Media Technology MSc

How to Prepare…

Once you have been admitted into the Media Technology MSc program, you may want to spend some time preparing yourself before the program actually starts. By doing so, you will increase your chances of successfully completing the program. This page explains what you could do in the meantime.

Naturally, your preparations depend on the personal level of knowledge and skills that you already have. Two situations that we encouter regularly are new students who lack experience with (a) computer programming, or (b) scientific research.

Photo by Dustin Lee, 2015 (via, both topics will be taught in the program. However, if you recognize yourself in either of these situations, then it greatly helps to prepare before your study starts. In particular, this helps for students with no computer programming experience! But also those who wish to brush-up their knowledge can gain much.

Computer programming

Programming is an essential skill for any creative scientist. It enables you to be self-sufficient in building research tools, processing data, vizualizing research output, communicating research results, etcetera. You need not be a skilled programmer, but some beginner-level skills are required.

Unfortunately, many students underestimate the difficulty of even basic computer programming. They assume that anyone can learn it easily, which is not the case. Our Introduction to Programming course is considered difficult for those who have no prior experience. For them, we advise to prepare by learning to use the Processing language. It is the instruction language that we use for teaching, and it is closely related to Arduino, that we also use.

To test your skills in Processing, you can try our skills assessment assignments.

There are many online Processing tutorials. Make sure that you choose one that aims at beginners. Here are some suggestions.

  • The Fun Programming video tutorials use the Processing language to teach beginner programming. They are good for those with no programming experience.
  • Daniel Shiffman's book "Learning Processing" and accompanying website are recommended by many. His lessons are also on the Processing website's Tutorials page.
  • The Begining Processing tutorial by focusses somewhat more on graphical programming.
  • The Processing website offers a Tutorials page. Besides Daniel Shiffman's tutorials, also intermediate- and advanced-level tutorials can be found there.

If you feel confident in the Processing language, then you could try programming in Pure Data. It is another programming system that we use, but you should always start with learning Processing.


Naturally, we do not expect our students to be fully trained scientists before they enter the program. However, students who have some prior knowledge of science typically do better in the program. In particular, if your prior bachelor program was not science-oriented (like Dutch HBO), then it may help to read-up on science before your study starts.

Unlike computer programming, there are no handy tutorials to get you started. One way to prepare (and enjoy yourself while doing so) is to read a popular science book from the below list.

  • Bill Bryson (2004), A Short History of Nearly Everything, Broadway Publishing
  • Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner (2005), Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, HarperCollins Publishers
  • Richard P. Feynman (1999), The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, Perseus Books

Alternatively, you could follow a serious popular science magazine such as Scientific American or New Scientist for a while. Both can be bought at your local bookstore or found in the public library. Read articles on various topics, not just one single topic.