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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 (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
Sum59 
*: 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
BSC, KM, AEP Wie verrauscht sind eigentlich Elektronenstrukturtheorie-Daten? Reuter
KM, KTA, AEP Vorbereitung von Experimenten mit PK-4 auf der ISS (topic is not available any more) Eisenhauer
BSC, KM, KTA, TMP Vielteilchensysteme mit Zwangsbedingungen Knap
BSC, KM, AEP Verzerrungen in LSPS Kristallen: Einblicke durch maschinelles Lernen Reuter
BSC, KM, KTA, BIO, QST Vermessung der optischen Eigenschaften des PEN-Szintillatormaterials für LEGEND200 Majorovits
KM, AEP, QST Verbesserter Herstellungsprozess für supraleitende Quantenbits (topic is not available any more) Gross
BSC, KM Untersuchung der Ortsaufloesung der Praezisionsmyondetektoren des ATLAS-Experiments Kroha
BSC, KM Untersuchung der Nachweiseffizienz der Praezionsmyondetektoren des ATLAS-Experiments Kroha
BSC, KM Untersuchung der mechanischen Eigenschaften von Praezisionsmyondetektoren für das ATLAS-Experiment Kroha
BSC, KM, KTA Ungeordnete Quantensysteme: Vielteilchenlokalisierung Knap
KM Ultrafast Optical Spectroscopy of Material Dynamics Deschler
KM, AEP, QST Topologische magnetische Phasen in Dünnschicht-Heterostrukturen Gross
KTA The Black Hole - Galaxy host connection for broad line AGN (topic is not available any more) Eisenhauer
BSC, KM Test neuer Myondetektoren fuer das ATLAS-Experiment am LHC bei hohen Strahlintensitaeten Kroha
KTA Testing mass measurements of clusters of galaxies (topic is not available any more) Eisenhauer
BSC, KTA Test einer Anger Kamera fuer Gamma-Spektroskopie Greiner
KM, AEP Synchronization and nonlinear dynamics of nanomechanical oscillators (topic is not available any more) Poot
BSC, KM Suche nach unsichtbaren Higgs-Bosonzerfaellen am LHC mit Hilfe von Machine Learning-Methoden Kroha
BSC, KM Suche nach Dunkler Materie in Proton-Proton-Kollisionen bei 13 TeV Schwerpunktsenergie mit dem ATLAS-Detektor Kroha
KM, AEP, QST Strong electrostatic effects in optomechanical devices Poot
KM, AEP, QST Steuerung des Magnonentransports Gross
KM, AEP, QST Spintransport in Supraleiter/Ferromagnet-Heterostrukturen Gross
KM, AEP Spinabhängige Prozesse in der Elektrochemie Brandt
KM, AEP Smart nano-sensors made of stimuli-responsive polymers in solution and in thin films Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Self organization routes for nanostructuring hybrid perovskites toward high efficiency photovoltaics Müller-Buschbaum
KTA Search for New Particles at the COMPASS Experiment at CERN Paul
KM, AEP Qubits in Diamant elektrisch auslesen Brandt
KM, AEP, QST Quantum Optics on a Chip Poot
KM, AEP, QST Quantenlimitierte Josephson Parametrische Verstärker für das Ku-Band Gross
KM, AEP, QST Quanten-Illumination und -Sensorik mit Mikrowellen Deppe
KM, AEP Printed polymer-based thin film batteries Müller-Buschbaum
BSC, KM, KTA Positronenexperimente zur Defektsusheilung in Kristallen bei hohen Temperaturen mittels eines neuartigen LED-Heizers Hugenschmidt
KM, AEP, QST Oxidische Heterostrukturen für Experimente mit reinen Spinströmen Gross
KM, AEP, QST Optomechanics with Single Photons Poot
KM, KTA, AEP, M2L Numeric optimisation of a neutron spectrometer Wuttke
KM, AEP Novel pathways to hybrid solar cells Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Novel nanostructured thermoelectric hybrid materials Müller-Buschbaum
