Master Thesis


General Information

  • The master thesis is a reaserch oriented project. A topic for the thesis can only be assigned to you by a professor or by a habilitated member of the university within your focus area.
  • The person that assigns the topic to you is the first reviewer of the thesis. Often, the direct supervisor is another person like a PostDoc or PhD student from the research group. There is also a second reviewer who is usually not involved in the supervision of the thesis. The role of the second reviewer is to give a second opinion on the thesis or to check and confirm the evaluation of the first reviewer. The second reviewer should be from the Computer Science Department or from the Mathematics Department (exceptions are possible if the first reviewer is from one of these departments).

Finding a Topic

  • Your thesis should be written within your focus area. When registering the thesis, you have to make the final decision on your focus area (at the latest). Ideally, your first reviewer should be a person that is teaching elective courses from your focus area. For the focus area "Computer Science", you can refer to the list of research areas in the computer sience department (professors who have "i.R." after their title are retired). In the focus area "Computational Social Sciences", all the elective courses are currently offered by the group Computational Social Sciences and Humanities but you can also contact other groups that are doing research in this area, like the groups ond Information Systems and Database Technology, Computational Network Science, Learning Technologies, or Process and Data Science.
  • For finding a topic, you need to contact the research groups. For some groups you can apply through their websites. For other groups, you directly contact the professor, or you get in contact with PhD students or PostDocs on potential topics.
  • You increase your chances of getting a topic in one of your favorite research areas if you have completed elective courses in that area, a seminar or a lab. Be aware that defining interesting topics and supervising theses requires a lot of time. For this reason, the number of thesis that can be supervised in parallel in a research group is limited. If you do not find a topic within one of your favorite areas, then you should also contact other research groups.
  • There is no common pool of possible topics for theses in the M.Sc. Data Science.


  • You need at least 60 credit points (CP).
  • Students that started in winter 2020/21 need to have completed the course Scientific Integrity.
  • It is recommeded (but not a must) that you have already completed the three mandatory courses (Introduction to Data Science, Mathematics of Data Science, and Ethics, Technology and Data).
  • If your focus area is Business Analytics, then you need to have completed at least one of the courses Combinatorial Optimization or Operations Research I.


Your should coordinate the registration process with your supervisor. Here is a short description of the steps.

  • Contact Gaby Cüpper from the ZPA for the registration form for the Master thesis.

  • The form then has to be filled and signed by you and your reviewers (contact your supervisor for that). The second reviewer has to be from the Department of Computer Science of from the Department of Mathematics. Usually the first reviewer or the supervisor can suggest a second reviewer.

  • The form is passed on to the responsible person from the examination board by your supervisor (or by yourself, check that with your supervisor).

  • After the registration has been processed, you will receive a letter from the examination board that confirms the registration and contains the official title and deadline for submission of the thesis.

External Theses

  • The Department of Computer Science points out that student theses, in particular Bachelor's and Master's theses, are exclusively awarded by professors and habilitated members of the Department of Computer Science. They are solely a part of the teaching curriculum for the students. The authorized members of the Department of Computer Science offer and therefore supervise theses as part of their teaching activities. This can be integrated into ongoing research projects or into a longer-term cooperation with external research groups or industry.
  • Externally advertised theses without an issuing supervisor from the Department of Computer Science cannot be accepted.
  • The academic advisor cannot provide any assistance for finding reviewers at RWTH Aachen for external theses.

(last update: September 14, 2021)