Frequently Asked Questions

Located in the south-west of Germany, very close to the French boarder, Saarland University is a campus university offering an extensive range of taught courses and internationally networked state-of-the-art research. International students receive excellent supervision and can enjoy a comprehensive range of sports and leisure activities while studying at the university. Our International Office provides many services for students from abroad.

The visual computing master course of studies is coordinated by the Computer Science Department of Saarland University, one of the leading computer science departments in Germany. It has a tradition of teaching all master courses in English, and a significant percentage of its master students are from abroad. It is supported by the Departments of Mathematics, Mechatronics, Physics and Computational Linguistics, the University Hospital, as well as by the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science, the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering, the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing, and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence. This provides a unique environment for excellent studies and research in visual computing.

Many of the professors involved in the visual computing programme are internationally recognised experts in their area. This is documented by numerous awards: For instance, Professors Hans-Peter Seidel and Joachim Weickert have received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, which is the highest German award in science. In total, six researchers of the Computer Science Department are Leibniz laureates, and seventeen professors have been awarded ERC Research Grants which constitute a very prestigeous and highly selective third party funding.

As many interdisciplinary programmes of study, visual computing is not particularly simple, since it requires a profound knowledge from many fields. Unexperienced people often underestimate the difficulties: Modern image analysis and synthesis methods are very sophisticated and can involve a lot of applied mathematics. In conclusion, obtaining a M.Sc. degree in Visual Computing at Saarland University is at a comparable level of difficulty as obtaining a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science or in Mathematics. However, it can also involve a lot of fun, since you can immediately see how your models and algorithms perform, and you have the fascination of working in a real interdisciplinary area.

More than half of our students are from abroad. The percentage of female students is 25 to 30 percent. This is substantially higher than in our computer science master programme.

Master students in computer science are supposed to focus almost completely on computer science lectures and have no minor. Visual computing, on the other hand, has a much stronger interdisciplinary focus. It requires to fill some personal gaps of knowledge in fields like mathematics, mechatronics or physics. This includes lectures with a total amount of 18 credit points, which is in the same order of magnitude as a minor during our bachelor studies in computer science.
Moreover, if you hold a master degree in visual computing, you prove that you have specific qualifications in this field. This may give you advantages when you apply for a job in the visual computing area.

Yes. All visual computing lectures that are offered by the Computer Science Department do also count as regular computer sciences classes. However, you should be aware that you have to write two master theses, and that visual computing lectures from other departments may not be part of your computer science studies, since our computer science master has no minor. As a consequence, the duration of your studies may be extended by one or two semesters.

No. Visual Computing is an international course of studies that can be studied entirely in English. When living in Germany, it is of course useful and recommendable to learn some German. This can be done in language classes offered by the university, and you can even use up to 6 credit points from language classes within our Visual Computing Master Programme. Moreover, some non-compulsory classes in the master programme are offered in German, mainly in the supplementary areas such as mathematics or physics. Thus, knowing some German broadens your range of selection possibilities even further. However, you can be assured that in all categories sufficiently many classes are available in English.

So far, about 60 percent of our students who earn a master degree in visual computing continue with a Ph.D.

There are no tuition fees. Saarland University charges an administration fee of about 207 Euro per semester (in 2016). In return, as a student you can get subsidised food at the university refectory and free public transport within the entire Saarland region, so it's a good deal. In case you decide to inscribe to an additional consecutive master programme (such as Computer Science), no extra fees are charged. Domestic and international students pay the same fee. Some grants for very gifted students are provided by the International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science. When applying to our master programme, you automatically apply for such a grant without any additional bureaucracy.

You should expect to spend in the order of 650-700 Euro per month for financing your living. This includes housing, food, books etc. and may vary according to your needs.

Our university offers some smaller jobs where you can earn some money as student programmer or tutor (in the order of 4 to 16 hours per week). Since e.g. a job as a tutor requires some knowledge about a class, this would be more suitable for you after you have already attended this class. As a student you can also take a half time job outside the university to finance your studies.

We also offer the possibility that you inscribe as a part-time student for some semesters. You must apply for this and give good reasons, e.g. the need to finance your studies. In this case you are not allowed to earn more than 18 credit points per semester - instead of 30 points that you are supposed to obtain as a regular student. Obviously this extends the duration of your studies. However, please note that during the semester in which you write your master thesis, you must be inscribed as a full-time student.

The 75 % threshold is a guideline that shows our expectations. We are aware that the systems and grading cultures differ from country to country. If your are slightly below 75 percent and excel in all other criteria, you may still have a chance. However, note that most of the succesful applicants have more than 80 percent.

Not really. On one hand, you may have gained some practical experience in the visual computing area, but on the other hand it is likely that you have also forgotten important theoretical concepts you have learned during your math classes. You will need a sound theoretical background if you want to be successful in the visual computing master programme.

Yes. Exceptions are only made for native speakers and those who hold a degree of a university in a country, where English is the mother tongue. A degree from India or Pakistan will not be considered as valid English proficiency proof. For students from Germany, it is sufficient if they can prove high school knowledge of English (Grund- oder Leistungskurs in der Oberstufe). If not, they have to provide a TOEFL, IELTS or CPE score.

Ideally you should find two professors or lecturers whose classes you have attended and who know you well. Obviously, a supervisor of your bachelor thesis would also be a great candidate. If you have difficulties finding two such people from academia, you can also consider people from industry, e.g. the direct supervisor in your current job. However, this is only the second best solution.

You should not do this, since recommendation letters should be confidential. You just give us the contact data of two people who are willing to write a letter about you. We will then contact them after the application deadline has passed and ask them to upload their letters to our system.

Yes. Please include a statement that your IELTS or TOEFL result will be provided later. In this case you can get a conditional admission that turns into a valid admission if the outcome of your language proficiency test satisfies our minimal requirements (IELTS: 6.5/9, TOEFL: 95/120).

Yes. Please include a statement that the grade of your thesis will be provided later, and make sure that you include a transcript of records that states all your grades that you have obtained so far. In this case you can get a conditional admission that turns into a valid admission once we have a (sufficiently good) grade of your thesis.

About six weeks after the application deadline, i.e. at the end of June for applications for the winter term, and at the end of December of applications for the summer term. Your application file will be studied thorougly by two lecturers and discussed within a committee of six people. This may take some time.

There is no restriction on the number of students. Everything depends entirely on the quality of *your* application. In previous application rounds, about 20 % of all applicants have been admitted. We have about 20 new students each year. Our programme is fairly small, since we aim at quality, not at quantity. In this way you can expect that you know your fellow students well and have direct contact to your lecturers.

Yes. You can start either in the winter or in the summer term, since most of our classes are non-consecutive and there is no specific set of compulsory lectures. Typical lecturing periods in the winter term range from mid October to mid February, and in the summer term from mid April to mid July.

For additional information, please consult

Prof. Joachim Weickert
Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Saarland University, Campus E1.7
Room 4.23
66041 Saarbrücken, Germany