Preparatory phase

The preparatory phase generally lasts one-and-a-half years and involves taking a broad range of graduate coursework as well as mandatory research work to prepare for doing their doctoral thesis. It gives you the chance to get acquainted with the research groups in Saarbrücken and both deepen and broaden your computer science background.
Discovering your exact field of interest and finding a thesis advisor is an important part of the preparatory phase.
Our program is targeted particularly towards candidates who are entering with a strong Bachelor’s degree in computer science who are expected to fulfill the full requirements of the preparatory phase.
If your previous degree is more than a Bachelor’s but not equivalent to a German Masters degree in computer science, you will also be required to complete some graduate courses to fill in your academic background. The admissions committee evaluates this on a case-by-case basis to make sure each candidate receives the best education to further his or her interests.


Entering with only a Bachelor’s degree, you will be required to take at least five core courses chosen from our Masters curriculum, in addition to specialized lectures and seminars that match your interests. You can also join the research groups that match your interests and attend seminars and lectures. To select your courses, your provisional advisor or mentor, one of our faculty members, will discuss your background and interests with you and make recommendations. Of course, students entering with higher qualifications will have their course requirements reduced accordingly.

Qualifying Exam

After completing the requirements of the preparatory phase, students must take the qualifying exam – a necessary step for all doctoral candidates before entering the dissertation phase. The qualifying exam evaluates the students‘ readiness to start with their dissertation and expertise. Students register for this after consulting with their future thesis advisor.