Plan Your Exchange

Congratulations on your decision to study at TUM Informatics as an exchange student! An exciting and enriching experience awaits you in Munich.

Please see the points below for important information on the German academic system and preparing for studies at TUM Informatics. The links on the right will also provide you with more practical details on housing and life in Munich.

There will be a welcome meeting for all incoming exchange and double degree students at the start of the semester. There you will receive comprehensive information about your studies at TUM Informatics. For more general information, see arrival and orientation.

Please be aware that the Semester Einführungstage (Semester Introduction Days) are only for regular degree-seeking students.

Application for a Visa

In order to enter Germany, you may need a visa depending on your citizenship. You will not need to obtain a German visa if you possess a valid passport from an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland. However, please make sure your passport is valid, and if necessary, renew it as early as possible before leaving for Germany.

For more information, please refer to the TUM International Office.

Academic calendar and credits per semester

The TUM academic calendar divides our academic year in two semesters: 

Winter semester: 1st October 2016 – 31st March 2017

Lecture period: 17th October 2016 – 11th February 2017
Examinations: 6th February – 4th March 2017 (may differ in other departments)

Summer semester: 1st April – 30th September 2017

Lecture period: 24th April – 30th July 2017
Examinations: 24th July – 19th August 2017 (may differ in other departments)

Please consider our different teaching and examination periods when planning your exchange stay! It is crucial that you be present in Munich in time for the very beginning of the lecture period. If possible, arrive earlier.

Study Structure – General Overview

The structure and classification of courses at TUM will likely differ from the system in place at your home university. In Germany, you enroll for a broad range of courses each semester, classified by type: lecture, seminar, etc. Read each course description carefully to find out how many credits a course gives and how long it meets for (see “Finding Courses” below for more information). Some of the most common course types are listed below:

Vorlesung ("V") Lecture Course taught by a lecturer, often with many students in a large lecture hall. Examined by written or oral exam after the lecture period; sometimes accompanied by exercises and homework.
Übung ("Ü") Exercise Practical exercise; accompanies lectures, no stand-alone course.
Proseminar ("S") Seminar Seminar for bachelor-level students; introduces students to scientific research methods. Usually examined by participation and attendance in the seminar, no exam.
Seminar or Master-Seminar ("S") Seminar Advanced seminar for advanced bachelor-level or master-level students; advanced scientific methods. Usually examined by a talk of each participant and regular attendance during the seminar.
Praktikum ("P") Practical Course Practical training in a subject area, including and examined by group work and presentations. 
Kolloquium ("K") Colloquium/ Discussion Scientific talks by guest lecturers; no credits.

In order to have a balanced workload, we recommend taking several different types of courses – not just lectures – and thereby spreading the load out throughout the semester. The standard full-time workload is 30 ECTS credits per semester, but we strongly recommend that exchange students enroll for 20 to 25 ECTS credits in Informatics so as to not become overloaded. Note that language courses do not count towards your ECTS workload.

Courses at TUM Informatics

See our website on how to find courses.

Writing a Research Thesis

If you plan to write a research thesis at TUM Informatics, you will need to find a supervisor for your project. Search for appropriate supervisors by browsing through the web pages of our chairs. Here you will find their most current research projects where you might participate with your thesis. Please make sure and communicate well that your interest and experience fits well into the research profile of the contacted person. You can either find a supervisor at TUM via contacts professors at your home institution might have, or you can approach TUM researchers directly.  If you choose to contact TUM scientists directly to ask them to be your supervisor:

  • Your request should be accompanied by your CV, academic transcript, and an abstract of your intended research project.
  • Please note that you can either apply for a bachelor's thesis with 15 credits, duration 4 months, or with 25 credits, duration five months, or for a master's thesis with 30 credits, duration six months.
  • You can also contact us if you would like help with identifying an appropriate supervisor for your project. Please include your CV, transcripts, and project abstract if you would like such assistance. 

If possible, we strongly recommend to stay for a year and pursue your thesis in the second semester. Taking courses in the first semester at TUM Informatics facilitates the search for a supervisor, as you can approach researchers in person. In addition you have already an idea how research works and theses are conducted at our department. See for more information about a final thesis during an exchange stay at the website for courses of exchange students.

German Academic Culture

Education in Germany is influenced by the Humboldtian idea of science and research, dating back to the early 19th century, and the ideals of the Enlightenment. As a student in Germany, you are encouraged to find your own way of thinking, and to engage in independent reflection and analysis. Students are expected to work and study independently, especially in lectures. Responsibility, organization, and time management are crucial for you to succeed.

As an international student, the German academic culture may take some getting used to, and you may need some time to figure out the right balance of courses. We recommend that, during the first few weeks of the semester, you visit all the courses you are interested in. That will help you to figure out which ones you want to stick with, and which ones aren’t for you. It is fairly common for courses to meet at conflicting times, so you will have to set your own priorities and decide which course meetings to attend.

Attendance at lectures is generally not compulsory – in contrast to seminars, lab courses, and certain tutorials which may require attendance. However, we strongly recommend that you attend lectures regularly, as you will likely have serious challenges passing a course if you do not. Topics are often covered in lectures outside of what is included in handouts and PowerPoint slides – including professors’ newest research findings, which students benefit from tremendously! If you must miss a lecture, we recommend being in touch with your classmates and lecturers to go over what you missed.

Apply for a student mentor – MINGA Program

The MINGA student mentor program pairs exchange students with current TUM students. If you sign up for the MINGA Program, your mentor can answer your questions, show you around Munich once you arrive, and help you settle into life at TUM. For more information and to access the online application form, visit the MINGA Mentoring Program page.