Course Structure

The standard period of study for the degree programme “Lasers and Photonics” is two years (four semesters). In Germany, the academic year consists of two semesters:

  • winter semester (1 October - 31 March)
  • summer semester (1 April - 30 September)

We offer two application rounds per year. Therefore, you can apply either for starting your studies in summer semester or in winter semester.

The scope of the degree programme is a total of 120 credit points (CP). One credit point corresponds to an average workload of 30 hours. In order to graduate after 2 years, you should take modules with a total of approx. 30 credit points per semester. These credit points are distributed among the various modules as follows:

Module Overview

[Translate to English:]

  • 42 Credit Points: Mandatory Modules
  • 48 Credit Points: Mandatory Elective Modules, among those
    • ≥ 20 CP Mandatory Elective Courses
    • ≥ 6 CP Practical Subjects
    • ≥ 16 CP Free Elective Courses
  • 30 Credit Points: Master Thesis

Mandatory modules

The mandatory modules are all modules you must take and pass. There is no way to bypass them. However, they provide you with all the important background information on lasers and photonics and are a solid basis for further specialisations. Ideally, you will have completed the mandatory modules after your second semester.

Mandatory Elective Modules

The mandatory elective modules are divided into three categories: The mandatory electives courses, the practical subjects and the free elective courses.

In the first two semesters, the mandatory elective modules are only a small supplement to the mandatory modules on which you should concentrate at the beginning. In the third semester, you will ideally have completed all mandatory modules. Then, in your third semester, you are free to choose which modules you would like to take. Please note that different courses are offered in the winter semester than in the summer semester.

Mandatory Elective Courses

The mandatory elective courses are lectures that are concluded with an examination. The difference to the mandatory modules is that you can choose from a list of courses which you would like to take. You earn at least 20 CP from mandatory elective courses by the end of your studies, more are possible, but not less.

Practical Subjects

Practical work in the lab, programming or reading and understanding papers – these are the practical subjects. You need at least 6 CP in practical subjects for your master's degree, which means that you have to take between 2 and 3 practical subjects during the course of your studies. Again, more is always possible, but not less.

Free Elective Courses

In the free elective courses, you can set additional individual specialisations. You can freely choose from the entire range of courses offered by Ruhr University in order to deepen your knowledge. In addition to technical subjects, e.g. taking more mandatory elective courses or practical subjects than needed, you can thus add courses from science, programming, economics, languages, philosophy and more to your studies.

All courses offered in English are listed in the RUB International Course Catalogue: 

In addition to your subject courses, you can also attend German as a Foreign Language (DaF) courses at RUB. The courses are free of charge and offered at different language levels. Note that you must register in good time to be able to attend. You can find the dates for registration online at:

Master thesis

The grand finale of your master's programme is your master's thesis, which you ideally do in the 4th semester. Here you work on a scientific project for 6 months and write your thesis on it. This is usually done at a chair or a working group at the RUB, but it is also possible to write your thesis at a research institute or a company. However, you will need a first examiner from RUB, so make sure you get on early.

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