As you plan your move to Düsseldorf, you will probably have a lot of questions. We of the teaching staff of the Master AI and Data Science are usually not the best persons to answer them. Below you find a few informations and links that hopefully point you to the right places. I tried my best, but I give no guarantee that these infos are right. In doubt probably the international office or the matriculation office (SPV) are good places to start asking.
Getting a visa
You might need a visa. Regulations vary from country to country. You probably best inquire with the German embassy of your home country what to do precisely. Some information can be found here.
To get a visa you might need to prove that you can sustain yourself by opening a bank account and depositing a certain amount there. There is some information on that by the HHU International Office. The International Office indicated this and this service, for getting a blocked account and a health insurance.
Covid entry regulations for Germany
At the time of writing, proofs of vaccination or quarantines when entering Germany do not seem to be an issue anymore. But do check this official page for the latest information.
You will need accommodation. Student housing is available and here is some information on that.
You can also look for other options - you can be lucky and find very cheap housing. This is a popular site for finding shared flats and whole apartments.
Enrolling at HHU
You need to enrol at HHU. For this you have to send a number of documents to the appropriate office at HHU, possibly through the application portal, within the time frame stated in your acceptance letter. Do it early if you can, because it can take a while to process your request, and only after that you will get a student ID and access to the digital HHU infrastructure.
You might need a German health insurance for enrolling! More precisely, you either need a German health insurance, or a certificate from a German health insurance that says that you are exempt from this obligation. Apparently it is possible to get this exemption certificate if you have a foreign health insurance. It is only the German health insurance company that can say whether this is possible in your case or not - please ask them, not us.
The precise documents and forms that you have to send and fill in should have been detailed in your acceptance letter. For any doubts about the enrolment process, please ask at the address from which you got the acceptance letter or at - do not ask the Master AI staff.
There is a Discord channel for the new students of the Master AI. Here you can ask students of previous years how they managed to get health insurance, housing etc, and connect already before you meet in class.
It is uncommon in Germany to get a grant for master studies, but it is possible. It is probably a bit late for applying for a grant that starts in October, but you can look around. Also maybe it is possible to get a grant for later semesters. Here are two HHU pages to browse:
With a student visa you are allowed to take up jobs - possibly unrelated to your studies - of up to 20 hours per week. If you earn more than 450 Euros per month you will need to pay taxes (no guarantees for the precise numbers here!).
Previously our students have had success working at local companies in Data Science related jobs.
Further information and help
There is the International Office of HHU, meant to help incoming international students.
There is a page meant to help new incoming students.
You can subscribe for a newsletter for incoming international students.
One person for concrete questions to the international office seems to be . If there is anything you can't find on the pages of the international office, feel free to write to her or her colleagues.
After enrolling: Register for courses
When your request for matriculation is processed you will get a student ID and password. With that you will get an email address at HHU and access to the digital infrastructure. At some point you will also get a student ID card with which you can ride local traffic for free and get cheaper food at the university restaurant.
You can take a first look at your timetable here.
With your student ID you can log into the LSF system. There you choose courses you want to follow during the next semester. You should choose all the obligatory courses for the first semester, that is, Mathematical foundations of Data Science, Advanced Programming and Algorithms and Machine Learning and Deep Learning. If you think you can do more, you can choose further courses, but you will probably be busy enough with those four.
!!! The study plan from this year on has changed slightly compared to previous years: In your first semester you will now take the courses Machine Learning, Advanced Algorithms and Programming and Math. foundations of Data Science as before, and additionally the course Deep Learning. So you should also register for Deep Learning in LSF. In order not to overload the first semester, the course Advanced Algorithms and Programming has been split in two halves. The second half will happpen in your second semester.
You should also enter the Ilias elearning system. There each course usually has a page where you can find course material and possibly get polls to answer, forums to post on etc. Either you are joined there automatically one day after registring for the course in LSF or you have to join separately (depending on the choice of the lecturer). The Ilias pages of your courses might not exist yet, but they should exist in the first week of the semester.
HHU has a Chat forum, Rocketchat. Join the Master AI and Data Science Chat - there will be lots of older students to ask everything you wonder about. Often individual courses have their own dedicated thread there, too - you will be told about this on the Ilias page, typically.
After Enrolling: Learning German
You are not required to learn German before, during or after the master program, but if you want to, HHU offers courses.
After enrolling: Transferring Credits from previous studies
After enrolling, but only within the first three months of your master studies, you can get credits from previous studies recognized for the Master AI and Data Science.
Rules for this: You can only use credits that have not been used for your bachelor degree. This applies e.g. if you already did a master - you can possibly reuse those credits - or if you did a master course during your bachelor studies, but did not use the credits.
