3. Plan Your Exchange (after admission)

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. You will receive comprehensive information about your studies at TUM Informatics and meet the other exchange students. For more general information, see arrival and orientation.

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

You can use our Checklist/Timeline for Exchange Students to track and check the next steps for your stay abroad at TUM Informatics. 

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 Global & Alumni Office.

The academic calendar of TUM Informatics is defined as follows:

Winter semester: 1st October – 31st March

Lecture period:  early/mid October  – early February
Examination period of lectures: mid February – early March (may differ in other departments)
(see prospective exam periods of future semesters)

Summer semester: 1st April – 30th September 

Lecture period: early/mid April – mid July/early August (differs every year)
Examination period of lectures: mid/end July – early/mid August (may differ in other departments)
(see prospective exam periods of future semesters)

The TUM academic calendar divides our academic year in two semesters. Please consider the different teaching and examination periods of each TUM School/Department when planning your exchange stay! Depending on the lecture start, the examination period differs from year to year, in particular with regard to the summer semester. It is crucial that exchange students are present in Munich in time for the very beginning of the lecture period. If possible, arrive earlier.

A regular semester has 30 ECTS credits, for exchange students we recommend a workload of 20-25 ECTS. Please see the section about courses (=lectures, practical courses and seminars) for more information. Practical courses and seminars are examined by project work, presentations and essays respectively during and at the end of the lecture period. In contrast, only lectures are examined by a written exam during the examination period. 

 

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 lasts 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. (3-8 ECTS)
Übung ("Ü") Exercise Practical exercise; accompanies lectures, no stand-alone course.
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. (always 5 ECTS)
Praktikum ("P") Practical/ Lab Course Practical training in a subject area, including and examined by group work and presentations.  (always 10 ECTS)
Kolloquium ("K") Colloquium/ Discussion Scientific talks by guest lecturers; no credits.


In order to have a balanced workload, we recommend taking several types of courses – not just lectures – and thereby spreading the workload out throughout the semester. Only lectures have an exam during the examination period, practical courses and seminars are examined by projects, talks and essays during/at the end of the lecture period.

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 this subject-related ECTS workload.

See our website on how to find courses.

ERASMUS+ students use the Online Learning Agreement (OLA) to create and negotiate their choice of courses or study program respectively. Please indicate as your TUM contacts in the OLA platform Dr. Anna-Lisa Fuchs (responsible person) and Martina von Imhoff (contact), but in both cases ALWAYS with student-exchange@in.tum.de. Do not use their personal email-addresses!

This is crucial that we can actually sign your learning agreement. Please follow our advice and the rules at the paragraph "how to find courses". (1) Indicate the TUM module codes (e.g. INxxxx) for the component code of each course. (2) Avoid using the TUMonline number, where possible. (3) The study field is in most cases defined by the ISCED Code 061 (or 0619) Information and Communication Technologies.

Please only create your online learning agreement after/from mid-August (for winter semester) or late February (for summer semester), if possible. About 6-8 weeks before the lecture period starts, not only our courses will be published, but the matching for practical courses and seminars will be concluded, too. Then your home university signs the OLA first, thereafter TUM Informatics receives the request to sign your learning agreement. At this point of time your OLA is hopefully correctly filled in and a successful and quick signing of your online learning agreement at TUM Informatics more likely. 

Changes to your learning agreement can be done later during the semester (not before the second week of the lecture period) depending on the deadlines and rules by your home university. However please consider TUM's late semester dates and absences/vacations in the lecture free period. 

We expect you to respect our 60% rule for courses & credits in TUM Informatics.

  • For lectures you register via TUMonline, most lectures do not have a capacity limit (!) with the exception of the following lectures
  • For language courses register in TUMonline, the windows of applications are at the end of September/early October or in the end of March/early April. Thereafter the lot decides among all applicants if you get a place in the language course. 
  • For practical courses and seminars at TUM Informatics, there is a matching portal you have to apply for in July for winter semester and in February for summer semester. Information is sent out to all admitted exchange students in due time. If you get a place allocated, then the instructors of the practical courses and seminars register you in TUMonline after semesterstart. Don't worry that in the meantime the respective course does not appear in your TUMonline student file until then.
  • For courses of other TUM departments there might be different registration procedures. Please inquire with the respective department's website or contact.

Latest by October 1 or April1 respectively, your TUM account will be set valid so that you can register for lectures, language courses and support electives in TUMonline. 

The registration for courses is not equal to the registration for exams. You have to register for exams during the semester in time. Reminders are sent out to all students.

The video tutorial is relevant for exchange students after admission in mid/end of July (for winter semester) and early/mid February (for summer semester). At that time your TUM login is not ready yet and you will receive a special login via email. Only places for practical courses and seminars are allocated via the matching platform. The matching platform will be accessible only during a short period of time (5-6 days). The documentation helps you to check the schedule for students and to understand the setup of the matching. 

We expect you 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 of courses for exchange students.

If you plan to write a research thesis at TUM Informatics, you will need to find a supervisor for your project by yourself. Search for appropriate supervisors by browsing through the web pages of our chairs. There 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 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 (very common). Consider that most theses at TUM Informatics are supervised by doctoral students (PhDs) to increase your chances! If you choose to contact TUM scientists directly to ask them to be your supervisor take into account:

  • Your request should be accompanied by your CV, academic transcript(s) (BSc & MSc, if applicable), and an abstract of your intended research project and your idea what you can contribute.
  • 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.
  • We expect you to register your thesis like our regular students. The chairs will help you to submit it. The common IN.TUM rules and deadlines for theses apply for exchange students just the same.

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, practical/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.

The MINGA Mentoring Program pairs exchange students with current IN.TUM students. If you sign up for the MINGA Mentoring 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.