Structure and course of studies

The description of the procedure is based on the currently valid examination regulations.

The Master's degree is the second highest academic degree in Germany and qualifies you not only for many exciting jobs, but also for a doctorate. It has the goal of preparing you for management positions in business as well as for a career in science.

Computer science is constantly changing, so that in some cases knowledge quickly becomes obsolete. Therefore, the master's program in computer science at RWTH Aachen University aims to provide you with the skills to independently familiarize yourself with new, complex issues. In the spirit of independence, you will have to organize many aspects of your master's program yourself: There are hardly any compulsory modules and no fixed study plan. This gives you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of one or more topics, or to acquire a broad knowledge of many different subject areas.

The master's program in computer science consists of modules. Passing a module gives so-called credits. The ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) system describes the average workload of a student: one ECTS credits corresponds to an average workload of 30 hours. For example, if a module is worth 6 ECTS credits, a workload of 180 hours per semester can be expected for this module. As an alternative to ECTS, the abbreviation CP (credit point) is also used. In total, 180 CP are acquired in the Bachelor's program.

The master's program has a scope of 120 CPs. The standard period of study is four semesters.

Compulsory elective modules (57 - 63 CP)

The major part of your studies consists of elective modules, which usually consist of lectures and exercises and deal with current, research-related topics in computer science. Such modules are concluded at the end of the semester with a written or oral exam.

Elective modules are divided into the following four areas:

  1. Theoretical Computer Science
  2. Software and Communication
  3. Data- and Information Management
  4. Applied Computer Science

An overview of the entire elective course offerings in the Master's program in Computer Science can be found in the Module Handbook.

At the beginning of each semester, there is a a listing presenting the elective courses offered in the current semester.

  • You must complete at least 12 CP of modules in Theoretical Computer Science.
  • You may not complete more than 35 CP in any one area. If you exceed this limit, the last modules you passed will not count towards the 120 CP of the Master's program.

Seminar and practical training (4 + 7 CP)

Place assignment

Since places in (pro-)seminars and software project practicals are limited, they are allocated via a separate allocation procedure in the pre-semester. This ensures that there are no duplicate enrollments that take a place away from fellow students. In the second half of the lecture period of the pre-semester, the courses offered are allocated via

To participate in a course in the coming semester, registration and election via SuPra in the current semester is required. The timing of the process is determined individually for each semester and is aligned with, among other things, the lecture-free period (Christmas, Pentecost, end of lectures). The exact dates will be communicated by mail in due time before the start of the process. However, you can expect this to be the case in the second half of the lecture period.

Offers can be prioritized so that the distribution always tries to assign the highest priority if possible. In addition, courses can be marked to which an allocation should be made if the prioritized courses are full. The greater the flexibility, the more likely it is to get a place. Details of the process can be found in SuPra.

Seminar (4 CP)

In the course of the seminar, you will independently study the literature on a research topic and prepare it in the form of a paper and a presentation. The goal is to abstract from technical details in order to make the essential aspects of your topic understandable to your fellow students.

Software practical course

Im Rahmen des Praktikums musst du zeigen, dass du das, was du während deines bisherigen Studiums gelernt hast, auch anwenden kannst. Zu diesem Zweck musst du ein Projekt umsetzen, das typischerweise die Konzeption, die Implementierung, und das Testen von Software beinhaltet. Da das Praktikum in kleinen Gruppen bearbeitet wird, ist hier auch Teamfähigkeit gefragt.

If you fail three seminars or three internships, then you have definitively failed your studies - even if they are three different seminars or internships!

Scientific Integrity

All students enrolled in the Master's program for the winter semester 20/21 or later must complete the online course "Scientific Integrity". Passing this course is a prerequisite for registering for the master's thesis. However, there are no credits for this course.

Depth-area Oral Colloquium (3 CP)

The Depth-area Oral Colloquium is an opportunity for you to show that you have become a real expert in a particular subject area: You choose three modules that have thematic links to each other and are orally examined on these topics by one or more professors. Here you can show in particular that you can look beyond the confines of individual modules and recognize cross-connections between topics that are not obvious.

In theDepth-area Oral Colloquium, you can be examined on any modules from the compulsory elective area as well as the contents of seminars or internships. It is not a prerequisite that you have previously passed the corresponding modules. However, the preparation effort is naturally greater if the modules are new to you. Modules that you have already completed during your bachelor's degree can also be part of the exam. Whether the combination of topics you have in mind is suitable for the focus colloquium or not is decided by the examiners.

The Depth-area Oral Colloquium has only 3 credits, but it contributes to your overall grade with quadruple weighting. All other modules are only weighted once. So the colloquium has a big influence on your grade!

  • Start thinking now about possible topics for your focus colloquium and choose your modules accordingly.
  • Contact your potential examiners early, because you won't get an exam date on short notice.
  • You should have a plan B in case you cannot take the colloquium with the examiners of your choice.
  • The registration of the colloquium is done by the examiners.
  • The colloquium contributes to your grade with quadruple weighting!

Master thesis (30 CP)

As part of your master's thesis, you have six months to work intensively and independently on a research question. For most students, it is the first - and sometimes the last - time that they deal so intensively with a topic from computer science. This is a special experience that can be very informative, especially with regard to the question of whether you want to work in research or in industry after your studies.

Supervising a thesis is a lot of work and the supervisory capacities are limited. Consequently, a chair in which you have hardly taken any modules or in which you have mostly received poor grades will, in case of doubt, not offer you a topic for a thesis. Therefore, it is very important that you set thematic priorities during your studies and recommend yourself in these areas through good performance.

