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European university masters program admission process

  1. Apr 5, 2013 #1
    Looking at some German/Swiss masters programs (mainly computational mechanics in Stuttgart, München, Lausanne) but having a tough time figuring out the admission process for international students. Do they generally only look at your bachelor's degree GPA and nothing else or does other stuff matter, like the quality of your university or other academic merits (such as finishing your bachelor's in two years instead of three)?

    Is the competition generally very stiff for these kinds of programs? Interested in most mechanical engineering related fields - computational mechanics, automotive, aeronautics, robotics or control systems...
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2013 #2


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    The websites should give some hints - otherwise, ask there.
    A good degree in a reasonable time (=> not 5 years) should be sufficient. If the degree is not so good, other factors might be interesting.

    As an example, Stuttgart requires
  4. Apr 6, 2013 #3
    I found that too but it's rather vague, no?

    The reason I'm asking is because I'm considering finishing my bachelor in less than the allotted time and doing the msc in Germany instead. This is because I find the courses a lot less challenging than I imagined. So basically, my choices are finishing in three years with excellent grades or finishing in two years by almost completely disregarding GPA. I'd say two years with a fairly shoddy GPA is more impressive than three years with a good GPA, but I have no idea if the admissions office would agree!

    One alternative would be actually finishing the bachelors degree in Germany, but I'm having a tough time finding information on that alternative aswell :S
  5. Apr 6, 2013 #4


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    With bad grades, finding a university in Germany will be tricky, independent of the time you needed for it.
    Ask at the university. This will certainly need some discussion.
  6. Apr 6, 2013 #5
    The GPA is an important factor, and it is even more important than the time needed to finish the degree, students have different circumstance e.g. personal or financial, hence some do need a longer time to finish their study, the duration of education is no critical factor for the admission process.
    I would advise with taking the conventional route and spending the 3 whole years.

    As for finishing the rest of your degree in Germany or elsewhere, make sure that your home university has a formal agreement with the host university regarding this, since if there are none and you thought you might be able to pull it off, the probability of success is extremely low.
  7. Apr 6, 2013 #6


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    This sounds bizarre. Also, as someone from Europe, the notion of "finishing early" doesn't really sound impressive. Much less so if you have a poor grade. Surely this just gives the impression that you raced through your course too quickly, presumably by taking on too much work, and did not understand what you were taught. Now, if you managed to finish in half the time and get top grades, then that would be impressive!

    I think you should speak to your academic advisor about this, since it seems that you could make some very bad career decisions.
  8. Apr 7, 2013 #7
    *Deleted part*

    A bad GPA implies that you don't know properly all the subjects a masters should build on.

    I assume you are in the first year now and finding the classes a lot less challenging. The later classes will be a lot more challenging, as the first classes are kinda just to equalize students out of high school.

    Edit:I know that some Unis in Norway just looks at GPA when evaluating Masters applications
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
  9. Apr 7, 2013 #8
    Thanks a lot for the advice, definitely taking it to heart. I'm attending an internationally recognized Swedish uni and I'm obviously anticipating fairly good grades. Sounds like I should feel fairly relaxed about getting admitted to atleast Aachen, Stuttgart or München? Does anyone know how tough the competition for the ETH or Lausanne masters programs is (re: mechanical engineering)?
  10. Apr 7, 2013 #9
    Chill n relax then.
    ETH might have a somewhat more picky selection criteria than the rest of the schools that you mentioned.
    If you can, spending an exchange semester at ETH won't be a bad idea (and if you do well then this will benefit any future academic and professional applications).
  11. Apr 7, 2013 #10
    As I speak about belgium and i assume it's similar in other european countries, you don't need admission for most masters. You just need to have finished a corresponding bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree is generally 180 ECTS and lasts at least 3 years normally. And you also need enough ECTS to apply for the master's(120 for a full master). I don't know how exactly this is for a non-EU student.
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