You can not simply transfer credits from other courses into the master. Instead you can take any course from our module handbook and prove to us that you covered all of the material in there in previous courses. You can use several courses to cover one of our courses from the module handbook. Together they must be worth at least the same number of ECTS credit points as the course from our module handbook that you want to get recognized.
If you think this applies to you, you can contact the examination board via and send them detailed proof that you covered the said topics. This must include your transcripts and the syllabi of your relevant previous courses. If the examination board agrees to give you those credits (which is far from granted!) then you will be given the grade that you obtained previously in your course (or some weighted average of grades if you use several courses).
Students who already took the obligatory courses Machine Learning or Deep Learning at HHU, and used the credits for their bachelor degree, are exempt from doing them again, but they do not get the credits and have to take electives instead to get to the total necessary number of credits for the master degree. You do not have to contact us about this.
Showing up for class
The LSF page of each course shows you where it will take place. Here is a Campus map - the bigger lecture halls, which have names like 6L and 3C, are marked there in black letters. For each course there are exercise classes ("Übung", in German), often at several different time slots. For each course you should only choose one exercise class, and not go to all of them. These exercise classes often happen in smaller rooms, that you will not find marked on the Campus map. Rooms other than lecture halls are denoted by 4 part codes, like 25.12.01.24. The first two numbers, here 25.12 denote a building block which you can find on the campus map. The next part denotes the floor (U1 means basement, 00 ground floor, 01 first floor etc.). The last part is the room number. Plan for some time to find the rooms for the first time - HHU can seem somewhat labyrinthic at first.
In case you can not show up for classes, e.g. because you are still waiting for your visa, first consult the Ilias pages of the courses and see what you can do at a distance. Usually you will be asked to hand in exercise sheets, and this can typically be done online. There may be material for self-study or at least a syllabus that allows you to go through the topics by yourself. In doubt, ask the lecturers how to proceed.
Exams at HHU
There are two administrative units taking care of your studies:
1. The examination administration (Prüfungsverwaltung / Studierenden- und Prüfungsverwaltung / SPV). They keep track of your attempted exams, your grades and your credits, and issue your transcripts and diploma. They are a central administration unit, not a part of the computer science department.
2. The examination board (Prüfungsausschuss) of the master AI and Data Science. This is a group of 5 people - 3 professors, one lecturer and one student representative - who discuss student requests and decide on general rules around the master program. For example, the examination board is the right unit to addrress if you want to have recognized credits from previous studies, need a further attempt for an exam, or want to suggest that some course offered at HHU should be allowed as elective of the master program. You can send requests to the examination board by mail to .
After each semester there will be two phases for exams, one at the beginning of the semester break and one towards the end. Each lecture course will offer one exam in each phase. Both exams will be equivalent and you should only take one exam for each course. The two different time windows are there, so that you don't have to take all exams within two weeks, and can prepare in a more concentrated way - or so that you can take an exam again, if you fail the first time.
If you fail the first exam, you can try again at the second exam. If you pass one exam, it is not possible to improve your grade by taking another exam! If you fail the second exam (i.e. either you didn't take the first exam and failed the second, or you failed in both the first and the second exams), you can try to mark a further exam with the lecturer (but this may not be possible!), or wait till the course is offered for the next time to take another exam in a later semester.
Altogether you have only three attempts to pass a course! If you fail three times in a course, it means you can never again take an exam in that course. If you fail three times in an obligatory course, it follows that you will never be able to finish the master program, so you will have to drop out. In this case you are possibly not even allowed to enter an equivalent master program ever again anywhere in Germany - so if it comes to that third try, take it very seriously and consult with the lecturer beforehand! You can, however, appeal to the examination board and ask for a 4th attempt for an exam, if you have a good reason.
If you can't come to the exam because of a public transport strike, hurricane or alien invasion
Then this counts as a failed attempt. In principle it is your responsibility to keep yourself informed about such events, and take care that you make it to the university on exam day. However, if you later fail for a third time and would need a further attempt, you should ask the examination board for a 4th attempt - probably an alien invasion will be deemed a good reason.
If you are ill on the exam day
You should get a doctor to confirm that you are ill, using a form that you find for download here. Then you hand that form to the person responsible for examinations of the AI master. In this way your count of exam attempts is not increased.
If you need special conditions for your exam
If you have some kind of disadvantage, e.g. from a medical or psychological condition, you can try to get approval to do your exams under special conditions, e.g. getting more time. There is a homepage explaining this. Parts of the process are only explained in German, e.g. there are some German forms to fill in. If you face any such obstacle, don't hesitate to contact and ask for help! Don't wait until shortly before your exam - the documentation must be ready 4 weeks before your exam.