In order for you to register your thesis, some requirements must be met:

  • You must have completed at least 60 CPs worth of modules.
  • If you were given requirements when you were admitted, you must have passed them.
  • You must have passed the "Scientific Integrity" course.
  • Start thinking about topic areas for your master's thesis early.
  • Take several modules at chairs where you would like to write your thesis.
  • The search for a topic and supervision can take time, so start early.
  • You should have a plan B in case you cannot write your master thesis at the chair of your choice.
  • If all these initiatives have not been successful, you can apply to the PA for assistance.

Application area (14 - 18 CP)

In addition to the core area, one of the following application subjects must be chosen:

In this application subject, modules amounting to at least 18 CP must be selected from an extensive elective catalog. This contains, among others, modules on the following topics:

  • Operations Research
  • Management
  • Finanzwesen
  • Controlling


Simon Völker is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In diesem Anwendungsfach müssen Module im Umfang von mindestens 18 CP aus einem umfangreichen Wahlfachkatalog gewählt werden. Dieser enthält u.a. Module zu den folgenden Themen:

  • Biological Information Processing
  • Biotechnologie
  • Mikrobiologie und Genetik
  • Zell- und Molekularbiologie der Pflanzen


Simon Völker is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In this application subject, there is a fixed curriculum that includes the following modules:

  • Allgemeine Technische Chemie und Makromolekulare Chemie
  • Angewandte Spektroskopie und Instrumentelle Analytik
  • Praktikum Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie


Simon Völker is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In this application subject, there is a fixed curriculum that includes the following modules:

  • Elektromagnetische Felder,
  • Systemtheorie oder
  • Theoretische Informationstechnik

and modules amounting to at least 8 CPs can be selected from an extensive elective catalog.

Thomas Noll is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In this application subject, one of eight specializations must be chosen:

  • Power Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Construction technology
  • Plastics Technology
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Production engineering
  • Textile Technology
  • Process engineering

Thomas Noll is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In diesem Anwendungsfach müssen Module im Umfang von mindestens 18 CP aus einem umfangreichen Wahlpflichtkatalog gewählt werden. Dieser enthält unter anderem Module zu den folgenden Themen:

  • Algebra
  • Numerische Analysis
  • Gruppentheorie
  • Optimierung
  • Diskrete Mathematik


Simon Völker is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In this application subject, there is a fixed curriculum that includes the following modules:

  • Einführung in die Medizinische Informatik (2 CP)
  • Medizinische Informationssysteme (2 CP)

Außerdem muss eine Studienarbeit verfasst werden (6 CP). Schließlich müssen Module im Umfang von mindestens 8 CP aus einem umfangreichen Wahlpflichtkatalog gewählt werden.

Wichtig: Das Anwendungsfach Medizin musst du dir durch den Examination Board genehmigen lassen.

Thomas Noll is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In this application subject, there is a fixed curriculum that includes the following modules:

  • Ethics
  • Theoretische Philosophie und Ihre Anwendungen

In Letzterem kann aus einer Vielzahl von Seminarthemen gewählt werden.

Thomas Noll is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In diesem Anwendungsfach muss eine von drei Spezialisierungen gewählt werden.

Spezialisierung A:

  • Computational Physics
  • From Molecular to Continuum Physics I & II

Spezialisierung B:

  • From Molecular to Continuum Physics I & II
  • Quantum Information

Spezialisierung C:

  • Experimentalphysik III & IV


Simon Völker is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In this application subject, there is a fixed curriculum that includes the following modules:

  • Current Topics in Media Psychology
  • Empirical Research Methods and Experiment Design
  • Individuals and Technology


Simon Völker is available as a study advisor for further questions.

In addition, you have the possibility to have an individual application subject approved in the amount of 14 to 18 CP. For this purpose, you have to work out a study plan with the corresponding department (e.g. with the responsible departmental student advisor). Then you can apply for the approval of your application subject at the examination board.

Exams and exam registration

In order to successfully complete a module, the associated examination must be passed in most cases. This is usually an exam that takes place during the lecture-free period following the course. Examinations for courses from the winter semester take place in February and March, examinations for courses from the summer semester take place in July to September.
 
Two exam dates are offered for each module, but only one exam must be passed. The first exam date tends to be at the beginning of the lecture-free period, the second at the end of the lecture-free period. Concrete exam dates can be found in RWTHOnline from the beginning of each semester.
 
Students can register for either exam date via RWTHOnline. The registration period for the first examination date usually ends two weeks before the end of the semester and for the second examination date one week before the respective examination date. We recommend that you register for the first exam date; if you do not pass, this gives you the opportunity to still register for the second exam date.
 
In some modules, admission to the written exam must first be acquired in order to be allowed to participate in this exam. This is usually the achievement of a certain number of points in the exercises that are to be worked on during the semester. For which modules an admission requirement for the written exam must be achieved is specified in the module handbook. The exact nature of this admission requirement is determined at the beginning of the semester by the lecturer of the respective module.
  • You have to register for each exam you want to take. Even if you are already registered for the corresponding module, there is no automatic exam registration. Even if you do not pass an exam on the first date, you still have to register explicitly for the second exam date.
  • There are no standard registration periods for exams. Find out in good time about the deadlines for those examinations in which you would like to participate.

Exclusion of Grades

Bei Abschluss des Studiums in Regelstudienzeit ist es möglich, eine Modulnote aus der Gesamtnotenberechnung auszuschließen. Diese wird dann als „bestanden“ im Abschlusszeugnis eingetragen und der Notenwert in einem gesonderten Bereich nachrichtlich ausgewiesen.