FAQ: Studies

Yes! Please send a request in written form for crediting your external study achievements
to Petra Kiesel and to the academic advisor (via e-mail) with the following details:

  •  list of modules, that should be credited and what you are expecting them to be credited for
  • a module description of the courses that should be credited, at best a link to this description
  • a copy of the transcripts, that list the modules in question

After we received your request the study commission will discuss about it and the accepted modules will be added to your transcript.

By decision of the study committee, of the four mandatory modules in the master program "Economics" the modules "Advanced Mathematics" and "Advanced Econometrics" cannot be picked for the application area. They are too close to our master's program and students from the master Scientific Computing should already know most of the content.

The other two "Advanced microeconomics" and  "Advanced macroeconomics" as well as all elective modules and the seminars (if you get a seat in them!) can be picked.

Many faculties are offering own courses to teach basics in mathematics & computer science. These courses are "off limits" for our students: They do not count towards the application area.

However, some "package deals" include single modules from this group. This is a compromise to make the package deals self-contained and manageable. The course combinations in the package deals are confirmed *in this exact combination*. Picking several courses from different package deals (modules near to maths & computer science) will not be confirmed by the study committee. 

General advice: Select courses from the application area itself: Real physics courses in physics, real economics courses in economics. Granted, many of these courses also teach maths, but this is the natural effect of maths as a language of models.

Many lecturers of the biosciences offer lab practicals for our students. Here is a list with some of the lecturers:

Sandra Barteit (HIGH)
Benedikt Brors (DKFZ)
Carl Herrmann (Bioquant)
Jürgen Hesser (UMM )
Ursula Kummer (COS)
Fritjof Lammers (DKFZ)
Klaus Maier-Hein (DKFZ)
Lena Maier-Hein (DKFZ)
Rebecca Mease (Medical Faculty)
Oliver Stegle (DKFZ)

The master's program has a rather direct approach to define specializations. The specialization is usually difficult to define beforehand. Instead, all modules directly influencing your master research project are part of your specialization.

The selection is defined by the thesis advisor. When you start your research project, the thesis advisor will check your modules and compile a list of those modules that he/she sees fitting as directly linked to your research. Any of these modules (from Maths & CS) can count towards your load in the "specialization". This is one of the reasons why you should contact possible thesis supervisors early.

Remark: The specializations listed on the web pages for the master's program can be regarded as examples for specializations. Usually it is not a problem for a student to fill the mandatory specialization credits.

Once you have passed an exam, you can not retake the exact same module. You can only retake an exam or an module, if you have failed in the first try.
However, you can take a different module and get a better grade. If you have more modules than you need for your final degree, only the best modules will count towards it. Remark: All modules will be shown on your transcript.

Some courses offer a certificate with fewer ECTS for students who do not take the final exam and therefore are not graded. These certificates do not count towards your final degree as they only represent certificates of attendence. Although they can be listed as additional items in your final transcript, only graded modules are counted towards your final degree. 

For master students of Scientific Computing two options are available to get access to GPU Clusters.

  • The faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science established two compute servers for projects of master students. The faculty handles access to these two servers. Please contact the Dean's office for access to the servers.
  • As a member of an IWR research group, please contact the head of your research group. (S)he can register you as an IWR student member and then you can access the IWR compute servers. These servers are for IWR members only.

Activities as a tutor cannot be credited for FÜK. In 2014 university regulations were changed and paid activities may no longer be credited for FÜK.

The early membership option for master students is meant for students who start their master research project and have an above-average grade score. The application is done through your supervisor: (S)he has to write an application letter to the graduate school stating that

  • your grades so far are exceptional (CV and transcript)
  • your master topic can be a basis for a PhD project and
  • should you continue to develop in the same track, (s)he will offer you a PhD position in the work group.

Based on such a recommendation, the coordinators of the graduate school will decide on your master student membership within 4 weeks. Optionally, the school will also offer you a scholarship to fund your research period.

Finding a thesis supervisor is an important task for a student. You should talk to potential supervisors already during your 2nd semester and make sure to find a supervisor as early as possible. The supervisor might ask you to complete additional courses before you start your thesis.

