European Academy for Semantic-Web Education (EASE)
European Master of Science (MSc)


Structure overview

For the European Academy for Semantic web Education (EASE) a single coherent structure is prescribed. It is based on

  • common and compulsory foundational modules comprising 36 ECTS credit points at minimum, which are taught at each partner institution,
  • selected advanced modules comprising at minimum 36 ECTS credit points, which are based on the specific strengths in research and teaching of the partner institutions. Thus, they can vary from partner to partner,
  • a research master thesis project with a minimum of 36 ECTS credit points.


Courses are distributed over three semesters. They amount to a total minimum of 72 ECTS credit points. In addition a minimum 36 ECTS credit points are assigned to the master's thesis and its defense in the fourth semester. The minimum figures gives some indication how much effort should be spent by students in the different modules and provides the necessary flexibility which each partner needs to implement EASE. But EASE still results in a 2-year program of 120 ECTS credit points which is guaranteed by each partner. The basic modules are offered in the first year by all partner institutions with the common aim of bringing the students to an equivalent level of skills and knowledge. In EASE five basic modules are defined:

Courses in the Catch-up module are mainly to fresh up the knowledge of the student with material which are the base for EASE. These include logics, databases, and artificial intelligence. Furthermore especially designed bridging courses integrated into the basic modules offered in the first semester shall help 3rd country students and students from other but related professions in their adaptation to a Masters Course of European educational level. Perhaps additional courses must be taken by these students in order to reach the starting requirements of EASE. The Catch-up module has no minimal ECTS credit points in order to be flexible with respect to the basic knowledge of the students from each institution. The courses in the Catch-up module ensure that the next courses can build upon the same knowledge for all students. The basic representation languages for the Semantic Web are covered by the courses in the Basic Semantic Web Technologies. Obviously this includes the introduction into XML, RDF, RDFS, and OWL. For the courses in this (and the following) modules a minimum of 8 ECTS credit points is required. Catch-up has no minimal ECTS credit points in order to be flexible with respect to the basic knowledge of the students from each institution. All representation languages in the Basic Semantic Web Technologies module base on formal knowledge representation. A deep understanding of the underlying logics is essential for these representation languages and communicated in the courses of the Formal Foundations of Knowledge Representation module (8 ECTS min). Courses in this module cover the basic knowledge on logic, formal methods, knowledge representation and reasoning, and theory of computing. The next two modules complete the basic modules with topics strongly related to the Semantic Web. The Web Infrastructure module (8 ECTS min) cover the basic knowledge on distributed systems, network technologies, Internet technologies, mobile services, and security, i.e. knowledge about the basic infrastructure for the Semantic Web. The last module, Information and Knowledge Systems (8 ECTS min), focuses on the more classical approaches for information retrieval. Courses in this module may cover the basic knowledge on knowledge management, information systems, advanced database technologies, and semi-structured data.

Each partner is allowed to implement these basic modules site-specific. Courses are not prescribed and may differ from site to site; i.e. EASE does not stipulate the courses. But the five modules specify the minimal agreement and teaching material which must be covered by the basic modules. The courses associated to one module must commit to a minimal educational material in that modules. Furthermore the courses in one module must at least include 8 ECTS credit points.

Ours conjoins specialization with expertise in core Computer Science knowledge is not available at undergraduate level yet. The student's specialization (advanced modules and master project) during the second year can also be pursued with all partner institutions, but varies from place to place according to local strengths in teaching and research. It is the central idea of the shared master that the student chooses the advanced module of that EASE partner university which corresponds to his interests -- with the consequence to move to that university. It should be obvious the EASE partner university for the advance module has to be different from the EASE partner university for the basic modules. In particular the following emphases of the EASE partners are

  • Knowledge representation and advanced database technologies (KRADT) [FUB]
    FUB is a leading research and teaching center on knowledge representation and advanced database technologies. Topics of study are focused in particular on formalisms for solving several problems concerning Conceptual Data Modelling and Ontology Design, Intelligent Information Access and Query processing, Information Integration, Peer to Peer systems, Semistructured Data, Distributed and Web Information Systems, Computational Logic, and Logic-based Computational Linguistics.
  • Intelligent Systems on the WWW & The Semantic Web (ISSW) [UKARL]
    UKARL puts an emphasize on developing applications with Semantic Web technologies. This includes engineering and maintaining of ontologies along a well-defined life-cycle as well as deploying such applications in business scenarios. A typical application scenario is knowledge management where Semantic Web technology supports among other things knowledge sharing and reuse.
  • Semantic Web Applications (SWA) [UPM]
    UPM is focused on developing Semantic Web applications (such as natural language processing, e-commerce, etc.). At this moment, UPM puts also efforts in the Semantic Grid area.
  • Semantic Web Services - Ontology Heterogeneity (SWS-OH) [UniTn]
    It will be possible for students to take an advanced module concerning mainly Semantic Web Services and Ontology Heterogeneity.
  • Web intelligence & Information SciencE (WISE) [VU]
    The intelligent Semantic Web techniques from the basic courses are applied in practical situations. This includes ontology engineering and innovative Semantic Web applications where amongst others a small but real Semantic Web application will be implemented. Furthermore the Semantic Web basics are extended by related techniques like distributed reasoning (e.g. with multi-agent systems) which support the nature of Web and Semantic Web.
In the final master's thesis the candidate should demonstrate his capability to solve independently a problem in the area of Semantic Web. The distribution of the modules and courses (basic and advanced) over individual semesters and partner institutions is listed in the detailed list of courses web page. The goals of the individual modules, their prerequisites and the dependencies between modules are also given. The general structure of this study program is not invented from scratch but we adopted the structure of the established ``Shared master Program for Computer Linguistics''. Good experiences with that study program motivated us to adopt their structure. However, EASE is an open study program in general. In order to provide the required flexibility for a shared master program new partners can join EASE. Openness also implies that modules can be outsourced. For example, if another university offers a particularly strong program in Semantic Web, then it may offer a module in this area which could then be accepted in our masters program. In other words, the conceived structure allows for sufficient flexibility such that the best students will study with the best experts in Semantic Web.

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