RISC International Master's Program in Symbolic Computation

Building upon more than 30 years of success with its international PhD program in symbolic computation, the Research Institute for Symbolic Computation (RISC) of the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, Austria, now also offers an international master's program in symbolic computation for students of mathematics or computer science.


Why is This a Program for Me?

Students of this program must already hold a Bachelor's degree in mathematics or computer science (potentially to be supplemented by some JKU bachelor courses as an additional admission requirement). The RISC International Master's Program in Symbolic Computation  is pursued within the frame of the JKU Master's degree program "Computer Mathematics"; thus students earn a Master's degree in "computer mathematics" (with a specialization in symbolic computation).

During their study, students are tightly integrated into the scientific operation of the institute. Every student is provided with a working place (subject to space constraints) and a computer and gets access to the general RISC infrastructure, i.e., a modern computing environment, state of the art software systems, an up-to-date scientific library, international guest lecturers, etc.

Graduates of the RISC Master's Program in Symbolic Computation are well-prepared for challenging positions in industry or for pursuing an academic career, for example, in the RISC PhD Program in Symbolic Computation.

What is Symbolic Computation?

Symbolic Computation is the sub-area of mathematics and computer science which solves problems on symbolic objects representable on a computer. Typical examples of such objects are

  • algebraic expressions,
  • logical propositions, and
  • programs themselves.

The problem solutions are integrated in many advanced software systems for computer algebra, computer aided design and manufacturing, computer supported reasoning, knowledge management, and formal system specification and verification.

Besides playing a fundamental role within mathematics itself, symbolic computation is thus a key technology in many scientific and technical areas today, including challenging modern fields like artificial intelligence or big data.

What is RISC?

RISC is an institute of the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz, Austria. RISC is part of the Softwarepark Hagenberg, an innovative center for research, education, and industrial cooperations focused on "Software" and founded around 1990 by Bruno Buchberger, who is also the founding chairman of RISC. Between October 1999 and September 2009 the chairman of RISC was Franz Winkler, since October 2009 the director of RISC is Peter Paule.

The main site of RISC is the Bruno Buchberger Campus in the Softwarepark Hagenberg consisting of two main buildings, the medieval Castle of Hagenberg ("Schloss Hagenberg") and, since 2013, the RISC Extension Building near the pond. RISC also maintains some offices in the Science Park at the JKU campus in Linz.

How Is the Contents of the Curriculum?

The program is pursued entirely in English and is equivalent to 120 ECTS points. It usually takes about two years. In the first three semesters, students attend courses in the areas of Computer Mathematics, i.e.,

  • Algorithmic Mathematics (13.5 ECTS),
  • Software Technology (12 ECTS),
  • Mathematical Logic (6 ECTS), and
  • Elective Courses (34.5 ECTS).

The elective courses must be mostly covered by courses from the RISC curriculum such as:

  • Algebraic Combinatorics
  • Automated Reasoning
  • Commutative Algebra and Algebraic Geometry
  • Computer Algebra
  • Computer Algebra for Concrete Mathematics
  • Computer Analysis
  • Formal Methods in Software Development
  • Formal Semantics of Programming Languages
  • Functional Programming
  • Logic Programming
  • Practical Software Technology
  • Programming in Mathematica
  • Programming Project Symbolic Computation
  • Rewriting in Computer Science and Logic
  • Thinking, Speaking, Writing
  • ...

After two semesters, students agree with a member of the RISC faculty on the supervision of a master's thesis which is elaborated in the subsequent two semesters. The thesis is equivalent to 36 ECTS points. The topic of the Master's thesis can be taken from a list of Master's theses topics proposed by the RISC faculty, or it can be arranged on an individual basis with a member of the RISC faculty (upon agreement with a faculty member, application-oriented Master's theses topics can be also pursued in cooperation with RISC Software company). After finishing the Master's thesis, there is an obligatory oral master's exam worth 10.5 ECTS points. The remaining 7.5 ECTS points can be chosen without further restrictions.

How Can I Apply?

Please apply for enrollment to the JKU master's program "Computer Mathematics" electronically as described at the following page:

A Guide to Start Earning your Degree

A study begins in the fall or in the spring semester (October 1, resp. March 1). In any case, applications should be sent in timely (several months in advance). Students at Austrian universities may be charged moderate tuition fees. Since these fees depend on citizenship, we refer to above guide for details.

In addition, please submit your application to the RISC International Master Program in Symbolic Computation electronically at the following page:

RISC Master Program Application Form

In this application, please send the following material:

  • an application letter,
  • a curriculum vitae and a photograph,
  • a list of all courses that you have taken during your university studies, including the number of hours credited (or ECTS points) and the grades,
  • a copy of your bachelor’s thesis,
  • ideally, a written recommendation (e.g., by the former bachelor thesis supervisor).

For questions or comments to our master program, please contact

Ralf Hemmecke
Graduate Studies Coordinator
Research Institute for Symbolic Computaton (RISC)
Johannes Kepler University, A-4040 Linz, Austria