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Build tomorrow’s hacker-proof computer systems

Are you interested in building tomorrow's hacker-proof computer systems?

And do you get a kick out of solving tough experimental computer science problems and understanding the many security issues that plague the modern hardware/software stack? Then our Master in computer security is the programme for you.

Check whether you meet the programme requirements and apply

  • I have a Dutch university level (WO) Bachelor’s degree (VU Bachelor’s degree, VU pre-Master or Bachelor’s degree at another university)

    Our Master’s programme is open to both Dutch and international students and attracts excellent students from the field of Computer Science. The Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. This is a specialised Master’s programme, consisting mainly of classes, practicals, and research projects in computer security with a strong computer systems focus. Students preferring to take a wide-ranging Master’s programme are advised to opt for a standard programme such as Computer Science. 

    Specific requirements for the Master’s programme in Computer Security
    In order to gain admission to the Master’s programme in Computer Security, 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. A background in Computer Science and a demonstrable, highly advanced knowledge of computer systems is required (experience in Security is a plus). Evidence for such deep knowledge are prior academic performance (especially in systems courses such as operating systems, computer networks, etc.), research projects, contributions to open-source projects, etc. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis.
    We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score.

    The programme is open to both Dutch and international students and widely advertised. All students undergo a strict selection procedure to gain admission. Standards will be very high indeed. 

    General language proficiency requirements 
    VU Amsterdam requires all international applicants to take an English test. If you have a Dutch bachelor's degree you are exempt from this requirement.

     

  • I have a Dutch higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree (or an international equivalent)

    A Bachelor's degree obtained at a Dutch University of Applied Sciences (HBO) is insufficient to be admitted into the programme. The same applies to international students who obtained an international equivalent of the Dutch HBO Bachelor's degree.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

    The Computer Security programme is open to both Dutch and International Students. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. You find all information about the general application procedure with a Dutch degree on the application page.

    The application deadline is:

    15 July for holders of a Dutch bachelor’s degree (with a Dutch or EU/EEA nationality).

    Your application will be rejected in case you didn’t upload the required documents in ‘your dashboard’ within 6 weeks after your enrolment in Studielink, OR in case you’ve uploaded (one or more) of the required documents after July 15th. Applications and documents submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

    Required documents (deadline July 15th)

    This Master’s programme requires students with a Dutch bachelor's degree to upload the following documents as soon as possible and in any case 6 weeks after your enrolment and before 15 July.

    • Letter of Motivation.
    • Curriculum Vitae.
    • Bachelor's transcript, including your GPA.
    • Bachelor’s thesis.

    Your online dashboard gives you an overview of the submitted and missing documents. Check your dashboard regularly.

  • I have an international degree

    Our Master’s programme in computer security is open to both Dutch and international students and attracts excellent students from the field of Computer Science. The Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

    This is a specialised Master’s programme, consisting mainly of classes, practicals, and research projects in Computer Security with a strong computer systems focus. Students preferring to take a wide-ranging Master’s programme are advised to opt for a standard programme such as Computer Science. 

    Specific requirements for the Master’s programme in Computer Security
    In order to gain admission to the Master’s programme in Computer Security, 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. A background in Computer Science and a demonstrable, highly advanced knowledge of computer systems is required (experience in security is a plus). Evidence for such deep knowledge is prior academic performance (especially in systems courses such as operating systems, computer networks, etc.), research projects, contributions to open-source projects, and similar experiences. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score.

    Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
    If you are applying for one of our English-taught Master's degree programmes you will have to demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency by submitting English test results.  

    Although complete applications are preferred, you can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. 

    You can find an overview of all accepted tests and scores that can be used to demonstrate your English language proficiency on the language requirement page.

  • Application with an international degree

    Application documents

    To apply you are required to provide the following documents:

    • Scan of your passport or national ID card (ID for EEA students only) valid at the start date of the programme
    • Master Application File please download the correct file from this page. In this file you can see which documents are required to apply for your programme.
    • Proof of English language proficiency (if already obtained): upload your proof of English language proficiency or English language test results. Please find the English language requirements here.

    After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure

    Application fee & deadlines

    All students seeking admission to an international Master’s programme with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable €100 application fee. Only after you have paid this fee will we be able to start the evaluation of your application file. If you are applying for more than one programme, you will only need to pay the application fee once. Your application fee payment is valid for two years.

    Information on how to apply with an international university degree and deadlines can be found here

    Grants and scholarships

    As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on www.vu.nl/scholarships or www.grantfinder.nl.

    International Student and Alumni Ambassadors 

    Our International Student and Alumni Ambassadors are happy to tell you all about their experiences with studying at VU Amsterdam and living in Amsterdam.

