International Programmes 2020/2021

Data Science Data Science

FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg • Erlangen

Master of Science
Teaching language
  • English

The language of the course of study is English, but the students can also choose some lectures in German if they wish. Participants can choose to write the Master's thesis in either English or German.

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
More information on beginning of studies
Please note that this course of study will begin for the first time in the 2021/2022 winter semester.
Application deadline

15 July for the following winter semester

For non-EU applicants, we strongly recommend applying before 31 May.

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

The international Master's programme in Data Science was jointly initiated by the Department of Mathematics, where it is mainly rooted, and the Department of Computer Science at the Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) of Erlangen-Nürnberg.

The main goal of the Master's programme is to deepen the students' understanding of subjects related to data science. The students receive a broad education in core topics from both mathematics and computer science and can choose to specialise in theoretical or applied data science.

At the beginning of the Master's programme, students meet with their respective supervisor to pick a major study focus from the following list:

  • Statistical Data Analysis

  • Data-Oriented Optimisation

  • Numerical Mathematics

  • Mathematical Theory of Data Sciences

  • Databases and Knowledge Representation

  • Artificial Intelligence

In the course of this Master's programme, the students can choose from different modules in a major field of study (30 ECTS) and a minor field of study (20 ECTS). These modules are completed by acquiring technical key qualifications (5 ECTS). At the end of this programme, the students participate in a Master's seminar, which is typically the basis of the final Master's thesis.

The interdisciplinary Master's programme in Data Science aims to prepare students for specialist and research positions in industry and academia. Due to the proximity of the two involved departments (two minutes by foot) and the strong cooperation with local industry partners, e.g. Siemens AG, the FAU offers ideal study conditions for data science in Germany.

Aims of the International Master's Programme in Data Science

  • Provide a comprehensive education in the field of data science at the interface between mathematics and computer science
  • Train international students with very good supervision, including small group teaching, and modern teaching concepts such as problem-based learning
  • Provide a research-oriented education that comprises both theoretical and applied data science
Types of assessment

Assessments in the MSc Data Science programme are mainly based on regular corrections of homework exercises and oral exams at the end of each course.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Integrated study abroad unit(s)
Integrated study abroad unit(s)

It is possible to spend study time abroad, e.g. via the Erasmus study programme or via other local exchange programmes.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
The course of study can be taken entirely online
Digital learning and teaching modules
  • Virtual classrooms
  • Video learning
  • Online seminar
  • Chats with lecturers
  • Collaborative document annotation, online exercises
Description of e-learning elements

The FAU uses an e-learning platform called "StudOn" that allows both students and teachers to engage in interactive online learning. This is mostly used to augment classic lectures, but due to the Corona epidemic, many courses have been redesigned to be mainly in a digital format.

Additionally, the FAU has its own video portal on which lectures, seminars, and talks are published for interested viewers.

Participation in the e-learning course elements is compulsory
Can ECTS points be acquired by taking the online programmes?
Can the e-learning elements be taken without signing up for the course of study?
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution
FAU does not charge tuition fees. However, each semester, students must pay semester fees consisting of student services fees (42 EUR) and a fee for the basic semester ticket (74 EUR).
Costs of living
According to a study by the German National Association for Student Affairs, students in former West Germany who no longer live with their parents have an average amount of more than 930 EUR per month at their disposal. Monthly expenditures for personal lifestyle, however, vary a lot. The study shows that approx. 25 per cent of the students asked have less than 700 EUR while 10 per cent have more than 1,300 EUR per month. For former West Germany, the study revealed the following details regarding average expenditures: Rent, including bills (in the Erlangen-Nuremberg area) 325 EUR (250 – 600 EUR) Food 168 EUR Clothing 42 EUR Transport (public transport and/or car) 94 EUR Learning materials (depending on the subject) 20 EUR Health insurance, doctors, medicine 80 EUR Telecommunications 31 EUR Leisure activities, culture, sports 61 EUR
Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university
There is a wide range of scholarships available for outstanding students. In addition to requiring applicants to have excellent grades, most scholarship programmes have additional conditions regarding cultural, political, religious, or social involvement. If you have any questions about the application procedure or selection criteria, you can contact the Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) or speak directly to FAU’s liaison officer for the scholarship organisation you wish to apply to.
Academic admission requirements

Relevant Bachelor's degree with a grade of 2.5 or better (or equivalent international grade) in Mathematics or Computer Science

Applicants with an academic degree from outside of Germany will be invited to take an oral examination to test their suitability for the MSc Data Science. The examination can be conducted via video conference call (Skype, Zoom, etc.). The duration of the test is 20 minutes. The topics of this examination include basic knowledge in pure mathematics (analysis/algebra) and applied mathematics (numerical mathematics/probability theory) as well as data structures and algorithms. Furthermore, knowledge in a field of specialisation in data science (as chosen by the applicant) will be examined.

