Courses of Study
Curriculum, Bachelor and Master Thesis
Is there a prescribed order in which the modules must be completed? (P)
It is often assumed that the outlined study plans in the examination regulations must be followed exactly as stated. This is not the case! Many of these study plans are a recommendation and are binding in the sense that the department (dean of students) must ensure that the courses of study are corresponding to an appropriate plan.
Even with such room for freedom in one’s individual formation of studies, it is strongly advised to be aware of the following:
- The modules of the first semester within one’s subject of study should be completed as is stated in the outlined tables (because of the content that is so important to learn and to avoid problems with future courses and the examination regulations).
- The modules partially build on one another. This is especially true for experimental physics, labs, mathematics for physicists, and theoretical physics. The given order of courses should be adhered to.
- Training in mathematics is an indispensable pillar for physics. Under no circumstances should it be pushed to later semesters.
- For the colloquium of theoretical physics, one needs to have successfully completed two of the modules 2-4 in theoretical physics.
- The physical seminar in the Bachelor studies should be taken in the 5th or 6th semester of your subject (see below)
- The Bachelor thesis should be completed in the last semester of your subject.
There is a greater degree of freedom in the order and choice of the elective courses and the key skills. For example, if you would like to finish your physical electives in the 4th semester, explain this to the corresponding instructors to see if it is a sensible choice. If yes, nothing stands in the way of such a decision.
It can also be the case that modules from the electives or key skills areas with ECTS points are offered but are not found in the examination regulations tables. Despite this, you can include such modules and ECTS points. What is important is to stick to rules §29 (Bachelor) and §35 (Master) of the examination regulations.
What is the physical seminar and which seminars are offered? (P, MP)
In the Bachelor and Master degree program (material physics only in the Bachelor degree), the physical seminar is an obligatory module (PS) (Material physics: Material Physics Seminar (PS-MAT)), in which every attendant must make a speech about a particular topic. In the Bachelor degree, students have to complete this seminar in the 5th or 6th semester, while in the Master degree, it is typically completed within the first year of study. The authorized Seminars for physics (sometimes called “Scheinseminare”) will be announced in a column of the UnivIS-course index; the registration can be carried out per email or on StudOn.
For the department of physics, the seminars for Bachelor and Master students are open. It is even possible for Bachelor and Master students to participate in the same seminar (a seminar with the same title). The organizers observe that the topics for Master students have a higher degree of difficulty than Bachelor students giving the same or a similar speech and that the topic selection varies from year to year.
Which options are there for non-physical electives?(P)
In the physics Bachelor degree program, students must complete 10 ECTS points of non-physical electives 1(NW-1). The elective subjects are astronomy, chemistry, computer science, and physical chemistry.
Other non-physical electives (NW) can be also included in the Bachelor and Master degree, but this is not a must. The NW-modules can be freely chosen out of the course offerings of the natural sciences faculty (NatFak, but outside of physics), technical faculty in engineering (TechFak) and the pre-medical field (MedFak). Other options may be approved by request to the examination committee chairman (for example business administration and philosophy) and these requests must be justified. Students must explain why the requested subject would be meaningful for the physics degree.
Please keep in mind that in order to partipate in another department’s events, you need the agreement of the teacher (you may contact directly or per e-mail).
How many points do I need from key qualifications, and what modules are allowed for this purpose? (P, M)
Here, the §29 rule of the examination regulations also applies: you need at least 2,5 ECTS-Points out of the key qualifications; these points can also be placed in the free area (see below) for the Bachelor degree.
All key qualification modules are accessible without any special approval from the examination committee. Modules are allowed if they are located in the column “key qualifications” in the UnivIS-University calendars, or if they are marked with the note “suitable as key qualifications.” If you want to include other modules of the FAU or in other exceptional cases, you want to include an external event (an elite academy for example), please make sure in advance with the chairman of the examination committee that everything is in order, and these modules can be included.
Please be aware, that in principle, key qualifications will appear with no grades in the Bachelor certificate, even if you received a grade from the module.
