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Research Phase and Master's Thesis in the Physics programs

During the last year of the Master's program you will have the unique opportunity to work on exciting research topics within the specific field of the program. During this so-called research phase, you can choose from an extensive number of research groups and current projects.

 Aliaksandr Bandarenka and a Master's student in his group discuss about their research. Foto: TUM.PH/Eckert. The research phase constitutes one thematic block, culminating in the dissertation of the Master's thesis.

Research Phase

The build-up of the research phase

To the scope of the one year research phase (59 ECTS) belong firstly, the development of the necessary special knowledge within a cutting-edge research line and secondly, the acquisition of the corresponding experimental or theoretical skills, that are necessary for the realization of the research project within the frame of the Master's thesis. Each of these steps conforms a module, the Master's seminar and the Master's training. Both modules belong intrinsically together and account in total for 24 ECTS. Subsequently, the independent research project can be carried out as part of the Master's thesis, which corresponding module comprises 30 ECTS. The research phase is completed with the Master's colloquium, the defense of the Master's thesis, for which 5 ECTS are given.

During the research phase, the fulfilment of an independent scientific work is tighly connected with the acquisition of additional skills, such as project management, team work as well as the depiction and presentation of scientific results.

ModuleDescriptionCredits (CP)PL/SL*
Master's seminar Literature research and specialization 10 S
Master's training Methodology and project planning 14 S
Master's thesis 30 P
Master's colloquium Master's thesis defense 5 P
*: P="Prüfungsleistung", graded exam,
S="Studienleistung", non graded exam (pass/fail)

Finding a topic

Students have to take contact by their own with the working groups and potential supervisors, in oder to agree on a topic for the research phase/master thesis. Additionally to this, supervisors have the option to announce topics in the section below (supervisors see "Access for supervisors" on the right). However this possibility is not used by all institutes and not all topics are listed. Therefore it is recommended to ask the professors or in the institutes for topics.

Furthermore, it is recommended to start early (at least one semester in advance) to search for an appropriate topic. Having face-to-face interaction with the group, you can see if you like the topic and if you feel comfortable in the group (you will be working one year there!). We discourage you from simple e-mail exchange, as it is usually not successful.

Filtering in the offers for possible theses

You can search through the offers of Master’s thesis topics at the Physics Department.

