Frequently asked questions
“I have a problem - who can help me?”
The Fachschaft is your first contact point for questions about your studies and other things. Don’t worry, so far a solution has been found for almost everything. We give our best to help you and if we once cannot give you a direct answer we probably know the right person to send you to.
How to contact the Fachschaft?
There are many ways to get in contact with us:
- through your O-Phase tutors
- talk to us during one of our consulting hours in either one of the Fachschaft rooms (maths or informatics)
- email us
- call us: maths: +49 721 608-42664 or informatics: +49 721 608-43974
We are happy to help!
What is the Fachschaft?
The Fachschaft Mathematik/Informatik is the representative student body for all mathematics and informatics students and consists of the Fachschaft Informatik and the Fachschaft Mathematik. We have rooms in the maths building and informatics building. These are ‘offices’ where you can go to get old exams, advice or a cup of coffee. In terms of university politics the Fachschaft aims to be a link between student body and faculties and advocate student interests (e.g. creating more learning space during exams) by having students sitting in most committees. Apart from that we organise lots of events such as two weekly free breakfasts, the Eulenfest, Fachschaft weekend seminars and of course the O-Phase. Who are we? We are motivated students who want to move something and have fun helping students, discussing faculty matters, arranging events and much more. And of course you can join too!
Do I have to register?
Generally not. For some events, however, it would be great if you could register via the survey link that is also given in the invitation. Having attendance numbers simplifies planning for us and enables us to make the next O-Phase even better.
Preparation for the O-Phase
There are a few small things that will be helpful: Print your KVV certificate (public transport) and enrolment certificate and take both with you. Please register for our events via the survey link to help us planning. By the way - you can use the printing service of the SCC (Steinbuch Centre of Computing) by activating your SCC account.
Important events in the O-Phase
The most important events are all on Thursday. The “Fachbereichsinformation” (general course information) is super important since we give you all the information that is relevant for your studies there. We advice you strongly to visit the Fachbereichsinformation even if you’ve got your bachelor’s degree at KIT and especially if you don’t. At the tour of institutes, professors will give you information about their research direction, how to apply for a master’s thesis and such. You also have the chance to ask questions. The campus tour will certainly improve your orientation and show you all important places on the campus. All other events are great for getting to know people and having a good time.
I have missed the O-Phase - what now?
Don’t worry, nothing is lost. You can get the most relevant information for your study programme from the Fachbereichsinformation slides on our homepage. Getting to know people is always possible - you can come to our master regulars’ table on Tuesday in the first week of the semester or to the Fachschaft’s “Semesterauftakttreffen 2019” (meeting at semester start) on Tuesday the 24th of April. If you are an international student, visit our “International Gathering” event on Thursday the 3rd of Mai at 6:30 pm where you can meet other internationals and people from the Fachschaft! “Semesterauftakttreffen” and “International Gathering” both take place in front of the informatics building.
Where can I get the information from the Fachbereichsinformation (general course information)?
The slides of the maths and informatics Fachbereichsinformation will be posted on our homepage - you should read them before your studies. Further information about study modules are given in the module handbooks for mathematics and informatics (only in German), respectively, and the exam regulations (s. below, only in German).
KIT account and KIT card
You get your u-account for using KIT portals and preliminary password around the time you get your enrolment certificate before the semester starts. With your u-account you can log in into the student portal where you find all important documents and transcripts. And you can use the ILIAS system where most lecture materials are stored. Furthermore, you can use services of the SCC (Steinbuch Centre of Computing) such as printing with COPS (see bottom of page).
With your KIT card you can pay in canteens, print at the SCC, get into the main library and a few other buildings in the middle of the night. Note: You have to take it with you to exams!
Wi-Fi at the KIT
With your u-account you can log in into Wifi (password is the same, just add ‘@kit.edu’ to your user name). There are “KA-WLAN” and “KA-sWLAN” for choice that are public city wifis. “KIT” is for university members only and provides direct access to the university network. “Eduroam” is a network which is open for members of all universities that are part of the Eduroam programme and is made available in Karlsruhe by KIT and other higher educational institutions. If you are an exchange student and don’t have a KIT account, you can use this wi-fi. All networks are available both in town and on campus.
Transportation in Karlsruhe
The best way to get from A to B is by bike or with tram. There are many bike lanes and good connections of the KVV (“Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund” - Karlsruhe transportation association) to get you almost anywhere. Driving through Karlsruhe by car is cumbersome due to many construction sites. If you still need a car, you can have a look at several “Mitfahrgelegenheit” (car pooling) pages, where people offer to give you a lift for little money. If you need a car regularly, you could consider becoming a member at Stadtmobil. In case you need a car for moving or such you can rent a van at the AStA side service SSV.
