Infos for Foreign Students

I am interested in a research position in your group. What can I do?

Please study the Web pages of Rostock university and of my research group. If you decide that you want to join, please send me more information on yourself.

What information do you need to consider an application?

I will need

  • curriculum vitae
  • academic transcript (ie. list of courses you attended including marks obtained, plus an explanation of the grading scheme)
  • three names of references
  • electronic copy of masters and bachelors thesis
  • electronic copy of any other scientific publication or term paper
  • a statement on

    • why you want to join my group,
    • what your further professional plans and goals are,
    • how you want to finance your stay,
    • whether you need financial support,
    • when you would like to come

  • a short outline (4-6 pages) of the research areas and ideas you want to pursue, containing information on

    • the area you are interested in,
    • the questions you want to solve,
    • some ideas you want to use for solving these questions,
    • your prior activities in this area,
    • a short description of the state of the art

This is a lot of information - but it is necessary to find out whether the stay will be a success. For me, a successful stay, be it long or short term, is defined by an artefact (empirical study, program, solved problem, prototype etc.) together with a complete documentation and finally a research paper, at least at the level of a national academic conference or journal.

When will you decide upon my application?

When receiving a complete application I can decide within a week.

If you require funding or if you are applying for a teaching or research position, we should have the opportunity to meet in person before I can make a final decision - unless you have a strong research record in writing. I do not have funds to pay for your traveling. There might be the possibility that we meet at a conference both of us are attending. In any case, you are always welcome to start studies in my group, if you do not need funding from the start. We can apply for a project once you are here. However, it may take some time until funds are granted; moreover, please note that funds are only granted to the most excellent applications and you should expect this to be the exceptional case only.

Please note, that I can only decide whether I accept you as member of my research group. The decision whether you are accepted as a student at the University as such, whether you fulfill formal requirements, language requirements, prior education or immigration requirements are made by the administrative personnel of the University. Our welcome center for foreign students is available to guide you through this process.

Why did I receive no reply?

There is a small chance that I missed your email or that your email was caught in the spam filter. It may help to resend your email.


Most often the reason is that your application is not complete. With a steady stream of inquiries (in some weeks up to 5 mails regarding a position or internship) I do not have the time to explain to every student which part of the documentation is missing. When you expect to cooperate with our group you should consult this page and provide the necessary information as part of your initial mail. If you did not manage to find this information page or did not bother to provide the necessary information I take this as an indication that you are not really interested in joining our group and are merely sending out spam mails to mailing lists. In this case, please do not expect me to answer.

What about financial support?

We have several possibilities. First, we may have openings for positions of research and teaching assistants at various levels, funded by the university. Second, there are possibilities to obtain funds from research agencies, which usually are granted for research proposals if they have excellent quality. It usually takes 4 - 6 months to get approval for these applications. Third, we are in contact with industry and by this cooperation money can be obtained for solving specific research or development tasks. So, we do have some possibilities, but it may take a while until the money finally becomes available. Moreover, funds will only be available for the top candidates.

You can also bring along your own money. This can also consist of a stipend (eg by DAAD) or an exchange program (eg Sokrates, IAESTE). I am always happy to consider these possibilities and support you on your application, provided we do a thorough planning and you convince me of your project. 

What about a visa or a working permit?

Unless you are from a country of the European Union, you might require a visa and / or a working permit, depending on the specific reason for your stay. If you receive money from us, things are more difficult. The administrative procedures usually take some time. Please inform yourself about the regulations applying for you case. We can provide some help and if you shall be engaged in an employment contract with my group we shall be able to aid you in these matters considerably. Generally, however, this procedure can take several months.

What about a short-term visit or internship?

There are some possibilities for short-term visits for scientists  and students with whom we have an established cooperation as part of a project, with whom a visit has been arranged at a personal meeting, at a conference, summer school, workshop, or by email. 

Our project activities, international summer schools and the support we give to foreign students show that we value international cooperation highly. On the other hand, I am receiving 5 and more applications for short-term internships every week (!).  We cannot accomodate 250 scholars in our group and we also have to streamline the application and selection process. Moreover, we will therefore concentrate on only the best applications and only those cases, where there is a realistic chance of getting some solid research results done within the short period of your visit. Therefore, also for these kinds of visits I need a complete application package as described above. Of course, certain items might not apply, for example, you might not have a Masters Thesis, and the topics of your internship will be defined depending on our ongoing projects. However, please make sure that you provide all the information you can (including samples of programming work or an english term paper, if you have no thesis or no publication), so that I can select the best candidates.