To work on your thesis, you usually will start with defining the current state-of-the-art in the topic of your research. This will be done by reading relevant publications to familiarize yourself with the research topic.

Once you start your research, you have to register your master's thesis with the faculty. For this, please collect the relevant document at the faculty office (Ms Kiesel), complete the form and hand it back in.

Registration of thesis (PDF)
Declaration for thesis elegibility (PDF)


Remark: According to the examination regulations, §14.2, you can register your master thesis once you have completed and registered 45 credits towards your degree.

All students in the Scientific Computing master's program have to complete three regular seminars at the faculty of mathematics and computer science (listed as seminars for this master's program in LSF):

  • a seminar in mathematics
  • a seminar in computer science (can be replaced by an advanced practical) and
  • a master seminar.

The master seminar is a regular seminar in mathematics or computer science. However, you cannot select freely what seminar to attend, but you have to follow the guidelines of your thesis supervisor when choosing the master seminar. Usually s*he will ask you to attend one of his regular seminars - or s*he can point you to a suitable other seminar. The topic of this seminar should be chosen in preparation of your thesis, but the master seminar is not a seminar about your thesis research.

Remark: At the end of the thesis, the student gives an open presentation on the finding of his/her thesis research. This presentation is part of your thesis. It has nothing to do with your master seminar (see above!). Note that the master's program in applied computer science has different regulations!

While there is no general layout from Heidelberg University for all master thesis, certain informal standards were established over the course the years.

Students in the natural sciences mostly write their thesis in LaTeX. Using the template of the Faculty for Physics & Astronomy, we generated a template that can be downloaded and used for the basic layout of your thesis: master thesis template (LaTeX). Using this template, your document will look like this master thesis (PDF).

First things first - please keep your visa expiry in mind, so you can start your visa extension in proper time!

You should start preparing your documents six to eight weeks before your visa expires. One of the documents you need, is the "Studienstandsbescheinigung". It is issued by the international relations office after handing in a signed statement by the study counsellor of the program, Dr. Michael Winckler.

For receiving this statement you need to make an appointment with Dr. Winckler, to which you bring along

1) Studienstandsbescheinigung

2) Course list (filled in in advance of the appointment)

3) your current transcript of records

Dr. Winckler signs the "Studienstandsbescheinigung" and you can take both forms to the international relations office, where the "Studienstandsbescheinigung" is issued within 10 working days.

The document every student is waiting for, is his or her graduation certificate. Sometimes it takes some time for the department to issue it. But as time goes by, you apply for jobs or PhD positions and need to exmatriculate from Heidelberg University. In this case, you do not have to wait for exmatriculation until you get your graduation certificate. All you need is a confirmation by the examination office, that you have finished all your examination requirements successfully. For this please contact Petra Kiesel

With this confirmation international students can apply for exmatriculation at the international relation's office. Students from Germany can apply at the Student Administration.

Please contact Petra Kiesel at the examination office. She will issue a new transcript of records or certify copies of your degree.

Heidelberg University uses the German grading system: Grades are given from 1.0 ("very good") to 4.0 ("sufficient") with subgrades ".3" and ".7". The grade 5.0 ("defective") marks a fail.

Students have to collect modules according to the study plan, but modules may be collected in a different order according to the personal learning pathway. Of the 120 ECTS credits in the study plan, 114 are graded. "FüK" are not graded and do not count to the final master grade.

The final grade is calculated by taking all grades of modules in the study plan and adding them together, using the factor n/114 as weight for the grade where n is the number of credits of each module. Mathematically, the final grade is the weighted average of the modules in the study plan.

Many students collect more modules than needed for graduation. In this case, the best combination of courses for the study plan is used to calculate the final grade. Note that all modules will be listed in the transcript of records.

First of all, it is important that you re-register yourself for the next semester. Otherwise you will be automatically exmatriculated by university. As a next step, you need to apply for a leave of absence with this form:


As you are taking the leave of absence of illness, you need to add a medical certificate to your application. You can apply for it during re-registration and beginning of lecture period. Please consult the admission office about how to proceed with your tuition fees. With a leave of absence you only need to pay the administrative costs, the social contribution for student services, the fee for the student body, the fees for transit pass and for the use of next bike (171,80 €).