Computer science / Informatics (B.Sc.)

Computer science has become an integral part of our lives. Put simply, computer science or informatics, as it is also known, is the science of using computers to find systematic solutions to problems that are typically of a computational or data-processing nature. The subject of computer science can be divided into the following four areas

Theoretical informatics uses mathematical models to examine questions that address the fundamental performance capabilities of computer systems: For example: Are there problems that cannot in principle be solved by a computer? Are there problems that are solvable in principle, but for which the computational power required is so great that no single computer could solve the problem within a human lifetime? Would the answer to this question change if computers were used in parallel? If a program is correct, does it perform its task completely and without error? Under what conditions can questions such as these even be answered?

The field of computer engineering examines the systematic design and construction of computer hardware. Areas covered range from the initial design, testing and manufacture of VLSI chips, to the architecture of massively parallel computers and the hardware components needed in high-speed communication networks and embedded systems such as airbags or autopilots.

Algorithms can be thought of as well-defined sets of rules or procedures for solving specific problems. Practical informatics is concerned with developing algorithms as the basic building blocks of computer programming, analysing their efficiency and verifying their correctness. Practical informatics also deals with the development of the programming languages, methods and tools that enable these building blocks to be put together to create larger and more complex applications. One of the important goals of such work is to design the building blocks and methods in such a way that they can be used and adapted for the widest possible range of applications. This can help to ensure that software is developed more quickly and more cost-effectively, that it can be maintained and updated over a longer lifetime, and that it will actually do what the user wants. Particularly important application classes are specific system components such as databases, networks or graphical systems, each of which itself represents a very large area of independent research.

The transition from the field of practical informatics to applied informatics is almost seamless. Applied informatics is concerned with the application of informatics solutions in other scientific fields and disciplines and with their application to the extremely wide range of problems in the industrial and business sectors. Computer science is a basic component of many aspects of the world around us. However, simply studying the theory while ignoring the practical implications can lead straight up the ivory tower, just as focusing on practical issues alone without studying the theory can mean that progress is delayed by time-consuming trial and error. For an academic discipline to succeed, theoretical and practical research must complement one another.

The standard period of study for a full-time student to complete the B.Sc. programme is six semesters. Students can also apply to study for some of the programme (but no more than eight semesters) as a part-time student.

Students successfully completing the degree programme will be awarded a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree.

Computer science/Informatics can also be studied by students wishing to qualify as teachers for a German Gymnasium (academically oriented secondary school), and Gesamtschule (comprehensive school) or Berufschule (vocational secondary school).

Career prospects for informatics graduates are excellent. German universities are barely able to meet the enormous demand for computer science and IT graduates in Germany. In view of the major importance of information and communications technologies to today’s economy, this trend looks set to continue well into the future. However, career success will depend crucially on the ability to keep up with future technical developments. The best way to stay fit for the future is to have had a solid grounding in the subject and to learn those methods and approaches that are of long-term relevance while still being flexible in their application – fundamental principles that are key features of the informatics programmes taught in Saarbrücken.

Programme schedule

The six-semester B.Sc. programme comprises:

  • Lecture courses covering the following fundamental areas of informatics and computer science:

    - Programming
    - Systems architecture
    - Information systems
    - Theoretical informatics

  • Lecture courses with exercise classes covering the necessary mathematical foundations in the fields of analysis and linear algebra

  • Additional optional lectures in the field of informatics

  • A software project in which a complex software product is developed in a team

  • Introductory and advanced seminars in which research results are presented and discussed

  • Taught courses in an optional supplementary subject (elective) such as business administration or mathematics

  • A so-called Bachelor's seminar in which student projects are presented

  • A final-year research project on which the Bachelor’s thesis is based


All lecture courses are designed to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Students completing the B.Sc. programme will have an academic degree and a professional qualification after only six semesters of study. Graduates of the B.Sc. programme will have the skills to take up responsible and challenging posts in industrial and business environments.

The degree course is composed of one-semester modules such as lectures, exercise classes, practical and lab training, seminars. Each module is associated with a specific number of academic credits.Credits are a measure of the student workload required to complete a particular module. It is normally assumed that students will gain 30 credits per semester. As academic credits are standardized across Europe within the framework of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), universities in Europe now have a fairly simple means of mutually recognizing academic achievements and examination results attained at other institutions, such as modules that students have completed during their study-abroad semester. The B.Sc. programme requires students to acquire 180 credits. An example study schedule can be found here.

Each module concludes with an assessment of student learning (usually in the form of a written examination). Credits gained from assessments are cumulative and contribute to the student’s overall academic achievement. The final mark or grade awarded to a student after completing the B.Sc. programme is the weighted average of the results of the graded assessments attained during the programme. To complete the B.Sc. programme successfully, students not only need to be able to think abstractly and to have the requisite mathematical and technical competence, they also need the social skills to be able to work in a team and be able to present the results of their own work.

