Artificial intelligence popular among first-year students
MAASTRICHT. With 150 first-year students, the interest in the bachelor's of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering is so great that an additional building was needed at Tapijn barracks. Introducing enrolment restrictions, as some universities have done, is not yet the case in Maastricht.
The growth already announced itself before the summer with the number of pre-enrolments. Immediate action was taken during the holidays to make the Tapijn B building (opposite the police station) suitable for lectures and tutorial groups.
It is the second year in a row that the study programme of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering has grown considerably, going from 70 to 115 newcomers last year and from 115 to 150 this year. The popularity is related to the favourable labour market perspectives. Not only do graduates find jobs quickly, but they can also choose from many sectors.
The Maastricht master's of Artificial Intelligence, which starts in February, also appears to be in demand. The number of enrolments is higher than before. The interest in artificial intelligence in the rest of the country is also remarkably high. At the six Dutch universities that offer this programme, the number of first-year students has grown from 272 in 2012 to 656 in 2017.
Most universities cannot handle the influx and have even introduced enrolment restrictions or are considering such measures. This isn't the case in Maastricht yet, says Ellen Narinx, co-ordinator at the department. “By making clever use of buildings and personnel, we will just about manage.”
Knowledge Engineering is assiduously looking for new lecturers and professors. Narinx: “We appointed three new lecturers in the past few months, but we are still looking for professors. Many data scientists are swept up by businesses that offer excellent benefits.”
To guarantee the small-scale character of Maastricht’s education system, for the first time the department will split the lectures into two groups. “This is to create the feeling that it is a kind of community,” says Narinx. As was the case in previous years, newcomers are from all corners of the world. Data Science and Knowledge Engineering has a total of forty nationalities.