    • Our Student Ambassadors are current students at VU Amsterdam that represent a wide variety of programmes and countries.
    • Our International Alumni Ambassadors are VU Amsterdam graduates who are currently either working in the Netherlands or abroad, or doing a PhD or (second) Master's.

    You will find the full overview of our Ambassadors here: vu.nl/ambassadors. There you can chat with them directly.

  • Additional costs

    Master students Computer Security will have to spend approximately 200 euro per year on buying books. Students are expected to possess a laptop computer, running either Windows 10 or mac OSX, for participating in educational activities (which comes down to approx. 300 euro per academic year).

  • Scholarships

    VU Amsterdam scholarships
    International students planning to apply for the Computer Security Master can apply for a variety of university-wide grants and bursaries. Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on www.vu.nl/scholarships or www.grantfinder.nl.

    Teaching assistantships  
    Both national and international students who have already applied and have been selected for the Computer Security Master can apply for a Teaching Assistantship (TA) to provide financial aid during their studies.

    Overview
    The TA position is normally for 0.2 FTE (but can be negotiated up to 0.4 FTE), with the expectation to serve as a teaching assistant for one programming or systems-oriented course in each period of the Computer Science Bachelor (BSc). This translates to an effort of normally around 1 day/week (or up to 2 days/week for 0.4 FTE) during your studies, with a salary of approximately 500 EUR/month for 0.2 FTE (or up to approximately 1000 EUR/month for 0.4 FTE). The salaries are set according to the standard university scales. Each position is renewable every 6 months and available for the entire duration of your Master studies (typically 2 years).

    The position is typically concerned with helping students with practical assignments, preparing/grading assignments, etc. The tentative lineup of BSc courses for the TA position is as follows (you can check details for each course in the study guide for the Bachelor Computer Science:

    • Computer Programming (Y1 - P1)
    • Operating Systems (Y2 - P2) / Secure Programming (Y3 - P2)
    • Compiler Construction (Y3 - P3)
    • Computer Organization (Y1 - P4) / Security and Safety Engineering (Y2 - P4)
    • Computer Networks (Y1 - P5)
    • Computer Programming Project (Y1 - P6)

    How to apply
    If you wish to apply (only after being notified you have been selected for the CSec Master), you need to submit a teaching statement detailing your approach and experience in teaching & support and how your experience is a good match to supervise/prepare/grade practical assignments in each one of the courses in the tentative lineup. You can also comment on other matching courses in the BSc curriculum (which may later require TAs). You can find the complete list of courses in the study guide at https://studiegids.vu.nl/en/bachelor.

    You can send your teaching statement, along with your existing CSec application (CV, transcript, etc.), to csec-tas@vucompsys.net. Feel free to contact csec-tas@vucompsys.net with any questions about the process and the application as well. 

    Process
    Selected candidates will be notified shortly after, assigned a mentor, and invited to a welcome meeting. The welcome meeting for non-EU students (and other students interested in starting early) who want to start their TA position in the first period (September) rather than the second period (November) will be scheduled in June. For all the other students, the welcome meeting will be scheduled in late August.

    Note: students must have completed enrollment procedures before the welcome meeting. Non-EU students must have also received their residency permit at least two months before their contract starts. At the meeting they will be informed of the procedures and assigned to courses for the first semester. There will be another meeting before the end of each semester (e.g., in December for the first semester) to decide whether to continue to position and assign them to courses in the next semester.

Want to know more?

Don't hesitate to contact us!

Are you applying with a Dutch diploma? You can contact the Educational Office of the Faculty of Science for questions and practical information: toelating.beta@vu.nl

For questions concerning the content of the programme (such as information on courses, etc.), please send an e-mail to csec-info@vucompsys.net. This is to reach the programme director (Cristiano Giuffrida) and the programme coordinator (Asia Slowinska) of the Master’s programme Computer Security. For more general questions, please send an e-mail to Studentdesk@vu.nl 

Call us on +31 20 5985020 (Mon – Fri: 10:30 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 16:00)

International diploma applicants

Do you have any questions about the application or admission procedure? International diploma applicants are welcome to send an e-mail to masters.fs@vu.nl or book a phone appointment to get in touch with the International Student Advisor of this programme.

If you have questions about the tuition fee, Studielink or your personal dashboard on VU.nl, please contact the Student Desk: studentdesk@vu.nl, stating your student number.

Also, make sure to take a look at our FAQ page - you might already find your question answered there.

Contact

  • Sara Vlasbloem
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Science
  • masters.fs@vu.nl
  • Marija Bosnić
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Science
  • masters.fs@vu.nl
  • Annika Prins
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Science
  • masters.fs@vu.nl