A new journey with the CSE master’s programme at the University of Oulu

If you are fond of programming and a person who loves to learn new things, the Computer Science and Engineering master's programme at the University of Oulu is the best choice you can make to start a new journey.

How to select your specialization field?

I applied to the University of Oulu Computer Science and Engineering Master’s degree programme at the beginning of last year.

After I got my admission, I had to select a specialisation area between Artificial intelligence, Applied Computing, and Computer Engineering options.

Since I was going to specialise in one of them, I had to choose this carefully. So I did my research and made some points. I will share them with you here.

Choose Artificial Intelligence if you:

  • Want to learn about machine learning, big data, machine vision, natural language processing, and data mining areas
  • Love to do coding exercises using Python or Matlab.

Choose Applied Computing if you:

  • Are interested in learning and building next-generation interactive real-world systems
  • Enjoy group projects
  • Are innovative and good at designing.

Choose Computer Engineering if you:

  • Are interested in both software and hardware aspects of computing
  • Like to develop embedded systems
  • Want to learn signal processing
  • Want to build Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

All three study options provide balanced theoretical and practical studies.

If you are interested, you can choose modules from other study options as well. For example, if you choose to specialise in Applied Computing, you can still follow the machine learning module as an optional module. So, you don’t have to worry about missing out on any subject area you are interested in.

My selection of studies

After the comparison, I decided to select Artificial Intelligence as my specialisation since I am more interested in that area. During my first year, I learned a lot of new things, including hands-on experience with Python, Matlab, and R languages.

Favourite modules and assignments

One of my favourite modules was Machine Vision, where I got hands-on experience in implementing face recognition techniques, deleting background objects in a video, and building an image classifier.

As I mentioned previously, you can select optional modules as you wish. Since I love to develop mobile applications, I followed the Mobile Computing module as an optional module where we developed a context-aware android application.

I found exciting assignments from some modules that I really enjoyed while doing. Such an example is for the Human-Computer Interaction module. I had to design mood boards, paper prototypes, and Figma prototypes for a mobile application.

Internship of your choice

It is mandatory to complete a two month internship period generally at the end of the first year. You can work at any company which is related to your field. If you are interested in a research-oriented internship, you can apply for a summer internship at the university. I completed my summer internship at the University of Oulu with the Biomimetics and Intelligent Systems Group.

I took this photo during my summer internship - Playing cart-pole with reinforcement learning.

During that period, I engaged with the studying and development of reinforcement learning for microgrids simulation tools. It was a whole new experience since I was new to reinforcement learning and microgrid technologies.

I really like the programme because it gives me the opportunity to study independently. Most of the modules involved programme exercises, research paper writing, or design task. This is not a programme where you can go to lectures, study only at the last minute and pass the exam. It would be best if you committed to your studies, which ultimately improve your skills. Also, if you are interested, you can earn bonus points in some modules.

Apart from my studies, the University of Oulu has the best learning environment you could hope for in a world-leading university.

During my studies, all the lecturers, teaching assistants, and other staff members helped me in various ways. Especially when I got stuck in the middle of the lab exercise and had no idea how to go further, I usually sought help from teaching assistants. They always guide me through the exercise and also provide me with information.

Oulu city centre- the market square.

During my one year of experience at the University of Oulu, I gained the theoretical and practical knowledge to apply in my future career aspects. As I am still learning, I am sure that it will further improve my knowledge in the end.

I hope this blog will help someone out there who has concerns about specialisations in the Computer Science and Engineering master’s programme at the University of Oulu.

I wish you all the best and hope to see you in Oulu! :)

About the author

Anusha Ihalapathirana from Sri Lanka is studying Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Oulu. She loves to travel and get new experiences. During her free time, she takes short walks in the city and captures photographs of beautiful sceneries.