Master Software Systems Engineering

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Die Information zum Master Software Systems Engineering sind derzeit nur in English verfügbar. Englische Sprachkenntnisse sind eine Zugangsvoraussetzung für diesen Master-Studiengang.

Program Structure

Table of Contents

In order to complete the Software Systems Engineering Master, students must obtain a total of 120 ECTS credit points (CP) while respecting the subject areas‘ requirements as well as completing the mandatory courses, one seminar, one lab course, the depth-area oral colloquium, and, finally, the master thesis.

120 CP12 to 35 CPSubject area: Theoretical Foundations of Software Systems Engineering12 CPMandatory: 2x subject from Theoretical Foundations of Software Systems Engineering core subjects catalog
up to 23 CPOptional: subjects from Theoretical Foundations of Software Systems Engineering elective subjects catalog, 
Optional: second seminar
0 to 35 CPSubject area: Communicationup to 35 CPOptional: Subjects from Communication elective subjects catalog, 
Optional: second seminar
0 to 35 CPSubject area: Data and Information Managementup to 35 CPOptional: subjects from Data and Information Management elective subjects catalog, 
Optional: second seminar
0 to 35 CPSubject area: Applied Computer Scienceup to 35 CPOptional: subjects from Applied Computer Science elective subjects catalog, 
Optional: second seminar
16 to 35 CPSubject area: Software Engineering4 CPMandatory: Software Project Management
12 CPMandatory: 2x subject from Software Engineering core subjects catalog
up to 19 CPOptional: subjects from Software Engineering elective subjects catalog
Optional: second seminar
4 CP(First) seminar  
7 CPLab Course  
4 CPGerman course or, for German proficient students, a non-technical course   
3 CPDepth-area oral Colloquium (DoC)  
30 CPMaster thesis27 CPMaster thesis report
3 CPMaster thesis colloquium

The program’s structure and all currently offered courses can be viewed in RWTH Aachen Unversity’s campus information system RWTHonline. The system and most of its content is available in English and in German. Detailed course descriptions can be found by navigating to the individual courses and clicking on the book icon in the same row.

Note: you can change the language between English and German in the upper right corner.

Subject areas

The SSE master program is divided into five subject areas providing students with a broad variety of software engineering courses:
  • Theoretical Foundations of Software Systems Engineering (12 to 35 CP, at least 2 core subjects)
  • Communication (0 to 35 CP)
  • Data and Information Management (0 to 35 CP)
  • Applied Computer Science (0 to 35 CP)
  • Software Engineering (16 to 35 CP, one mandatory course Software Project Management and at least 2 core subjects)
This subject area structure allows students to choose whether they want to generalize (study some courses from all areas) or to specialize (focus on one or two areas), while ensuring that the focus is not too narrow. To realize this, each subject area has an upper limit for the credit points that students must consider when choosing their courses from the elective courses catalogs (see individual curriculum section for details). Two of the subject areas have core subject catalogs from which students must choose some.

Core subjects

Core subjects are courses that are part of the special core subjects catalogs in the subject areas

  • Theoretical Foundations of Software Systems Engineering and
  • Software Engineering.

The following is mandatory:

  • Students need two core subjects in the subject area „Theoretical Foundations of Software Systems Engineering“.
  • Students need core subjects amounting for 12 CP in the subject area „Software Engineering“.
    Note on a technicality of the examination regulation: As of February 2021 all core subjects in the subject area „Software Engineering“ amount for 6 ECTS and thus students effectively need two core subjects from the „Software Engineering“ core subject catalog. For this reason and to keep the descriptions on this page simple, other parts of this page refer to two core subjects in the subject area „Software Engineering“ instead of mentioning the more accurate but less informative requirement to complete subjects that amount for 12 CP.

Mandatory courses

There is one mandatory course on Software Project Management [module 1212355].

Note that it is also mandatory to complete one seminar and one lab course, but these are not listed here since there is a variety of lab courses and seminars to choose from.

Seminars

Seminar selection

Students must make sure to not miss the seminar and lab selection deadline (usually around January for the following summer term and around June for the following winter term).

Seminars introduce students to academic research and writing and allow students to learn more about a specific area in software engineering. Students must complete one mandatory seminar and may complete a second optional seminar. The mandatory first seminar amounts for 4 CP. Note that this mandatory first seminar is not counted towards the subject areas‘ credit point limit of 35 CP. Optionally, students can choose to complete a second seminar instead of an elective course. However, the optional second seminar is counted towards the subject areas‘ credit point limit of 35 CP.

Students can choose from a broad variety of seminars offered by the many chairs and research groups of the Computer Science department.

Lab course

Lab course selection

Students must make sure to not miss the seminar and lab selection deadline (usually around January for the following summer term and around June for the following winter term).

Lab courses give students the opportunity to conduct a project as a team over a few months. The mandatory lab course amounts for 7 CP.