Offers of Master’s thesis topics

Study areaTopicSupervisor
KM 2D semiconductors-based synthetic superlattices for quantum simulation Finley
AEP Absolute Photoemissionszeitbestimmung in Iodmethan und Iodethan Kienberger
KM A finite temperature quantum algorithm for the Hubbard model Knap
AEP Atomistically thin semiconducting 2D materials and their optical properties Holleitner
KTA Bau und Test neuer schneller Myontriggerdetektoren fuer das ATLAS-Experiment am Large Hadron Collider Kroha
KTA Bayesische Modellierung des GRB Nachleuchtens Greiner
KTA Charakteriesierung der Eigenschaften neuer schneller Myondetektoren fuer das ATLAS-Experiment am Large Hadron Collider Kroha
KM Chemical reactions and spins Brandt
AEP Computational model for the growth of closed shells: how can self-assembled shapes be conserved during growth? Gerland
KTA Confinement of charged nanoparticles: Quadrupole Ion Trap - particle detection Eisenhauer
KM Controlled Fabrication of Chiral Lead-Free Perovskites Deschler
AEP Convolutional neural networks and transfer learning for artefacts reduction in X-ray dark-field CT Pfeiffer
BIO Cooking up life in the white smoker Alim
KTA CRESST: Freezing cold, deep underground, illuminating the dark (matter) Schönert
AEP Design of a Scintillation Detector with Drift Monitoring via a Pulser System Märkisch
KTA Development and Integration of Algorithms for Scientific Satellites Paul
AEP Development of a Star Tracker for Compact Scientific Satellites (topic is not available any more) Paul
AEP Distortion correction for high-resolution quantitative X-ray imaging detectors Pfeiffer
AEP Effects of different anions and cations on electrode materials for applications in aqueous batteries Bandarenka
AEP Electron-Selective ALD Protection Layers for Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Evolution (topic is not available any more) Sharp
KM Emergente (nichtlineare) Hydrodynamik in Ultrakalten Quantengasen Knap
KTA Entwicklung neuer schneller Ausleseelektronik fuer kuenftige Experimente der Hochenergiephysik an Collidern Kroha
AEP Estimation of Compton scattering in X-ray imaging using neural networks Pfeiffer
KM Exciton Physics of 2D layered Gallium Selenide (GaSe) Finley
KM Exploration of Novel Photoactive Ternary Nitrides (topic is not available any more) Sharp
KM Exploring renewable energy systems with laser induced current transient thechnique Bandarenka
AEP Fabrication of a superconducting coplanar transmission line for efficient coupling to rare earth spin ensembles Gross
KM Fabrication of a superconducting coplanar transmission line for efficient coupling to rare earth spin ensembles Gross
KM Fabrication of a superconducting transmission line in a planar design on a spin-doped crystalline membrane (topic is not available any more) Gross
AEP Fabrication of a superconducting transmission line resonator in a bad-cavity limit Gross
KM Fabrication of a superconducting transmission line resonator in a bad-cavity limit Gross
KM Fabrication of low-loss Josephson parametric devices Gross
AEP Fabrication of low-loss Josephson parametric devices Gross
AEP Finding Active Sites on Fuel Cell Catalysts with Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Bandarenka
KM Fractonic quantum matter at low temperatures Knap
AEP Generating small magnetic fields inside an open-end magnetic shielding with a superconducting solenoid magnet (topic is not available any more) Gross
KM Generating small magnetic fields inside an open-end magnetic shielding with a superconducting solenoid magnet (topic is not available any more) Gross
AEP GRAVITY Wide Upgrade - Entwicklung der Systemkontrollarchitektur fuer die optische differenzielle Pfadlängenkompensation (topic is not available any more) Eisenhauer
KTA GRAVITY WIDE upgrade - Implementierung der Systemkontrolle und Metrologie für einen optische differenzielle Pfadlängenkompensation (topic is not available any more) Eisenhauer
BIO Growing shapes: Kinetics of integrating cell wall material into the envelope of a growing cell Gerland
AEP High efficiency next generation organic solar cells Müller-Buschbaum
AEP High-sensitivity grating-based phase-contrast imaging at the Munich Compact Light Source - Computational Part Pfeiffer
AEP High-sensitivity grating-based phase-contrast imaging at the Munich Compact Light Source - Experimental Part Pfeiffer
KM Hochauflösende magnetische Mikroskopie unter Verwendung des spitzenverstärkten Anomalen-Nernst-Effekts Back
AEP How our veins adapt Alim
AEP Hybrid quantum teleportation Gross
AEP Implementation of a grating-based interferometer for X-ray vector radiography at the Munich Compact Light Source Pfeiffer
KM Josephson Ring Modulator Coupler Measurement Gross
BIO Koordinierung von Informationen innerhalb eines nicht-neuralen Organismus (topic is not available any more) Alim
KTA LEGEND: Why does matter prevail over antimatter in today's Universe? Schönert
AEP Lightweight Organic Solar Cells as Alternative to Nuclear Batteries for Deep Space Power Generation Müller-Buschbaum
KM Machinelles Lernen zur Molekulardynamik Egger
KTA Massenabschätzungen für kompakte Objekte in Röntgen-Doppelsystemen mit niedrigen Massen über optische und nahe infrarote Ellipsoidale Variationen (topic is not available any more) Greiner
KM Masterarbeit: Mechanisches Strukturieren von Elektroden für Lithium-Ionen-Batterien Bandarenka
KTA Masterarbeit: Optische Charakterisierung chiraler Perowskite Iglev
AEP Masterarbeitsthema „Alterungsmechanismen für Li-Ionen Batteriezellen“ Bandarenka
KTA Messung der Lichtkurve des Crab Nebels (topic is not available any more) Greiner
AEP Microwave cryptography with propagating quantum tokens Gross
AEP Modeling of the FRM II core Märkisch
KTA Modellierung relativistischer Elektronen in Tokamak Plasmen Günter
KM Nachweis von Spin-Orbit-Torques mit Hilfe eines stehenden Spinwellenmusters Back
AEP Near-infrared Quantum Dot Solar Cells for Space Application Müller-Buschbaum
KM Neuronale Netzwerke zur Berechnung von Ramanspektren Egger
KTA Nichtlineare MHD-Simulationen zum X-Punkt-Strahler in Tokamaks Günter
AEP Novel nanostructured thermoelectric hybrid materials Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Observation of quantum switching in driven-dissipative superconducting oscillators Gross
AEP Optomechanics of coupled micro-drums Poot
AEP Perovskite Solar Cells for Space Applications Müller-Buschbaum
KTA Populationsanalyse von kurzen GRBs und Super-Ausbruechen von Magnetaren (topic is not available any more) Greiner
AEP Printed polymer-based thin film batteries Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Radioluminescence microscopy for organoid specimens Pfeiffer
AEP Real-Time DEMS Investigation of Catalytic Processes Schindler
AEP Remote entanglement of superconducting qubits Gross
KTA Sampling anharmonic phonons in energy materials Egger
KM Selective breakdown of phonon quasiparticle picture in halide perovskites Egger
KM Semiconductor photoanodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting Sharp
KTA Sensitivity study of a distributed network of neutrino telescopes: MonteCarlo studies, likelihood analysis, and machine learning applied to high energy astrophysics. Resconi
AEP Silicon-Germanium based anode coatings for Lithium-ion batteries Müller-Buschbaum
BIO Simulating the collective motion of encapsulated enzymes in external substrate gradients Gerland
KTA Simulation vertikaler Plasmainstabilitäten am ASDEX Upgrade Tokamak Günter
AEP Smart nano-sensors made of stimuli-responsive polymers in solution and in thin films Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Spectral material decomposition with dual-energy, photon-counting X-ray detectors for industrial applications Pfeiffer
AEP Spectral material decomposition with dual-energy, photon-counting X-ray detectors for industrial applications Pfeiffer
AEP Strukturen für den Ursprung des Lebens Alim
BIO Studying the bacterial life cycle and morphology using flow cytometry Gerland
KM Synchronization and nonlinear dynamics of nanomechanical oscillators Poot
AEP Theoretical investigations of dynamic effects in bismuth vanadate Egger
KTA Toward a complete b->u l nu fit in the Weak Effective Theory van Dyk
AEP Two-dimensional Pattern Formation via Local Cell-Cell Signaling Gerland
KTA Untersuchung der Signalantwort des MADMAX Experiments zur Suche nach Axionen als dunkler Materie Majorovits
KTA Untersuchung und Verbesserung des Verhaltens von sMDT-Kammern bei hohen Gammastrahlungsuntergrundraten Kroha
BIO Vasculature remodeling following a ‘stroke’ Alim
KM Zeitaufgelöste Messung des Umschaltprozesses für in der Ebene magnetisierte mikrostrukturierte Elemente Back