In the Master’s certificate, the key qualifications can be included.
Can extra modules, where I 'did too much' also be credited? (P, MP)
Yes, there are three different ways (see grade calculation, section 4):
- In the Bachelor, as well as in the Master degree, the respective sum of the ECTS minimum Points from different areas is smaller than the ECTS total number for the correspondent certificate. These can be chosen out of the remaining “free area” assignable modules. For example, you can credit the redundant modules from the experimental physics or theory cycle in the free area of accreditation or even additional modules from the key qualification area.
- When you already passed Mathematics for Physicists 2 and 3, you can include Mathematics for Physicists 3 as a non-physical elective.
- You can save modules from the elective area (physical and non-physical) for the Master degree (see next point).
Can I complete modules for the Master's degree during my Bachelor degree? (P, MP)
Yes, actually in every elective area (physical or non-physical) of the offered modules. In the Bachelor and Master physics degrees, one can include an additional module of Experimental Physics 5 and 6 (EP-5,EP-6) to the physical electives of the Master’s course if both of these modules were completed during the Bachelor course, but only one was applied to obtain the Bachelor certificate.
From the date of registration for the Bachelor thesis, all master modules are open for completion, even if you are not yet approved for the Master program or not yet enrolled in the Master course. Caution: The relevant data are the start date of the Bachelor thesis and the day of the exam in a master module.
What is included in the study of physics in medicine? (P)
It consists of the possibility to specialize in this area through specific courses and the thesis topic; If this is successfully completed, it will be documented, by request, in the Master´s certificate and credentials. The formal requirements are all assigned to the Master’s course and can be found in annex 6 of the examination regulations.
In particular, this means that the decision for or against this focal point is independent of the course of the Bachelor program. As a result, this focus is also open for students from other universities, who transferred to FAU after obtaining their Bachelor degree. On the other hand, if one decides early on in this direction, some specific modules can already be completed in the Bachelor studies (for example, non-physical electives), so that one can have an even deeper education in the focus during the Master studies.
Further information is on the website for Physics in Medicine.
Can I change back to the 'normal' physics Master degree after choosing medical physics?(P)
Yes, it is possible at any time. All completed modules in the “normal” Master study program will be recognized for the physics Master degree. This means in particular, that the decision, whether an emphasis within physics should be registered in the credentials and certificates or not, falls directly before the creation of the certificate. This decision must be confirmed by the students on a form with their signature.
Is it possible to study another subject parallel to physics (for example mathematics)? (P, MP)
This is a common question. The experience shows, that the pressure through this double study, in many cases, is underestimated and that the desired result for the degree is often not achieved. Because of this, our answer to the double study would be: in principle yes, it is possible, but you need the agreement of both deans of students.
What is the Bachelor Thesis and how can I come up with a research topic?(P, MP)
The Bachelor thesis is one of the first independent research works, where what was learned, (technical and procedural knowledge) is to be applied. It is at the end of the Bachelor degree course and it will take place in one of the already formed research groups of the department of physics.
Since the Bachelor thesis is involved in the newest research projects, there can be rapid changes on the website and situations where announced available topics are outdated. For this, it is now necessary that the Bachelor thesis topics be approved in a direct conversation with the supervisors and professors. Please contact the professors within your area of interest!
All physics instructors and academics, including qualifying professors and group leaders, may serve as Bachelor thesis consultants.
Please note that for steady and successful progress on your thesis, it is not only important that the topic is interesting and exciting, but also that you feel good in the working group and comfortable with your supervisors. Before making a decision, consider the whole picture! This, of course, counts the most for longer and more intensive research work, such as the research phase of the master degree or a doctorate.
What are the preparations times and extent of the Bachelor thesis and how can I register? (P, MP)
The Bachelor Thesis and Bachelor Colloquium, which includes a speech about the content and results of the thesis, constitute a single block and have a value of 15 ECTS-Points, equivalent to a total of 450 hours approximately.