For these types of internships please note:

  • We do not have a possibility for financial support, you will have to secure funds by yourself, such as a scholarship or private funding. 
  • We have laboratory space available, but we must know the exact date of your stay in our group. Changes by 2, 3 days are fine, but " from May to July" is not sufficient.
  • Please provide a self-assessment of your working experience on a scale from 1(very good) to 5 (no abilities) for the following programming languages and platforms: C, C++, Java, Javascript, Php, Python, Ruby on Rails, Windows OS, Linux OS, Eclipse, SVN, Mercury, SQL/MySQL and send some proof-of-work as part of your application, so we can assess your programming skills and documentation style. 
  • Please mention any additional skills you might have and consider important.
  • For visa, health insurance and other organizational issues, please contact the international office or the welcome center of the university.
  • To streamline the application process, please provide the information as PDF and confirm in your contact email that you have read these remarks.
  • The task assignment will be adapted to your skills as well as to our ongoing projects. We will have a rough outline of a suggested tasks 5-6 months before your internship starts, but this may be further refined 2-4 months before your arrival, since it depends on the other activities in the connected research projects; thus some shifting might be necessary. You will, however, have ample time to select and prepare for the final task.

What about PhD?

We had a number of successful foreign PhD students in our group on the basis of various kinds of scholarships; one of them even founded his own IT company in Germany. If you are considering this option, please consult the web pages of the faculty of computer science and the Promotionsordnung. I am also a member of the interdisciplinary faculty, where I am working on the aging sciences (and the possibilities for the computer scientist to enable a more successful aging) and on questions of science, knowlegde and media in a more general perspective.

Moreover, I am happy to cooperate with you so that you can obtain a stipend from one of the programs of the DAAD or from your own government. If you apply for such a program, I can provide a computer, network access, a workplace in our lab and regular scientific consultation. However, I expect that you contact me early enough, have a good understanding of what you want to establish and are prepared to invest some solid amount of time for preparing the documentation. Usually, it takes several weeks fulltime work to complete a satisfactory application.

How does PhD work?

The usual duration for completing a PhD program is 3 years. Some candidates take longer, up to 4 years and more, especially hard working candidates also have done it faster (2.5 years).

At Rostock, the usual requirement for a PhD degree is a PhD Thesis, a record of internationally recognized scientific work and a defense of your new scientific results. The Thesis usually has a length of some 80 - 120 pages, commonly some 2 - 5 accepted papers at internationally recognized conferences of journals with a peer reviewing system are expected and the defense consists of a presentation of your results followed by a comprehensive examination. While cuurently there are no formal course requirements, you are welcome and expected to participate in lectures of the department; moreover several fast-track, intensive PhD programs are in deployment with some formal course requirements.

A part from these formal requirements: You are expected to work on a new, unsolved and relevant research question, produce your own results and get them published. During this process there will be close cooperation and consultation in the group. We have a weekly research seminar which is compulsury for PhD candidates in the group. There will be private meetings with myself every 2 - 4 weeks, depending on the current progress of your work. You will have the opportunity to discuss with the other members of my group. For advanced candidates, there is the possibility to give a lecture or to co-advise on a Bachelor or Master Thesis.

What about the language?

At Rostock, most lectures are taught in German. For doctoral students and postdocs, the course requirements can be met without speaking German from the start, but for all other courses you should be able to follow a German lecture. The university offers language courses at various levels.

Can you send me an application form?

For an application form, please contact the akademisches Auslandsamt or the Studentensekretariat.

Can you send me a prospectus?

For a prospectus, please contact the akademisches Auslandsamt or the Studentensekretariat. Most information is available in the web site of the university. Since we are a German speaking University, most material will be presented in German only.

What courses are offered?

There are many different courses and possibilities for your studies. Surf the web and find out. A good starting point is the main web page of the university or of the Department of Computer Science.

Do I need to take the GRE test?

No GRE test is required. The Studentensekretariat can inform you about the admission requirements. Please, contact them directly.

What about the fees?

In general, public universities in Germany do not charge a fee for the tuition. There is a minor fee for the student organization, however.

What about boarding and lodging?

In Germany the system of boarding and loding is not so strictly organized as in the US. There is a student organization Studentenwerk (http://www.studentenwerk-rostock.de) where they can help you for locating cheap rental rooms. Please contact them directly.

What is the medium of instruction?

For the Bachelor and Master degrees there are lectures on a face-to-face basis. You will be part of a group of 20 to 100 students (depending on the subject). You will meet weekly for two to four hours lecture time, there will be optional lab sessions. For the advanced students (Masters and PhD programs) there will be project work and seminars.

I already have a Bachelors degree. What are my options?

We offer a Bachelor-Master program in Computer Engineering. You might be able to join the Master program. We need a detailed transcript of your Bachelors degree in order to figure out, whether you can be accepted for the Masters program. We also offer a diploma degree (which is a kind of Masters degree) in Computer Science. You can join this program in an advanced term. Please contact the Studentensekretariat for the details.