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FAQ - frequently asked questions

Here you will find a continuously updated list of answers to frequently asked questions. Topics include eligibility, procedures, courses, financial matters and career opportunities. If you have a question that has not yet been addressed in this section, please send an email to info "at" grs-sim.de. 

Eligibility 

I am very much interested in the Master's program Simulation Sciences, but I do not know if I meet the requirements. 
With our Master's program we address very well-qualified students with a substantial background in the fundamentals of a natural science, engineering, computer science or applied mathematics. You should have a Bachelor's degree in one of the above mentioned fields of study with grades substantially above average. Also a good command of English (see below under "Language") as well as knowledge in at least one programming language such as C or Fortran is required. 

Can I apply even if I do not have my Bachelor's degree yet? 
Yes, this is possible in case you will be finishing your Bachelor studies within the current year and as long as you provide us with your transcripts obtained so far.  


Application process 

How can I apply? 
We only accept applications which meet the requirements described here. Please make sure that you provide us with all necessary documents. 

My home university does not provide ECTS credits. How do I fill the supplementary form
Simply fill in your credit points or leave the corresponding cells blank.

There is not enough room for all my courses in the supplementary form. What do I do? 
Simply group your courses according to the subject and list more than one course per line.

Do I need to provide originals or will copies suffice? 
For a first evaluation of your application copies are sufficient. In case your application is successful and you are going to enroll yourself at RWTH Aachen University, you will have to present your original documents. 

How long does the evaluation process take? 
We start processing your application as soon as the documents are complete (i.e. when we have received your application documents and the reference letters) but not before March 1. We cannot give you exact times and dates; roughly, the evaluation of an application, once it is complete, will take about four to six weeks.

What stages do I have to go through if my application is rated positively? 
First your application documents will be pre-evaluated. In addition you may be asked for an interview with one of our faculty members. Finally the evaluation committee will check your documents and decide about admission. The committee meets about once a month.
Once this decision has been made you will receive an official answer by RWTH Aachen University. 

How long does the Master's program take and what does it consist of? 
The Master's program comprises four semesters. The first semester covers the mandatory courses Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations, From Quantum to Continuum Physics I, Applied Quantum Mechanics, Data Analysis and Visualisation and Parallel Programming I. In the second semester you will attend the mandatory courses Fast Iterative Solvers, Parallel Computing in Simulation Sciences, From Quantum to Continuum Physics II OR Computational Many-Body Theory, Model Based Estimation Methods OR Quantum Theory of Materials plus a number of elective courses of your choice. In the mandatory SiSc-Laboratory of the third semester you will apply the knowledge you have gained in the first two semesters. By individually selecting additional elective courses you determine the main focus of your studies. The fourth semester is dedicated to your Master's thesis. The Master's thesis is a document written in English in which you demonstrate your ability to work independently and scientifically on a problem from the field of simulation sciences within a given time frame of 26 weeks. The entire program is meant to last four semesters, and 120 credit points have to be obtained (roughly 30 credit points per semester). For more details on the courses, please see here

When does the course start and are there any deadlines to consider? 
The course starts in winter semester (October 1). Please check the website here regularly for news.

What is the difference between mandatory and elective courses? 
Mandatory courses are those courses which have to be taken by all students regardless of their individual background and specialization. From the second semester on you have the possibility to choose, according to your individual interests, elective courses from a wide variety of fields such as: energy engineering, process engineering, control engineering, fluid mechanics, structural mechanics, biomedical engineering, production engineering, communication engineering, materials science, physics, chemistry, geoscience, computer sciences and mathematics. 

How do I set up my study plan? 
A scientific and an administrative advisor will discuss and set up the study plan with you. Special attention will be paid to your academic background and to the scientific focus you are aiming at. 


Financial 

Does the German Research School for Simulation Sciences offer any funding? 
No, the German Research School for Simulation Sciences does not provide any funding or stipends for Master's students. We recommend checking the DAAD website for any funding programs (also see our section "Links"). However, the research groups of the German Research School for Simulation Sciences as well as other groups of RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich offer a limited number of jobs as student research assistants (HiWi-Jobs).

How much does the Master's program cost? 
Currently, there is no tuition fee. Students have to pay a student services fee of approx. EUR 293 per semester (as of 2016, see here). As an enrolled student you will benefit from reduced prices for public transport, access to museums, etc. 

How much are the living costs in Aachen and Jülich? 
The living costs in Aachen and Jülich are roughly 700 Euro per month. For more details please see here.


Language 

Do I need to have knowledge of the German language? 
It is not mandatory that you speak German as the courses and exams of our Master's program in Simulation Sciences are held in English. However, we encourage our students to learn German as it will help them in their daily life. There is the possibility to learn German at the language centre of RWTH Aachen University or at private institutions. 

How do I know if my English is good enough? 
We ask our students to provide an official English test (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS). The minimum overall result for the IELTS certificate is 5.5. For TOEFL the minimum result is 90 points for the internet-based test.  

Can I hand in the English test result later? 
Yes, in case you do not have your results yet, you can hand them in later. 


Organizing my stay in Aachen and Jülich/Germany 

Will I get help regarding organizational matters when coming to Germany? 
Yes, the service team will assist you regarding e.g. insurance matters, getting familiar with Germany and especially Aachen and Jülich. On request, there is also a handbook available with helpful information. You will also be assisted regarding finding accommodation - however, it is each student's responsibility to find accommodation. If you want to get a room in one of the student dorms run by the Studentenwerk you should apply for accommodation as early as possible (e.g. January / February to get accommodation in September / October). For more information see here. It is not necessary to be enrolled, you should start to apply for a room as soon as you know that you are going to study in Aachen


About the German Research School for Simulation Sciences and Simulation Sciences

I do not understand the relationship between the German Research School for Simulation Sciences, RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich. 
The German Research School for Simulation Sciences is a graduate school that was founded jointly by RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich. The German Research School for Simulation Sciences supports the Master's program "Simulation Sciences". It focuses on high-performance computing in computational science and engineering. One of the advantages of having Forschungszentrum Jülich as one of our partners is that students and doctoral candidates can use the supercomputers in Jülich. The students have to enroll themselves at RWTH Aachen University, one of the top addresses in Europe. The Master's degree (MSc) will be awarded by RWTH Aachen University with a reference to the German Research School for Simulation Sciences and Forschungszentrum Jülich. 

What is the difference to the graduate school AICES?
AICES (Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science) is a graduate school funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments.
The German Research School for Simulation Sciences focuses on the applications and methods of high-performance computing in computational science and engineering, AICES on inverse problems in computational engineering, with high-performance computing as one component. AICES offers a combined Master's and doctoral program, in which students may choose to obtain their Master's degree in "Simulation Sciences".

I heard of JARA in connection with the German Research School for Simulation Sciences. What does that mean? 
JARA stands for Jülich Aachen Research Alliance. RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich have established a model that is unique in Germany in order to overcome the insularity of university and non-university research and teaching.

What are my career opportunities when studying "Simulation Sciences"? 
Career opportunities in numerous professional fields are open to graduates of the Master’s program in Simulation Sciences. Due to its interdisciplinarity, the program addresses the areas of methodology, basic principles and applications of simulation sciences that are currently in very great demand.
Potential employers can be found both in research and industry. For example, cost-cutting means that computer simulations now replace expensive experiments, which makes it attractive for industry to employ well-qualified experts in the field. Since the program is taught in English, the graduates are moreover well qualified for the international market. You might want to have a look at our student profiles and Alumni page and learn why they chose to study Simulation Sciences at the German Research School for Simulation Sciences and how some of them continueed their career after the MSc in Simulation Sciences.