Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a continuously updated questions regarding admission to the AICES doctoral program. Questions are grouped in several categories: eligibility, procedures, courses, financial, and miscellaneous.
- I have completed 6-, 7- or 8-semester Bachelor degree. How can I enter the AICES program?
- The AICES program for Bachelor graduates starts with a Master's program. The default entry point is the 4-semester Master's program in Simulation Sciences. This program includes 3 semesters of coursework followed by one semester of writing and defending a Master's thesis, which serves as doctoral thesis proposal. This is followed by approximately 6 semesters of further thesis research, including writing of the doctoral thesis. In special cases, graduates of 7- and 8-semester Bachelor's programs can receive partial credit for their Bachelor-level work, shortening the coursework phase by up to one semester. Graduates of computational engineering Bachelor's programs (e.g., the RWTH CES program), can alternatively enter the 3-semester Master's program in CES. Other possible entry points to the program are listed here
- I have completed Diplom or Master degree. How can I enter the AICES program?
- Students with Diplom or Master degrees can be admitted directly into the 3-year doctoral research phase.
- I have a Diplom degree from a Fachhochschule. Can I be admitted to AICES?
- Doctoral degree granting regulations require that such candidates take 40 semester-week-hours (SWS), or two semesters, of Master-level courses and spend additional 20 SWS on a project thesis before being eligible to perform doctoral-level research.
- I am already a doctoral student at another institution. Can I be admitted to AICES?
- AICES doctoral research stage is meant to be taken in its entirety, i.e., full three years. No "credit" for research performed elsewhere will be given.
- How do I apply to the AICES program?
- Follow the instructions ad the admission page. Start by downloading the PDF application form, which includes forms for reference letters.
- Do I need to find a supervisor first?
- No. If you pass the initial screening, one or more AICES faculty will contact you on the basis of your application. To prepare for that stage, it is helpful to familiarize oneself with research areas represented by AICES faculty and young researchers. Note: your primary doctoral research advisor will be one of the AICES Junior Research Group Leaders.
- Do I need to submit a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results?
- Candidates with degrees from European institutions, or those being admitted at the Master or Diplom level do not need to send GRE results. Candidates with Bachelor degrees from other parts of the worlds (including USA) need to send GRE results.
- Which GRE subject test should I choose?
- Because of the diversity of methods and applications represented by AICES researchers, several different subject tests are accepted depending on applicant's interests: physics; mathematics; computer science; biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. The subject test is not offered in some countries; in that case, this part of the GRE requirement is waived.
- What is a minimum GRE or TOEFL score required for admission?
- GRE and TOEFL scores are just one of the factors in the admission process. No strict range is specified.
- Do I need to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) results?
- Candidates with degrees from English-speaking institutions do not need to send TOEFL results. Alternative documentation of English language ability, such as Gymnasium records, may be presented.
- Where do I send the GRE or TOEFL scores?
- Ask the GRE or TOEFL administration to send the scores using the RWTH Aachen University institutional code: 8504.
- Do I need to have proven German language abilities?
- No. Knowing German is very helpful in daily life in Aachen, however. Opportunities to take German classes will be available.
- Obtaining official transcripts, translations, GRE or TOEFL scores is very expensive. Can you use other versions of these documents?
- For initial consideration, unofficial copies of transcripts (grade records), GRE, TOEFL scores, and unofficial translations may be accepted. For final admission, official documents will be required.
- What happens after I send my application?
- Applications are reviewed continuously. Promising candidates will be asked to complete application materials (if necessary), and will have phone interviews with faculty member (s) and young researcher(s) from AICES. Additional on-site interview may be requested. The decision on admission is typically taken within 2 months of receiving an application.
- What courses can I take?
- Master-level courses currently taught in the Master's program in Simulation Sciences are listed here. A remark, e.g., 2+1 means 2 lecture units and 1 exercise unit per week, with 1 unit equating 45 minutes of instruction.
- Is the instruction language English or German?
- The Master's program in Simulation Sciences is taught in English. Other Master's programs suitable for AICES are predominantly taught in German. Doctoral research work as well as theses language is English.
- What tuition fees must I pay?
- Students who are admitted to the AICES program attend the entire program without having to pay tuition. In fact, in the doctoral phase, students receive a stipend of EUR 2000 per month. The stipend is typically not subject to taxes.
- What about health insurance?
- Students are responsible for their own health insurance. Health and disability insurance companies in Germany typically charge 12-15% of the gross income for a standard policy. A good option is the DAAD insurance program which charges between EUR 80 and EUR 250 per month.
- What about housing?
- Students are responsible for financing their own rental apartments from the stipends they receive. Assistance in finding suitable housing will be provided by the AICES Service Team.
- Will someone help me with these financial issues?
- One of the responsibilities of the AICES Service Team is assisting the approx. 20 AICES stipend recipients in finding health insurance, housing, etc. Assistance with mobility (bus tickets), registration and stay permit is provided by the RWTH international office.
- Can I get a part-time job in addition to being an AICES student?
- No. Stipend recipients are expected to study and do research full-time, without other occupation.
- What is a graduate school?
- Graduate schools group doctoral students working on similar topics and add elements of structure to doctoral education such as progress tracking and quality control. AICES is one of 18 graduate schools established in late 2006 by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments, and the only one in the area of computational engineering.
- What is a Research Training Group or Graduiertenkolleg?
- Research Training Groups (RTGs) are a funding instrument of the German Science Foundation. RTGs organize doctoral education in specific research fields. In comparison to a graduate school like AICES, RTGs have typically narrower focus, and do not offer a combined Master/doctoral track. Like AICES, RTGs offer stipends that allow the students to focus exclusively on research.
- I heard about German Research School for Simulation Science (GRS). Is it the same as AICES?
- GRS is a separate excellence-oriented graduate school formed jointly by the RWTH Aachen University and Research Centre Jülich (FZJ) and funded in equal parts by 5 partners (federal and state governments, Helmholtz Society, RWTH and FZJ). AICES and GRS share the Master-level SiSc curriculum, as well as many faculty members. AICES focuses on inverse problems in computational engineering, with high-performance computing as one component. GRS focuses exclusively on high-performance computing in computational science and engineering. Both AICES and GRS are the elements of the Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance in Simulation Sciences or JARA-SIM. In late 2008, AICES and the Aachen component of the GRS will occupy neighboring facilities in the downtown RWTH campus.
- I have further questions. Whom can I contact?
- Don't hesitate to contact the AICES Service Team by email or phone; see our contact information page.