Registering the research phase

The registration to all modules belonging to the research phase is done at once in the Dean's Office (Dekanat), normally at the beginning of the third Master's semester. When doing this, the certificate of mentor counseling has to be included. After agreeing on a topic with the future supervisor, students can print out the registration form in the student access.

After six months the Master's thesis should begin. Passing the Master's seminar and the Master's training will be recorded in TUMonline and you are officially alowed to start the thesis.

Handing in the thesis and getting the grade

Before handing in the Master's thesis, you need to update the final titel of the thesis in the database (student access) and upload an electronic copy (PDF-file). Afterwards, you have to hand in two printed versions in the Dean's Office (Dekanat). Alternatively you may hand in the rpinted copies via postal mail – use the submission letter you may generate on the status page after uploading the thesis PDF for this. The submission letter (as well as the submission form at the Dean’s Office) especially contains the required statement according to §18 paragraph 9 APSO.

You have to hand in the thesis at the latest on the deadline, please keep this on mind. The thesis is not handed in until the two paper copies and the signed submission form (or the signed submission letter for postal submission) physically arrived at the Dean’s Office! If the two copies and the submission letter are given into the mail without any delay we can interpret the date of uploading the PDF file as submission date retroactively.

Extension of the deadline is only possible for good reasons. See FAQ on Thesis extension.

The Master's thesis will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second examiner. The second examiner is appointed by the examination board on suggestion of the supervisor (after official registration of Master’s thesis).

The supervisor and the second examiner will also grade the Master's colloquium, which completes the research phase.

Re-enrollment during the research phase

For any examination you must be enrolled as a student of TUM. Hence you need to re-enroll for one semester more e.g. if you hand in your Master’s thesis or your Master’s colloquium takes place after the current semester ends. According to APSO, coursework and examinations until the first week of the lectures of the next semester are counted for the current semester – but for the Master's Thesis the rule is: you must be enrolled at the date you hand in your thesis (meaning handing in after 1st of April or 1st of October is impossible if your are not re-enrolled in summer or winter semester respectively)

With a due date for your thesis e.g. in October, you should not forget to re-enroll for the winter semester and the corresponding deadline would be August 15.

Organization of the colloquium

The Master’s colloquium is organised and conducted by the supervisor together with the second examiner. The Master’s colloquium takes approximately 60 minutes, consisting of a 30 minutes talk and 30 minutes examination. Naturally, the inclusion of the colloquium in a group seminar is possible.

Completing your Master studies

At the end of the semester in which you reach the necessary 120 ECTS in your Master's degree program you will be exmatriculated (according to §13(1) enrolment rules of TUM). In most cases the Master's colloquium will be the last exam to reach this point.

Taking further exams and final documents

You are principally allowed to take further exams after reaching the 120 ECTS, i.e. to replace previous results in the catalog of special courses or non-physics courses with better results. Therefore it is generally not possible that the final documents are generated before you are exmatriculated. In case you need the final documents (or even preliminary documents) earlier, you have to request for it explicitly. See the Remarks on end of studies and final documents for further information.

Deriving the final grade

The final grade is the ECTS-weighted average of the graded exams, which are used to fulfill the 120 ECTS. These are the elective course in theoretical physics, the special courses, the non-physics courses, the Master's thesis and colloquium.

If you have taken more than 30 ECTS in the special courses or more than 8 ECTS in the non-physics elective courses, then TUMonline will try to find the combination, which results in the best final grade. Redundant courses will be listed as "additional courses" in your transcript. If you want a different combination than the one TUMonline is suggesting, please contact the coordinator of the Master's degree program before the final documents are printed.

Nr.ModuleCredits (CP)ca. %
1 Theoretical physics 10 12
2 Special courses 30 36
3 Non-Physics courses 8 10
4 Master's thesis 30 36
5 Master's colloquium 5 6
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