Information Sciences

This is the webpage of the the Honours Programme (HP) of the Information Sciences department (Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Information Science), Faculty of Science. If you are looking for other webpages of the HP, see the section ‘Related Pages’ at the end of this document.

Why?
If you are a talented and motivated student, the VU Honours Programme offers you the opportunity to invest more in your own area of study and to broaden your horizon. So enroll in the Honours Programme (HP), choose your tracks and topics of deep study, fulfill their requirements, and you will gain knowledge and experience that can change your life.

What?
The Information Sciences department has an unique offer: each student can mix and match courses, effectively creating individual tracks of excellence. There are two main types of courses:

1. Focused on a high quality, scientific research project that is unique for each student.

2. Focused on learning in the structure of a traditional course.

How many courses should you take?
The general structure of the HP at the VU offers the prestigious HP annotation to their BSc degree, upon completing at least 30 ECs over the regular programme of 180 ECs (extra credits). This means you can tailor your own track to include 30 ECs or more extra credits; if you include more than 30 ECs, you invest in an even deeper study in your HP.

Which courses can you take?
Consult the extensive section ‘How to complete the Information Sciences HP?’

Who can apply, how, and when?
Are you highly motivated, have good grades (above 7.5 grade point average in the first year), and have passed all your first year courses? Then you can apply for the Honours Programme!

The application procedure is the same across the entire VU HP, so check the detailed requirements, the application form, and the next application deadline here:
https://www.vu.nl/nl/opleidingen/overig-onderwijs/honours-programme/application/index.aspx

How to complete the Information Sciences HP?
Are there any general restrictions about the courses you can take? The general structure of the HP at the VU requires that the 30 ECs must include at least 12 ECs and at most 18 ECs obtained from departmental, and at least 12 ECs and at most 18 ECs obtained from interdepartmental courses. Here an example of the research-oriented track depicted below.

schemahpFigure 1. An overview of the research-oriented track that is possible for students who choose to get 18 ECs from research projects and 12 ECs from departmental courses. More figures with different available options can be found on the department’s HP Canvas page.

Are there any specific restrictions for the courses I can take?
1. Clarification: any student can obtain more than the 30 ECs necessary to get the Honours Programme annotation. In the following text in this webpage, when we refer to limits we mean the necessary part (lower boundary) and not to the maximal number of credits. For example, a student may want to compose their necessary 30 ECs out of three research projects as departmental courses (Research Project 1-2-3, 18 ECs in total) and two inter-departmental courses (12 ECs in total). However, the student can also _further_ pursue more courses and get more credits for them. Here, the student could, next to the research projects, also learn systematically about the general research process in the X_HP010 HP Research Community and Practice course (6 additional ECs). Then, the student would accumulate 24 ECs as departmental credits, and thus meet and also exceed the 18 planned departmental ECs. The student would still need to meet the limit of 12 inter-departmental ECs.

2. Second and third-year HP students can take one of the following special HP courses, which focus on the general scientific process and concepts. We currently offer two such courses, X_HP005 Big Ideas in Computing (6EC) about the general principles and fundamental insights into computer science, and X_HP010 HP Research Community and Practice (6EC) about research methods and practice in computer science and artificial intelligence. For enrollment in both courses, contact Selma Zaghow <s.m.a.zaghowvu.nl>. For details about the content of X_HP005, contact the teacher, Ellen Maassen <e.m.maassen@vu.nl>.

The HP Research Community and Practice focuses on the research process in the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence---the philosophy, theories, methods, and body of knowledge associated with the scientific method of our field. We encourage in particular students who have just started their research projects to join this course, which has synergy with their projects. For details about the content of X_HP010, contact the course coordinator, Sara Lusini <s.lusini@vu.nl>.

