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Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Admission

  1. Students from different scientific backgrounds can apply for the Computational Sciences master program. What does this mean?
    • Students from all areas of science, that is Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Mathematics, Computer Science, ..., who fulfill the necessary admission requirements according to the Admission Regulations can apply for the program. Students from the mathematics or computer science need to have a secondary subject from the natural sciences, preferably related to the desired Area of Specialization.
  2. Applicants need 21 CP within the Mathematics and/or Computer Science area to meet the admission requirements. What if the curriculum of my Bachelor degree program involves less CP in that area?
    • Students from Geology, Biology or Chemistry from the University of Cologne usually have 9 CP in Mathematics within their regular curriculum. You can achieve the missing 12 CP by taking additional courses, e.g. elementary courses of the Mathematics or Computer Science Bachelor program, or within the Studium Integrale (or similar) from your Bachelor studies.
    • If you are unsure which courses are eligible to meet the requirement for the Computational Sciences program, please contact the study program coordinator.
  3. How can I prove the knowledge of a higher programming language?
    • You can prove the knowledge of a programming language by:
      • A course that you attended during your previous studies. In that case, please refer to your Transcript of Records.
      • A project where you learned and applied a programming language. That could be the Bachelor thesis or some other project. Please provide a description of the project and how you used your programming skills.
      • Any other course where you have learned a higher programming language. Please provide a certificate.
  4. What counts as a higher programming language for the Computational Sciences master program?
    • Programming languages that are commonly used for scientific computing, i.e. Python, C++, Julia, MatLab, etc…
    • Other languages used for web development and such are not sufficient (HTML, php, SQL, etc…)
  5. What is the minimum required English certification to meet the admission requirements for the master program?
    • The minimum level is B2 (at least a score of 80 in the TOEFL Internet-based test, or equivalent)
    • German candidates already gained this level with their university entrance certificate (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung).
    • The admission committee can accept a valid certificate that confirms that you have completed a degree program that has been taught exclusively in English.
  6. What are the interviews in the application process about? When are they? Are they in person?
    • The program can admit only 25 students per year. If we have more than 25 admissible students, then a ranking based on the grades from the Bachelor program and results from an interview will determine who will be admitted (for details see Admission Regulation).
    • The candidate interviews are currently planned to be online and will be scheduled for late July or early August.
  7. How many people can take the program each semester?
    • We currently have a capacity of 25 students each year. Enrolment is possible for the winter semester only.
  8. When I request a VPD at uni-assist (for applicants who did not complete their secondary education in Germany), I cannot select Computational Sciences as my desired study program. How should I proceed?
    • When requesting a VPD at uni-assist, you do not need to select the study program you wish to apply for yet.
    • But you must select the University of Cologne for your VPD request!
  9. How should I apply for a visa so that I receive it in time for the start of the winter term?
    • Once you have received a positive result on your VPD by uni-assist, you may use this to apply for a visa, even if you have not yet been admitted to a study program yet.
    • Thus, we advise you to request a VPD at uni-assist as soon as possible and apply for a visa in time, without having to wait for the admission process at University of Cologne.


Modules and Courses

  1. Is it possible to mix elective modules from different Areas of Specialization?
    • No, that is generally not possible. Only the listed modules are allowed. The only possibility to attend modules from other areas is via the Supplementary Module.
  2. Is it possible to take courses that are not listed within the curriculum of the Computational Sciences master program?
    • Course offers may vary from year to year and new courses may be offered at the University of Cologne that would fit the curriculum and your Specialization Area. If you wish to take such courses, please send a request to the study program coordinator. The examination board will then decide whether your desired course is eligible for Computational Sciences.
  3. Do the courses for the Supplementary Module have to be science-related?
    • They can be chosen fairly flexible, as long as it complements your studies and future carrier plans.
    • The choice for the Supplementary Module should be coordinated together with your mentor.
  4. Is there a minimum amount of CP of each branch, Mathematics or Computer Science, within the Elective Area Mathematics and Computer Science?
    • No, there is no compulsory amount of CP from the two fields. Students are encouraged to choose the modules that suit them and their future research. The choice can be made with the mentor, who is an experienced researcher.
  5. Can I change the Area of Specialization after I started studying?
    • Yes, you find the corresponding regulations in the Examination Regulations.
  6. Can I study an Area of Specialization without previous knowledge about the topic from my bachelor studies?
    • Theoretically yes, but it is not advisable because each Area of Specialization deals with advanced topics that typically build up on Bachelor level knowledge of the topic.
  7. Is the number of credit points within the elective areas fixed or flexible?
    • The numbers are fixed. You can always receive more CP, but the weight of each area within the whole curriculum does not change.
  8. Can modules, which have been completed within another master program, be recognized in the Computational Sciences master program?
    • Yes, if the modules are (nearly) identical, this is possible. It requires approval from the examination board.
  9. What is a mentor and how does a student select one?
    • A mentor is a lecturer who is a personal guide for their mentees and helps them with the choices within their study paths.
    • Students do not have to choose a mentor, they automatically get a qualified mentor assigned upon enrolment.
    • They can, however, change the mentor on request.