What are the criteria used to evaluate admission?

There are a number of pre-requisites that any potential CSIM student needs to provide as stated in the UPF Official web site.

From the provided documents, obviously academic CV excellence is one of the important points that the board evaluates.

Now, one of the most important elements that the board of evaluators looks at is the "Motivation Letter". This letter gives us a lot of information on what the person is like, what is her background like, what is her idea of our master, whether she understands what the master is about, why she thinks that CSIM will be a good program for her, what she thinks she can contribute to the master, her level of written English, what are her future wishes and goals, etc.

Do I need to know how to program?

Yes! But you do not need to be a geek programmer.

We require students with a non-technical background to have an intermediate level of programming before coming to CSIM. In other words, they must have programmed before in one of the following languages: C++, Java, Python, Processing, or any other similar language. We do not expect students to be expert hardcore programmers, but they should have the knowledge and be able to program algorithms by themselves.

We do not consider programming languages: HTML, the Flash environment (except if you program in ActionScript) or similar. Please contact us in case of doubt.

Students that do not yet have programming skills may start courses on the elementary programming concepts and techniques. Many schools offer programming courses around the world. There also exist plenty of on-line courses and tutorials. One option can be to start from the Processing programming language web site and learn from the tutorials and examples provided there.

In any case you must guarantee that you have the essential knowledge on programming before you come to the master.

What does "full-time" dedication mean in the context of this master program?

CSIM is a truly full-time master. It is quite demanding and we do not recommend to work and do the master at the same time. As an interdisciplinary master CSIM will ask from you to look deep into many different fields of knowledge and integrate them.

If students need to work to support their expenses we recommend them to take the "part-time" option of the master (look at related FAQ)

Each ECTS (European credit) represents 5 hours of class and 20 hours of student work outside of class (studying, doing class assignments, projects, etc.). Therefore, one subject alone which is 5ECTS represents 25hours of class and 100hours of student work.
On the other hand, the master project (master thesis) represents a minimum of 500 hours of student work (essentially January to June).

Therefore, a typical full-time master would work as follows:

1st trimester: 3 subjects
3 x 25 hours of class = 75 hours of class
3 x 100 hours of student work = 300 hours
Total: 375 hours --> in 10 weeks
==> 37.5 hours/week ==> ~7.5h/day

2nd trimester: 3 subjects + first part of master thesis
3 x 25 hours of class = 75 hours of class
3 x 100 hours of student work = 300 hours
200 hours of master thesis
Total: 575 hours --> in 10 weeks
==> 57.5 hours/week ==> ~11.5h/day

3rd trimester: 2 subjects + second part of master thesis
2 x 25 hours of class = 50 hours of class
2 x 100 hours of student work = 200 hours
300 hours of master thesis
Total: 550 hours --> in 10 weeks
==> 55.0 hours/week ==> ~11.0h/day

So please bear this in mind when thinking about doing some work in parallel to CSIM.

Can I work while doing the CSIM master?

We sincerely do not recommend that you combine a regular work with the master, not even a part-time work, because the master is very intense and demands a lot of work (read FAQ on "full-time" dedication).

If students need to work to support their expenses we recommend them to take the "part-time" option of the master (read related FAQ)

Can I do the master "part-time"? How?

Yes. To do so you will have to divide the 60ECTS into two years. Therefore, it will take you two years to obtain the master diploma.
The way it is done is the following:

  • 1st year: 30ECTS of courses; in other words 6 courses which are essentially the 4 base courses plus two optional
  • 2nd year: 10ECTS of courses (2 optional courses) plus the 20ECTS corresponding to the master project

Can I get some part-time work in the university to help me support myself during the master?

For the possibility of getting a part-time job in university we cannot directly mediate in the process.

You should directly contact the research groups that are more linked to the master to see whether they have any free positions that may be compatible with you.
The related research groups are:

Other than that there are no other types of accessible positions.

May I take extra courses? Or attend as listener?

If you are doing the one year master you may choose up to two extra courses. HOWEVER, you will have to pay them appart from the normal course fee and they are priced at a higher fee.
NOTE: Please note that optional courses will ONLY open if at least 10 students are registered in them.
Please contact secretary for these details.

UPF does not allow students to attend courses as listeners.

Can I skip classes and still pass by reading the class material and doing all the class work?
Is there an on-line or web-based version of the master to take without going to Barcelona?

CSIM is a master program that requires the students to attend all the classes. One of the reasons is that the students are evaluated constantly through their class participation, debates, assignments, teamwork and presentations, as opposed to being evaluated at the end through an exam. Another reason is that some courses have practical work with equipment that can only be used in class. Another reason is that the master does not have course material thought for individual studying. Finally, and very important, the interdisciplinary nature of CSIM does not only come from the contents given by the teachers but also by the contributions of the students that come from different backgrounds and different geographies. If the students do not attend the classes they kill part of the richness of our master. We usually have between 15 and 20 different nationalities in CSIM!

What is the schedule of the classes?

To have a notion of what the schedule of classes is, please turn to our Google calendar that is embedded in this web site by clicking in the menu option Schedule.

You may see that we try to put all courses in the afternoons so that the mornings are free to do assignments, projects, study, readings, the master thesis, etc. IMPORTANT: We do not leave the mornings free to make the master compatible with a parallel work (please read the FAQ on "full-time" dedication)

You may see that some classes are in the morning. This is especially the case when we have foreign teachers coming to give a course or part of it because they cannot come for a full trimester. They then have to give the classes in an intense format during one, two or three weeks and we therefore need the morning timeslots.

What are the class periods/terms/semesters of CSIM?

In UPF the academic year is divided into thre trimesters: September-December, January-March & April-June.

Classes usually start around September 21st and finish by June 20th. However, CSIMers must present and defend their master thesis orally around the 8th of July. Therefore all CSIMers should be in Barcelona at least until mid July.

Have I secured my position in CSIM if I appear in the Admitted lists?

NO! Be careful, once you have been admitted you have a very specific deadline to pay the deposit that will secure your position for CSIM. Should you miss this deadline you would have to start all the application process in the next application period available. But watch out! There could be no further chances. So pay the deposit fee as soon as you are informed of having been admitted to CSIM!

You may check these deadlines in the Application/Admission Calendar address or by asking our Secretaries

Will UPF help me in finding housing?

UPF does not have a housing service. However, you may check UPF International Mobility for help on this topic.

What is the main background of CSIM students?

CSIMers come from a wide range of backgrounds due to the interdisciplinary nature of the master.

We, of course, have technically trained students such as in Computer Science, Telecommunications, Engineering, Multimedia, etc. But we also have people coming from Media Studies or Humanities, such as Audiovisual Communication, Linguistics, Psychology, Anthropology, Pedagogy. And we also have people from Fine Arts, History, etc.

This makes an incredibly rich blend that makes CSIM a very special place to be and work in. Or at least this is what previous CSIMers tell us ;-)