About the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science
The Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science provides an optimal environment for pursuing doctoral studies in computer science at an internationally competitive level. As a student, you undergo research-oriented training and experience a stimulating and scientifically challenging atmosphere. Advised by internationally renowned scientists, you can participate in one of the many research groups and find your way into top-notch research.
a genuine doctoral program in English supported by the German Excellence Initiative.
a welcoming and stimulating international research environment with an exceptional concentration of computer science expertise.
full financial support throughout the program. All in all, over 50 Mio € yearly supports Saarbrücken Computer Science, providing great infrastructure and funding for our students and faculty.
a comprehensive mentoring program with doctoral supervision seen as a common responsibility of the whole faculty.
modest cost of living in Saarland close to France at the crossroads between Frankfurt and Paris, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.
Currently the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science has 345 doctoral candidates. More than 50% of them come from abroad.
After your successful application, you first undergo (depending on your degree) a three-semester preparatory phase which consists of research-oriented, broad course work adjusted to personal interests. We provide common office space particularly to students in this phase. You have ample opportunity to acquaint yourself with the many computer science research groups in Saarbrücken and to choose a group and an advisor matching your interest.
After passing a qualifying exam, you enter the research and dissertation phase, which you spend as a member of a research group. During the entire program there is a comprehensive offering of so-called Soft Skills seminars and courses. In justified cases, you can be exempted from parts of or even the entire preparatory phase. Also, your courses taken in the preparatory phase can be used towards a Masters degree, if this is desired. Depending on your entry qualification you will either first undergo a three-semester (ie. one-and-a-half-year) preparatory phase or immediately take up your research on your Ph.D. topic. Usually this dissertation phase takes 3 years. All phases are accompanied by Soft Skills seminars and courses. We also provide common office space in our newly furbished rooms.
Many of our students are admitted to the preparatory phase first. During this time they are familiarized with the work style and research-oriented course work at the Graduate School. Though adjusted to their individual interests the topics of the courses are rather broad. You will have ample opportunity to acquaint yourself with the many computer science research groups to choose a group and advisor from that matches your interests.
After fulfilling the requirements of the preparatory phase, you enter the research and dissertation phase, which you spend as a member of a research group. In justified cases you can be exempted from parts of or the entire preparatory phase.
After you have successfully handed in your dissertation and defended your thesis you will graduate with a Dr. in Computer Science from Saarland University.
Please use our Online Application System and follow the instructions there.
We ask for the following materials:
transcript of all academic records, including all university and high school diplomas (please provide certified English, German or French translations, if your documents are in another language)
Incomplete transcripts will lead to direct rejection. Informal transcripts will be temporarily accepted for application purposes.
a brief statement explaining your motivation for pursuing a doctorate in computer science at Saarland University
2 letters of recommendation
(to be sent to us directly by the referees, as prompted by the OAS;
* please note that only official affiliation e-mail addresses will be considered valid; in general, we also expect at least one referee to be from the last institution you studied at
* it is the applicant's responsibility to inform their referees of their application and make sure that the letters reach us on time, ie. within a few days of the deadline.)
if available, TOEFL scores, or equivalent record of English proficiency (TSE, Cambridge Certificate scores),
* otherwise a short statement with respect to your English qualifications. (Please keep in mind that very good understanding of English will be essential for your success.)
if available, GRE scores (of course, providing very good GRE scores will greatly enhance chances of acceptance)
You may submit your complete application materials any time before the next deadline. There are two deadlines yearly: the end of April for the following winter semester starting in October and the end of October for the following summer semester beginning in April. Evaluation takes place in concerted selection rounds after the deadline. Please allow eight weeks for this process. All applicants will receive a decision via e-mail.
If you need an early decision for planning purposes, you may submit for the deadline a year before your desired starting semester (please specify).
The application deadline for the 2017/18 academic year is April 30th. To start your PhD in April 2018, please apply by October 30th, 2017.
Who can be admitted?
Typically our students come with a very good Master's or an excellent Bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. (Please note that our program is highly competitive, so you should refrain from applying if you do not belong to the top 10% or so of your class.)
We do not insist exclusively on computer science degrees. You should however have a strong mathematical background or aptitude 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 prior training in our Bachelor program and our research profile.
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.
Candidates from abroad with scholarships from their home country or from DAAD must still apply for admission to the Graduate School. It is useful to get the endorsement of a specific faculty member first.
What is the working language?
English is used in the courses, exams and administration of the program. Fluency in German is not needed in your studies or research work. However, knowing some German will help you get around everyday situations. With our help, you will have the opportunity to learn some after you get here.
How to apply?
Please go to the application page for detailed and up-to-date information. Be sure to understand the instructions there.
First you need to pre-register your personal information like name and date of birth, as well as your address for correspondence. Then, you give some details on your previous and (if applicable) expected degrees, English proficiency and name your first and second referees. Afterwards, you upload files for your CV, transcripts of all academic records (including high school diploma), a letter of motivation for pursuing a doctorate in computer science. If you are admitted, you must present the originals to the administration upon matriculation. The letters from the two referees need to be sent to us directly (as instructed via the OAS). The completed application materials must reach us before the end of October for the admission to the following summer semester in April and by the end of April in order to be admitted in the following winter semester starting in October.
What happens next?
The Graduate School's admissions committee will review your application information and contact you via e-mail regarding the results. If you are admitted, you will be a member of the Graduate School of Computer Science and a registered student of Saarland University. Depending on your previous coursework, you will spend more or less time in the preparatory phase before taking the qualifying exam.
Join a Unique Environment for Computer Science!
The Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science is funded by the German Excellence Initiative and comprises all doctoral education and training in computer science at Saarland University in collaboration with 8 internationally recognized research institutes on campus:
Department of Computer Science, Saarland University
Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA)
Max Planck Institute for Informatics (MPII)
Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS)
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)
Cluster of Excellence: Multimodal Computing and Interaction (MMCI)
Center for Bioinformatics (CBI)
Intel Visual Computing Institute (IVCI)
Saarland Informatics Campus
The Saarbrücken Graduate School is part of the Saarland Informatics Campus. Its story begins in 1969. At that time the mathematics lecturer Günter Hotz received an appointment at the University of Hamburg, so that the state government of Saarland countered by offering him the first regular chair of Computer Science at Saarland University. Today we have more than 40 professors. Besides their teaching and research activities, they also start businesses. Since 1995 more than 77 spin-offs have originated from the Computer Science Department at Saarland University.
Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science
For more information about our program, the application procedure, our research groups and their current research work, please visit our website or contact Dr. Michelle Carnell.
If you a interested to receive news and further information about our graduate school, feel free to like us on Facebook.
The application deadline for the 2017/18 academic year is April 30th.
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