Additional Information for International Students
Please note: The official designation of the Master's Program is "Electrical Engineering, Information Technology and Computer Engineering" (German: "Elektrotechnik, Informationstechnik und Technische Informatik"), which is due to the fact that within this Master’s Program there are several specialized study programs. The study program Communications Engineering is fully taught in English.
Handbook Master Communications Engineering
Description of the Study ProgramMario Irrmischer
The field of information technology is growing rapidly, providing excellent job opportunities for communications engineers. There is a worldwide demand of highly trained staff in the area of multimedia communication systems for industrial and non-industrial research, system development, fabrication, network planning, as well as network management and maintenance.
The particular focus of the course are advanced digital multimedia transmission systems. Students will be trained in the whole spectrum of telecommunication communication systems including the evolution from GSM/UMTS/IMT-2000 towards the future internet and the next generation cellular radio systems. During the six-month master thesis period, students work in a research project with industrial background. Graduates of this program will be able to apply scientific methods to the analysis and design of future multimedia communication systems using state-of-the-art software tools and implementation technologies, as well as to work in project teams and write scientific and technical documentations.
Structure of the Program
The program consists of two to three semesters of classes with an integrated industrial internship of 18 weeks, and a six-month period for the Master thesis. The course language is English. Classes comprise lectures, tutorials, seminars, and experimental laboratories in Communications Engineering. Students will also attend German language courses. They may choose from a wide range of voluntary elective classes of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology.
After each semester with courses students have to give proof of their knowledge through exams. Candidates have to obtain 120 credits in order to be awarded their degree. 72 of those credits stem from various classes, 22 from the internship and a connected seminar and 30 credits from the Master thesis.
After they have completed their Master thesis, candidates are required to give an oral presentation on their topic. The Master thesis can be written at any institute from the department of Electrical Engineering, Information Technology and Computer Engineering.
The program is designed for a minimum duration of 4 semesters. The adaptation to a new culture and study environment and the challenging exams should not be underestimated. Therefore a longer duration of about 5 or more semesters also occurs in practice.
The requirements for admission are defined in the respective examination regulations (in German: “Prüfungsordnung” = PO). Moreover, the requirements and application deadlines are summarized here.
For a successful application, the following requirements regarding ECTS credit points must be met, according to the respective examination regulation (PO).
From our long standing experience, for successful studies the applicants should have a performance well above average, with a GPA of at least 75% (or 3.2 on a scale from 2.0 to 4.0, "First Class with Distinction"). Excellent performance in the field of Communications Engineering, especially in Probability and Random Processes, Information Theory, and Signals and Systems is mandatory. Substantial knowledge in Mathematics, Digital Signal Processing, fundamental knowledge in Computer Programming is assumed.
The following documents have to be handed in online for application:
- GRE (for non-EU citizens only, min. scores: Verbal Reasoning 15%, Quantitive Reasoning 75%)
- Authenticated copies of first degree academic certificates
- Authenticated translation of degree certificate into German, English or French
Please note, that no documents have to be send as hard copies for application! The original documents have to be handed in in case of enrollment.
In addition a proof proficiency in the English language is required for enrollment. Either the IELTS with a minimum score of 5.5 or the TOEFL with a minimum score of 90 is required. Note that with a degree acquired in either Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand or the United States of America no English language test is required.
Further information regarding your application and the link to the application platform RWTHOnline is available here.
German Language Course
A German language course is an integral part of the Communications Engineering program and provides students with the ability to communicate effectively in German both during their period of study in Aachen and later in the workplace after graduation. Eventually they have to show proof of German knowledge on the A2.2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference by successfully passing the DSM exam.
The language course is structured as follows:
- There will be a six-week intensive course before the beginning of the winter semester (end of August-mid October)
- During the winter semester, the German language course will be three hours per week
- Before the beginning of the summer semester, there will be a two-week intensive course
- During the summer semester, the German language course will be three hours per week
The attendance of the language course before the first winter semester is highly recommended, since this saves a lot of time during your studies and you have some German language knowledge at hand from the very beginning! For more information please visit the website of the language center.
The program is free of charge, therefore the university does not offer scholarships. However, there is a social contribution fee of roughly 250 Euros per semester, which must be paid by all students. This fee includes public transportation in all of North Rhine-Westphalia. The overall cost of living for a student at RWTH Aachen University, including the social contribution fee, is about 700 €/month but may be higher depending on your lifestyle. In exceptional cases, the German government may provide a scholarship to support the cost of living. Please visit DAAD for further information. It is advised to already apply for scholarships before studies!
Private scholarships may also be available, depending on your background.
FAQ regarding the Communications Engineering program
Do I need basic knowledge of the German language?
Previous knowledge of the German language is not required to attend the Communications Engineering program. The program is fully English-Taught. However participants need to pass the DSM exam, corresponding to A2 level in German, to complete their studies.
What are the tuition fees at RWTH Aachen University?
The program is free of charge. However, there is a social contribution fee of roughly 250 Euros per semester, which must be paid by all students. This fee includes public transportation in all of North Rhine-Westphalia.
I will get my Bachelor’s certificate only after the deadline. Can I still apply?
It is possible to submit your certificate after the deadline. In this case you will have to indicate in your application when exactly you will receive it. However, you must include a transcript of all the grades you have achieved so far.
I have a GPA below 3.2 out of 4. Can I still apply?
The chances of admission rise with a good GPA. Though, the GPA is not the only criterion being looked at. If your absolute GPA is low but compared to your batch you have a very good GPA, providing an official ranking of you from your university would support your application. Also the selection of subjects, the GRE and other facts are, of course, considered for admission.
I passed an exam, but I would like to improve my grade. Is it possible?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. But, if you finish your master within 4 semesters (standard period of study), you can send a request to cancel the worst mark out of all modules to the examination office. This mark will then not be considered, when calculating the final GPA.
Can I do a HIWI job parallel to my master thesis?
You can do a Hiwi and the thesis in parallel, if (!) you do it either in different institutes, or if the Hiwi job has nothing to do with the master thesis (e.g. tutor...). You cannot be payed via a Hiwi job for conducting the thesis!
How can I write a good application?
You can find a comprehensive list of tips for a good application on this website. Try to guide the reader through your application and point out important facts that stress your qualification. Class rankings can support your application as well. For letters of recommendation it is advisable to choose somebody with technical qualification in a responsible position.