Application:Formal requirements

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Applicants need a strong background in computer science or a related field of study since programming and mathematical knowledge are assumed. Moreover, applicants need very good command over the English language to follow lectures and exams. You have to meet the following formal requirements to apply to the Master's program Intelligent Adaptive Systems.

  • A Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field with 60 ECTS credit points acquired in the core field of computer science. These 60 ECTS must be listed in your official transcript of records or attested by your university in another way.
  • Proof of English language proficiency by (or comparable to)
CEFR/TELC: At least Level B2 in all testing categories (listening, reading, speaking, writing) better C1 
IELTS: 6.5 + B2
TOEFL: IBT 90, PBT 575, CBT 230
Cambridge: CAE or CPE


Formal Requirement: 60 ECTS credits or comparable from computer science

The formal requirement for the MSc IAS is a completed degree (at least a Bachelor’s degree) with at least 60 ECTS credits in core Computer Science (cs) courses. Only completed university courses obtained in a single Bachelor in cs or a single Master in cs or a related field of study count towards the 60 ECTS credits in cs. Applicants who can only provide proof of 60 ECTS counting courses from 2 or more degrees will be subject to a case by case decision and may be rejected on the grounds of not passing formal requirement of 60 ECTS in one degree. In the case that you need to count several degree programs together, please contact us before you apply.

How should I evidence and display my 60 ECTS?

Evidence = Transcript + Table

Please submit your official transcript of records issued by your university or other evidence attested by your university. These documents need to contain

  • the credit points/hours per module/course
  • the total amount of credit points/hours in your degree
  • the standard length of your degree program in years
  • the actual length it took you to complete your degree program

(only if these details aren't already listed in your official transcript of records).

Self-made structured table

Please provide a well-structured table of all your completed core computer science courses. This will help the IAS selection committee to identify which of the courses listed in your transcript of records can count towards the required 60 ECTS in core computer science. All listed computer science courses need to be in your transcript of records. Please keep your course/module table short and precise (e.g. name and number of course as exactly given in your transcript). Please give a concise explanation for courses/modules that are not self-explanatory. In this case or if the course/module does not match your university's official transcript of records, please provide another source of evidence attested by your university, e.g. letter of recommendation.

Please read the detailed section about the structured self-made table here including examples:

 Self-made table

Please do not send full module handbooks as descriptions of course content. The selection team will not read them. Providing proof is the applicant's task - use a highlighter to point to the important information in any document you provide.

The ECTS credit system is not used in my country. How can I estimate whether I fulfill the 60 ECTS credits requirement?

ECTS stands for European Credit Transfer System and it is a measure for a student's estimated workload per course/module. At Universität Hamburg a BSc in Informatics/Computer Science has a regular length of 3 years and requires 180 ECTS credits. One ECTS credit corresponds to about 30 hours of work and the number of credits per module is set by the lecturer. Each regular semester of a full-time student contains 30 ECTS credits. 60 ECTS credits equal one academic year of full-time study of only core computer science courses. Thus you can use the estimation of 60 ECTS AND the estimation of the ratio of at least 33% of core cs of a 3 year-BSc as a rough estimate to the amount of workload your completed cs courses have to fulfill. Please note, it is the applicant's task to provide proof of at least 60 ECTS and information on the degree the applicant is applying with. Please provide the information the table template is asking for if your transcript does not show ECTS.

What type of classes/modules will be counting towards the 60 ECTS?

Here are some examples of classes/modules which will likely be counted as core computer science: digital signal processing, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, software engineering, programming in ..., human-robot interaction, neural networks, introduction to computer science, data mining, image processing, algorithms and data structures, databases...

Modules that do not count as core computer science include maths, engineering, mechatronics, electrical engineering, economics or soft skill subjects unless these soft skill subjects explicitly revolve around computer science.

Can I complete courses after applying to make up for missing credit points in computer science?

No, unfortunately not. You need to have 60 ECTS in cs at the time of your application. However, proof that you will have 60 ECTS in cs at the end of the running semester suffices. If you do not fulfill this requirement, your application will be rejected by the selection committee on the grounds of not passing formal requirements.

I don't have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. Can I still apply?

Yes. The requirement for the MSc IAS is a completed degree (at least a Bachelor’s degree) with at least 60 credit points (ETCS) in core computer science. Make sure to provide evidence of modules with computer science content (i.e. detailed transcript of records, module description in a nice and short table as mentioned in the formal requirements). This helps the selection committee decide whether a module counts towards the requirement. Please note that the selection committee will not go through your entire module handbook. All courses/modules you list have to be in your university's official transcript of records. It is the applicant's task to provide acceptable proof of 60 ECTS in core computer science. For evaluation, please provide all the information asked for in the example of the table.

I have not completed my degree and do not know my final grade yet.