Prospective students can get a feel for the demands of the B.Sc. programme by taking a look at a number of past questions and exam papers that have been taken from introductory-level courses.

The B.Sc. programme in computer science offers students the chance to pursue areas of specialization that reflect their own personal preferences. Students keen to complete their B.Sc. degree early can take part in the block courses offered during the recess periods. The best students from each year have the opportunity to join the so-called honours programme – a support programme for high-achieving students in which the students are closely supervised by professorial members of staff (see also the university’s early-access scheme for gifted school pupils)

Application


Admission information

Students can begin the B.Sc. programme at the beginning of the winter or the summer semester, though we recommend that students start in the winter semester.

At present, there are no entry restrictions for the Bachelor’s degree programme.

Applications for admission must be submitted to the university

  • by about mid-September for students planning to start in the winter semester,
  • by mid-March for students planning to start in the summer semester.


Admission application forms are available online. They should be sent with all the requisite documentation to the Admissions Office at:

Universität des Saarlandes
Studierendensekretariat
Postfach 15 11 50
66041 Saarbrücken
Germany

List of current degree programmes with explanatory notes on enrolment procedures

Please note:If you are applying to the programme having already started to study another subject, or if you are applying for higher level entry (i.e. you wish to join the programme in the second or later semester), your application form must be accompanied by a notification of academic placement from the relevant Examinations Office.

Please note: Slightly different admission rules apply to German and foreign nationals with a non-German higher-education entrance qualification (for more information: see here or see 'University Entrance Requirements – At a Glance'.

Special features


Key research areas

It is the policy of the Department of Computer Science at Saarland University that all research groups carry out both theoretical and practical research. The research projects in informatics being carried out at Saarland University are split among the research groups attached to the 14 chairs of computer science in the Department of Computer Science (and the two additional chairs that are administered jointly with the Department of Mathematics) and the research groups at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence and the Max Planck Institutes for Computer Science and Software Systems, all of which are located on the Saarbrücken campus and all of which are involved in long-term collaborative projects with the university. More than 200 computer scientists and researchers are currently working at these institutions in Saarbrücken.

Research in computer science / informatics generally pursues the following three broad objectives:

  • Extending the functionality of hardware and software systems, i.e. developing new applications,
  • Improving the performance and cost-effectiveness of specific functionalities
  • Formally proving and ensuring that the systems of interest are correct and highly reliable.


The research projects being conducted in Saarbrücken cover all of these three goals. The drive to develop new applications is found for example in the research work being carried out in the fields of multimedia applications and distributed information and communications systems, as well as in a variety of projects concerned with language and image processing. The issue of efficiency is a key consideration in research projects into geometric algorithms, fundamental methods in cryptography and high-performance communications protocols. Finally, the correctness of hardware and software systems is the major goal of research into the use of program analysis techniques and formal specification methodologies. Many of these projects also involve the development of complete prototype systems.

With opportunities to work as course tutors or undergraduate research assistants, informatics students at Saarland University have numerous chances to become acquainted with research at an early stage of their university education. The department is home to a graduate research training programme funded by the German Research Council (DFG) and is also involved in the interdisciplinary graduate research training programmes ‘Cognitive Science’ and ‘Language Technology and Cognitive Systems’ and the collaborative research centre ‘Resources and Cognitive Processes’. The International Max Planck Research School awards scholarships for the Master’s degree programme to particularly talented computer science students from around the world.

Over the last seven years, 148 doctoral degrees have been awarded for research carried out at the Department of Computer Science in Saarbrücken, making Saarland University one the most successful ‘production sites’ for highly qualified research scientists. In that same period, the university also awarded 33 Habilitation degrees (advanced research degrees that entitle the holder to teach at professorial level) to candidates in the field of computer science, making the university a key player in developing the next generation of university teachers. The informatics programmes at the Department of Computer Science came out top in the recent CHE-Stern ranking survey. Studying computer science at Saarland University is highly respected. Polls of university teachers in Germany have shown that Saarbrücken is regularly cited as one of the top three locations to study for a degree in informatics.

Related higher degrees

Computer Science

Computer- und Kommunikationstechnik

Educational Technology

Security and Privacy

Visual Computing

Darüber hinaus ist unter bestimmten Bedingungen (z.B. bestimmte Schwerpunktsetzung im Bachelor-Bereich, Nachholen einzelner Module u.ä.) der Zugang zu weiteren Master-Studiengängen möglich, z.B. Master in Computational Engineering of Technical Systems, Master in Wirtschaftsinformatik, Master in Bioinformatik.

Contacts

Fachrichtung Informatik / Dept. of Computer Science
Saarbrücken Campus, Bldg. E1 3
66123 Saarbrücken
Germany
Tel.: +49 681 302-58092
studium(at)cs.uni-sb.de
Website