Courses for exchange students - how to design your study program/learning agreement

Important to know and to consider:

We expect all exchange students to take at least 60% of your workload (number of courses and ECTS credits) at TUM Department of Informatics. All our courses can be identified by the IN Module Code (e.g. IN0014 or IN2222).

Please always indicate the IN Module Code together with the course title in your study program or learning agreement respectively.  

Exchange students are allowed to take any course of our department, as long as you have the prerequisites and the capacities allow it. The module description of the respective course you are interested in tells you, if you have sufficient knowledge for the course, see our module catalog. For practical courses and seminars check the description in the course list of the respective semester instead.

Some of our study programs might be taught by several departments, so check the IN Module Code! Only those courses count to the course offer of our department and for the 60%.

The full time workload is 30 credits per semester. Exchange students at our department are expected to take courses with at least 20 ECTS credits (excl. language courses) per semester. We recommend to spread the workload as explained below and to take a little less than 30 ECTS, if allowed by your home university.

Academic prerequisites for an exchange stay

Our department offers more than 250 course in English out of 500 courses per year. But most of our English taught courses are at advanced or Master level. Bachelor students with at least 2 years of prior studies in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or a similar subject can take courses at Master level.

Means you need to have the following minimum requirements: Programming, Algorithms, Data Structures, Mathematics, Software Engineering. Preferably: Data Bases, Computer Architecture, Operating Systems, Networks, Automata, Formal Languages.

How to find current courses

The module catalog includes English module descriptions with ECTS credits about our overall course offering. Only a subset of our modules/courses is taught during winter or summer semester, so check the indicated teaching cycle.

A good indicator is the previous academic year, most courses will be offered again. In TUMonline you find the course list, please filter for the respective semester (in the column 'Sem') and/or academic year. Our pdf guideline on 'How to find courses' gives you a step-by-step overview.

The TUMonline Manuals for students help you to navigate TUMonline. (Be aware that for exchange students the guidelines for applicants to degree programs do NOT apply.)

Note: IN-Modules starting with IN8xxx or IN5xxx are not open for exchange students. IN9xxx modules (support electives/soft skills) are in very high demand and regular students often have first pick.

Starter Kit: Video Tutorial on Courses @ TUM Informatics

Publication and preview of courses

Keep in mind that the courses at TUM Department of Informatics are published in mid-July for winter semester and mid-January for summer semester. The TUM application deadline for the exchange programs are earlier than the departmental course scheduling is finished. So you have to indicate a first choice of courses in your study program or learning agreement on the base of the previous academic year.

There is a preview of courses (in German only) for the next year/next semester. But you can easily identify the courses by the IN Module Code.

Design your study program/learning agreement

We offer more than 500 courses per year, more than 70% are taught in English at advanced level. Because exchange students of TUM Informatics are not limited to a specific BSc or MSc program, there is no specific schedule to follow, allowing you great flexibility. (Only IN5xxx and IN8xxx modules are not open for exchange students.)

So the chances are high that courses you choose will overlap and your study program is likely to be changed. Consider some fall-back options, in case this happens, when you review your choice of courses after the publication of courses in July or January for the upcoming semester.

Spread the workload by choosing a variety of courses. There are lectures, practical courses and seminars at TUM Department of Informatics. Lectures give between 3-8 ECTS credits at our department, whereas a practical course is worth 10 ECTS credits and a seminar 5 ECTS credits.

Please always indicate the IN Module Code together with the course title in your study program or learning agreement respectively. Only those courses count to the course offer of our department and for the 60% workload in Informatics. 

Recommendation: A good study program consists of a mix of type of courses, not only lectures, but a practical course and/or a seminar, as well as an additional language course or soft skill course.

Note: Places in practical courses and seminars are allocated to students via a matching tool, you will have to apply for in July for winter semester and in February for summer semester respectively. So make sure that you have a list of interesting topics for practial courses and seminars ready. Via the matching, you can get max. one place in a practical course and one place in a seminar.  It's worth the effort! Logins to the matching tool will be sent the week before the matching (so in February or beginning of July), so watch out and check your spam file.

What is a practical course; what is a seminar; what is a lecture?

A practical course offers 10 ECTS and is usually a software project in a specific subject area (e.g. data bases, security), including group work and presentations, which are used to grade the whole course in place of an examination.

