Research Phase and Master's Thesis

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.

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.

Module Description Credits (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
Sum 60  
*: 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
AEP 2 dimensional superfluids and superconductors (topic is not available any more) Moroz
KM Advanced algorithms for reconstruction of phase-contrast computed tomography (topic is not available any more) Pfeiffer
KM Advanced Algorithms for reconstruction of phase-contrast computed tomography (topic is not available any more) Pfeiffer
KTA Astrometry with GRAVITY Eisenhauer
KM, AEP Attaching wires to doped GaAs-AlGaAs core-multishell nanowire lasers Finley
KM, AEP Attosekunden-Spektroskopie an photokatalytischen Proben Kienberger
KM Ausbreitungsmuster von Hirnaktivität bei aversiven Emotionen mit und ohne kognitive Regulation (topic is not available any more) Krischer
KTA Beiträge von Bindungszuständen zu Dunklemateriereliktdichte und -annihilation (topic is not available any more) Beneke
AEP Bildung von Perovskit Dünnschichten auf Silizium Substraten für Tandem-Solarzellen (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
AEP Catalyst Surface Sites Activity Determination with EC-Noise-STM (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
KTA, AEP Characterization of limit-cycle oscillations with small amplitudes in ASDEX Upgrade plasmas Stroth
KM, KTA, AEP Concentration dependent interdiffusion of iron and tungsten Stroth
KM Covalent binding of silicon nanoparticles to solid surfaces and investigation of their optoelectronic properties (topic is not available any more) Stutzmann
KTA, AEP Development and implementation of an average Zeff measurement for ASDEX Upgrade plasmas Stroth
BIO Dosimetric characterization of microbeams for radiation therapy at the Munich Compact Light Source (topic is not available any more) Wilkens
KM Elektrischer Transport in Graphen-Nanodrähten auf Bornitrid (topic is not available any more) Auwärter
KM, AEP Elektrisches Auslesen von NV-Zentren in Diamant Brandt
KM, AEP Engineering Magnetization Dynamics in a Magnetic Insulator Gönnenwein
KTA Entwicklung und Charakterisierung von CaWO4 Kristallen zur Suche nach dunkler Materie (topic is not available any more) Schönert
KTA Entwicklung von Phononsensoren für das CRESST III Experiment zur Suche nach dunkler Materie (topic is not available any more) Schönert
KTA Experimentelle Bestimmung des Zeitverhaltens LAB-basierender Flüssigszintillatoren unter Anregung mit Positronen (topic is not available any more) Oberauer
BSC, KM, AEP Fabrication and investigation of enhanced organic light emitting diode devices (OLEDs) Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Germanium Interkalation von Graphene auf Siliziumkarbid: Verstehen wir die Grenzfläche? Reuter
AEP Herstellung von auf Graphen basierenden Superkondensatoren (topic is not available any more) Stutzmann
KM, AEP High-field magnetoresistance probing the electronic state of an organic superconductor in the vicinity of the Mott-insulating transition (topic is not available any more) Gross
AEP In-depth characterization of cathode materials for aqueous Na/K-ion batteries (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
AEP Interkalation und Superkondensator Elektrodenmaterialien für hybride Energiespeichergeräte (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
KTA, AEP Investigation of the detached divertor operation at the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak Stroth
KM, AEP Kohärenztransfer auf langlebige Spinspeicher Brandt
BIO Kontrolle der Chemotaxis von modifizierten Bakterien (topic is not available any more) Simmel
AEP Magnetic resonance studies of semiconductor nanocrystals (topic is not available any more) Brandt
KM, AEP Magnetization Dynamics and Damping at mK Temperatures (topic is not available any more) Gross
KM, AEP Magnetoelastic surface acoustic wave resonators (topic is not available any more) Gross
BSC, KTA, AEP Methodenentwicklung zur Messung von Geschwindigkeitsprofilen am Plasmarand (topic is not available any more) Stroth
AEP Methodological aspects of the identification of active catalytic sites using electrochemical STM (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
