Master Thesis Projects


The fourth term consists of a Master project. Different Master thesis topics will be announced at the beginning of the Aachen winter term and will also be presented during the presentation day. Topics are offered by TU Delft, ETH Zurich, and RWTH Aachen University, as well as external projects by companies and research facilities with a collaboration with one of the corresponding universities. The student has to choose one topic offered by each university or the company a corresponding university is collaborating with and set their preferences on a scale of one to three.


General Proceedings

RWTH Aachen University utilises an online tool for Master’s thesis proposals. The student gets access to the tool and the offered Master’s thesis projects at the end of September/beginning of October. To give the student the opportunity to get more insights in the projects and get into contact to the supervisors, the projects are presented at the master’s thesis presentation day at end of October/beginning of November. Afterwards, the students have to set their three most favoured master’s thesis projects in the online tool. The choice is changeable until the deadline. One of the three projects must be supervised by TU Delft, one by ETH Zurich and one by RWTH Aachen University. After the students set their choice, the Joint Examination Board assigns the master’s thesis projects to the students based on their choice.


External Projects

If you are interested in a thesis offered by an external company or research facility, you have to apply for interviews which will usually take place at the Master’s thesis presentation day. Therefore, you have to send your applications via email to the corresponding supervisor with  in cc before the deadline.
Unless stated otherwise, your application should contain:

  • abrief motivation letter;
  • a CV; and
  • a list of your current grades (optional)

For Master’s thesis projects offered by the three partner universities, no application is required.


Self-Arranged Thesis Project

You have also the opportunity to arrange your Master’s thesis project yourself (e.g. arranged during a previous internship). As such, you have to

  • find a principal supervisor at one of the three partner universities (additionally to your local supervisor in the company/research facility) and
  • propose your Master’s thesis project to the Joint Examination Board (send the master’s thesis proposal to ). The Joint Examination Board will decide if the proposal is accepted.

Note that the proposal has to have a clear link to geophysics.

Please be aware that this procedure takes some time, so please send your proposal in due time before the Master’s thesis presentation day.


Writing the Thesis

You may only begin your Master's thesis project once you have obtained at least 80 ECTS and the research project has been approved by the Joint Examination Board.

Furthermore you need to fulfil the criterion of "Scientific Integrity". Note that this last criterion is only required for master students writing their master thesis at RWTH Aachen.

Should there be cogent grounds for a student not obtaining the required 80 ECTS, the Joint Examination Board may allow the Master's thesis project to begin earlier.

The Master's Project has to be finished within 20 weeks. A deadline extension can be granted if there are compelling arguments. All extensions for submitting master theses need to be approved by the IDEA League academic committee (i.e. the Joint Examination Board). If the submission of the thesis needs to be delayed by more than a few days, the main supervisor must also write a request to the Joint Examination Board which will then evaluate the case.
The form of making the thesis available is governed by local regulations. However, the exact form of thesis submission at due date can vary according to the preference of the principal supervisor and academic co-examiner from one of the partner universities. The co-examiner for each Master's Project will be assigned during the Master's thesis period.

Each Master's thesis is assessed by an ad hoc thesis committee which normally consists of two scientists, one of whom is the principal supervisor and one from a partner university. The ad hoc thesis committee might be extended to additional members (e.g. the external supervisors from external Master's thesis projects) without voting right.
The ad hoc thesis committee makes recommendations concerning the grades (A to F) to be given to the thesis and the defence (totalling 30 ECTS). The final decision concerning the grades is the responsibility of two committee members with voting right.