Netherlands, Amsterdam

Big Data in Society

when 2 July 2016 - 16 July 2016
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 1000

This course takes an in-depth look at the methodologies involved in big data analysis and the role of big data sets in social and computer sciences. Topics include the impact of big data on social agents, market activity, the associated legal, ethical, and methodological considerations, and the effect of social networks on disaster management.

Lectures, panel discussions, and project-based learning are complemented by excursions to organizations employing data analytical techniques in a social context, such as traffic regulation, communications, and government. Specific case studies that have sparked public contention, such as climate change, will also be examined via text and network analysis to investigate the interaction between public opinion, political discourse, and media. Some understanding of research methods is required.

Course leader

Prof. Peter Groenewegen

Target group

Students of Social Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Humanities. Since some understanding of social scientific approaches is required, you should previously have studied research methods and methodology.

Course aim

You understand and can use big data.
You are able to conceptualize the influences and theories surrounding big data.
You learn techniques to analyse various kinds of big data.
You trace the impact of big data on social agents.
You understand the core legal and ethical issues of using such data for research.
You can work with fellow students from different backgrounds.

Credits info

Contact hours: 45

Fee info

EUR 1000: The tuition fee includes an airport pick-up service, welcome goodiebag, orientation programme, on-site support, 24/7 emergency assistance, and a transcript of records after completion of the course.

An early bird discount of €100 is available for students who apply before 1 March, and students from VU Amsterdam as well as from exchange partner universities will receive a €250 discount. You apply for the discount simply by indicating that you are currently a student at VU Amsterdam or at a partner university in the online application.

All courses include excursions. We will also organize trips and excursions as part of our social programme, which is a great way to get to know your fellow students and learn more about Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The social programme is not included in the tuition fee.

Furnished accommodation is available. Various housing options will be offered, starting at €425 for two weeks.


The Amsterdam Summer School offers ten scholarships that cover the full tuition fee of one course. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is 31 March. Information about how to apply for the scholarship will be posted on the Summer School Website.