Students can choose from a broad variety of lab courses offered by the many chairs and research groups of the Computer Science department. Each lab course has a different topic and a different focus (from research-oriented to applied computer science) and some of the lab courses are conducted in cooperation with industry partners.

The lab course is not counted towards the 35 CP limit per subject area.

German course / non-technical course

The mandatory German course enables international students to learn the German language. Students with no prior knowledge do an entry-level German course. Students that already have learned some German can do a higher-level German course. The German courses are offered by RWTH Aachen University’s language center and the mandatory German course is free of charge. The students must pass a German course providing 4 CP, which is a 4 hours a week course at the language center.

German-proficient students can choose a non-technical course instead of the German course. Students are considered as German-proficient if they either have German as native language or can provide a proof of sufficient German proficiency. Accepted German proficiency proofs are

  • „Deutsch (ZD)“ certificate with minimum grade „gut“ (good);
  • „Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache“ (TestDAF) certificate with a niveau level of 3 in all examined areas; and
  • „Goethe“ certificate with level of at least B2.

A non-technical course is a course that is not part of the SSE curriculum and not close to the field of SSE. For example, other language courses can be taken as replacement, but a software engineering lecture for other fields of study that is not part of the SSE’s curriculum is not suitable as it is closely related to SSE.

Depth-area oral colloquium

The Depth-area oral Colloquium (DoC) allows students to prove their specialty in a composition of courses. The DoC must cover at least 3 related courses that amount for 12 to 18 CP in total. It is an oral exam with a length of 20 to 45 minutes.

Students must organize their DoC themselves. For this, the students contact the professor responsible for the courses the student wants to include in the DoC. Note that the DoC can only be done as suggested by the student if the respective professor agrees with the selection of courses.

The DoC is not counted towards the 35 CP limit per subject area.

Individual curriculum

The students in the SSE master program are not provided with a pre-defined curriculum / study schedule. Students are responsible for organizing their curriculum themselves and they have to ensure that in the end they meet the program’s required structure as described above.

This enables students to compose their own curriculum focusing on their individual interests in the area of software engineering (within the mentioned limits). For the core subjects and elective subjects the students can choose from the respective catalogs of courses. The majority of courses rarely change, but from time to time courses are added, replaced, or removed from the catalogs. Note that most courses in the catalogs are offered either in summer terms or in winter terms. Additionally, students need to consider that not all courses yield the same amout of credit points.

Most of the elective courses are offered in English allowing students that are not proficient in German to study the SSE master program with many courses to choose from. There may be few elective courses that are in German only and SSE students are free to choose these as well.

Exceeding a subject area’s credit point limit

Each subject area has an upper limit for the credit points ensuring that SSE master students receive a broad education in different areas of software engineering. For the SSE curriculum, a student may not exceed a subject area’s upper credit point limit. If an elective course is completed such that the subject area’s limit is exceeded (in order of their examination dates), then the course is considered as an additional course that does not contribute to the student’s SSE curriculum and is not counted towards the overall grade for the master.

For example, a student has 28 CP in the subject area Applied Computer Science and intends to pass two more elective courses in this subject area:

  1. elective course A for 6 CP and;
  2. elective course B for 4 CP.

We assume the exam for course A is on February 15th and the exam for course B is on March 2nd. Then,

  • course A stays within the subject area’s limit of 35 CP (28 + 6 = 34 CP <= 35 CP);
  • course B exceeds the limit of 35 CP (34 + 4 = 38 CP > 35 CP) and thus is not considered as a subject for the SSE master studies and, consequently, also not included when calculating the overall grade for the SSE master.

Exemplary curriculum

The table below shows an exemplary curriculum / study schedule for completing the SSE master program within the intended two years (4 semesters):

Semester Winter / summer term CP Schedule
1. semester winter term  28
  • a core subject from the subject area „theoretical foundations of software systems engineering“, 6 CP
  • a core subject from the subject area „software engineering“, 6 CP
  • 2 elective courses, 2 x 6 = 12 CP
  • German course, 4 CP
    Note: Students need to register for the German course at RWTH Aachen Universty’s Language Center. The deadline for the language course registration is in the very beginning of the semester. So SSE students who want to take this course in their first semester must keep in mind to directly take care of the registration when they start their studies.
2. semester summer term  30
  • a core subject from the subject area „theoretical foundations of software systems engineering“, 6 CP
  • 3 elective courses, 2 x 6 and 1 x 4 = 16 CP
  • software project management lecture, 4 CP
  • (first) seminar, 4 CP
3. semester winter term  32
  • a core subject from the subject area „software engineering“, 6 CP
  • 2 elective courses, 2 x 6 = 12 CP
  • second seminar or an elective course, 4 CP
  • lab course, 7 CP
  • depth-area oral colloquium, 3 CP
4. semester summer term 30
  • master thesis + master thesis colloquium, 27+3 = 30 CP