Frequently Asked Questions

General questions:

I already hold a Masters Degree in Computer Science or a related subject. Do I nevertheless have to go through the whole preparatory phase which is three semesters?
Typically, if you have already done postgraduate studies, some of the coursework may be waived and the preparatory phase shortened accordingly. But this depends to a great extent on your individual academic background. Once you are officially accepted to the program you will be informed about how long the preparatory phase will be in your case.

Do you only accept students who hold a degree in Computer Science or is a degree in a related subject also permitted?
We do not insist exclusively on computer science degrees. You should however have a strong mathematical background and a clear sense of which areas will need strengthening. The preparatory phase will permit you to fill in your academic background according to our requirements. Please have a good look at our departmental webpages to get an idea of the normally expected training in our Bachelor program and our research profile.

I do not know if eligibility is assessed only after application
submission, or can a preliminary assessment be done before?

We generally cannot evaluate candidates without complete application materials. Since the application process does not involve any expenses, we would encourage you to submit complete materials.

I have done a Bachelor in Computing (final year core in Software Engineering) from the University and my final year of dedicated study fetched me straight A’s and a ranking at the top of the class. 

It will be very important to know something about the level of the courses and the training of the lecturers at your college. And it is also important to have strong mathematical aptitude throughout your studies. If there were circumstances that prevented you from performing better early on, you might like to mention them in your statement of purpose.

In regards to the eligibility, the courses I have done may not be similar to your Bachelor’s degree program. Should this be a thing of concern for your Graduate Program?

If your background is close enough, you were a high performer and you show strong potential, this should not be a problem.

Is a Masters degree a better pathway? 

Your application to the Masters Program is more likely to succeed since the Graduate School is highly selective for the very best students.

Also, does the preparatory phase of the Graduate School enable me to cover missing courses in the required areas? 

For the very best students, this is indeed the case. The preparatory phase allows students to get both a broad Computer Science background and get into high-level research early on.

Does direct PhD lead to a Masters degree as well? 

The preparatory phase is compatible with the Masters program. You can only get the Masters degree if you fulfill all the program requirements (including a Masters thesis).

In the worst case scenario, if I join the PhD track and don’t qualify for the dissertation phase, will I receive a Masters degree only? 

This is our model. Of course, you have to fulfill the remaining requirements to obtain the Masters degree. This should not be a problem for students who have already gotten into research via one of their research immersion labs.

I believe the graduate program is funded and that I would also be funded; is this true? 

Yes, this is correct: all candidates who are strong enough to be admitted to our program also receive full funding.

Do I have to take any measures regarding health insurance before coming to Germany, for example concluding a travel health insurance?
No, you don’t. We will see to you getting insured once you are here since this also depends on your having student status after enrollment at the uni.

When will I be informed about the outcome of my application?
Please allow at least six to eight weeks for processing after the deadline. Decision times depend mainly on the number of applications and can vary from selection round to selection round. All applicants will be informed via e-mail of their result.

Concerning English Language Certification:

I have completed the TOEFL test (or any equivalent test) but I will not have the results before the closing date for applications. Can I still be considered in the selection procedure?
Until you get the final results of the exam, please write a personal assessment of your English language skills. In this statement you might want to mention for how long and where you have been learning English, whether you have already taken courses held in English and the like. Upload this statement in PDF format. Once you receive your Certificate send it to us via email (also in PDF format) so that we can replace your statement by the official document.

Please take into account that very good English skills are essential in order to be successful with your graduate studies in Saarbrücken.

I haven’t taken a standardized English language test. What should I do?

Please submit a personal assessment of your English language skills. In this statement you might want to mention for how long and where you have been learning English, whether you have already taken courses held in English and the like. Upload this statement in PDF format. If we get the impression that your English skills are very good no standardized test will be necessary.

I am a native English speaker. Do I nevertheless have to submit an official document stating that my English skills are very good?

No, you don’t. But you will have to upload a personal statement concerning your language skills in which you can give us that information – namely that you are a native speaker – and that therefore you will have no difficulties following the lectures. Please note that only candidates from English-speaking countries can be considered native speakers. This is not the case for all of the former Commonwealth.

What about German language skills? Do I need to exhibit basic knowledge?
No, German language skills are not required since the entire program is in English. If you wish to attend a German course once you are here you will have the opportunity  to do that (and it might indeed turn out to be very helpful in everyday life) but it is not required by the Graduate School.

Concerning the letters of recommendation:

I would like to change one or both of my referees. What do I have to do?
Once you have registered your personal data you are not allowed to make any changes. Please contact us via email and tell us exactly which referee you want to replace and give us all the information about the new referee that is required in the registration form so that we can make the necessary changes. We will then reinitiate the automatic e-mail request.

I have been talking to one of my referees and he/she seems not to have received an e-mail from you. What might have happened?
Once you have registered in the OAS, an automatic e-mail request is sent to the given e-mail-addresses of your referees. Should they not have received this e-mail it may be due to one of the following reasons:

  • You might have mistyped the e-mail-address. Please check this possibility and, if so, inform us so we can correct it and reinitiate the automatic e-mail request.
  • The e-mail has accidentally been stored in a spam folder and/or deleted. In this  case please let us know so that we can send out the request again.

In both cases please advise your referees to expect an e-mail from oas-admin and to check their spam folders.

One of my referees is experiencing difficulties uploading the LoR. Is there any other way the LoR may be submitted?
If there are technical problems regarding uploading an LoR directly please advise your referee that he/she can send the document to us (in PDF format!) as an e-mail attachment. We will then add it to your application documents.

We strongly recommend that your referees be told ahead of time that you are applying to our Graduate School and need a letter of recommendation. This is the responsibility of the applicant. We will not chase up missing LoRs.

Please note that we do not accept LoRs via applicants, but only directly from your referees.

Concerning the correction of or changing information given by an applicant in his/her registration form or concerning uploading application files:

I have accidentally made a mistake when filling out the registration form and would like to correct the corresponding data but the online application system won’t allow this. What can I do ?
Once you have submitted all your data you are indeed no longer allowed to make any changes. Please contact us via e-mail and tell us exactly which information has to be corrected. Then we can arrange for the necessary changes to be made.

When uploading the application files I made a mistake and now I would like to replace a file or add something to a file. How can I do that?
As soon as you have uploaded all your application documents you are no longer allowed to modify them. Until then, you can delete single files and replace them with corrected version. If you are no longer able to access your application and have, for example, uploaded your transcript of records and later notice that something is still missing, let us know via e-mail and send us the corresponding documents in PDF format and we will add them to your application material.