Important information for foreign students

  1. Make sure to apply early for the program. Evaluation of the application by both central university and faculty take a long time
  2. Apply for student dormitories even if you do not have confirmation of your application. The deadline for student dormitory application is July 15th (for the next winter term). You will get on a waiting list and can confirm your application as soon as you have the acceptance letter of the university for your studies. Note that dormitories are under the administration of the Heidelberger Studentenwerk, not the central university administration.
  3. Plan your visa application in advance! Depending on your country of origin, visa interview dates might be hard to get. Looking for a suitable date (and maybe cancelling the interview) helps you to get to Heidelberg in time.
  4. The (first) language of instruction is English. Make sure to meet the required level of English (B2) not only in an examination, but in everyday learning situations. If you struggle with the language of instruction, learning the content of the courses is even harder and usually students do not succeed.

FAQ: Application & Admission

Lectures in the master program change every semester. The main reason is that this program is very close to our research areas - investigators come up with research-oriented education offers term by term.

For the core tracks we offer a tentative course table to give you a general impression of what your personal schedule could look like. In the first two weeks of each term we offer intensive guidance to help you with the course selection. 

From our past experience we get applications from three different "classes" of candidates:

Students with a prior education in (applied) mathematics
We expect these students to have a strong background in theory and applications of applied mathematics (Numerics, Statistics, Differential Equations (ODE, PDE)). To succeed in the program, additional formal education in computer science with a focus on modern programming structures (data, algorithms) is essential. Solid command of a major programming language is also a must.

Students with a prior education in computer science
These students should have a focus on practical applications of programming, the construction of complex code and the generation of efficient computational methods including data handling. Since the program asks all students to take master courses in mathematics as well, these applicants need an above-average background in mathematical education, not only in calculations, but in the theory of mathematics, construction of proofs and the formal methods of mathematical science.

Students with a prior education in applications (engineering, economics, ...)
Application for these candidates is very challenging: They must provide mathematical education that exceeds the regular course work (mathematics for engineers I-IV) including probability & statistics, numerical analysis, ... AND have a proven record of practical computer science in the direction of systematic algorithmic design and implementation in at least one mayor programming language (C++, Java, C, Python, ...).

In general, our candidates need to prove that they understand mathematical theory and can build programs themselves that implements this theory in practical applications. Just being able to "use existing software" es not enough to make the cut.

Not at all! Please note that the program "Scientific Computing" is the combination of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. Students in this master's program develop powerful, high-level mathematical methods and implement them in software applications.

Therefore, a strong background in mathematics as well as a solid foundation of applied computer science is indispensable to successfully complete this program. As a guideline the following topics should be present from the bachelor education, secondary teaching, online courses or similar:

MathematicsComputer Science
Analysis 1-3Programming in C++ (or C or Java ...)
Linear Algebra 1-2Introduction to Information Systems
Introduction to Probability & StatisticsAlgorithms and Data Structures
Introduction to NumericsData Bases

Further courses in both areas are a plus when starting the master program.

From the motivation letter the admission committee wants to understand why you chose this program. It also important to show that the education and knowledge you have so far is in line with the requirements. If you haven't taken courses in an area with impact to the program but have other practical knowledge, you can explain this in the letter of motivation. Some lead questions for the motivation letter are:

  • What facets of Scientific Computing are interesting to you?
  • What further knowledge in mathematics and/or computer science do you possess?
  • What could be possible research areas that you are interested in?
  • Why did you chose this master's program?

Remark: General statements ("Heidelberg is such a wonderful city", "As Albert Einstein once said ...") might be counterproductive.

The study regulations assign 18 ECTS (15% of the program) to a field of application (see study plan for details). Students choose this field like a minor subject. Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Economics are the most popular fields of application, but further options are possible. Students can freely select modules from the master's program of the chosen subject.

Remark: On the web page we list several "packages" of predefined course combinations in selected application fields. We recommend these packages to students as sound foundation for further studies within the master's program.

Both documents need to be certified by your home university. No other legal authorities need to certify your transcript and graduation certificate.

Please add a short personal statement that you did studies in a system with English as major language of education (including dates and places). In this case, no English language certificate is needed.

No, a German language certificate is not needed to apply. The M.A. Scientific Computing is an international master course and can be studied entirely in English.

All German universities only accept students from China who can provide an APS certificate from the Academic Examination Office (  Akademische Prüfstelle APS) in Bejing. This certificate is mandatory and must be added to the application to the University of Heidelberg. If the APS certificate is not present, administration of the university will cancel the admission process without further notice.

Remark: The APS certificate also serves as guide for the visa process - students with an admission to a German university and an APS certificate will enjoy preferential treatment in the visa process.

The "signed statement" is simply a letter/note, written and signed by yourself that states this text. For the document:   See this sample.

In other words: If you already tried such a program elsewhere (master's program with the same name and/or with similar content) and failed to complete the program, forfeiting your right for further exams (so: failing completely), Heidelberg University cannot take you as a student.

It is currently not possible to apply by submitting online material. All application documents must be sent as hard copies in one envelope to the university's central foreign admission office. Please refer to the detailed instructions regarding the application process. 

We use the TOEFL score to assess the command on the first teaching language (English) that applicants possess. While the score sometimes does not reflect the practical command on the English language that a candidate has (especially in the online version), we have the experience that students with a low TOEFL score generally have a hard time following the courses. Note that all parts of the TOEFL test are actually important for your studies: Speaking and oral understanding are necessary to follow lectures and answer to direct questions, while reading and writing are key talents for working in the exercise classes each week.

While we have admitted some students with low TOEFL scores due to exceptional performances in the main subjects Mathematics and Computer Science, generally we advise students to apply only if their command of the teaching language is sufficiently high. In your own interest make sure that this is the case.