1. 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 nearly any course of our department (except IN5xxx, IN8xxx and xxHNxxxx), as long as you have the prerequisites and the capacities allow it. Check the guiding information below on how to search courses (=lectures, practical courses and seminars). Some of our study programs might be taught by several departments, so check the INxxxx 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 at TUM Informatics

Our department offers more than 400 courses in English out of our 600+ 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. 

This means (in order to take English taught courses) you need to meet the following minimum requirements: Programming, Algorithms, Data Structures, Mathematics, Software Engineering. Preferably: Data Bases, Computer Architecture, Operating Systems, Networks, Automata, Formal Languages.

We expect our exchange students to have a B2 level in English at the time of arrival. It is very beneficial but not mandatory to have German skills. In case you want to take courses taught in German though (in particular at bachelor's level), then you should have a min. B2 level in German to study comfortably and successfully. 

Academic calendar, examination periods and credits per semester

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. 

 

How to find current courses

A good indicator for your course search is the previous academic year, as most courses will be offered again. In TUMonline you can find the list of courses (=lectures, practical courses and seminars), 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 list of courses does not show the ECTS credits, but the module catalog does. 

The module catalog includes English module descriptions with ECTS credits about our overall lecture offer. Only a subset of our modules (lectures/courses) is taught during winter or summer semester, so check the indicated teaching cycle. Even though listed in the module catalog, the respective lecture might not be taught or is outdated (see module descriptions with a semester indicated at "valid until"). Therefore compare your choice of interest with the list of courses of the previous academic year in TUMonline. About 400 courses out of 600+ IN.TUM courses within one academic year are taught in English. 

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

Video Tutorial on Courses @ TUM Informatics

Publication of courses and preview of lectures

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 exchange programs is prior to the publication of the courses for your IN.TUM semester. 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 lectures (in German only) for the next year/next semester. But you can easily identify the lectures by the IN Module Code. The topics of practical courses and seminars offered in the previous semester are a reliable indicator, but do not appear in the preview of lectures but in the list of courses in TUMonline. 

Tip: Check the TUMonline list of courses of the previous academic year, filter for the respective semester. It is a reliable indicator, but prepare some substitute courses. 

The Timeline/Checklist helps you to plan and prepare your stay at TUM Informatics. 

Your course choice (study program/learning agreement)

We offer more than 600 courses per year, more than 70% are taught in English at an 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. You can study across degree programs, but you must fulfill the specific prerequisites of the course. (Only IN5xxx, IN8xxx and xxHNxxxx modules are not open for exchange students.)

Consequently, the chances are quite 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. After the publication of courses in July or January for the upcoming semester, then is the time to prepare your study program or to fill in your learning agreement respectively. 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 and courses in Informatics

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.

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 platform. You will have to apply for these courses in July for winter semester and in February for summer semester respectively. So make sure that you have a list of interesting topics for practical courses and seminars ready. Via the matching, you can get max. one place in a practical course and one place in a seminar. It is worth the effort! Logins to the matching tool will be sent the week before the matching (so in February or July), so watch out and check your spam folder.

Application to TUM: Course Wish List (no learning agreement required!)

(1) For your application at TUM in May or October respectively, please submit a "wish list of courses" (.docx) or an unsigned online learning agreement (download pdf with "revision"). The respective document does not need to be signed by your home coordinator yet. 

(2) After admission you will receive more information from our department in mid-/end July or mid/late January how to proceed. 

(3) TUM Informatics will sign official study programs, like Online Learning Agreements (OLA), not before mid-August (winter semester) or late February (summer semester). Then the results of the matching for practical/lab courses and seminars will be published.

(4) Later changes of courses, in particular changes of lectures, are possible until the end of the second week of the lecture period (end of October or end of April respectively).

 

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

  1. A practical course always 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. These practical or lab courses are interesting, up-to-date and "fun" courses to apply your knowledge in a team. Students often get good grades. Therefore they are popular and places are allocated via a matching due to a capacity limit per practical course (ca. 20-30 students). 
  2. 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 (ca. 20 students). It is usually graded according to your paper, your talk, and regular, active attendance during the seminar. Seminars are popular and places are allocated via a matching due to a capacity limit per seminar. 
  3. 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 usually only one written or oral exam after the lecture period and is sometimes accompanied by exercises and homework. The amount of given ECTS credits varies (see module catalog). Most IN-lectures (98%) do not have an attendee limit and you register for them with semester start in TUMonline.

Every semester we offer around 60+ practical courses and 70+ seminars with topics in all our 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).

  1. practical courses: IN0012 for Bachelor level and IN2106 for Master level
  2. seminars: IN0014 for Bachelor level and IN2107 for Master level
  3. lectures have individual INxxxx Module Codes

Tip: Prepare a list of practical courses and/or seminar topics that are interesting to you, for the matching just after the publication of courses about 3 months prior the semester start. More information about our study and course system as well as the checklist/timeline for your exchange is given at the paragraph 'plan your exchange'. 

Please always indicate the INxxxx 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. 

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 an 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. Contact us for advice in advance!

It is very common and a lot easier to find a thesis by talking to the possible supervisors directly. Many exchange students have been successful 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). They are 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. 

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 at TUM. Please contact us for more information and advice.

Please gather information yourself about our research groups (chairs). Some chairs have specific offers for theses, 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.