Please make sure that you have 60 ECTS in core CS subjects displayed in your transcript by the time you apply. You need to have completed your degree by 15 May. If not, you need to provide a statement by your university stating that you will complete your degree within weeks in case you have been accepted to the IAS Master's program. In general, this applies to all applicants: You can apply if you have completed 5 out of 6 semesters and can evidence 150 ECTS credits out of 180 ECTS (or comparable) of your first degree. This means that your final semester can be missing at the time of application. Your situation must be detectable in your official transcript of records, showing the number of credits already acquired and the number of minimum credits required for completion of your degree. Your final transcript and graduation certificate have to be handed in for enrolment, in case you are admitted.

In regards to your final grade or your preliminary final grade, please provide an official document by your university stating your (preliminary) final grade. Please also provide the corresponding grading scale. Provide both these documents, even in case you only have completed 5 out of 6 semesters of your degree program. Your grade can be in the GPA system or the system used by your university. In every case, you should submit it as a number. Make sure that you attach an official document attested by your university. The IAS selection committee does not accept self-calculated final grades. Nor does the IAS selection committee calculate your final grade for you.

We need to be able to translate your final/average grade into the German grading system. Please provide your degree's grading scale (minimum passing grade, maximum grade, e.g. in GPA: "1" is usually the minimum passing grade and "4" is the maximum grade). Please provide an official document for your grading scale if it is not evident on your official transcript of records.

I do not have "standard" Bachelor of Science but a comparable degree, what should I do?

Please submit all documents that can together be counted as comparable to a BSc degree (e.g. in some countries, an associative + 2 years BSc degree).


Formal Requirement: English language proficiency

The selection committee needs evidence of your language level to ensure you can follow complex lectures and communicate well in oral and written form. Students who do not have the required level won't be able to follow lectures, complete homework and seminar papers, or pass oral exams and thus won't be able to complete our program.

Direct fulfillment of the requirement

  • Sending one of the language proficiency tests in the list and having attained at least the following minimum scores:
CEFR/TELC Level >= at least B2 in all categories or C1
IELTS >= Overall band 6.5 + B2 (*with a minimum subscore of 6.0 for Listening, Comprehension, Speaking, Writing)
TOEFL: IBT >= 90 (*with a minimum subscore of 20 for Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing), PBT >= 575, CBT >= 230
Cambridge >= CAE or CPE
*of course, the overall minimum level has to be reached, too

Please contact us if you have an international English proficiency test that does not appear on this list.

The following evidence may also be accepted - please state your case in a separate letter:

  • Native English speaker (evidenced by a copy of your ID or passport of a country with English as one of its official languages)
  • Living/studying in an English-speaking country (AUS, NZ, GB, USA) for 3 years or longer (evidenced by an official document, e.g. a confirmation letter by your company or university)

The following documents can not replace an international English proficiency test:

  • Your medium of instruction was English
  • English courses within your degree without an internationally accepted certificate
  • Short exchanges or visits in English-speaking countries
  • Essays or papers written in the English language
  • Old English proficiency test scores (older than 2 years)

We can not consider candidates for this program who

  • Hand in a language proficiency test with a score below the levels listed above
  • Apply without a language proficiency test and without a separate letter stating why you do not need an English proficiency test

I have a language certificate that is not listed on the website, can I send this as proof?

Please understand that only internationally established certificates are considered. Certificates from local language schools and universities cannot be verified and thus are rejected. Only the language certificates listed above with sufficiently high scores will immediately lead to the fulfillment of the formal requirement language proficiency.

You may send a language certificate that is not listed. However, it is the selection committee's decision whether it is equal to the certificates listed above. We recommend you provide information about the certificate and state your reasoning.

Recent application periods have shown that applicants without the English certificates listed above and/or an unclear English proficiency are rejected due to a very high number of applications. Thus we recommend you submit one of the English certificates listed above.

I am a native English speaker. Do I still have to send a certificate?

If you were born and/or are living in a country with English as one of its official languages, you do not have to provide further evidence. In this case, please submit a copy of your ID or passport. This might also apply if you have been studying or working in such a country for a long time. In this case, you can submit a confirmation such as a letter from your company or university. We still recommend you to provide additional proof of language proficiency using one of the English language certificates listed above.

My previous degree was taught fully in English. Is this sufficient proof?

No. However, if your degree was obtained in a country with English as one of its official languages (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA ...), your certificate/transcript states that English was the medium of instruction throughout your entire degree (3+ years), and your university attests that all modules were taught and assessed in English, the selection committee may accept this as proof of proficiency. But this will be decided on a case to case basis depending on the country, institution, and use of English in your application. Please provide a document created by you, stating why you are not submitting an English Proficiency Test. We recommend you to provide proof of language proficiency using one of the English language certificates listed above.

I have a TOEFL certificate. What is the institution code of Universität Hamburg?

If you want to submit the TOEFL scores through ETS, the department is: Universität Hamburg - Department of Informatics DI Code: B406. Usually, there is a considerable delay between the test and the arrival of the scorecard. Please ALWAYS add a copy of the scorecard/results page to your application documents and inform us via email: ias-info@informatik.uni-hamburg.de of the upcoming arrival of your scorecard from the test center. If your documents do not arrive on time, your application will be rejected. It can happen that TOELF documents do not reach us.

More questions regarding the application

What does this mean for the documents I should prepare?

See Required documents for detailed information.