The examination will be administered by the admissions committee of the MSc programme. The examination date will be announced at least one week in advance.

Language requirements

The required English level is “vantage or upper intermediate” level (B2) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or an equivalent score from an internationally recognised test, e.g. IELTS 5.5, TOEFL PBT 552. Six years of English lessons at a German "Gymnasium" shall also suffice as proof; applicants whose native language is English need not submit any such proof.

Proof of German proficiency is not required. However, we strongly recommend that non-German speaking students attend German language classes during the MSc programme.

Application deadline

15 July for the following winter semester

For non-EU applicants, we strongly recommend applying before 31 May.

Submit application to

Please note that this course of study will begin for the first time in the 2021/2022 winter semester.

First step: Online application via

Second step: Send application documents to:

FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
Referat L4 – Masterbüro
Schlossplatz 4
91054 Erlangen

Possibility of finding part-time employment

According to a study by the German National Association for Student Affairs, around 63 per cent of all "first-time students" have a regular job – and not just during the holidays. On average, they work around 8 hours a week for an average wage of 10 EUR per hour. Students can have a "450 EUR job" or work as a student trainee in a company or as a student assistant at the university – both during and outside the lecture period. Information on the legal conditions relating to part-time jobs for students is available in the brochure "Jobben" (part-time jobs) published by the German National Association for Student Affairs. FAU’s job portal is also regularly updated with new advertisements for part-time jobs.


The cities of Erlangen, Fürth, and Nuremberg offer a very good standard of living. They are popular places to live, meaning that accommodation is in high demand but often in short supply. This is particularly the case during the period before the start of a new semester. We therefore recommend that you start looking for accommodation as soon as possible. If you are flexible and also look in the surrounding area, you will have a better chance of finding somewhere affordable to live. The region has an excellent public transport system, so you should not have any problems getting to your place of study or work.

It is worth checking the available accommodation on the Internet every day, as new accommodation becomes available on a day-to-day basis. It pays to be flexible when it comes to the price, location, and available facilities of your accommodation.

Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg runs its own student accommodation in Erlangen and Nuremberg. You will be informed about how to apply for a room in Student Services accommodation while you are in the process of applying to be admitted to FAU.

Career advisory service

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • Buddy programme
Support programmes for international students
Our International Office provides advice to international students regarding all areas of daily and academic life.

FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Founded in 1743, FAU has a rich history. It is a strong research university with an international perspective and one of the largest universities in Germany with 38,771 students, 261 degree programmes, 4,000 academic staff (including over 579 professors), 200.7 million EUR third-party funding, and 500 partnerships with universities all over the world. Teaching at the university is closely linked to research and focuses on training students in both theory and practice to enable them to think critically and work independently. The research itself also strikes the perfect balance between a theoretical approach and practical application.

FAU’s outstanding research and teaching is reflected in top positions in both national and international rankings as well as the high amount of DFG funding that its researchers are able to secure.

University location

FAU’s two main sites, the cities of Erlangen and Nuremberg, are located at the heart of the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region. Both Erlangen, a city of 100,000 inhabitants that was the former home of the Huguenots and is a key location for Siemens, and Nuremberg, a city with a metropolitan flair and a population of half a million, have their own unique charms. The opera, theatre, and museums, along with a lively pub scene and nightlife, offer plenty of opportunities to relax after a day in the lecture theatre, lab, or library. The highlights of the cultural calendar in Erlangen include the Hörkunstfestival (acoustic art festival), International Comic Salon, Figurentheater-Festival (puppet theatre festival), Poetenfest (poetry festival), and the theatre and performance festival "ARENA… of the young arts". A wide range of cultural institutions open their doors to visitors during the Blue Night in Nuremberg, and once every two years, the Long Night of Sciences gives the public a chance to take a look inside research institutions in Erlangen, Nuremberg, and Fürth. In summary, the mixture of academia, innovative companies, art, and culture makes the region the perfect place for creative minds. There is also plenty on offer for keen athletes and nature lovers. Fränkische Schweiz, a paradise for climbers and walkers, is located to the north of Erlangen and is at FAU’s doorstep. Water sports enthusiasts will love the Franconian Lakes with the university’s water sports centre located just south of Nuremberg.