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Applied Computer Science

Degree: Bachelor of Science
Application: mandatory
Course commences: winter semester only
Standard course duration: 6 semesters
Focus options: 100%; 50% (with Teaching Degree option)
Language requirements: None (for international Students: DSH2)
Language of instruction: German and English


Computer Science at Heidelberg University


Note for prospective students interested in coming to Heidelberg University to take the Teaching Degree course qualifying its graduates to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany:

In accordance with the statutory provisions laid down by the State of Baden-Württemberg, students wishing to embark as of winter semester 2015/2016 on a Teaching Degree qualifying them to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany can only do so by enrolling in two-tier courses with a Bachelor/Master structure (polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor programme with a Teaching Degree option; Master of Education course scheduled to start in winter semester 2018/2019).

As of winter semester 2015/2016, the subject described on this page can be studied in a polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor course with a Teaching Degree option. It has to be combined with another 50% subject of relevance for secondary-school education.

For more information, go to

Note for students already enrolled in a Teaching Degree course in the framework of the Examination Regulations for Teachers at Higher Secondary Schools (GymPO I):

In the winter semester 2015/2016 and later, students enrolled by 31 July 2015 in a Teaching Degree course regulated by the provisions of GymPO I (2009) are entitled to switch to a different main subject under the conditions set out in said GymPO provided that the change is in accordance with the statutory provisions.

In this case, the following transitional regulations apply:

For more information, go to

Preparatory course for first-year students

The student council MathPhys provides a two-week preparatory course for all first-year students of mathematics and computer science. The program consists of lectures in mathematics and computer science, useful tips and social activities.

The preparatory course will begin on September 28, 2015 at 10:15 clock, Im Neuenheimer Feld 306, auditorium 1.

Further information for students of the first semester in the pages of the Faculty of mathematics and computer science.

Course Outline

Today, computer science is an indispensable component in all spheres of society, the economy and research, both scholarly and scientific. Complex processes and large amounts of data can only be handled with the help of efficient software and hardware. Computer science involves the planning, modelling, drafting and implementation of complex systems and processes in software and/or hardware. The approach to the whole process is holistic, including issues posed by communication, organisation and motivation.

Computer Science is not just:

  • programming or assembling computers
  • working with machines rather than people
  • pure mathematics
  • surfing on the Internet
  • creating websites


Students applying for the course should be able to think logically, work precisely and relish the opportunity of using and dealing with computers. Other important assets are communicative skills, organisation talent and interest in the prospect of changing the face of society for the better with the principles of computer science. It is advantageous, but not essential, to be familiar with a programming language and an operating system. Students without this knowledge can remedy the situation in the early stages of the course. Mathematics figures prominently in the first few semesters as a foundation for extensive areas of computer science itself and related science subjects. Accordingly, interest in, and a gift for, mathematics are a major asset. Also essential is a good working knowledge of English, as most of the scientific publications on computer science are written in that language.

Career prospects

Prospective careers range from the communication industry, corporate consulting, the media industry, various Internet service providers and portals, insurance, banking and public administration to all sectors of engineering (mechanical engineering, process engineering, electrical engineering, etc.). The importance of computer science in academia (both the sciences and the humanities) is increasing by leaps and bounds (geo-information systems, bioinformatics, linguistic analyses, etc.). While many computer scientists are employed in software and hardware development, just as many have found job opportunities in project management, teaching, research and computer training, as well as in many other sectors where technological and communicative knowhow is at a premium.

Course structure

The Faculty offers Applied Computer Science courses at Bachelor, Master, teaching-degree and subsidiary-subject levels. They all encompass thorough application-oriented training in computer science with emphasis on applications not only in the sciences and engineering but also in the humanities. The aim of the courses is to ensure the acquisition of a sound basic knowledge of computer science and its theoretical and mathematical foundations, plus familiarity with typical computer-science methods and proficiency in their practical use. These essential skills are designed to equip graduates with the flexibility to respond to the quickly changing demands characteristic of careers in computer science. The interdisciplinary bias and the emphasis on research give the courses a special profile. Great importance is attached to practical work. Joint project work gives teams of students the opportunity to devise systems for academia and industry. Valuable side effects of this project work are familiarity with the principles underlying all scientific endeavour, enhancement of communication and presentation skills and an initial introduction to the requirements of project management.

The B.Sc. course with its compulsory and elective-compulsory modules provides the basic knowledge required to devise and design complex applications. This knowledge encompasses

  • dealing with data (e.g. efficient data structures and databases)
  • developing automatic processes (e.g. efficient algorithms and simulation)
  • dealing with and designing computer architectures
  • dealing with complex computer structures (e.g. parallel computers)
  • dealing with complex development processes (e.g. project organisation and software development tools).