As a student you automatically have a limited version of the KVV ticket with which you can take the tram for free between 6pm and 5am on weekdays and at weekends and holidays all-day long in the entire KVV region. If you move your first residence to Karlsruhe, the city gives you a starter present that includes a voucher for a full KVV ticket(which lasts 6 months). You can redeem it during the first year, after that it will expire. When collecting the package it is important to emphasise that you would like to have the “starter package for students”.
I still need a flat!
There are many ways to get a flat. The “Studierendenwerk” has a flat market page that gets regularly updated with new flat offers (shared and single flats). Two of the most common sites are www.studenten-wg.de and www.wg-gesucht.de; the KIT-Kleinanzeigenmarkt has new offers daily, too. Further, you can have a look into the daily newspaper (e.g. BNN) or have a look at the black board at the cafeteria. There is a list of student residences and contact addresses for private landlords in the Stadtwiki (city wiki).
Do I have to register for a lecture?
No, generally not. You have to register for exams (important: registration deadlines!) and by doing so for lectures. For seminars and (programming) internships you have to apply, sometimes already at the end of the last semester. If you missed an application deadline for a seminar or internship, you can still ask the respective professor if there is a place left.
Is there compulsory attendance?
In lectures there is none, some lecturers even record their lectures or publish good notes or slides online. But for most seminars and internships attendance is mandatory!
Where do I find what on the KIT websites?
The three most important websites for you are: (1) The campus system where you find all certificates, transcripts etc., and where you can apply for exams. (2) At ILIAS you can find material for lectures and ask questions in forums. (3) The websites of the lectures themselves often contain a lot of materials such as exercise sheets and solutions, slides, lecture notes and important information.
Where do I find the prospectus?
All courses for the next semester are listed at the prospectus or at KITHub, a very clear and fast website designed by students.
What is the “Modulhandbuch” (module handbook) and “Prüfungsordnung” (exam rules)?
In the module handbooks for mathematics and informatics all courses are listed in detail and with short descriptions. The module handbook is available in German only, short descriptions in English are available at the international maths page (s. link). Since there is no international master of informatics a equivalent page for informatics courses does not exist. There are, however, English courses as well (s. prospectus). The examination rules (s. bottom of page) are only available in German and contain all the general rules that apply to your studies. If you have any questions about them, come to the Fachschaft and let us translate for you.
How many ECTS per semester?
First of all - do as much as you can and want and don’t work over your limit. 30 credits are recommended; many students do less and study a little longer. Partly because there are many offers for activities that you can do beside your studies and also because you can indeed enjoy your studies without rushing through.
What are SQL credit points?
SQL = Schlüsselqualifikationsleistungen (key qualifications or general studies). According to your study plan, you have to do 6 (Master Mathematics), or 2 (Master Mathematics in Economics), or 0 (Master Mathematics in Technology), or 2 to 6 (Informatics) ECTS in SQL modules, in the form of language courses at the Sprachenzentrum (language centre), seminars at HoC (house of competence) or ZAK (Centre for Cultural and General Studies), an orchestra or the like (see here). Some general studies courses are taught in English. Most courses usually earn you 1-3 ECTS (HoC and ZAK seminars are often block seminars at weekends).
Can I attend a language course?
Of course you can! Application is at two days in the week before lectures start. Places are given stochastically, so you have enough time to choose your courses (in contrast to the first-come-first-served application for sports courses). Each semester, you can do one course for free, further courses usually cost 90€.
How do I apply for sports courses?
Quickly! Application opens at monday morning the week before the start of lectures and the courses are given according to “first come, first served”. It’s best to transfer the base fee (10€) in advance and refresh the registration page regularly as soon as the application opens (different times at a day for different courses). The courses can be booked at the sports institute. Most cost 10-20€ per semester, race teams train for free.
How is the KIT?
That’s always a matter of perception. The KIT is great in many things such as course offer, research and location and an very active student body. You can have a good time studying here - but best you see for yourself.
Can I go abroad?
Sure! There are many ways to go abroad, many based on scholarships. For example the ERASMUS programme for mathematics and informatics, the double degree programmes in informatics or direct cooperations. To all programmes, there is at least one information event each semester. Information to these are spread on several mailing lists (register here). Else the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) offers scholarships for stays abroad, too. The International Students Office (IStO) of the KIT offers further information.
Rule of thumb: You should start your preparations about one year in advance. As a master student, you can also apply for programmes while in your bachelor. Some programmes request application one and a half years in advance (e.g. overseas programmes).
What is the Fachschaft Mathematik/Informatik?
That’s us, the representative student association for all mathematics and informatics students where students do honorary work. We are your friend and first contact person for all sorts of problems and questions and have one room in the maths building (Fachschaft Mathematik) and one in the informatics building (Fachschaft Informatik). We sell old exams and exam protocols, arrange breakfasts once a week (in both Fachschaft rooms), organise the “O-Phase” (introduction days/week for newbies) and the “Eulenfest” (party once a year), counsel students, inform about news (see mailing lists) and have fun in everything we do!