3. For other courses, you can only take the courses that are not already part of your own program. This means, for example, that if you are a student in the Computer Science (CS) programme, you can only choose to follow for your HP courses from the AI programme.

a. Below are the courses you can take if you are enrolled in the CS programme.
• From the AI track Socially Aware Computing: Robot Interaction, AI in Health, and AI in Health Project (only after completing AI and Health).
• From the AI track Intelligent Systems: Computational Intelligence and Embodied AI.

b. Below are the courses you can take if you are enrolled in the AI programme, in the track Socially Aware Computing.
• From the CS programme: Computer Networks, Software Design, Logic and Modeling.
• From the AI track Intelligent Systems: Datastructures and Algorithms for AI, Computational Intelligence, and Embodied AI --OR-- Automata and Complexity.

c. Below are the courses you can take if you are enrolled in the AI programme, in the track Intelligent Systems.
• From the CS programme: Computer Networks, Software Design, Logic and Modeling.|
• From the AI track Intelligent Systems: Robot Interaction, AI in Health, and AI in Health Project (only after completing AI and Health).

d. Below are the courses you can take if you are enrolled in the IS programme.
• From the CS programme: Computer Networks, Software Design, Logic and Modeling.
• From the AI track Intelligent Systems: Robot Interaction, AI in Health, and AI in Health Project (only after completing AI and Health).
• From the AI track Socially Aware Computing: Robot Interaction, AI in Health, and AI in Health Project (only after completing AI and Health).

What is in the research-oriented track?
By the end of these modules, you (the student) will learn the skills and knowledge corresponding to the level of a starting, independent researcher with high potential for further development. It is possible that the successful project will end with a high quality publication in a prestigious scientific venue -- this mostly depends on you!

Within the research track, you will have the choice of pursuing a scientific research project, on one of the possible three variants, of at least 6 / 12 / 18 ECs respectively (see details). For the former two, the remaining credits to reach the minimum of 18 ECs departmental credits, so 6 / 12 ECs, require more departmental coursework. This track is a pilot for Information Sciences, not available across faculties.

Steps for doing a research project:
1. Find a topic or supervisor first. If in doubt, please contact us. We can provide you with a list of supervisors or you can approach someone who you would like to work with and ask them if they are willing to supervise you.
2. Both topic supervisor who agrees with an explicit topic
3. Develop the problem statement in collaboration with the supervisor and determine the size in EC’s. The scope of the project can be adjusted at a later stage.
4. Register a short form of the problem statement and EC’s with the HP coordinators.
5. Develop research in collaboration with the supervisor.

Can I continue a research project beyond the 18 ECs?
You can. The HP does not limit the maximum number of ECs, it just specifies the mandatory minimum. For example, some of the successful students in the research-oriented track could choose to earn additional credits training for and then attending various conferences and seminars, where they can present their work to the national and international community.

Will the successful completion of the Honours Programme show on my transcript?
A student who has met the requirements of the regular Bachelor's programme within the nominal duration of study, who has achieved an average weighted mark of at least 7.5 for all components of the Bachelor's programme (excluded the honours components) and who has also met the requirements of the honours programme will receive a Bachelor diploma with a transcript indicating that he or she has successfully completed the honours programme.

Contact
For all emails about the Honours Programme, make sure you include the string “[vu] [hp]” in the subject of your email.
For more information about procedures and administration, contact Selma Zaghow at s.m.a.zaghow@vu.nl.
For more information about content, contact Prof.dr.ir. Alexandru Iosup <a.iosup@vu.nl>. He may delegate your questions related to the AI tracks to dr. mr. Charlotte Gerritsen <cs.gerritsen@vu.nl>.

Community
The HP has a community on Canvas, to which we invite all students who have been accepted for the programme.

Related Pages
If you are looking for the interdepartmental courses, start here:
https://www.vu.nl/nl/opleidingen/overig-onderwijs/honours-programme/interdepartmental-courses/index.aspx

If you are looking for other departments within Beta, start here:
https://www.vu.nl/nl/opleidingen/overig-onderwijs/honours-programme/departmental-courses/index.aspx

If you are looking for the VU-wide HP, or for the HPs of other faculties, start here:
https://www.vu.nl/nl/opleidingen/overig-onderwijs/honours-programme/index.aspx