The course also enables students to pursue an interest in Computer Engineering.

The M.Sc. course builds on the B.Sc. programme and provides for in-depth engagement with computer science applications. The course profits greatly from the close cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Computing, notably in the optimisation and simulation of complex phenomena in science and engineering.

After completion of the M.Sc. course, the broad research spectrum of the University offers ample scope for doctoral studies.

For more information on the degree courses, go to

Main research interests

In its research work, the Department of Applied Computer Science at Heidelberg University dedicates its endeavours to improving the understanding and design of complex (engineering) systems and processes operative in computer science. Core activities revolve around the development of innovative strategies for the efficient and effective design of data- and computer-intensive processes and systems as the basis for complex applications. Examples are calculability and complexity theory, strategies and mechanisms for the efficient use of application-specific high-power computing systems, algorithms for the solution of optimisation problems, procedures for the administration and analysis of scientific data, data mining, and knowledge-based software development. Findings from basic and applied research in physics are drawn upon for the development of computer-aided systems with innovative features and high computing capacity. Examples are photonic systems and the use of concepts from theoretical physics (Hamiltonian formalisms, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics).

On the application side, the Department engages in intensive cooperation with groups working in Physics & Astronomy, Mathematics, Scientific Computing, Medicine and Biology, Geography and Computational Linguistics. Here the engineering and methodologies of computer science are implemented in the design of application-specific, computer-assisted systems for the natural sciences and the life sciences. In these sectors, many research projects handling immense amounts of data and thus requiring high computing capacities are only feasible on the basis of scientific instrumentation of this kind, e.g. data capture or analysis by special computers. Examples of interdisciplinary cooperation of this kind include

  • BIOQUANT: One of BIOQUANT’s main activities is the validation of mathematical models in systems biology with the aid of high-resolution optic, electron and X-ray microscopy.
  • Physics: Large-scale experiments in particle physics require supremely high-powered data processing systems for reading out and analysing detectors. This involves not only computer hardware (from the application-specific circuitry required to read out millions of channels to special processors enabling us to combine data into complete events and analyse them) but also efficient administration and swift analysis of vast amounts of data.
  • Bioinformatics: Examples of especially compute-intensive algorithms in bioinformatics are DNA sequencing and protein folding. Although computer science has drastically improved the efficiency of these algorithms, biotechnology firms still have an urgent demand for application-specific computers reducing week-long computation times to an acceptable duration.
  • Medicine: Over the past few years, the demand for computer-assisted systems for diagnosis, therapy planning, therapy support and (continuing) training has risen steeply. These systems can be extraordinarily complex and have to work partly in real time although the cost factor makes it impracticable to use conventional high-power systems.

This research is undertaken by the following institutions:

There is also close cooperation with non-university research institutions like the European Media Lab (EML Research GmbH) of the Klaus Tschira Foundation and with industry.

Formal requirements


Admission is subject to an Entrance Examination the conduct and standards of which are laid down in the Selection Regulations for Admission. The application process takes place online.


International applicants

There are special regulations for international applicants. Information is available from the International Relations Office of Heidelberg University (Seminarstraße 2). International applicants are offered a preparatory course in the summer semester before the course proper begins.

Study and examination regulations

Applied Computer Science: Examination regulations B.Sc. (26. March 2015)
Applied Computer Science: Examination regulations B.Sc. (07.February 2013)
Applied Computer Science: Examination regulations B.Sc. (22. July 2010)
Applied Computer Science: Examination regulations B.Sc. (19. September 2007)
Application-Oriented Computer Science: Examination regulations B.Sc.

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook (Bachelor 100%).
Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook (Bachelor 50%).

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.

Master 's Degree

Heidelberg University offers the consecutive Master subjects Applied Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

Academic advisor

PD Dr. Wolfgang Merkle
Im Neuenheimer Feld 205 - Mathematikon (Part A), Office 02.211
D-69120 Heidelberg
phone.: +49 (0)6221-54-14323


Institute of Computer Science
Im Neuenheimer Feld 205 - Mathematikon (Part A)
D-69120 Heidelberg


Office 01.308
phone.: +49 (0)6221-54-14300
fax: +49 (0)6221-54-14301

Student representation

Fachschaft MathPhys
Office 01.301
D-69120 Heidelberg
phone: +49 (0)6221-54-14999
fax: +49 (0)6221-54-16114999


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Latest Revision: 2017-05-22