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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. 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 (60 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 25 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 15 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, AEP Analysis of simulated and experimental data to study Vector Meson-Nucleon Interactions Fabbietti
KM, AEP Bringing Solvent Structure to Implicit Solvation Reuter
KTA, AEP Construction and Test of a Scintillating-Fiber Tracker for a Measurement of the Proton Radius at CERN’s Super Proton Synchrotron Paul
KM, AEP Deep Neural Network methods to generate new Organic Semiconductors Reuter
BSC, KTA, AEP Development of a Modular Stacking Concept for Scintillating Fiber Trackers Fabbietti
KTA, AEP Development of an Electron Backscattering Detector for PERC Märkisch
BSC, KTA, AEP Development of a Photo-detecting detector with Thick GEMs Fabbietti
BIO, AEP Einfluss der Kollagenmikrostruktur auf Organoidwachstum Bausch
KM, AEP Elektrisch gesteuerter Magnontransport in magnetisch geordneten Isolatoren Gross
KTA Entwicklung eines neuen Radondetektors in Luft und Stickstoff Oberauer
KM Entwicklung neuer schneller Ausleseelektronik fuer Gasdetektoren bei hohen Zaehlraten Kroha
KM Entwicklung und Test neuer schneller Myontriggerdetektoren fuer das ATLAS-Experiment am LHC Kroha
AEP Entwicklung von Kalibrationshardware für das IceCube-Upgrade (topic is not available any more) Resconi
BIO Erweitertes Sampling zur Untersuchung der Proteinfaltung (topic is not available any more) Zacharias
BIO Globale Sensitivitätsanalyse und Unsicherheitsquantifizierung eines Mehrphasen Modells für vaskuläres Tumorwachstum (topic is not available any more) Herzen
KTA Gravity EFT (topic is not available any more) Weiler
KM, AEP High-field magnetotransport in an organic superconductor in proximity to the quantum spin-liquid Mott-insulating state Gross
KM, AEP High frequency optomechanical devices for quantum optomechanics (topic is not available any more) Poot
AEP Hocheffiziente Solarzellen der nächsten Generation (topic is not available any more) Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Interaction between magnetic and conducting subsystems in molecular antiferromagnetic superconductors Gross
KM, AEP Looking into the soft behavior of hybrid crystalline perovskite thin film Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Machine learning for computational design of nanostructured catalysts Reuter
KM, AEP Manipulation von Spin-Wellen durch Spin-Bahn-Drehmomente Gross
KTA Measurement of antideutron interaction cross-sections as a reference for future indirect searches of dark matter Fabbietti
BSC, KTA Modeling and study of the cosmic ray induced background in IceCube and future neutrino telescopes. Resconi
KM, AEP Novel nanostructured thermoelectric hybrid materials Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Optomechanics with Single Photons Poot
KM, AEP Origin of the open circuit voltage in ternary organic solar cells, a study based on a semi-empirical Monte Carlo simulation approach Reuter
KM, AEP Oxidische Heterostrukturen für Experimenten mit reinen Spinströmen (topic is not available any more) Gross
KM Planare Rastersonden (topic is not available any more) Reinhard
KM, AEP Polymere in tief eutektischen Lösungsmitteln Papadakis
KM, AEP Quantum Emitters in 2D Materials Finley
KM Quantum Memory mit Optimal Control (topic is not available any more) Gross
KM, AEP Quantum Optics on a Chip Poot
KTA, TMP Stochastic modeling of particle cascades Resconi
KM, AEP Strong electrostatic effects in optomechanical devices Poot
KM Suche nach Dunkler Materie in Proton-Proton-Kollisionen bei 13 TeV Schwerpunktsenergie mit dem ATLAS-Detektor Kroha
KM Suche nach neuen schweren Eichbosonresonanzen mit dem ATLAS-Detektor am LHC bei 13 TeV Schwerpunktsenergie Kroha
KTA Suche nach und Charakterisierung von Gamma-Transienten Greiner
KM, AEP Supraleiter/Ferromagnet-Heterostrukturen für supraleitende Spinelektronik (topic is not available any more) Gross
KM, AEP Synchronization and nonlinear dynamics of nanomechanical oscillators Poot
KM, AEP Tight-binding beyond the two-center LCAO approximation Reuter
KM, AEP Topologische magnetische Phasen in Dünnschicht-Heterostrukturen Gross
KM, AEP Tunnel- und Raman-Spektroskopie an Kuprat-Supraleitern Hackl
BSC, KM, KTA Ungeordnete Quantensysteme: Vielteilchenlokalisierung Knap
BIO Untersuchung biomimetischer Hybrid-Photokatalysatoren zur selektiven CO2-Umwandlung (topic is not available any more) Stutzmann
KM, AEP Untersuchung der Energieskalen von Kupratsupraleitern als Funktion des externen Drucks Hackl
BSC, KM, KTA, TMP Vielteilchensysteme mit Zwangsbedingungen Knap
KM, KTA, BIO, AEP Visualisierung von Nervenaktivität mit Quantensensoren und/oder Deep Learning Reinhard
AEP Working Title (topic is not available any more) Resconi
KTA, TMP Worldwide modeling of atmospheric particle cascades Resconi

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 must fill in 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). You have to hand in the thesis at the latest on the deadline, please keep this on mind.

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 compulsory optional subject 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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