What obscure college courses should everyone be taking?

Freshman Bits 2020

Dear first!

Welcome to the Computer Science Student Council. In front of you is the current edition of the Freshman Bits, a booklet that should provide you with valuable help in answering your questions, especially in the first days of your studies. Not to be despised is the entertainment value.

Right at the beginning you will find the most important information about the computer science degree in the Bachelor or Master system. In the following chapters, we will go into more detail on the individual Bachelor and Master courses. Further down there is a chapter with very useful tips on topics such as learning, BAföG and working groups. Another chapter deals with technology in the computer science department. It describes which services the department and the student council make available to you and how you can set up and use them.

If you lose track of the many abbreviations at the university, take a look at the Abbreviations chapter. The large, alphabetically sorted index in the last chapter is also a good place to look up questions. There you will also find many links that will certainly motivate you to scroll further.

If you hold this booklet in your hands before your orientation unit (OU), you shouldn't worry if you don't understand everything while reading through it. If you have any questions, it is best to write them down and bring them with you yours Orientation unit.

So, but now relax while reading the freshman bits so that the stress of your studies doesn't catch up with you at the beginning.

The OE-AG 2020 wishes you a lot of fun:

Alina, Alisa, Anirban, Ankit, Antje, Anton, Chris, Christoph, Connor, Damian, David, Dina, Dominick, Donna, Emma, ​​Frederico, Hauke ​​Sch., Hauke ​​St., Inken, Jakob, Jan, Jannis, Jeanine, Jessica, Jiafan, Jona, Ju, Judith, Jule, Julia, Julian F., Julian K., Julius, Justus, Kavish, Lena, Leonhard, Lina, Lotte, Louis, Lukas, Malte, Marcus, Markus B., Markus N ., Martin, Maurice, Maya, Merle, Michael, Moritz C., Moritz D., Niki, Noah, Pablo, Philip, Pia, Rohan, Ronja, Ruben, Sonja, Spokey, Steffen, Sven, Svenja, Tanja, Tea, Tim, Timon, Tom, Valentin, Walter, Yiyao


We have tried to make the first-semester bits gender neutral. If we have overlooked some of the formulations, please be indulgent. Of course, we don't want to exclude anyone and include all people completely regardless of gender. If you notice any further errors, you are cordially invited to let us know (see below) or to participate in the OE work next year and to prepare the next issue. We look forward to you!

How does university work?

Study at the Department of Computer Science

The University of Hamburg offers five IT-related courses leading to a “Bachelor of Science” degree. Building on this, there has been a master’s degree in computer science and four other computer science-related master’s degree programs since the 2007/2008 winter semester. But what does it all mean?

The 3 year old (according to the standard period of study) Bachelor degree should be a first professional qualification. But it is not possible to say exactly for which occupation he should qualify. So one prefers to speak of qualifying or - even better - qualifying qualifications. What chances you will have in professional life with a bachelor's degree cannot be precisely predicted. On the one hand, this will depend on the experience the companies have with Bachelor graduates. On the other hand, it depends a lot on how you organize your studies yourself. Basically, one can assume that a good education increases the chances of an exciting and adequate job, especially in times of globalization. It is already evident that a qualification is no longer a guarantee of a job until retirement, but that lifelong learning is becoming more and more important. In this respect, the term “degree” is actually chosen unfavorably. It is not for nothing that one speaks of “commencement” in English, which means something like “beginning” - exactly the opposite. Something good that you can do with a bachelor's degree is definitely a follow-up (consecutive) master’s degree.

Basically there is the possibility of applying for a bachelor's degree master's degree to apply. You can apply to practically any university, but you have no guarantee that you will be accepted. Some may also be interested in the possibility of completing their bachelor's degree with a related master’s degree (e.g. bioinformatics) or with a master’s degree from a different subject (e.g. management-oriented postgraduate studies) (possible problems with BAföG). You can continue your computer science studies at the University of Hamburg as well as elsewhere, but you have to reapply as a matter of principle (see section Application for a Master in the chapter Master’s degree programs). This should actually be enough motivation to make an effort already in the bachelor's degree. A master’s degree is roughly equivalent to an earlier diploma. If you have really enjoyed science after completing a successful master’s degree, you have the opportunity to do a doctorate afterwards.

The promotion is an important prerequisite for a scientific career (e.g. if you want to become a professor or head of a research department in industry). But the proportion of doctorates is also high in management positions and with company founders. If you enjoy dealing intensively and scientifically with a topic, a doctorate is a good option. But if you only want to do a doctorate to get a doctorate, you should rather leave it, as the chances of success in this case are likely to be quite low. As a rule, only the best graduates are admitted to the doctorate. So far, it has been customary to do a doctorate as part of a job as a research assistant. This usually takes about 5 years, since in addition to the doctorate one also has to provide “scientific services” such as teaching.


Particularly in computer science-related courses, the question of the prerequisites that one should meet is often asked. Many think that you must have acquired specialist knowledge from a good computer science course at school or from self-taught programming in your free time before you can start studying computer science. But it is unlikely that most of them will have had any idea of ​​the kind of computer science that is taught at universities in school.

In general, one can say that not so very specific knowledge, but rather the ability to think analytically and an interest in the subject with all its areas is required.

A (very popular) example: If you haven't had a mathematics advanced course or a natural science profile, this shouldn't prevent you from studying computer science. Most of what a computer scientist should be able to do in mathematics is dealt with in the lectures and exercises, but much faster than in school. However, if mathematics is a subject that you never liked, this is much more a reason to think about whether computer science at the university is really the right subject for you.

This also applies to the use of the computer. It is not assumed that you already know how to use computers, it is only assumed that you are willing to work with the computer (above all, it is not assumed that you own a computer or that you buy one - there are workrooms with computers in the department for this purpose and loanable laptops).


This section covers the structure, process and formalities of your studies. As you can imagine, your course of studies consists of various prescribed and flexible parts, which have a certain duration, partly build on each other and require certain performance. You are also probably wondering what rules and regulations your studies should follow and where you can inform yourself about them. The most important information about this follows on the following pages.

Module plan

You can find a graphic overview of the modules and their distribution over the individual semesters in the module plan of your degree program. The module plan is also called Tetris due to its structure of colorful blocks.