KM Nano-fabrication of ferromagnetic insulator / normal metal hybrids (topic is not available any more) Gross
KM Neutronenstreuung an nicht-zentrosymmetrischen Cer-Verbindungen (topic is not available any more) Pfleiderer
KTA, AEP Non-local turbulent plasma transport in fusion plasmas Stroth
KM, AEP Novel dry electrode of detecting electroencephalography Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Novel nanostructured thermoelectric hybrid materials Müller-Buschbaum
KM, AEP Novel pathways to hybrid solar cells Müller-Buschbaum
AEP Perowskitsolarzellen (topic is not available any more) Müller-Buschbaum
KTA, AEP Phase velocities of turbulent fluctuations in the plasma edge Stroth
AEP p+ip superconductors (topic is not available any more) Moroz
BSC, KM, AEP Pressure sensitive adhesives applied to fibers Müller-Buschbaum
KM, KTA Prethermalisierung im Bose-Hubbard Modell Knap
KM, AEP Printed polymer-based thin film batteries Müller-Buschbaum
BIO Psychophysikalische Untersuchungen zur Tonhöhenwahrnehmung bei Cochlea-Implantat Trägern (topic is not available any more) Pfeiffer
BIO Psychophysikalische Untersuchungen zur Tonhöhenwahrnehmung bei Cochlea-Implantat Trägern (topic is not available any more) Pfeiffer
KM Quantized one-dimensional edge channels with strong spin-orbit coupling in 3D topological insulators (topic is not available any more) Holleitner
KM Quantum oscillations in strongly correlated electron systems (topic is not available any more) Pfleiderer
KM, AEP Quantum simulations of many-body systems with superconducting devices (topic is not available any more) Gross
AEP Rational design of cathode materials for aqueous Na/K-ion batteries (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
KM, AEP Remote state preparation with quantum microwaves Gross
AEP Röntgen-Dunkelfeld Bildgebung für materialwissenschaftliche Anwendungen (topic is not available any more) Pfeiffer
AEP Stabilization of cathode and anode materials for aqueous Na/K-ion batteries (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
BSC, BIO, AEP Strukturbildung und Regulation von Keratin-Netzwerken (topic is not available any more) Bausch
KM Strukturelle und elektronische Eigenschaften sowie chemische Reaktivität von neuartigen zweidimensionalen Schichten (topic is not available any more) Allegretti
KM, AEP Study of Al2O3 deposited by ALD Stutzmann
KTA Suche nach dem neutrinolsoen Doppelbetazerfall: Charakterisierung des radioaktiven Untergrundes im GERDA Experiment Majorovits
KM, AEP Tackling complexity in multiscale kinetic simulations: Kinetic Monte Carlo software performance analysis Reuter
KM, AEP Teaching Photons New Tricks: Mode control in monolithically integrated nanowire lasers Finley
BSC, KM, KTA Thermalisierung und Relaxation von Quantensystemen Knap
KM, AEP Thermographische Charakterisierung energierelevanter Materialien Brandt
KM, AEP Thin Film Samples for Spin Caloritronics (topic is not available any more) Gross
KM, AEP Tunneling Spectroscopy in Conductive Ferromagnets (topic is not available any more) Gross
AEP Understanding the role of solvent on supercapacitive performance of TVxO4-x (T= Ni, Co, Cu...) (topic is not available any more) Bandarenka
BSC, KM Ungeordnete Quantensysteme: Vielteilchenlokalisierung Knap
BIO Untersuchung der Bindung von Biomolekülen durch neuartige Simulationstechniken (topic is not available any more) Zacharias
KM Untersuchung der Zwillingsgrenzen von YBa2Cu3O6+x mit spitzenverstärkter Raman-Streuung (TERS) (topic is not available any more) Hackl
BIO Wachstum ferroelektrischer/magnetischer Heterostrukturen (topic is not available any more) Böni
BSC, KM, AEP Wachstum und katalytische Aktivität organischer Monolagen auf Silizium-Substraten Schindler
KM, AEP Wenn Moleküle auf Oberflächen treffen: Wohin geht die Energie? Reuter
KTA, AEP X-point Effect on Plasma Filament Dynamics Stroth
KM, AEP Zeitliche Beschleunigung von kinetischen Monte Carlo Simulationen Reuter

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. To make this happen, you have to have passed at least 40 ECTS of the graded examinations (special courses, non-physics courses and the theory course) as well as the advanced lab course. If these requirements are fulfilled, 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. Module Credits (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
  Sum 83 100