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Fachschaft Mathematik/Informatik

Master's Program

Note: The information presented here addresses an old version of the examination Regulations. For an advanced draft of the new Regulations, click the following link:


The major subject of the master's program computer science at the University of Paderborn consist of several modules. First of all, there are 6 modules of compulsory optional subjects (in German: Wahlpflichtfächer), a project group and the master's thesis.
Besides this, you need to complete 12 ECTS of either a minor subject or general studies (in German: Studium Generale). Foreign students have to attend a german language course instead of a minor subject or general studies.

This page will introduce you to the structure and important regulations regarding our master's program. In order to provide an overview, we will not mention every detail. Important are the examination regulations and the module handbook (in German: Prüfungsordnung und Modulhandbuch).

Compulsory optional subjects (COS)

This is a quite complex part of your studies. In contrast to what you might know from the bachelor's program, there are quite complex regulations about which subjects can be combined together for a module. More about this later on.

Computer Science at the University of Paderborn has 4 different sub-disciplines:

  1. SWT - Softwaretechnik (in English: software technology)
  2. MuA - Modelle und Algorithmen (in English: models and algorithms)
  3. ESS - Eingebettete System und Systemsoftware (in English: embedded systems and system software)
  4. MMWW - Mensch-Maschine Wechselwirkung (in English: human-computer-interdependency)

You have to choose one of these sub-disciplines as your area of specialization (in German: Vertiefungsgebiet). You need 3 modules of COS in this area and 1 module of COS in each of the other areas. A module always includes 2 subjects. Those modules are numbered as module III.x.y, in PAUL the modules are called M.079.3x1y, where x is the sub-discipline (as listed above) and y is the number of the module within the sub-discipline (so III.2.1 exists as well as III.3.1).
IMPORTANT: You cannot have an examination in a module you already passed! So the modules of your area of specialisation need to have different y values. You have 3 tries per module.

There are 2 types of subjects: lectures and seminars. You cannot combine 2 seminars to form a module. You need to pass 1 seminar in your area of specialisation and are allowed to complete one additional seminar in any of the 5 other COS-modules. (Remark: The project group includes a seminar as well! This does not influence the number of seminars which can be taken in COS modules.)

Be careful: Not all subjects are taught in English! In Paul, you find an "(in English)" suffix on subjects which are taught in English (even if the rest of the title may be German).

One problem of the complex module regulations is, that you usually don't know which subjects will be taught in the following semester, when you select your courses for the current semester, e.g. at the beginning of summer term you don't know the subjects of the winter term. Some lectures are not given regularly or not given anymore, e.g. because the lecturer left the university. Same applies for seminars, where the uncertainty is even higher.

A good overview of lectures (in German with many English lecture names) can be found here. On the right side this website lists the modules a subject can be part of

For the current semester and former semester you can have a look at the VKom, where lecturers describe their lectures and seminars. Another good resource for former semesters is the WebPTool. In both places you will find annotations of the compatible module numbers. Remark: Older Entries might contain only the compatible modules according to the obsolete version of the examination regulations from 2004 (current one is v2 from 2009)!

Remark: You can add additional modules or even stand-alone-subjects (in German: Zusatzleistungen). If you passed an additional computer science module and your grade is better than one of your mandatory modules in the same area, the role of these 2 modules can be interchanged. You cannot do more than 16 ECTS additional subjects.
Be aware, that every module you tried (at least 1 examination attempt) will be either part of your mandatory modules or additional subjects!

Example: If you have at least 1 examination attempt in 5 different modules of your area of specialisation, you can only have exams in the first module you have chosen or will choose in the other areas. Additional non-computer science subjects are part of these additional subjects as well!

Project group (PG)

In the project group you will work on a project with usually 5-10 other students. This project group lasts for 1 year (2 semesters) and you are not allowed to fail the project group more than once. Each semester of the project group takes 15 ECTS on paper, but expect that you'll have to invest more time per ECTS than usual! On the other hand, the grade of the project group is only counted with 8 ECTS, therefore it has the same worth as one COS.

It is a good idea, to start this project group as early as possible, because you can not start writing you master's thesis before you passed the complete project group (both semesters).

In every semester, usually in the last week of lecture, there is a presentation of the upcoming project groups. The enrolment will be explained at this presentation. More information about the PG can be found here.

Master's thesis

This thesis usually completes your master's studies. You are allowed to start working on your thesis, when you passed 3 modules of compulsory optional subjects and the project group.
Remark: Actually, the examination regulations enforce 54 ECTS in computer science modules - so you can probably start the final exam without the PG, when you have completed the 6 mandatory COS-modules + 1 additional module in the area of computer science.

For your master's thesis you need a topic to write about. Most students talk to a professor, who is working in an area of interest to the student. The professor suggests a rough topic which will be refined by the professor, the student and maybe an additional supervisor, since not all theses are supervised by the professor himself/herself.
It is also possible, to come up with you own topic or write a thesis in cooperation with a company.

Usually, the student will write down the refined topic together with a working plan. This so called proposal (in German sometimes called Arbeitsplan = working plan) will be handed in to the Examination Office (in German: Prüfungssekretariat) when you register your thesis. After this registration, you have 5 month until you have to hand in your thesis (10 month, if you're a part-time student).