Artificial Intelligence (Master's)

Graduate School of Informatics - Faculty of Science

Master Thesis AI

The Master Thesis AI is a mandatory part of the master programme, worth 42 or 36 EC, in which you conduct research at a high level.

The Master Thesis project takes place at one of the research institutions at the UvA or at an institution or company outside the university. In order to start your project properly you will have to find a supervisor and set up a timeline. In consultation with your supervisor you will have to write a brief project description, which will be included in a so-called Master Thesis contract. This contract will help provide structure regarding all matters concerning your Master Thesis project. The Master Thesis project of students who started in 2014 or earlier should be worth 42 EC. As of the academic year 2015/2016, the curriculum has changed, resulting in a Master Thesis project worth 36 EC.

See below for more information, links and forms you need.

Before starting with your Master Thesis

The first and most important step before starting your Master Thesis is obtaining formal permission from the Examinations Board to start your project. The Examinations Board will check whether your study programme fits the formal requirements, which means you can only start your Master Thesis project  if you have completed all compulsory courses and have a planning for the rest of your courses. Please note that your thesis supervisor should agree with your course list.

Please fill in the form Personal Education Plan (PEP) in order to obtain permission from the Examinations Board .

The form should be sent to the Examinations Board. Once they have given their approval, you can start with your master thesis.

PEP form for students started in 2015 or later PEP form for students started in 2014

In case you started before 2013 and did not follow the curriculum as listed in the PEP form above, please use the form below.

PEP form for students started before 2013

Please complete this form as far as possible. If you have doubts or questions regarding your programme, you may want to make an appointment with your Study Adviser. Once the form (and appendices, if any) is complete, it should be signed by the Examinations Board.

Master Thesis AI: choosing a project

The Thesis Fair Website provides you with available projects. Once you have found an interesting project you can contact the supervisor directly or you can contact a lecturer about an idea of your own.  

Thesis Fair website

If you do not have access to the website yet, please contact us:

Register Master Thesis AI in DataNose

It is mandatory to fill in an online Master Thesis contract in DataNose, together with your Thesis supervisor, before you start your Master Thesis project.

An example of the Master Thesis contract form can be found below.

Example DataNose Master Thesis AI contract

A link to the DataNose page can be found below. Only students can open this page. Please note that you should complete this page together with your supervisor.

DataNose page Master Thesis AI for students

Master thesis contract step-by-step

1. The project description has to contain the following: a brief description of the scientific problem and goal, the necessary steps to achieve the goal, estimation of amount of practical and theoretical work.

2. During your project you are required to have a daily supervisor, an examiner and an assessor (second reviewer). These are roles which can be assigned to members of staff, or researchers at the institute or company where the project is performed.

The daily supervisor is a permanent member of staff, a PhD student or postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Science (FNWI), or a researcher at the institute or company where the research project is performed. Note that the daily supervisor is a role that involves the day-to-day supervision and scientific guidance of the project. This, in some cases, can be the same person as the examiner. In other cases the supervisor may be a PhD student, company employee, etc. There are no official restrictions on this person, except the condition that the supervisor should be someone with sufficient expertise to perform the scientific guidance.

The examiner is a permanent staff member of the Faculty of Science (FNWI) and appointed as examiner by the Examinations Board. Please see the official list of examiners. The FNWI examiner will determine the final grade. In case the daily supervisor is appointed as examiner by the Examinations Board, the examiner and daily supervisor are the same person.

The assessor/second reviewer is also a permanent staff member of the Faculty of Science (FNWI)

3. Please complete the Timetable carefully, in consultation with your daily supervisor.

4. The daily supervisor (and the examiner, in case the first is not an examiner) evaluate the proposal. When they (or he/she) have given their approval you can start with your Master Thesis project.

5. If you want to change anything in a completed form in DataNose, please contact the secretary of the Examinations Board.

Secretary Examinations Board AI

During your Master Thesis project

Please keep the following points in mind during your research project.


Follow the time scheme described in your master thesis contract (in DataNose) as closely as possible.

Finish courses 

Make sure that you complete unfinished courses as agreed in your Personal Education Plan.

Interim evaluation

Halfway into the project, the progress of the project may be evaluated (by means of an interim-assessment). This is not compulsory but it is strongly recommended. This will be a good moment to discuss and tackle possible problems.  

The student or daily supervisor may initiate this meeting with the examiner. The evaluation should help the student to improve the quality and progress of the research project. The interim-assessment form can be found below. 

Interim Assessment Form AI

Mid-term presentation and feedback sessions

Twice a year, a session will be organised for students working on their master thesis projects. During these sessions the students who are (about) halfway into their thesis project will give a short presentation and receive feedback from fellow students and teachers.

In order to be invited for these sessions, you need to have registered your project in DataNose.

Writing your Thesis 

When writing your thesis, please use the standard title page below.

Model title page Master Thesis AI (pdf) Model title page Master Thesis AI (LaTeX)

Example Theses

The UvA Scripties Online database offers previously written Theses from former students of the master AI. You can use this database to find examples.

Master theses on UvA Scripties Online

Defending your Master Thesis

The defense can be organised when the supervisor indicates that the work and the report are acceptable. Reports will be screened for plagiarism using Turnitin. The final assessment takes place after the report (thesis) has been submitted and the project has been presented and defended. The version which is submitted will be the final version and cannot be changed unless the Defense Committee assesses the thesis as unacceptable.


About a month before the expected graduation date the following matters should be arranged:

Appointing a Defense Committee

You and your supervisor propose potential committee members to the Examinations Board.