How do I get a job/internship?
We have a mailing list site on our homepage where you can register for the jobs-praktika-list (jobs-internships-list). KIT offers an online job market (“Stellenmarkt”) where institutes as well as companies promote jobs and internships. Also you can apply yourself for a student job at one of the many companies in the region of Karlsruhe or look at black boards (often coaching jobs). The Fachschaft itself cannot give you job offers.
I failed an exam, what now?
If it’s the first time for this exam that’s no problem. For a written exam there is always written second try, that is called “Zweitversuch”. To an oral exam there is an oral second try. If you fail an exam for the second time, you loose your right to examination for your study programme and related study programmes in Germany. If this happens in a written exam, you get an oral third try (“mündliche Nachprüfung”), in which you can at best pass (get a 4.0) and can heal the loss of your examination right. For oral exams there is no such option! If you fail an exam two times (or two times plus the “mündliche Nachprüfung” in case of written exams) you can request a hardship case to get another try. You can apply, whether it succeeds strongly depends on the context (e.g. when your studies end) and reasoning (e.g. a relative died). To pose the hardship case you have to go to your student advisor (“Studienberater”), depending on your study programme. Afterwards it gets discussed in the examination board. In any case come to us before applying. If you fail the exam gained by a hardship case or do not get the hardship case, your right to examination for your study programme terminates (in Germany) for all related (“artverwandt”) subjects.
Where can I find psychological support?
The “Psychotherapeutische Beratungsstelle” is a free psychological counselling centre for students by the Studierendenwerk. You can arrange an appointment via telephone or personally, contact details are on their website. Psychotherapeutische Beratungsstelle also offers counselling for groups. In addition you can lend books from their book list (even if you cannot borrow directly from PBS).
The nightline is a free night telephone for students by students. You can call and talk about your personal worries to someone who listens. (Coincidentally, the night trams and busses by the Karlsruhe transport association KVV are also called “nightliners”.)
There are many student groups that you can join. There is a wide range of offers and it’s certainly a good activity beside your studies. Also, there are extracurricular qualifications that you can use.
The Studierendenwerk has a BAföG office where you can apply for BAföG (student grants and loans under the Federal Training Assistance Act). If your German residence permit wasn’t solely issued because of your studies, you might be eligible.
There are several libraries: First the main library next to the cafeteria that is open 24⁄7 and mostly overcrowded during exam periods. Secondly, there are smaller specialised libraries. With the seatfinder, you can check for free space.
Where can I go for a night out?
In the city centre there are many pubs and bars (during summer with beer gardens), clubs, restaurants and cinemas (e.g. the “Schauburg” with sneak shows). During summer the palace garden attracts many people. Two very popular student pubs are the “Stövchen” and “Oxford Café/Pub”. To the latter you can go for lunch as well since it is close to university. There is transportation through the night, too - see nightliners.
What is there to see in Karlsruhe?
Karlsruhe has a lot to offer - the palace, the “Turmberg” (tower on mountain behind Durlach), etc. You can go to France by bike (1 hour) or by bus and train to Straßburg, Freiburg and Basel or Heidelberg and Frankfurt. The “Schwarzwald” (Black Forest) is of course an outdoor highlight and you can go there easily by tram (KVV).
How to get a KVV ticket?
It’s best to buy a KVV ticket when you are enroled since it will be cheaper. Also, your starter package that you get from the town if you move your primary residence to Karlsruhe contains a voucher for one. Otherwise you can get it at a KVV office near the main railway station or the marketplace. But even if you don’t buy one you can use the trams/trains in the KVV area for free during week days from 6pm to 5am, and all day long on weekends and holidays. Just make sure you have your KVV certificate and your student identity card with you.
History of Karlsruhe
There are many rumors about how 300 years ago Markgraf Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach got the idea to construct that palace in the forest. One is that he was a little fed up with his wife and wanted to get his calm - “KarlsRuhe”. ;) Out of whatever reason the palace got constructed in 1715, the town around it still blossoms. The street network between the main railway station and the palace was planned by the architect Friedrich Weinbrenner and is due to the fan-like structure of the north sometimes called the fan-shaped town (“Fächerstadt”). To attract people, Karl granted some rights such as freedom of religion, civil jurisdiction or tax exemptions. In addition to that, people were offered ground and wood to build houses. Perhaps due to that part of history both the Federal Court of Justice (“Bundesgerichtshof”) and the Federal Constitutional Court (“Bundesverfassungsgericht”) are located in Karlsruhe, both frequently mentioned in the news. At the moment, a subway beneath the main roads is being built. Karlsruhe is growing with all its housing development and will grow in future. For its 300th birthday, Karlsruhe celebrated with a great light show projected to the palace’s walls that is repeated year after year again (“Schlosslichtspiele”).