Essential Information About Master Studies
For applicants and admitted students
Selecting the study program and specialization
For an overview of our Master-level study programs, see the "Courses of Studies" page, which is a starting point for exploring our programs. For each program or course of study, the "study plan" page describes the program in more detail. The programs "Computer Science" and "Computer Science in Applications (aka Applied Computer Science)" offer a range of specializations, which are also described in detail on the respective study plan page. In the specialization of your choice, you will pursue a significant amount of lectures as well as a project and a seminar. When selecting a program and a specialization, you need to be aware of the prerequisites for your choice. Our master study programs are consecutive study programs that require a bachelor degree of the same program or equivalent studies. You may still be admitted if some of our bachelor courses are not covered by your studies, but then the admission may be given with "additional prerequisite studies". Moreover, each specialization also has prerequisites in terms of electives from the bachelor studies. The prerequisites are documented for each specialization on the study plan page. To find out more details about the structure of our bachelor programs, please visit their description under Courses of Studies. Details about the topics covered in the courses are available in our Module Handbook.
How to apply
The "Application (Ma)" page for each course of study (accessible via Courses of Studies) provides details on application deadlines, required content of your application package and the selection process. For international students, an application through the ISGS is highly recommended.
What are "additional prerequisite studies/courses"?
If you were "admitted with additional prerequisite studies" to one of our master programs, then your previous studies were not found to be equivalent to our bachelor program in terms of the course content required for the master program or chosen specialization. If we find the missing courses to be essential for being successful in our master program, we ask you to achieve the necessary knowledge through additional prerequisite studies. This can be done in one of the following ways.
- Attend the bachelor courses that were listed in your admittance letter and participate in the regular exams for these courses (usually written exams). Please note that bachelor courses are only offered in German! English literature references and tutorials/exercises may be available in English for some courses.
- Pursue an "equivalence exam" by studying English text books (references for essential course content are provided by the lecturer) and taking an oral equivalence exam (only pass/fail grade).
Additional prerequisite studies should be pursued within the first 2 semesters of study, if possible. Regular master studies can be pursued in parallel. Please see the Module Handbook for a description of the prerequisite course content.
Before you start your studies in Kaiserslautern
Choice of specialization
At first, you should choose a specialization and inform the Head of Master Examination Board of your choice, if you haven't done so already. Without that, a mentor assignment is not possible and it is difficult to plan your studies. (See "Selecting the study program and specialization" for details.) It is possible to switch to another specialization later under certain conditions. (See "Changing your specialization".)
Based on your choice of specialization, the Head of Examination Board will assign a mentor for you. The mentor is a Professor of the Computer Science Department who is actively teaching and researching in your specialization area. You should contact your mentor before the start of the semester to discuss your plan of studies. The mentor can provide information about courses in your specialization and give recommendations. Moreover, your study/examination plan needs to be approved by your mentor.
Introduction weeks for freshers
For the new students of our department (both bachelor and master students), the Student Council organizes a number of presentations, discussions, get-togethers and fun events during the "Introduction Weeks", which are conducted at the beginning of the semester in the weeks before the lectures start. This includes overview presentations about getting started studying in Kaiserslautern as a new master student. Don't miss this opportunity to get essential information and make contact with the student council and your fellow students!
Planning your first semester
Our department provides a wide range of master-level courses and a lot of them are offered only every 4 semesters. While this gives our students a lot of flexibility in terms of picking courses of interest, it may also be a challenge for newcomers. There is no fixed course schedule, not even for your specialization of choice. To help students plan their studies, we offer a number of information sources and tools. Here are some tips and guidelines for planning your studies, especially your first semester.
- Start with the study plan (in your study program under Courses of Studies) to find out about mandatory and optional blocks and courses. Give special attention to your chosen specialization.
- If you study "Computer Science", you need to choose a minor subject other than CS (e.g., Mathematics, EIT, Economics, etc.). Make sure you have the prerequisites from previous studies. Courses are mostly at the master studies level! Bachelor-level courses can be picked on an exceptional basis, to a limited extent. But they usually are in German.
- Check which courses are offered to find out about courses you can choose and which are interesting for you. You can use the KIS system to find out about courses offered in the upcoming semester for Computer Science and your minor subject. In KIS, in the Informatik section, you may click on "Informatik" to see the list of all courses (including bachelor!) or explore "Spezialisierung Bachelor und Master" for master-level courses in specific areas. You can also use the "Lectures" section on our website to get an overview of the CS lectures offered in the coming semester and the two subsequent semesters. Try to look ahead to build a more complete plan (beyond the first semester).
- Make sure you have the prerequisite knowledge for the courses you pick (see the Module Handbook for details).
- Make sure you leave enough time for your additional prerequisite studies and for the German language course, if you have to do them. In summary, don't go over 30 ECTS in total per semester (including prerequisites)!