There are no fixed specifications for the Bachelor thesis. A reasonable amount is 20-30 pages with a normal font size and line gap. It is important that the predominant part of the work is carried out by the candidate’s research and that this describes the achieved results. Excessively long theses or extracts from textbooks are not desired and not conducive for grading.
The development of the topic, including the compilation of the thesis (but without the colloquium and its preparation), should take up to 7.5 weeks of work. It is the responsibility of the corresponding professor, to observe that the specifications are followed. For the development of the thesis, students have 3 months, which begin with the day when the topic was assigned. This day is marked in the registration form.
The form for the Bachelor Thesis registration can be found on the page Bachelor and Master thesis. This form has to be signed by the student and the thesis supervisor. We encourage you to read the back side of this form, where the registration and delivery procedure are explained in detail. It also recapitulates the most important regulations of the examination of the Bachelor thesis.
Can I write the Bachelor thesis in English? (P, MP)
This is possible in agreement with the thesis supervisor. It is recommended to write this agreement in the registration form. More detailed explanations can be found on the back page of this form.
Apart from German and English, to write the Bachelor thesis in another language is not possible.
What should I do if I don't finish my Bachelor thesis in three months? (P, MP)
The development time can be extended just one time and up to one month. This can only be done in justified exceptions (according to the examination regulations). Such exceptions are handled very restrictively in order to avoid extended developing times that affect standards and end up giving students a heavy amount of duties and pressure. Typical reasons for these exceptions are illness (a medical certificate is necessary) or for example, delays in the delivering of instruments or equipment.
To apply for an extension, students and thesis tutors have to sign the corresponding form (this can be found on the page for the Bachelor and Master thesis) and deliver it to the chairman of the examination committee; it is recommended in such a cases to personally notify the chairman of the examination committee.
Tip: In order to avoid an extension, check whether all the necessary results are available or will be available very soon (if you have enough material to write the thesis) at the latest, 8 weeks after the beginning of the working time. If not (and also when yes), you should make a plan with your thesis supervisor to complete the thesis on time. Schedule at least a week reserve time!
How is the research phase arranged in the master thesis? (P, MP)
The second year of the Master degree is a research phase, where you scientifically develop a physical problem. The complexity of the assigned task and the degree of autonomy transcend the Bachelor thesis. This phase is divided into the following modules:
- Technical specialization (FO-1, 15 ECTS)
- Project planning (FO-2, 15 ECTS)
- Master thesis (FO-3, 25 ECTS)
- Master colloquium (FO-4, 5 ECTS).
Out of these subjects, FO-1 and FO-2 are ungraded and FO-3 and FO-4 are graded (these last two assume double importance in the Master’s grades). All four of these modules will be supervised by the same professor; these modules are thematically similar and enable a smooth transition.Therefore, you have to agree with your supervisor on your project for the research phase before the processing of these modules and plan it no later than at the beginning of the third master semester.
You have to register yourself for the Master Thesis (Module FO-3). The corresponding form can be found on the page for the Bachelor and Master thesis. This form has to be signed by the student and the thesis supervisor. We encourage you to read the back side of this form, in which the registration and delivery procedure are explained in detail. It also recapitulates the most important examination regulations of the Master thesis.
The Master thesis has to be completed and delivered within six months after the registration day. The thesis supervisor is responsible to observe that all these requirements and specifications are followed. The Master thesis must be published in English (since Winter semester 2014/15).
What can I do if I haven't completed my Master thesis within the six months? (P, MP)
The development time can be extended just one time and up to three months.This can only be done in justified exceptions (according to the examination regulations). Such exceptions are handled very restrictively in order to avoid extended developing times that affect standards and end up giving students a heavy amount of duties and pressure. Typical reasons for these exceptions are illness (a medical certificate is necessary) or for example, delays in the delivering of instruments or equipment.
To apply for an extension, students and thesis tutors have to sign the correspondent form (this can be found on the webpage for the Bachelor and Master thesis) and deliver it to the chairman of the examination committee; it is recommended in such a cases to personally notify the chairman of the examination committee.