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What is a “research project”?

The main goal of the Elite Graduate Programme is to bring the students in contact with current research already during the early study phase. One key point for this are the research projects that have to be completed in the programme. In total, participants carry out three research projects, a Bachelor’s thesis and a Master’s thesis, which give the opportunity to work in several different fields. Some of these projects are then presented to the entire study programme during the study days which take place twice a year.

What are the basic points?

Each project gives 6 ECTS and therefore should be scheduled for about 4.5 weeks full-time work or an equivalent amount of time when working on it less hours a week. Out of the three projects, at least one must be done in theoretical physics and at least one in experimental physics. According to the examination regulations in Erlangen, one project is required to complete the Bachelor’s degree and the other two for the Master’s degree. The examination regulations in Regensburg demand all three projects for the Master’s degree. Each project should be concluded with a written report by the student, consisting of about 20 pages. In the end, the supervisor of the project confirms its completion. For this, he/she hands out a certificate containing the student’s data (name, semester, matriculation number), his/her data (name, chair), the project’s title, a date and a grade for the project.

How to find a suitable project?

It is possible to start with a first project in the second year of the Bachelor’s programme, right after the admission to the Elite Graduate Programme. When a participant wants to do a project, he/she contacts a professor in whose group he/she would like to work for it and asks whether such a research project is available. This is best done some time in advance, so that the professor can check for capacities and develop a project. The projects are adopted to the state of knowledge of the student.
To get an overview over the different research groups at the two universities, participants can look at the research information on the websites of the department/faculty of physics or can for instance join information talks offered for students looking for a thesis.

Can a project be carried out at another university, a research institute or in another country?

Yes, in principle this is possible and also realised by many participants. A research project is a good opportunity to make an exchange semester abroad and to work in a group there. Financial support is available in the study programme and also exchange programmes like “DAAD Rise” may sponsor these intentions.
For certificate and grading, an official supervisor who is authorised to take examinations at the department/faculty of physics at FAU or the University of Regensburg is usually necessary. So, if a student plans to do a project abroad, the most easy way is to find a supervisor at one of the two universities. If this should not work, individual arrangements can be made with the management of the Elite Graduate Programme.