Mail Examinations Board

The defense committee must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. The daily supervisor is part of the defense committee;
  2. Other supervisors can also be part of the defense committee;
  3. Two members of the defense committee act as reviewers: they read the thesis critically and assess the quality of the projects independently.
  4. The first reviewer is usually (but not necessarily) the daily supervisor;
  5. The second reviewer (also known as assessor) is independent and was not involved in the supervision of the student's thesis project;
  6. At least one of the two reviewers has been granted the status of examiner by the Examinations Board;
  7. One member of the defense committee chairs the defense session.

The proposal for the committee should contain:

  1. Your name and student number;
  2. Your supervisor’s name(s) and research group affiliation;
  3. Your thesis title and abstract;
  4. Your desired graduation period;
  5. The other proposed defense committee members and their roles in the committee.

Reserving a Location

Once you know the date, you send an email to Linda Schnater to reserve a room. The size of the room depends on the expected number of people, so we kindly ask you to indicate this number. Nearly all candidate rooms have a beamer and overhead projector, but it is your responsibility to make sure that everything works  and to arrange possible special needs.

Inviting the Audience

The thesis defense session is public, and you can invite anyone, including family and friends. Your advisors can invite people as well. Since there will be no general announcement of newsletter by the University, you will have to invite people yourself.

Defending your Master Thesis

Once you have finished your research and you have written a report approved by your supervisor, you are ready to defend your Master Thesis project. This involves:

1. Delivering the Thesis to the Defense Committee

You should give a printed copy to each member of the Defense Committee; electronic versions are only acceptable as a substitute if a committee member agrees. Please make sure the copies are delivered to the Committee members at least two weeks (14 days) before the Master Thesis defense will take place.

2. The Examination Session – Master Thesis defense  

The examination session contains 3 parts. Budget about 1.5 hours for the whole process:

  • Your presentation about your work, in English, should take approximately 25 minutes. This presentation should strive for a nice balance between a general introduction, so that the lay members of the public know what you have done and why, and a more technical part for your peers. You are not required to go into all the details, since the committee members have read your thesis.  After the presentation, the audience has the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Questions from the Defense Committee, for about 30 minutes. Each member will ask 2 or 3 questions on your thesis and work, moderated by the session chair. Experts typically ask detailed questions, whereas the 'outside' member may want you to take a more contextual view of what you have done.
  • The committee withdraws for 10-15 minutes to decide upon your grade using an evaluation form, with supporting information from your supervisor. You will be invited in and they will explain the final grade to you in a closed session. You then return to the presentation room together and subsequently your supervisor is invited to speak some congratulatory words.

Final grade

The grade is determined by the committee members and should be stated on the Final assessment form. The form can be found below. The examiner has to send the form  to the ESC Servicedesk, Science Park 904.

Assessment form Master Thesis AI

Archiving your Master Thesis

Archiving your Master Thesis is an essential part of the preparation for your graduation. Your Thesis needs to be uploaded before you can request your diploma.

Submitting your Master Thesis

Go to the website of Science in Progress (via the link mentioned below) and take the following steps:

1. Log in with your UvA-netID

2. Fill in your name, discipline and the e-mail address of the UvA-supervisor (being the person who assesses the Thesis and is responsible for the final mark). This approval can only be given by a member of the scientific staff of the UvA. In some cases, this will be the second assessor of the thesis.

3. Upload the requested files. You will be asked to upload:

  • your thesis as one file (preferably PDF, Word and HTML are accepted as well)
  • Abstract (1 page in PDF, Word or HTML)
  • Popular abstract, in two versions: English (obligatory) and Dutch (optional). Prepare these as unformatted text. You are going to copy-paste these texts into two text windows.
  • Photograph of author (optional) in jpg, jpeg, png or gif format.
  • Most presentable picture relating to your thesis in jpg, jpeg, png, or gif format.

4. The system will generate an e-mail to the supervisor with a link which will enable the supervisor to look at and check the thesis.

5. The supervisor confirms that this is the right thesis (this means that these are the contents for which the student has obtained a final mark of at least a 6), and that the thesis may be submitted to the files. This check replaces the signature on the hard copy of the thesis.

6. In addition the supervisor indicates whether the thesis may be disclosed to the public. If the student objects to public disclosure of his/her thesis, (s)he is advised to indicate this to the supervisor in advance. In case a student objects to publication of the full thesis text (s)he has to make sure that the supervisor is aware of this, i.e. before the full text of the thesis is published on Science in Progress. Please note: if the student objects to publishing the full thesis text he/she will have to make sure the abstract does not contain any information under embargo. The abstract should and will always be published.

7. The supervisor has to send the final mark for the research project (dated and signed) to the Education Service Centre, following the same procedure as for the result of an examination. The final mark will be given after the thesis defense.

8. After the supervisor has followed this procedure an e-mail will be generated to the Education Service Centre, so they will be informed that the application of the certificate may be completed.

9. In case there is no reaction from the supervisor, the student's application for a certificate will not be completed, and no certificate will be issued.

After the supervisor has verified the thesis, the title and abstract of the thesis (+ illustration) are published on the Science in Progress website. The full text of the thesis is kept in a private FNWI database for quality control purposes, in all cases. If there are no objections from the supervisor and the student against publication, the full text of the thesis is also published on Science in Progress, as well as on Thesis Online, a UvA wide thesis repository.

Science in Progress Submit page Science in Progress

Graduation procedure AI

For information on graduation procedure and dates, please follow the link below:

Examinations Board Artificial Intelligence

The  Examinations Board is an independent committee of which the members are appointed by the Dean of the Faculty. The Examinations Board is responsible for the quality of examinations and for the issue of degrees of the Master's programme. The Board assesses requests and complaints concerning the Education and Examinations Regulations. 


More information on the Examinations Board Artificial Intelligence

Published by  Education Service Centre

4 December 2018