A (advanced) seminar equals 5 ECTS and you get a paper with a (academically demanding) topic in Informatics. You search for more papers on specific aspects of the topic, present the constituent aspects of the topic in both a written paper by you and a presentation of it in front of the group. It is usually graded according to your paper, your talk, and regular, active attendance during the seminar.

In contrast a lecture is a course taught by a lecturer, often with many students in a large lecture hall. A lecture is followed up by a written or oral exam after the lecture period and is sometimes accompanied by exercises and homework. The amount of given ECTS credits varies.

Every semester we offer around 40 practical courses  and 40 seminars within different subject areas. Practical courses and seminars can be found in the TUMonline course list by filtering for the respective module code in the column 'title' (and the respective semester/academic year):

  • practical courses: IN0012 for bachelor level and IN2106 for Master level
  • seminars: IN0014 for bachelor level and IN2107 for Master level
  • lectures have individual IN Module Codes

More information about our study and course system is given at the paragraph 'plan your exchange'. 

Please always indicate the IN Module Code together with the course title in your study program or learning agreement respectively. Only those courses count to the course offer of our department and for the 60% workload in Informatics. 

Academic calendar and credits per semester

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

Winter semester: 1st October – 31st March

Lecture period: mid-October – mid February
Examinations: beginning of February – beginning of March (may differ in other departments)

Summer semester: 1st April – 30th September 

Lecture period: mid/end April – mid/end July (depending on Easter holidays)
Examinations: end July – mid August (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.

ECTS Credit System and TUM Grading

TUM ECTS Credit System
At TUM Informatics 1 ECTS credit equals 30 hours of work. A regular semester consists of 30 ECTS credits with 14 weeks of teaching. For more information about our credits system check the TUM website.

If your home university allows, TUM Informatics agrees with a lesser workload than 30 ECTS for exchange students. Check the previous paragraphs and our advice on study programs.

The TUM grading system is as follows (the grading methods differ and are fixed by the lecturer):

Grading of Examinations
The student’s grades in each individual examination are expressed by the examiner according to the following scale:
Grade 1 "very good" = excellent performance;
Grade 2 "good" = performance well above average;
Grade 3 "satisfactory" = average performance;
Grade 4 "sufficient" = performance meets the standards in spite of deficiencies;
Grade 5 "fail" = performance does not meet the standards because of substantial deficiencies.

For the purpose of a more differentiated assessment, the above grades may be raised or lowered by 0.3; the grades 0.7 and 5.3 are not possible.

If a module consists of several module examination components, the module grade will be calculated as the weighted average of the individual components. The averaged grades will have only one decimal place, all further decimal places will be disregarded without rounding.

The module grades are:
up to 1.5 "very good";
1.6 to 2.5 "good";
2.6 to 3.5 "satisfactory";
3.6 to 4.0 "sufficient";
from 4.1 "fail".

Final thesis - constraints and advice

Requirement: come for two semesters! When having the wish to write a thesis as exchange student at IN.TUM, we expect you to come for two semesters. Then you have the time to organize a thesis in person for your second semester during your first months in Munich.

It is very common and a lot easier to find a thesis by talking to the possible supervisors directly. Many exchange students have been successfull in finding a project then. Indicate in your application to TUM that you intend to do a thesis in your second semester and name some researchers of chairs/labs of interests. In this case, you don't have to be in contact with the researchers at the point of time of application, but later during your first semester.

At IN.TUM theses are usually supervised by Ph.D. students (less often also by Postdocs or directly by the professor). She/he is the main contact person for you.

In case you want to pursue a thesis during your exchange stay at TUM Informatics, you have to follow the regular TUM rules for theses on bachelor's and master's level. The rules for theses can not be adapted on our side with regard to amount of ECTS credits or level, only on the side of your home university. Please discuss this with the coordinator/supervisor at your home university. Thank you for your understanding. The following paragraphs will give you important information and advice.

At IN.TUM a Bachelor’s Thesis has usually 15 ECTS (duration of four months) or 25 ECTS (duration of 5 months). A Master’s Thesis lasts 6 months and has 30 ECTS. A thesis has to be registered and submitted in time and according to our rules. The rules of your home university do not apply.

Please gather information yourself about our research groups (chairs). Some chairs have specific offers for thesis, others expect you to get in contact with them and are open to negotiate the subject for a final thesis project. Do not contact more than two researchers/groups at once to avoid misunderstandings and chaotic coordination. Be very precise in contacting our staff and attach your transcripts and CV to your request.