FAQ for students
- General study-related questions
- Exams and home assignments
- Good scientific practice
- Plagiarism and cheating
- Thesis and research paper
- Learning academic writing
I am attending a summer school / taking a course at another university. Can I transfer the credits to the Web Science programme?
It is possible, but it is crucial that you contact us beforehand and provide a detailed course description (number of credit points, contents). Only then we can estimate if and to what Web Science course we can transfer the credits.
I have finished module XY in my Bachelor studies (in Koblenz or somewhere else). Do I have to take it again in the Master program?
Not only do you not need to take it again, you actually even cannot.
If it is an elective module in the Master program, please chose another elective module.
If it is a compulsory module (e.g. Network Theory and Dynamic Systems), please contact Prof. Staab. He will define another module you take instead an inform the examinations office.
How many courses do I have to take every semester?
You can take as many or few courses per semester as you like. As a start, you should follow our recommended timetable and then adjust the pace to your individual needs.
Can I take course X before course Y?
ou can take the courses in any order you like. But keep in mind that our recommended timetable arranges the modules such that they build upon each other and support your learning process.
I want to do an internship in a company. Is there any way I can get ECTS credits for it in my Master programme?
Our master programme does not give credits for internships. If you want to link your work in a company with your academic studies, we suggest to write a research paper or your master thesis about it. But keep in mind that a thesis or research paper requires a scientific research question and can not be about implementation only.
What if I completed more elective modules than required in a certain module group?
In this case, KLIPS will throw an error message.
Contact the examination office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell them which modules you would like to appear in your your transcript.
What are your policies on home assignments?
Course documents: Assignment descriptions and lecture notes will be made available on the course website
Deadlines: Late submissions (same day) will result in a loss of 1/3 of all your points for this assignment. After the day of the deadline, no points will be awarded.
Plagiarism: By submitting home assignments, you agree that your work will be processed by plagiarism tools.
I am a bachelor student and have not registered for the master programme yet. Can I participate in the exams of a Master course now and you give me the grade in a future semester when I will be registered?
Technically, you can not. But there is an alternative option if you already have earned 135 ECTS in your bachelor, are to complete it within the next semester and your grade is and will be at least 2.5. In this special case, you can enroll for one semester in both your bachelor and a master programme („Doppeleinschreibung“). See §32(5, 6) of the examination regulations.
Can you give me a "Schein" (paper based confirmation) for a passed exam?
No. All examination results are entered in KLIPS only.
I just submitted my thesis (the only remaining examination), but my future employer needs confirmation that I passed the master programme now. What can I do?
Ask both of your supervisors to send a brief note to the examination office (email@example.com) confirming that you passed the thesis with at least grade 4.0, but the final grading is still in progress. Then ask the examination office for a preliminary confirmation that you successfully passed the master programme.
I failed at an exam. How many retakes to I have and how is the process defined?
When you fail at the first try, you can retake every module exam (except the bachelor/master thesis) twice within 1 year and 9 months. You have to register for every retake separately in KLIPS.
If you fail at the first try and both the first and the second retake, you can take a third retake which has no time restriction at all. Think of it as a „Joker“ card. But be careful: During your whole master programme you can play this Joker card only three times.
According to the examination regulations §19(4) all retakes must be done within 6 months after the failed attempt, but this rule has for the moment set inactive by the examination committee. See the info page of the examination committee.
When will the retakes take place? Do you offer them every semester?
In general the retake will take place in the semester after your failed exam. At WeST, we usually offer the first retake at the beginning of the semester subsequent to your first try. For example, if you failed in an exam in winter term, the retake will be scheduled in April. However, other professors might handle it differently and e.g. offer the first retake 6 months after the first try.
What if I fail at the third retake of a module? Or the second retake if all my third retakes („Jokers“) have already been used up?
Then you have failed the whole programme and there is no option to complete it anymore. See §19(5) of the examination regulations.
I registered for a course, but only to hear the lecture. Do I have to do the exam, too?
If you only registered for the lecture and not the exam, you do not need to do the exam.
I registered for an examination, but I do not want to do it anymore. Do I have to complete it anyway?
You can withdraw from any examination within a given time after you registered. These withdrawal periods differ between courses and can be reviewed in KLIPS.
If you miss the withdrawal period and it is a compulsory module, you must do the exam. If it is an elective module, you do not need to do the exam. You can do complete another elective module instead. But keep in mind that technically this module will count as failed and depending in the time you need to complete the whole programme, you might use up a third retake („Joker card“, see above) for this.
Can I take the course now and do the exam in a later semester without attending the lecture again?
Technically, that is possible, but we strongly advise against it. Many course contents are updated to the current state of the art on a regular basis. Therefore, you should always attend complete course – even if you already did in an earlier semester.
Can I retake an exam to improve my grade?
No, see §19(3) of the examination regulations.
Where can I find hints and tips on academic writing and presentations?
Here you can find Matthias Thimm's guidelines for seminar presentations and technical reports.
Do you offer workshops on academic writing?
Yes, we do, and we strongly recommend to take them. Keep an eye on our course list. Also, the Welcome Center offers courses on German academia at the beginning of every term and they are also worth attending.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author” (dictionary.com).
Can I discuss home assignments with fellow students or will that be counted as plagiarism?
