Master of Science in
• Engineering and Computer Science (ECS)
• Speech and Language Technology (SLT)
Facul t y of Engi neer i ng
Facul t y of Sci ence
Investigating the true nature of intelligence is one of today’s most fascinating research
avenues. Advances in the study of cognitive processes and models, natural language
and perception, human knowledge, representation, and reasoning attest to this.
Relatedly, one of the scientific community’s key research objectives is the development
of an intelligent robot, that is, a robot that can perceive and communicate using natural
language, collect information using vision, sensors, and movement, plan ahead and act
based on this information, assimilate new knowledge from experience and interaction
with its environment and, in general, perform tasks considered typical for intelligent
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence programme at KU Leuven explores and
builds on these fascinating challenges. For many years, it has provided an internationally
acclaimed advanced study programme on artificial intelligence. The multidisciplinary
programme trains students from a variety of backgrounds – including engineering, sciences,
economics, management, psychology, and linguistics – in all areas of knowledge-based
technology, cognitive science, and their applications. The one-year programme, taught
entirely in English, is the result of a collaboration between many internationally prominent
research units from seven different faculties of the university.
Depending on their backgrounds, students choose among course offerings emphasising
either engineering and computer science or speech and language technology.
Master AI: a bridge to your future
“My interest in artificial intelligence (AI) emerged while completing
my Master's degree in psychology and statistics at the Université
Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 1999 and 2000, respectively.
I was very glad to enter the Master’s programme in Artificial
Intelligence (MAI) at KU Leuven to satisfy this interest. I enrolled
in the programme in 2002 as a part-time student, and completed
it in 2004 (cognitive science). Since then, I have been a PhD student
in psychology at the University of Memphis (TN, USA) working as
a research assistant at the Institute for Intelligent Systems.
Of all the educational programmes I have followed, the MAI is among the most challenging,
diverse, and interesting. Not only did it satisfy my goals as a growing cognitive scientist
(exposing me to various computer science frameworks and methodologies completely
unknown to me, as well as with advanced theories in linguistics, logic, philosophy,
and psychology), but it really went beyond my expectations. The MAI helped me to see
the big picture and also to understand a tremendous amount of helpful details about
the functioning of many state-of-the-art AI enterprises – and all this delivered by a pool
of highly competent researchers. Moreover, the MAI significantly helped make me
comfortable interacting with people from various academic backgrounds and addressing
issues outside my area of expertise (e.g., issues involving programming languages).
Finally, Leuven is a beautiful city: an amazing environment for studying and living!
You will love it.”
“With my background in engineering and computer science,
the Master’s programme in Artificial Intelligence has greatly
broadened my perspectives. Aside from robot and game AI,
I was mainly fascinated by the ability of machine-learning
techniques to learn prediction models and to extract relevant
information from huge amounts of data. Although these
techniques can be applied to a wide range of applications,
I decided to specialise in bioinformatics. I pursued my PhD
research at KU Leuven on the use of machine-learning
techniques for biomedical data analysis in several cancer applications in collaboration
with University Hospitals Leuven. Consequently, I had the opportunity to do postdoctoral
research at Harvard University and MIT. In a biomedical project, we found, for the first
time, distinct physiological states of the malaria parasite in malaria-infected patients
using machine learning techniques.”
Holders of the following degrees may be directly admitted:
Master of Science in Computer Science
Master of Science in Engineering: Informatics
Master of Science in Engineering: Information and Communication Technology
Master of Arts in Psychology: Theoretical Psychology
Master of Advanced Studies in Linguistics: Theoretical / Computational Linguistics
With the exception of native English speakers, all applicants must present proof of English
proficiency. Only paper-based TOEFL test scores are accepted. The minimum score is 550.
Holders of the following degrees may be admitted based upon evaluation of a complete
All other Master's degrees in science, engineering, applied economics, psychology,
philosophy, arts, law, medicine
A Bachelor’s degree in science, engineering, applied economics, psychology, philosophy,
arts, law or medicine based on a study programme with a normal duration of at least
Ideal applicants have experience with computing, proficiency in English, and excellent
results (at least cum laude) in previous studies.