BSC, KM, KTA Nanostrommonitore mit hoher Bandbreite für die Positronenstrahlen Hugenschmidt
KM, AEP Nano-strings excited by magnetic torques Gross
KM, AEP, QST Manipulation von Spinwellen mit durch Spin-Bahn-Koppling vermittelten Drehmomenten Gross
KM, AEP, QST Magnetomechanik mit freischwebenden Nanostrukturen Hübl
KM, AEP Magnetization dynamics in chiral magnets Gross
BSC, KM Machine Learning-Studien zur Suche nach supersymmetrischen stau-Leptonen mit dem ATLAS-Detektor am LHC Kroha
KM, KTA, BIO, AEP, BEMP Machine Learning/ AI algorithms applied to advanced phase- and darkfield-CT reconstruction algorithms. Pfeiffer
KM, AEP, QST Korrelationen in einem supraleitenden Bose-Hubbard-Dimer Gross
KM, KTA, AEP, QST Kernspintomografie auf der Mikrometer-Skala (topic is not available any more) Reinhard
BSC, KTA, AEP Investigation of irregular Ion Current Jumps in linear Ionization Manometers (topic is not available any more) Stroth
BIO, AEP, TMP Interplay of mechanics and information processing in cell tissues Gerland
KM, AEP Interaction between magnetic and conducting layers in molecular antiferromagnetic superconductors Gross
KTA, AEP In-situ-Videoanalyse des Blisterwachstums auf plasmaexponierten Metalloberflächen (topic is not available any more) Stroth
BSC, KM, KTA In-Operando Positronenstrahl-Untersuchungen von aktiven Komponenten unter extremen Bedingungen Hugenschmidt
KM, AEP, QST High frequency optomechanical devices for quantum optomechanics Poot
KM, AEP High-field magnetotransport in an organic superconductor in proximity to the spin-liquid state Gross
KM, AEP High efficiency next generation organic solar cells Müller-Buschbaum
KTA GRAVITY Wide - Dual-Beam Optical/Infrared Interferometry (topic is not available any more) Eisenhauer
KM, AEP Foldamers on solid surfaces: tethering, folding and assembly Barth
AEP Erprobung einer großformatigen Beschichtungsanlage zur Fertigung von Uran-Molybdän-Brennstoffplatten Petry
KM, AEP, QST Elektronenspindynamik in einer stark koppelnden Umgebung Hübl
KM, AEP Elektrisch stimulierte Nanodrahtlaser als neuartige Lichtquelle für die Silizium Photonik Koblmüller
BSC, KM, KTA Dynamik im stark korrelierten Hubbard Modell Knap
BSC, KM, AEP, QST Durchstimmung der Amplitude des Spin-Hall-Magnetwiderstands Gross
KM, AEP Donatoren in Silizium Brandt
KM, AEP Development of a flexible sample environment for neutron scattering on multi-stimuli responsive hydrogel thin films Müller-Buschbaum
BSC, KM Design of Novel Hybrid Functional Materials Deschler
KM, AEP Defekte für die Photokatalyse Brandt
KM, KTA, AEP Das NUCLEUS Experiment: Bestimmung des Untergrundes bei tiefen Energien Strauß
KM, AEP, QST Characterization and fabrication of superconducting multi-qubit devices Filipp
BIO, M2L Cell-size-dependent regulation of the budding yeast contractile ring Bausch
KM, KTA, BIO, AEP, BEMP Auswirkung von Puls- und Atembewegungen auf die Dosisverteilung der Mikrostrahltherapie Wilkens
KTA, AEP Auslegung, Simulation und Design eines He Gas Reinigers zur Produktion von isotopenreinen He-4 mittels superfluider Wärmeströmung. Paul
KTA Alarm-Software fuer Gammastrahlungs-Transienten 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 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 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
 Sum83100
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