1. Reasons for updates
  2. Learning process
  3. Degree in one year
  4. How to apply

Reasons for updates

Programming and Artificial Intelligence is ITMO’s oldest Master’s program, established in 1996 for the first Bachelor’s graduates of the then-Department of Computer Technologies. The program was designed for students with a solid IT background so that they could take specialized courses in applied programming and machine learning alongside their jobs. 

Over the years, the program’s students have repeatedly won major international programming contests, such as ICPC, Google Code Jam, and Huawei Cup, as well as launched their own startups and joined IT leaders and hedge funds, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

Among this year’s innovations are two tracks and greater flexibility. 

“We recognize and accept modern trends. Students need personalized learning. They want to have a say on what and how they will study, and which skills they will acquire,” says Vitaly Aksenov, the head of the Master’s program. “Hence, starting this year, we’re offering separate tracks for researchers and practitioners, as well as a flexible curriculum. This way, students who have just got into IT can opt for more simple, basic disciplines, whereas more experienced students will take on hardcore training.”

Vitaly Aksenov. Credit: ITMO.NEWS

Vitaly Aksenov. Credit: ITMO.NEWS

Learning process

Prospective students need to decide on their future tracks while still applying, as they will begin with their projects as early as September. 

Applied track. Although the track is best suited for applicants with a mathematical background, programming skills (at least one programming language), and work experience, non-specialists can apply for the track, too. The program’s head will help students who have studied programming on their own or taken online courses to select courses according to their level.

Within the first month, students will be offered an array of various disciplines to find the one to their liking, be it software engineering or data analysis. Once they settle on their field, they will be able to shape their own study plan following their interests, level, and recommendations from the head of the program. In total, students can choose from more than 50 courses in various programming fields. 

Nevertheless, some courses are mandatory. A number of courses can be selected from the curricula of the Bachelor’s program Computer Technologies: Programming and Artificial Intelligence or other Master’s programs offered by the Institute of Applied Computer Science: 

  • Software Engineering;
  • Deep Learning and Generative AI;
  • Highload Systems, etc.

To study the disciplines, students need to confirm their knowledge and get their study plan approved by the head of the program and their curators. 

On top of that, each semester students will work on their own projects, whether it’s their idea or a case from an employer or a partner company (VK, Gazprom Neft, or Yandex).

“Just like with our other programs, we want our students to be able to work on real-life cases while they are still at university, thus equipping them with an enhanced CV that will get them a spot in leading IT companies,” says Anton Kuznetsov, the head of ITMO’s Institute of Applied Computer Science. 

Academic track. This track will work best for IT and mathematics majors with some research experience who wish to learn to conduct large-scale studies – from choosing a topic to publication – and prep for their PhDs in Russia or abroad. 

Students will engage in research activities in their first semester so it is recommended for applicants to pre-select their supervisor by choosing one of the program’s researchers or putting forward another candidate. 

Students of both tracks will have a number of core disciplines, such as Advanced Algorithms and Data Structures, Complexity Theory, Optimization and Sampling, as well as the ones recommended by supervisors, and specialized research-centered courses, such as Journal Club, Academic Writing, Data Visualization, and Applied Mathematical Statistics. 

The projects offered within both tracks are suggested by the university’s partners, among which are the International Laboratory "Computer Technologies," the Research Center “Strong AI in Industry,” King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), VK Lab, and R&D departments of other IT companies. 



Degree in one year

Students who need their Master’s degrees to pursue their PhDs or get a better job can take advantage of the Master’s-PhD program. The one-year program implies a more intense workload, with students challenged to master more disciplines per semester and simultaneously prepare for and write their theses. Therefore, in order to get into the track, candidates need to prove that they can handle the workload, as well as have gained sufficient work experience and completed additional Bachelor’s courses, the credits for which can be transferred towards their Master’s degrees. Another prerequisite is research groundwork for their future thesis. 

How to apply

Applicants can get enrolled into the program via:

  • entrance exams;
  • ITMO’s Mega Contest (categories Artificial Intelligence; Cloud Technologies and Networks; Software Engineering and Computer Technologies, and Mathematical Modeling);
  • I Am a Professional contest (categories Artificial Intelligence; Programming and Information Technologies, and Software Engineering);
  • Congress of Young Scientists (categories Information Technologies and Artificial Intelligence);
  • ITMO’s Portfolio contest;
  • Getting a letter of recommendation from the head of the program.

You can find more enrollment opportunities here or ask your questions in the program’s chat for prospective students in Telegram.

ITMO’s Institute of Applied Computer Science