For the 2012-2013 academic year, the tuition fee for all students admitted on the basis of
a complete admission file is 1400 EUR.
As a student, you should be able to formulate research goals, determine trajectories that
achieve those goals, collect and select information relevant to achieving research goals,
and critically interpret collected information. If you select the ECS option, you are expected
to be familiar with basic undergraduate-level mathematics.
Successful completion of the programme should enable you to understand the concepts,
methods, and applicability of the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, the basics of
neuroscience, neural computing, and cognitive science as well as the philosophical
aspects of artificial intelligence. You will become familiar with AI programming languages
and several advanced areas of AI, including current research trajectories.
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence is an advanced 60-credit academic programme.
The programme can be completed on a one-year, full-time basis or a two-year, part-time
basis. A basic introductory part of the programme consists of the fundamentals of artificial
intelligence, cognitive science, philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence.
Within the programme, students
choose between two options:
Engineering and Computer
Speech and Language
Each option contains a number of
mandatory and elective courses,
a computer programming component,
and a Master's thesis.
is intended for students with a background in engineering or exact
sciences. After an introduction to basic AI concepts, tools, and areas of application, topics
of focus include advanced programming languages, knowledge-based systems, artificial
neural networks, robotics, computer vision, machine learning, data mining, support vector
machines, bioinformatics, genetic algorithms and evolutionary computation, multi-agent
systems, and others.
The central focus of the
is the processing of natural language, both in its written
and spoken forms. The programme offers a solid linguistic basis covering the fields of syntax,
semantics, morphology, phonetics, and lexicography and continues with advanced
courses in natural-language processing, speech recognition and speech synthesis.
With a Master’s degree in artificial intelligence you will be welcomed by companies working
in information technology, data mining, speech and language technology, intelligent systems,
diagnosis and quality control, fraud detection and biometric systems. You will also be
qualified to work in banking or provide support for the process industry, biomedicine
and bioinformatics, robotics and traffic systems. Some graduates go on to begin a
For detailed descriptions of this programme’s courses and for the course timetable,
please consult www.kuleuven.be/coursecatalogue
“I graduated with a Master’s degree in physics from KU Leuven.
Today, it is well known that computers are perfectly suited for
repetitive tasks and data storage. I strongly believe that computers
should be used for tasks that are more intelligent. It should be
our goal to programme computers such that they are able to aid
humans in as many tasks as possible. In 1995, I enrolled in the
Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence programme to pursue
this. The AI programme gave us a very good overview of the all
the different aspects of intelligent programme design by means of
logic programming, statistical techniques, and compu tational intelligence. These techniques
are currently being used in such applications as internet search engines, predictive marketing
tools, data mining, predictive analytics, speech recognition, medical diagnosis systems,
robot design, financial trading, quantitative financial risk analysis, etc.
After completing the AI programme, my interest in computational intelligence had only grown.
I continued my studies at the university and obtained a PhD in this domain four years later.
Equipped with a whole arsenal of mathematical techniques, it was not difficult to find an
interesting job in industry. I worked for two years as a data-mining consultant fulfilling
different projects at telecom companies, banks, and governmental institutions in Belgium.
Currently I am working as a quantitative risk analyst at Dexia Holding. I still make use of the
techniques and insights I learned in the AI programme on a daily basis. I can also assure you
that the need for people with a quantitative background in industry is growing day by day.”
For further testimonies, see www.mai.kuleuven.be/testimonies
International programmes: www.kuleuven.be/internationalprogrammes
International Office: www.kuleuven.be/english
Secretariat Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence
Department of Computer Science
tel. + 32 16 32 78 17
Prof. Danny De Schreye
Oude Markt 13 box 5005
BE-3000 LEUVEN, Belgium
tel. + 32 16 32 40 10 • fax + 32 16 32 40 14
This brochure provides the most complete and accurate information available concerning Master’s programmes offered
at KU Leuven. Amendments to the composition of this programme may, however, be approved at any time. Consequently,
KU Leuven is in no way legally bound by the information provided in this brochure. The most recent information on all our
academic programmes can be consulted at www.kuleuven.be/coursecatalogue
Last updated: February 2012