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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
KTA Absorption of antinuclei in ALICE Time Projection Chamber using machine learning algorithms Fabbietti
KM A finite temperature quantum algorithm for the Hubbard model Knap
AEP AI in Physics: Convolutional neural networks for dark-field X-ray CT reconstruction Pfeiffer
AEP A satellite for sodium spectroscopy in the mesosphere Fierlinger
KM Aufbau eines Dreifach-Kühlfingers zur Gammaspektroskopie mittels hochreiner Germaniumdetektoren Hugenschmidt
KM Berechnung der Elektron-Positron-Impulsverteilung an Gitterfehlern (ABINIT) Hugenschmidt
KTA Building up an electrostatic particle storage ring for fundamental research Fierlinger
KM Computational fast screening of core-shell nanoparticles for oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells Bandarenka
AEP Dark-field Chest X-ray Imaging: Advanced image processing for clinical applications Pfeiffer
AEP Dark-field Chest X-ray Imaging: Development of registration algorithms for the analysis of functional lung images Pfeiffer
AEP Dark-field Chest X-ray Imaging: Monte Carlo based simulation of Compton scattering Pfeiffer
AEP Dark-field X-ray microCT: Pre-clinical research on improved lung disease detection Pfeiffer
KTA Dark Photon Search with an Array of Atomic Magnetometers Fierlinger
KTA Datenanalyseverfahren für kontrastreiche Imaging auf astrophysikalischen Daten des SPHERE-Instruments, in Imaging und Polarimetrie (topic is not available any more) Eisenhauer
KTA Elektron-Magnetspektrometer zur Detektor-Charakterisierung Märkisch
KM Emergente (nichtlineare) Hydrodynamik in Ultrakalten Quantengasen Knap
KTA Exploring the properties of Quark-Gluon Plasma with anisotropic flow measurements at the Large Hadron Collider Fabbietti
KM Fractonic quantum matter at low temperatures Knap
AEP High efficiency next generation organic solar cells Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Implementation of region-of-interest mode in diffraction computed tomography Petry
KM Lateral angular momentum transport by phonons Gross
AEP Lightweight Organic Solar Cells as Alternative to Nuclear Batteries for Deep Space Power Generation Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Lithium-ion batteries with modified electrolyte for next generation batteries Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Low-temperature fabrication of titania films for hybrid solar cells on flexible substrates Müller-Buschbaum
KM Magnon transport in laterally confined magnetic insulators Gross
KM Messung der Zeit-Impuls-Korrelation von Positronen in Materie (AMOC) (topic is not available any more) Hugenschmidt
AEP Near-infrared Quantum Dot Solar Cells for Space Application (topic is not available any more) Müller-Buschbaum
KTA Optical Atomic Magnetometer Fierlinger
AEP Optically controlled automatic sample positioning system for scattering/diffraction applications: conceptualisation and development Petry
AEP Optomechanics of coupled micro-drums Poot
AEP Printed perovskite solar cells Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Printed polymer-based thin film batteries Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Quantification of local aging behaviour in lithium-ion batteries Petry
KM Simulation der Positronendiffusion bei angelegten elektrischen Feldern zur Bestimmung der Leestellenkonzentration in Festkörpern (LIMPID) Hugenschmidt
AEP Smart nano-sensors made of stimuli-responsive polymers in solution and in thin films Müller-Buschbaum
KM Spinabhängige Prozesse in der Photokatalyse (topic is not available any more) Brandt
KM Synchronization and nonlinear dynamics of nanomechanical oscillators Poot
AEP Synthesis and self-assembly of gold nanoparticles for optoelectronic devices Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Top-down approach for the synthesis of shape controlled nanoparticles Bandarenka
KTA Two-loop Feynman integrals for single top production at NNLO Tancredi
BIO Untersuchung der Flexibilität von Amyloidstrukturen mit MD-Simulationen Zacharias
KTA Untersuchung verschiedener Transient-Klassen mittels Fermi/GBM Daten (topic is not available any more) Greiner

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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