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Admission Rules

Disclaimer: This English translation is for information purposes only. The original German text is the legally binding version.



for admission to the Master’s Degree Program

Physics of the Earth and Atmosphere

at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences,


The University of Cologne

(Admissions Regulations)

03.03.2009 (last modified on 08.05.2013 by an Amendment Regulation) 


In accordance with § 2 section 4 of the law governing higher education institutions in the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia (Hochschulgesetz - HG) in the version of the Higher Education Autonomy Act of 31st October 2006 (GV. NRW, p. 474), last modified on 18th November 2008 by the Act on Admissions to Higher Education (GV. NRW, p. 710), the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Cologne has enacted the following regulation:


§ 1 Admissions Numbers

The number of admissions to the degree program will be established annually on the basis of the available capacity.


§ 2 Admissions Committee

  1. The implementation of the Admissions Regulations is the responsibility of the Admissions Committee.

  2. The Examinations Committee for the MSc ‘Physics of the Earth and Atmosphere’ will take on the responsibilities of the Admissions Committee if the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has not established an Admissions Committee.

  3. The Admissions Committee will establish the suitability for admittance to the degree program, and may also establish a ranking order of applicants, and will decide on the equivalency of certificates and qualifications within the context of these regulations.


§ 3 Prerequisites for Admission

  1. Suitability for the degree program refers to both the subject-specific and personal suitability of the candidate for the degree. The subject-specific suitability requires a sound basis of knowledge in advanced Mathematics, experimental and theoretical Physics, as well as Geophysics and Meteorology. This knowledge must be proved by means of achieved qualifications. The personal suitability of an applicant requires a keen interest in the particular aspects of Geophysics and Meteorology, high levels of motivation and engagement, as well as a particular interest in the natural sciences. The personal suitability of applicants must be demonstrated by means of the individual’s personal and academic development, their reasons for wishing to pursue the degree program, and their aims and goals associated with the degree program – all these need to be demonstrated in the context of the application for the degree program.

  2. Only applicants who fulfill the following requirements can be admitted to the MSc program:


    1. The applicant must hold a BSc in a natural science, and in the course of this degree they must have obtained at least 20 credit points in Physics, and at least 20 credit points in Mathematics. Alternatively, the applicant must be expected to complete the aforementioned BSc by the time they begin their MSc program, or they must have an equivalent qualification.
    2. The applicant must have an appropriate level of English language skills (a minimum TOEFL Internet-based Test score of 80, or equivalent). For applicants who have achieved the general qualification for university admission within the scope of the Federal Constitution, satisfactory English language skills will be considered to have been demonstrated.


  3. German language skills are not required for admission to this degree program.


§ 4 Procedure for Establishing Suitability

  1. In general, the suitability for the MSc degree program will be demonstrated by means of the submission of the required documentation. Where the applicant has not yet completed a BSc, the Admissions Committee will make their preliminary decision based on the available transcript of results – once the degree certificate has been provided, they will make their final decision. If the documentation received does not satisfactorily prove the applicant’s suitability, the committee can require (within a specified time period) further documentation, references, further subject-specific examinations, or an interview. If the applicant is not able to travel, testing of the candidate’s knowledge can also take place remotely.

  2. Applicants who have a BSc in one of the following subjects – Geophysics, Meteorology, Climate Physics, or Oceanography or a combination of these subjects with a final degree mark of 3.0 or better, will, with the exception of the case outlined in Section 5, be admitted to the MSc without having to undertake a further examination or other requirements.

  3. For those applicants who do not fall under Section 2, the Admissions Committee will make their decision with respect to admission on the basis of the documentation accompanying the application according to § 5 section 1. The following criteria must be checked by the Admissions Committee:

    1. Final BSc degree grade,
    2. Number of credit points obtained during the BSc in the subject areas of Physics, Mathematics, Geophysics, and Meteorology.
    3. Other qualifications (e.g. internships, time spent abroad, employment experience).
    4. Personal suitability and motivation.

  4. The following are the possible results of the procedure for establishing applicant suitability:
    1. Unconditional acceptance,
    2. Acceptance but with limitations imposed on the choice of subject areas which the applicant can cover in the MSc, or the subjects which are they are allowed to major in,
    3. Acceptance on the condition that certain modules or parts of modules in the BSc degree program ‘Geophysics and Meteorology’ are successfully completed by a date specified by the Admissions Committee,
    4. Admission to the degree program not granted.

  5. If the number of applicants who are to be admitted to the degree program in accordance with the regulations outlined in section 2 and section 4, a-c, is greater than the available number of places on the degree program, then the Admissions Committee will establish a ranking order of these applicants on the basis of the criteria set out in section 3. In the case of equal qualifications, lots will be drawn to decide the ranking order of admission.


§ 5 Application for Admission, Application Deadline

The application for admission to the degree program must have been received by the University of Cologne by July 15th of the same year for a winter semester start, and for a summer semester start, by January 15th of the same year. The application will only be considered for places on the degree program which are available for the coming semester. The application must also contain the following documentation in either German or English:

  1. Proof of the fulfilment of the Admissions Prerequisites.
  2. Presentation of the personal and academic development of the applicant, including proof of any Continuous Professional Development or Further Training already undertaken.
  3. An explanation of the reasons why the applicant wishes to pursue the degree program, and what they wish to achieve by it.

For students who are still in the process of completing their BSc in the winter/summer semester before the degree program begins, it will suffice for them to hand in the documentation (by July 15th or January 15th accordingly) showing their achieved study credits and grades, as well as proof of having registered for their Bachelor dissertation; the final degree certificate can then be handed in at the end of the first semester of the MSc degree program.


§ 6 Notification of Acceptance and Notification of Rejection, Registration

  1. Applicants who are admitted to the degree program in accordance with § 4 will receive a notification of acceptance from the University of Cologne. The notification of acceptance will stipulate the date by which the applicant has to register for the degree program. If this registration deadline is not met (cut-off point), then the notification of acceptance will become invalid.

  2. If all the applicants who are admitted in accordance with section 1 do not register by the stipulated deadline, the relevant number of study places will then be made available to those applicants who had not initially received a notification of acceptance, and they will be admitted to the degree program according to their ranking order (Clearing Process).

  3. Applicants who are not able to be admitted to the degree program will receive a notification of rejection, along with information on their legal right to appeal, and if applicable, information about their position in the ranking order as well as the position of the lowest ranked applicant who was admitted to the degree program.

  4. Registration or admission as a cross-registered student (Zweithörer/in) at the University of Cologne is only possible for this MSc if the notification of admission along with the application for registration is presented to the student registry office (Studierendensekretariat) by the given deadline. In addition, the relevant registration regulations of the University of Cologne will apply.


§ 7 Coming into force

 This regulation will come into force on 1.1.2009, and will be published in the official notices of the University of Cologne.

Executed in accordance with the ruling of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Cologne of 22.1. 2009, and the ruling of the rector of 16.02.2009.

Cologne, 03.03.2009
Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
(Prof H G Schmalz)