Master Program

The Master Program AI at FAU is designed to give graduates a solid understanding of artificial intelligence the is broad in application and intersection with other disciplines as well as deep and well-founded in the academic methodologies of the field. The degree course offers a broad variety of topics and specializations and a wide range of applications and research groups in the Department of Computer Science provides broad opportunities for “hands-on” project work and practical sessions. In contrast to Data Science oriented programs, AI focuses on the constructive modelling and implementation of algorithms, data structures, neural networks and their respective applications. The program takes a minimum of four semesters. The main purpose of the last semester is the preparation of the master’s thesis. The thesis is intended to introduce students to research work at the university.

Admissiongender breakdown. 26.3% female, 73.7% male.

It is possible to start this program both in the summer and in the winter semester. The central qualification factor for admission to the master’s program AI is a bachelor’s degree in informatics or computer science. Applications based on degrees from related fields may also be successful, but applicants have to demonstrate familiarity with the material necessary to successfully participate in the master’s-level courses of this program. This includes participating in an online test during the application process. A detailed information for the application is given under the link Application Master.

Chart showing total students and new students over time. As of winter 2023, the AI program has roughly 500 students currently immatriculated, with roughly 100 people joining every semester until the program’s inception in summer 2021. We usually get well over 2000 applications for summer semesters and just over 3000 applicants for winter semesters (at least now that our program had time to establish itself on the scene). Considering the amount of applications we accept (not all of which then actually end up studying at FAU) that means our general acceptance rate is approximately 10%. Our student body consists of approximately 26% women and 74% men (0% registered as anything else at the current time), keeping step with current trends of growing rates of women studying informatics, computer science and related disciplines. We also offer part-time studies, with approximately 25 people participating in the program part-time at any given moment.

Since FAU does not provide housing, students are responsible for finding accommodation themselves. Please read the information provided by FAU carefully and obtain further information from the Student Services (Studierendenwerk).

General Structure of the Master Program

The program encompasses 120 ECTS, usually split over four semesters at a rate of 30 ECTS per semester (or eight, if you’re studying part-time). This section will give some further detail. Please also see the sites on the official study regulations, especially the FPO, and the standard study progression.

Electives [50 ECTS]: The elective courses in this master’s program are geared towards introducing students to academic research around artificial intelligence and its methodologies as well as offering every student the opportunity to sharpen their profile specifically towards their talents and interests. The electives are centered around the three central pillars of the AI master’s program:

  1. Symbolic AI
  2. Subsymbolic AI
  3. AI Systems and Applications

Students will have to take a total of 50 ECTS credits worth of elective courses, with no less than 10 of them in each of the central pillars. Which courses are available for each of these tracks is announced on a semester-by-semester basis in the module catalog.

Projects [10 + 10 ECTS]: The two required 10 ECTS projects are intended to hone and put to the test students’ acquired technical knowledge, research merit and self-organization skills. They will typically be completed in the context of a work group related to artificial intelligence and will require the students to independently tackle a more complex problem or question. Both projects have to be associated with one of the central pillars discussed above and cannot both be associated with the same pillar. Each project is planned at approximately 300 hours over six months.

Seminar [5 ECTS]: The seminar will allow students to connect with a topic complex of their choice and research and interact with academic information and present their findings to a relevant audience. It is intended to fill 5 ECTS credits and can be completed in a group.

Minor [15 ECTS]: For this module, student’s will chose 15 ECTS credits worth of courses that have a practical or topical connection to artificial intelligence (but are not already included in the electives discussed above). The goal is to work on connecting the gained knowledge to a broad array of subjects that interface with artificial intelligence and may form the basis for applications in future employment.

Master’s Thesis [30 ECTS]: The master’s thesis can be registered at the registrar’s office as soon as the student has successfully collected 60 ECTS point credits. It has an extent of around 900 hours and has to be completed within six months after the registration. The topic of the thesis must be related to subjects studied by the student during the program. A special thesis advisor is usually assigned to each student. The thesis may involve regular meetings with the thesis advisor and also the participation in a larger research group. It needs to be written in English. An oral presentation of the results of about 30 minutes as well as a consecutive discussion are obligatory.