You are allowed to discuss home assignments with colleagues, but you are not allowed to jointly work on the assignments, copy solutions or share code.
What are the consequences of plagiarism or cheating?
Dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism) is a major academic offense and will have major consequences.
What does this mean for home assignments? You are allowed to discuss home assignments with colleagues, but you are not allowed to jointly work on the assignments, copy solutions or share code (of course except for group work, where you are supposed to hand in a solution jointly developed in your team, but not copied from other groups). By submitting home assignments, you agree that your work will be processed by plagiarism tools. All students who jointly worked on, shared or copied code will be banned from the current semester’s exam and they have to take the course again in the next year (thereby losing one full year).
What does this mean for the final exams? No aids (no calculators, no cell phones, etc) are allowed except for writing materials (pen). At the final exam, paper will be provided to you. Cheating or plagiarising will result in failing the exam. In severe cases, students can be banned from all further exams in that course (which can even result in a ban from the whole programme).
My colleague plagiarized my code, but I did all the work myself. Do both of us have to repeat the course again?
Yes, we can not verify who copied from whom. Sharing code is prohibited. Both students have to take the class again. Do not share your CVS!
I plagiarized just 1 of n home assignments. Does this mean I can not complete the entire course?
Correct. If you submit plagiarized code for any of the home assignments, it means you have to repeat the class next year.
Does an automated program alone decide whether my code represents a case of plagiarism?
No. We apply plagiarism detection software as a first step. Each case will be reviewed by teaching assistants and lecturers before we make a decision.
I have an own idea for a bachelor thesis/master thesis/research paper. Can I write my master thesis about that, or can I only pick one of the topics posted on your website?
First of all: It is great to see such initiative! Go through our team webpage, identify a WeST member with a research profile that fits your idea and ask for an appointment.
However, we work at the frontier of research which demands strict specialisation on our topics. Thus, we can not supervise every thesis/paper idea. If your topic is not represented among our team, consult our colleagues from other institutes in the computer science department.
What do I have to do if I want to write a thesis or research paper at WeST?
The process will be described in very detail on our website soon.
Can I write my thesis/work in English/German?
Both bachelor and master thesis as well as research papers can be written in German or in English, the decision is yours. See §16(5) of the examination regulations.
Can I write the my thesis together with other students as jont work?
Yes! But the individual contributions must be visible and all authors must declare who contributed what. See §16(6) of the examination regulations.
Can i start my master thesis before I have finished all the modules?
Yes, but you must have at least 60 ECTS. See §35(3) of the examination regulations.
How much time do I have to complete my bachelor or master thesis? Can I extend this period?
You have six months to complete your thesis.
For an extensions by one month your supervisor has to inform the head of the examinaton committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the examination office (email@example.com) including the old and new submission dates as well as the reason for extension. No further approval required. For an extension by two months, the procedure is the same as above. However, the extension is only in place after the head of the examinatons committee has approved it. For an extension by three months, the supervisor needs to provide a more detailed statement justifying the extention to the head of the examinaton committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the examination office (including old and new submission dates). The whole examination committee must approve of the extension. This might take a while, so apply for it early.
Multiple extensions are possbile, but only up to three months in total. The procedure follows the total extension time: e.g. if you already had an extension for two months and later need one month more, the procedure is as if you applied for a three-month extension.
See the info page of the examination committee.
Can I submit my thesis before the deadline?
Of course. But you should check with your advisor first to ensure your thesis is of high quality, despite the reduced time.
My master thesis was graded insufficient and I failed. Can I try again?
You can submit a second thesis, but is has to be about a different topic (§16(19) of the examination regulations).
I want submit my master thesis as a paper to a conference; what should I do?
Talk to your advisor. He/she can tell your chances of publishing your material at a conference and give you advice for improvements.
How many research papers can I write in the Web Science programme?
Two: one in the elective computer science track and one in the elective interdisciplinary track.
How can I learn academic writing?
Having to learn how to write academically is normal. Academics learn it for a long time by trial and error over many(!) years. However, if you practice, then writing your term paper, reports, articles, and the Master thesis will be much smoother. Dr. Oul Han has assembled the most minimal yet practical survival kit for learning enough about academic writing as you will need for suceeding in your program. The best part: One resource is an instruction, the rest are YouTube videos. She has watched them all and honestly thinks they are fun. Deal with them sincerely, and they will reward you back.
MINIMAL (AND VERY PRACTICAL) SURVIVAL KIT FOR ACADEMIC WRITING
(TOTAL TIME REQUIRED: approx. 2.5 hrs)
*How to write a paper (or any academic text).
Take out 1 hour of your time to try this guide on a toy example, such as: “Why should people eat fruits?” or “How to use machine learning for picking which course I should take in the next semester?”. The toy research questions can be trivial to make it easier and quicker for you to practice. If you’re looking to increase your skills (for example, because your professor demanded it), then this 1 hour will save you LOTS of time and unnecessary frustration. Of course, you can start right away to write your “serious” term paper/ your thesis proposal with the help of this guide.
*Very short slides on scientific writing (5 mins) Link.
*Elements and structure of a master thesis (15 mins)
*How to write a literature review (20 mins)
*Get Lit: The literature review (45 mins)
*How to cite (7 mins)
*OPTIONAL, but surprisingly exciting to watch: How to write effectively (1 hr)