo) and support staff. Watch the video on our Facebook page.

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March 2019

Pi Day: pie (vlaai) for all and Math/Maastricht city guide launch

Pi Day 2019 had a lot of good things in store, including pie.

Pie for all
First off, all students ate as much vlaai as they could - a type of pie and the local delicacy in our area - to celebrate that all three of our programmes were ranked #1 in the 2019 Keuzegids rankings. The Keuzegids clusters study programmes in the Netherlands by subject, and then provides a ranking based on student satisfaction, expert judgement and job prospects. Worth a celebration!

Math/Maastricht, an alternative guide to the city
Secondly, we unveiled our special project: the mathematics-inspired city guide Math/Maastricht. In it, some of our math-oriented lecturers and researchers explain why they associate a certain spot in the city with their work. Within their stories, you'll encounter minotaurs, windmills, art installations and... train shunting yards. We even ran a month-long photo exhibition and made the news.

We strongly recommend you have a look: the project features many lecturers you'll meet at DKE, it gives a nice impression of the city and you get to learn about mathematics in the process. 

Visit the Math/Maastricht web portal

  • Get to know us

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  • February 2020

    Inauguration pre-party

    Dit is er niet
  • October 2019 - January 2020

    Naming the new lecture halls

    Dit is er niet
  • June 2019

    Annual OMGWTFBBQ

    Dit is er niet
  • March 2019

    25th birthday of DKE's study association, MSV Incognito

    Dit is er niet
  • March 2019

    Pi Day: pie (vlaai) for all and Math/Maastricht city guide launch

    Dit is er niet

Facility tour

What do students and staff say?

Amanda Kane, bachelor's student Data Science and Knowledge Engineering
"In this bachelor's you combine data science, like programming, with mathematics. Add artificial intelligence, like machine-learning, to that mix and a whole world of opportunities opens up. The good thing is that this theory can be instantly applied in practice. We learn project-based and the projects we work on are totally designed around the courses."

Fabio Barbero, bachelor's student Data Science and Knowledge Engineering
"Being surrounded by motivated, fascinating students and welcoming staff is what makes the environment at DKE so enjoyable. Professors are more than willing to answer all your questions and help you pursue your personal projects. As a fan of mathematics and computer science, for me this is the perfect programme to keep learning what I truly enjoy."

Ajkel Mino, master's student Artificial Intelligence
"The department is very international, my classmates literally come from all over the world! As a result, you automatically learn about other cultures and their differences, as well as very valuable skills for working in a group such as tolerance and good communication. Even though this field of study is developing rapidly and new concepts are launched every day, the curriculum remains exceptionally up-to-date. I’m very impressed by the programme.​"

Marc Pont, alumnus Data Science for Decision Making (MSc) & Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (BSc)
“I appreciated that the professors could point out both business and academic challenges, thus showing the link between corporate reality and my academic training. The communication with teaching staff was extremely open: I always got swift replies to questions, by e-mail or by simply visiting their office.”

Katharina Schüller, lecturer
"Our educational model is 'Project Centered Learning (PCL)', an interpretation of the university-wide Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach. In PCL, as the name suggests, a project that lasts a whole semester is an essential part of education. In these projects, you work in small groups on applying the theoretical knowledge obtained in the courses. The advantage of that?  You learn skills needed in your future career such as teamwork, communication and the ability to apply knowledge."

Pietro Bonizzi, assistant professor/director of studies of the bachelor's programme
"Are you someone with a true interest in data science and artificial intelligence? Do you want to know how these two can be used to make better decisions? Then our study programme will offer you a unique opportunity to learn how to combine these two fields to build algorithms and mathematical models to automate the transformation from raw data into useful information and knowledge."

Mark Winands, professor/director of studies of the master's programmes
"The Artificial Intelligence programme focuses on the technical aspects of AI, such that you are able to build systems that use AI. In this programme, you will not only talk about AI, but you will 'do' AI! The Data Science for Decision Making programme sits on the crossroads of Data Science, Applied Mathematics/Operations Research and AI, taking full advantage of cross-fertilization between these domains. Its transdisciplinary nature will enable you to approach and solve hard problems in an innovative way."

Tessa Fox and Wendy Brandt, study advisors at DKE
"Our advice for choosing a study programme? Look at the curriculum carefully. Does it match your interests? This is especially valuable advice for bachelor's students: there's a lot of mathematics and programming involved. It's important to realize that courses like Linear Algebra and Calculus form the basis for many other courses in the second and third year."

Not yet satisfied? See what (even more) students have to say about our programmes.

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Talk to a student

There's no better way of getting to know the programme than talking to a current student. Since face-to-face meetings are not possible at the moment, we offer you the opportunity to plan a Skype call with a student of the programme of your interest.

Hit the green button and we'll happily set you up for a one-hour Skype call with one of the students below. 

Follow a lecture

Curious what our lectures and professors are like? Now that we've had to move all of our education online, we can offer you both live sessions and pre-recorded lectures. It's definitely not the same as the real thing, and we hate missing the in-person interaction, but we don't mind sharing with you.

See an overview of planned live sessions:
Check back soon!

Watch our pre-recorded lectures:
Intelligent Systems at CERN experiments (bachelor's year 3)
Recording of the Information Retrieval & Text Mining live lecture (master's course)

We're working hard on bringing you more online sessions. Check back frequently!


Have you decided to apply for one of our programmes? Good news: none of them have a numerus fixus, which means you are automatically accepted into the programme if you meet the entry requirements.

Entry requirements BSc Data Science and Knowledge Engineering
Entry requirements MSc Artificial Intelligence
Entry requirements MSc Data Science for Decision Making

Pre-bachelor's programme
For motivated, international students who want to enroll for our bachelor's programme but who do not meet the entry requirements, Maastricht University offers the Foundation Programme. Succesful completion of the Foundation Programme will make you eligible for the Data Science and Knowledge Engineering bachelor's.

Pre-master's programme
If your bachelor's degree does not permit direct entry into our master's programmes, you may be eligible to follow a custom pre-master's programme. After successful completion you will be able to continue with one of our master’s programmes. Whether this is possible depends on the curriculum of your bachelor's degree. Our admissions office is happy to have a look at your options.

Non-EEA handling fee for master's programme applications
If you are a non-EEA student, you will need to pay a handling fee of €100 (excluding banking fees) to apply for our master's programmes. This money is not lost: if you come study in Maastricht, you will get a refund of the handling fee.

Contact the admissions office

Do you need help with your application? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Miranda Vermeer
Céline Duijsens-Rondagh

Admissions Officers DKE

Special rules and regulations for 2020-2021 applications

We understand that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may encounter difficulties during the application procedure. We are ready to help if you need us.

For general questions, have a look at Maastricht University's admissions FAQ for prospective students. For specific questions, feel free to contact the DKE admissions office.

FAQ for prospective students and applicants

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Application deadlines 2020-2021

BSc Data Science and Knowledge Engineering:
• 1 August 2020 for EU/EEA students
• 1 June 2020 for non-EU/EEA students

MSc Artificial Intelligence,
MSc Data Science for Decision Making:

• 1 June 2020 for EU/EEA students
• 1 May 2020 for non-EU/EEA students


Vlaai Coupon

Our regular open days come with plenty of vlaai. You won't miss out: by the time we're able to welcome all students and staff back in person, we'll be sure to celebrate with these wonderful pies.

If you plan to join us next academic year, save the coupon so we can't forget our promise.

Let's stay in touch!

Find us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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* Vlaai is the local delicacy. It's like pie - except better - and there are many different flavours for you to try. We even have vegan options!