- You can use the Examination Planner tool for easier planning of your studies. The tool gives you a good start, but does not cover all aspects of planning (such as supplementary block courses or additional prerequisites). This may be added in the future.
- Discuss your personal study plan with your mentor and get her/his approval. Your mentor may provide a study plan template document for you, which is prefilled with information based on your specialization. Use this document when interacting with your mentor to discuss your options and choice. Your mentor can also approve deviations from the general study plan of your program to a limited extent (12 ECTS).
When you have completed your personal study plan, you have to prepare an official preliminary "examination plan document" and have it signed by your mentor. The examination plan can later be modified.
Are the German course or additional prerequisites part of my master?
In the Supplementary block of the Computer Science program and in the Interdisciplinary Studies block of the Applied Computer Science programs, up to 8 ECTS may be earned using General Courses outside master-level computer science or minor subject courses. If you are pursuing a German-A2 language course at our university, you may earn a certificate worth 6 ECTS that can be used as a General Course. Alternatively you can place an additional prerequisite course, if you pursue the regular exams (not the equivalence exams).
Is there a buddy program?
The AStA (student representation at the University-level) has initiated a buddy program to help new students find out general information about studying and living in Kaiserslautern.
During your studies
Regular CS lectures don't require students to sign up or register. This is different for seminars and projects and may also be required for minor subject courses, depending on the subject. Information is usually available on the homepage of the lecturer. For additional prerequisite studies, please contact the professor giving the course early on to clarify details and obtain information.
Examination Plan Document
The Examination Plan / Examination Plan ACS is a document that lists all the courses you'd like to get examined in and the block you'd like to place them in (specialization, supplementary, ...) In the plan, you must include all required course details (course identifier and title, ECTS). The plan is your aid for structured planning of your studies. It can be completed or modified every semester. Any change needs to be approved and signed by your mentor.
The examination plan is also a formal document for the examination office to coordinate your exams. An approved plan has to be submitted to the examination office before you can register for any individual exams. Possible modifications of the examination plan are
- adding new courses (e.g., if you build your plan on a semester-by-semester basis, which is highly recommended),
- reassigning a course to a different block,
- removing a course, if no examination has taken place yet,
- replacing a course, if you have already failed an exam. Note: this should be an exceptional case and is only possible for optional courses, the new course has to have the same ECTS, and failed attempts (including deadlines) are carried over!
It is not possible to remove a course, once you've passed the exam (e.g., if you don't like your grade)!
Changing your specialization
You can switch to another specialization, if you meet the required prerequistes of the specialization and if all of the courses in your examination plan for which you have already taken an exam can be reassigned to the correct block of studies. This usually involves moving courses from the Supplementary to the Specialization block, and vice versa. A change of specialization has to be approved by the Head of the Examination Board and may result in the assignment of a new mentor.
Interacting with the examination office
The examination office needs to be contacted for any administrative tasks that involve exams, such as submitting your (updated) examination plan, registering for an exam or stepping back from exams. It is locate on the 3rd floor of Building 47. Please see the information on the "Examination Policies" page for more details. New master students need to personally see the examination office for a first-time registration and submission of the first examination plan. Please see Important Dates for the registration period. The QIS system may be used to verify exam registrations and pursue registration for a subset of the exams.
Here's an overview of the most important rules for pursuing your exams. The official Examination Regulations should be consulted for a detailed and complete description.
- For written exams, examination dates are published at the beginning of the semester (see KIS: Informatik -> Prüfungen or Exam Dates). Usually two exam dates in the (academic) year in which the lecture took place are offered. These may be in the same or in different semester(s).
- For oral exams, you first have to obtain an examination date from the professor holding the exam. The professor will let you know at the beginning of the course which kind of exam will be offered and how to obtain a date for an oral exam.
- Register your (written and oral) exams with the examination office no later than 2 weeks before the examination date
- Cancelling an exam is possible until 1 week before the exam, or until the day of the exam due to illness or other important reasons. In that case, contact the examination office no later than the day of the exam and provide appropriate documentation (e.g., statement by medical doctor) no later than 1 week after the examination date.
- You have a maximum of 3 attempts to pass an exam. If you fail, you need to retake the exam. For written exams, the remaining two exams need to be chosen from the next three dates offered. This means that you can skip the next date and repeat a (yearly) lecture before retaking the exam. For oral exams the repeat exam has to occur not earlier than 1 month, but not later than 6 months after the previous attempt. Make sure to register with the examination office! You are NOT automatically registered for repeat exams!
Study program deadlines
The standard time for completing the master studies is 4 semesters. However, you may take more time if needed. The maximum study period and progress deadline is as follows.
- You need to register all exams (i.e. all courses and the master thesis) no later than at the end of your tenth semester.
- If you don't register until 2 semesters after this deadline, you will get a "failed" grade for your first attempt of the exam. From that point on, the regular deadlines for repeating exams hold!
- Register your (written and oral) exams with the examination office no later than 2 weeks before the examination date