FAQ HPI Studies

Anyone who wants to decide on a place to study often has many questions. On this page we provide answers to the questions that reach us frequently.

If you have any further questions afterwards, you are welcome to write us, the Student Representative Group, to fachschaftsrat@hpi.de, contact the HPI's student advisory service or come by for a trial offer.

If you are thinking about studying at HPI, you should start looking for an apartment. There is a hall of residence of the Studentenwerk Potsdam directly on the Griebnitzsee campus. The waiting lists are long, so you should apply there as early as possible if you hope to get a place in the complex. Further information on the housing situation can be found at the information for freshmen.

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply to study at HPI?

Information on the application process and the required documents can be found on the HPI website.

What is important for an application?

For each program, there are subject-specific admission regulations which govern the selection of applicants. In the following, we list the most important points for you.

Bachelor's degree

Your A-levels count for about 50% of your application, the subjects Mathematics, Computer Science, German and English are weighted again afterwards. In addition, you will be asked to submit a letter of motivation (subject-specific scholastic aptitude test) in which you should explain why you would like to study at HPI. You can also submit certificates, e.g. from competitions. This information will be viewed and evaluated by the admissions committee. Especially the letter of motivation should not be underestimated, as much depends on it in the final evaluation. If you are interested in the course and describe what is fascinating about it and what you can imagine for your own future with what you have learned, you have good chances.

Master's degree

For the winter term 2020/2021, the average from the bachelor's programme counts for 64%, your letter of motivation for another 12%. Special professional achievements (prizes, awards, etc.) and qualifications acquired outside the course of study (internships, work experience, etc.) make up 24%. The admissions committee looks at your application documents and uses them to form a ranking which decides on acceptance.

What is the NC like at HPI? Which grades do I need in order to be accepted?

Not only the A-levels (see What is important for an application?) count for acceptance, therefore there is no classic NC. Each year, about 100 students are accepted in the Bachelor's program, about 60 in the Master's program for IT-Systems Engineering, and 30 each in the other Master's programs. The best applications are selected according to the criteria described above.

What are the tuition fees at HPI?

There are no tuition fees at HPI itself. If you study at HPI, you are enrolled at the University of Potsdam and pay the fees that are incurred there. The tuition fee is about 300 € per semester. This includes a semester ticket for all of Berlin and Brandenburg.

Can I use credits I have already earned when changing universities?

It always depends on the courses in which you have acquired your previous credit points, whether they fit in with the IT-Systems Engineering, Data Engineering, Digital Health or Cybersecurity course of studies, respectively, and how extensive the contents were. If you would like to know which courses you can have recognized, please contact the HPI's Office of Student Affairs (Studienreferat).

Do I have to be able to program before I start my studies?

Bachelor's degree

No. In the first two bachelor semesters, there are the courses Einführung in die Programmiertechnik I und Einführung in die Programmiertechnik II (Introduction to Programming Technique I and II, taught mostly in German). There, the basics of programming are taught and offer a good introduction even for beginners. However, if you can program before you start your studies, many things will be easier for you. A good preparation is, besides computer science lessons at school, participation in competitions and online courses for learning programming, e.g. on openHPI.

Master's degree

For the Master’s programs in IT-Systems Engineering, Data Engineering and Cybersecurity, it is expected that you already have basic programming skills from a previous (self-)study. There are no explicit introductory courses in programming techniques.

For Digital Health students with a medical background, bridge courses are offered in the first two semesters, in which basic programming skills are taught. If you have an IT background, you will attend bridge courses with medical topics instead.

Which programming languages are used in the study?

There is no institute-wide programming language that is used everywhere. All instructors determine the languages used for individual courses, or allow you to choose the language you want to use for exercises. Commonly used languages include C/C++, Java, Python and Smalltalk.

What is the content of the course at HPI?

On the HPI website you can find information about the contents of the Bachelor's program and the Master's programs. You can also have a look at the course offerings with the courses of the current and previous semesters.

How practice-oriented is the IT-Systems Engineering program?

From the very beginning, the study program is designed to be practice-oriented. In the exercises and projects, you will often work in teams on software projects that can actually be used. So there are not only theoretical examples, but you deal with real problems and develop solutions for them. Of course, there are also theoretical basics in mathematics and theoretical computer science, but these topics are also covered with a view to software development. Especially noteworthy is the one-year bachelor project at the end of the bachelor's program, in which teams of about six students work on a project together with a company partner and are supported by the staff of a chair. In this project, you can gain experience in working with large companies or even start-ups and learn how work in a team is well organized.

Soft and professional skills offers extend the education by aspects that are not directly related to computer science, but are important for teamwork, self-management or communication.

Is attendance compulsory?

There is usually no explicit attendance requirement for lectures and other courses at HPI. However, you can't leave your team to work on a project, and you can't easily make up for practice lessons on your own. That's why you should be present at all events if possible. Especially in the first bachelor semesters, the timetable is designed to ensure that all courses fit in well.

Can I work alongside my studies?

Yes, many fellow students work alongside their studies: Either in one of the many start-ups in the region, as a student assistant in large companies or directly at the institute. At HPI, there are always job offers where you can work in the administration or in departments. This has the advantage that you are already on site and that the working hours can be arranged very flexibly. And depending on your area of responsibility, you can also work on current research topics.

How time-consuming is studying at HPI?

The program is a full-time study program – so you have to plan a lot of time for it. During the week, you're busy every day. In addition to lectures, you have to work on exercises, participate in projects and study for exams. You won't be able to avoid working for the university on the weekends from time to time. But there is no shortage of free time either:

How is student life at HPI?

In the evenings and on the weekends, there is time to meet friends and fellow students or to get involved in one of the HPI student clubs. These interest groups deal with a variety of different topics, e.g. film and photography, or they meet up for joint games or organize parties and student events.

On our campus, we have plenty of space to relax and party on beautiful summer evenings, a sports field for playing soccer or beach volleyball, and the university offers a wide range of sports programs with many courses. HPI is located right on the border to Berlin and has excellent S-Bahn and regional train connections. This means that you can be in the center of Berlin in a few minutes and enjoy student life there as well.

Are there any Laptop recommondations?

  • Just as it is not compulsory to have a pen with you when studying mathematics, it is not compulsory to have a laptop. But it is much easier with.
  • It doesn't matter whether you buy a Windows, Apple or Linux laptop. If you can handle your current operating system and are satisfied with it, then there is a lot to be said for sticking with it for the time being. Then you can use your usual programs in your private life
  • In exceptional cases, a course may require a Linux or Windows installation. But virtual machines are easily created for this purpose and these two operating systems are also installed on the numerous pool computers. Finally, it should be noted that students at Lenovo and Apple get some laptops at a discount in exchange for a student certificate. You should also look out for student discounts at other providers.

Further information possibilities