Data Science & Artificial Intelligence @UM

You are considering enrolling for a Data Science and/or Artificial Intelligence programme at Maastricht University. But what is it like? And what if you can't visit us in person? Well... Then this Virtual Tour is for you.

Welcome to Maastricht University!

DKE SwarmLab

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

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 Artificial Intelligence 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

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 Artificial Intelligence 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

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 Artificial Intelligence 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

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

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

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 Artificial Intelligence
Course catalogue MSc Artificial Intelligence
Course catalogue MSc Data Science for Decision Making

DKE graduations

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 Bol.com
  • 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

  • BSc projects

    Simulating space missions & more

  • BSc honours tracks

    Excel during your bachelor's studies

  • MSc projects

    #MeTooMaastricht chatbot

  • MSc projects

    Explainable Artificial Intelligence

  • BSc & MSc

    Course highlights

  • Meet our alumni

    After your diploma

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 750 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

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

Research
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

DKE Virtual Tour

March 2020 - now

DKE during the pandemic

We're not going to lie, pandemics aren't fun. On the other hand... Moving things online does open up possibilities. We can do things that would never be possible in real life! Here's our favorite online moments during the pandemic:

Our first-ever online graduation ceremony ft. internet royalty
Around 40 bachelor's and master's students were the first to graduate online. The ceremonies - which were preceded by a graduation package, including a graduation cap and confetti - were livestreamed via Youtube. The graduation ceremonies featured a concert coming from our lab, including swaying robots, and the closing words were kindly delivered by András aka Hide the Pain Harold of meme fame (we're mostly impressed that we managed to keep that secret).

DKE Bachelor's Introduction Day 2020: not what you were expecting
It's not easy to start studying during a pandemic. To make this a memorable and still fun occassion, we immersed our new bachelor's students in a custom-made, two-day and mostly online alternate reality game. We disguised it as a plain old introduction programme. Our new students exceeded all expectations when they uncovered the conspiracy, defused the bomb and freed our Director of Studies in no time. Curious? We have a small report up here.

Inauguration Frank Thuijsman

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

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).

DKE annual OMGWTFBBQ

June 2019

Annual OMGWTFBBQ

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

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.

Math/Maastricht

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

  • March 2020 - now

    DKE during the pandemic

  • February 2020

    Inauguration pre-party

  • October 2019 - January 2020

    Naming the new lecture halls

  • June 2019

    Annual OMGWTFBBQ

  • March 2019

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

  • March 2019

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

Building tour

Another remnant of the pandemic, which can give you an impression as well: we recorded this building tour so that our new students, some of whom had to start their study programme from home, would be able to find their way around their new campus building. 

DKE Guided Tour

What do students and staff say?

Amanda Kane, bachelor's student Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
"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 Artificial Intelligence
"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 Artificial Intelligence (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, associate 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, full professor and chair of the department
"The Artificial Intelligence master's 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 master's 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 video call (Zoom or Skype) with a student of the programme of your interest.

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

Watch a lecture or come visit us

Curious what our lectures and professors are like? We are big fans of in-person teaching and don't normally record our lectures, but the pandemic forced us to change our approach for a while. Good for you, because that means we can offer you some pre-recorded lectures! It's not the same as the real thing - nothing beats in-person interaction - but we don't mind sharing with you.

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

Looking to meet us in person? You're more than welcome during our Open Days and other events for prospective students:

Admissions

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 Artificial Intelligence
Entry requirements MSc Artificial Intelligence
Entry requirements MSc Data Science for Decision Making

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

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.

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
dke-admissions[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl

Snacks

Vlaai Coupon

Our regular open days come with plenty of vlaai. You won't miss out if you join us as a student later on: we frequently celebrate festive occassions with these wonderful pies.

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!