IAS Modules

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The Intelligent Adaptive Systems (IAS) Master is one of the few computer science programs in Germany that is taught purely in English, preparing students for international research and professional work.

The IAS Master takes a balanced approach between courses with a technical, low-level hardware focus and general computer science courses. Its curriculum focuses on the area of smart technology and intelligent adaptive systems and provides in-depth training in this area. The selected modules offer a comprehensive overview, including technical aspects and state-of-the-art algorithms. The IAS Masters introduces students to current research in the corresponding fields and provides the opportunity to deepen their acquired knowledge by participating in international research projects.

The Masters in Intelligent Adaptive Systems is a 2-year research-oriented program taught in English. Both national and international students can profit from the international environment and improve their knowledge of the English language and their intercultural competence. The academic exchange between students is promoted in seminars and workgroups and extended in extra-curricular discussions and activities. Due to the proximity to current research projects, students have the possibility of a smooth transition into collaborative research environments and continuing education. Up to 90% of IAS students have an international background. In 2020, we received applications from 35 nations – this year there are applicants from 19 nations among the top 30 (approx. 40% female applicants). For many years in a row, the top 1 application came from a female student. Part-time study is permitted but not advised because classes are during the day. For the Project, group work, and Master thesis students are expected to study full-time.

IAS Curriculum [120 CP]

The Master’s program consists of 120 ECTS credits points, which are divided into core lectures, selectable areas of focus, extension lectures, and project work.

  • Core Modules (39 CP)
  • Focus Option (24 CP)
  • Extension Option (15 CP)
  • Project (12 CP)
  • Thesis (30 CP)

As a general rule, 1 ECTS credit corresponds to 25–30 hours of work. This is an example curriculum for students: one row stands for one semester and comprises 30 CP. The first row stands for the first winter semester:


Core Modules [39 CP] compulsory

Core lectures are compulsory for all students. They provide an in-depth understanding of different types of intelligent adaptive systems and introduce students to current research in several core areas. All core modules consist of a combination of lectures and seminars/tutorials to encourage student participation and continuous application of learned content. In the following sections, you can find direct links to the internal websites of the modules with information on content and organization. Following the links to the STiNE platform - please check and adjust the years and winter semester/summer semester on the left menu - as not every course is held in both semesters. Prospective students should use "old" semesters to receive information about courses offered for the IAS program!

[InfM-SWA, 6 CP] Software Architecture (SA)

[InfM-BAI, 6 CP] Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence (BAI)

[InfM-IR, 6 CP] Intelligent Robotics (IR)

[InfM-RM, 6 CP] Research Methods (RM)

[InfM-NN, 6 CP] Knowledge Processing with Neural Networks (NN)

[InfM-ML, 6 CP] Machine Learning (ML)

Focus Option [24 CP]

Focus options offer students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in areas that complement core modules. Students select focus options in consultation with the IAS academic advisor using a list of options that align with the overall focus of the IAS Master. The list contains individual modules that complement core lectures as well as suggested sets of modules that collectively form a coherent focus area. We regularly review the list to reflect current research and to include newly emerged and complementary teaching areas. The following list shows the modules currently available for focus option slots in the winter or summer semester.

[InfM-WV, 6 CP] Knowledge Processing in Intelligent Systems (WV1)

[InfM-LT, 6 CP] Language Technology (SV)

[InfM-RT, 6 CP] Robot Technology (RT)

[InfM-CV 1, 6 CP] Computer Vision I

[InfM-CV 2, 6 CP] Computer Vision II

[InfM-DIS, 9 CP] Databases and Information Systems

[InfM-SSV, 6 CP] Speech Signal Processing

[InfM-UIST, 6 CP] User Interface Software and Technology

[InfM-IS/IAS, 3 or 6 CP] Independent study

The IAS program is designed for research-oriented, self-thinking, and independent students who like to choose their field of research on their own. That is why the IAS program offers a special module, the Independent study.

Here the student can define with a supervisor (a 3 or 6 ECTS worth) small project on their own. The student looks for a supervisor, picks a field of research/interest, defines a learning agreement with a supervisor, and then starts his/her own project. It is a perfect way to practice working on the "big" master's thesis.

A student is allowed to register 2 Independent studies - 1 for "Focus Choice" and 1 for "Extension Option".

Extension Option [15 CP]

Students can select 15 ECTS credit points from a range of informatic courses taught in English and lectures (in German) taught at the Department of Informatics or from other lectures taught at other departments. These lectures need to be on a Master's level. In contrast to focus options, students can use extension options to gain knowledge in areas that go beyond the scope of the IAS Master but are linked to its contents, e.g. Psychology or Biology. The lectures are again chosen in consultation with the academic advisor for IAS to guarantee a meaningful choice that aligns with the student’s background and aims. German language courses are accepted here, too. Students can also choose to do a second: InfM-IS/IAS, 3 or 6 CP Independent study.

Master Group Project [12 CP] compulsory

Whereas lectures and seminars focus on individual work, the group project revolves around teamwork, scientific exchange, and defence of ideas to prepare students for a collaborative scientific environment. We encourage students to engage in projects and to actively take part in research projects of a chosen area in preparation for their master thesis. Up to 15 students collaborate as an independent research group with a supervisor from the corresponding academic field.

Projects can stretch over 1-2 semesters. Have a look at the descriptions in STiNE.

Master Thesis (Thesis + Seminar + Defense) [30 CP] compulsory

The Master's thesis is a research project which students need to organise themselves. Students have 6 months to work on their project and write a thesis. Research groups at the Department of Informatics suggest research fields in which master theses are possible. Students are also allowed to organise a collaboration between a company and professors at the Department of Informatics and write their thesis in that company. Some research groups offer a seminar, which provides students with the opportunity to present their work to a broader audience of peers, in an environment comparable to a scientific conference to practice the thesis' defence. In the last term, students should work full time on their research project, which ends with the submission of the final Master’s thesis.

Course Catalog

There various pages where a student can get some information about the courses offered for IAS:

  • and on STiNE (where you will register for your modules:) https://www.stine.uni-hamburg.de - Click on course catalogue – choose a semester – click on Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences - Department of Informatics - K. Master of Science Intelligent Adaptive Systems – there you will see the categories and modules listed above. Once you register for courses, please remember you have to register for entire modules = lectures and seminars separately!