1st year courses

Courses in your first semester

Following courses are the main courses available for you in your first year. It is not required that you take all of them right away. The first year of the study program has a high workload, if you need help planing your schedule see Help with Workload.

Informatik A: Algorithmen: Really useful for courses such as neuroinformatics, programming in logic, computational linguistics etc.
Statistik & Datenanalyse I: You cannot be a scientist if you do not know what dependent and independent variables are. Important stuff!
Foundations of Logic I: Important for AI (second semester) and quite useful for philosophy.
Introduction to Neurobiology: Useful for Sensory Physiology, Action & Cognition and Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience.
Mathematik für Anwender I or Analysis I or
Lineare Algebra I:
 It is compulsory to take one of these courses. Mathematik für Anwender is regarded as centered more around examples and computations, while the other two courses are more theoretical and can be taken by those with high interest and motivation regarding mathematics.
Foundations of Cognitive Science: First sneak peek into Cognitive Science beyond the mere basics.

Summer term

Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (lecture + seminar): There are no non-philosophy courses that really require knowledge from PoM. It is a good way to get better at writing English essays, give presentations and for discussions.
(Computational) Linguistics
Sensory Physiology:
Useful for Action & Cognition I (knowledge about the visual system), if you want to do anything related to computer vision or focus on neurobiology.
Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience:
A few things are useful for Action & Cognition, really interesting topic. It might be offered as block course, again before the second and another part after the second semester.
Introduction to AI and Programming in Logic:
You should know something about logic before taking this course.


The first semesters within the study program tend to be those with the highest workload. Especially since there is a big difference between school and university, you cannot always estimate your capabilities beforehand.

We have three mayor recommendations for your schedule and your personal study experience.

  • In the beginning of a semester take plenty of courses. Visit all the lectures and after two weeks decide which courses you want to keep. Theses decisions should be fairly final so do not drag along a courses and then drop it half way into the semester.
  • Do all the homework yourself or in the group, especially for informatics and logic. Do not let your parter or group do all the work for you. Practical exercises are very important for acquiring the necessary abilities which are important for more advanced courses.
  • Last but not least do not compare yourself to others. Evaluate the difficulty of courses yourself as the judgement of fellow students always only reflects their skill level and not your own. Furthermore do not believe everything higher semester students tell you.

If you need further help please contact the study mentoring!

We now turn to our schedule advise for your first semester:
Logic, Introduction to Neurobiology and Foundations of Cognitive Science are important for further courses so you should attend them. This will give you 13 ECTS points.
Of the three big courses Informatik A, Lineare Algebra 1/Analysis 1/Mathematik fuer Anwender 1 and Statistik & Datenanalyse we recommend Informatik A and one of the mathematical courses. Statistik is also very important for later studies but mathematics and informatics are more important to have for the second and third semester.
Mathematics at the university is truely different from what is taught at school and it starts – admittedly, fast – from the beginning. For almost everyone of you it will be required to get involved in some new ways of thinking and it is not that easily predictable how you will do, based on your school grades alone.
It is risky to postpone mathematics as it is only offered in the winter term so your third semester would already be some kind of deadline if you want to finish your Bachelor in six semesters. Remember the fifth semester is usually spend abroad and accreditation of math courses done abroad can be problematic.

For your second semester we would advise to attend Sensory Physiology, Linguistics (exact title is tba), Introdution to AI and logic programming and Philosophy of Mind. Furthermore you should pick Cognitive Psychology or Informatik B.


In a lecture you will mostly try to follow what the lecturer is talking about. Normally lectures are not the place for great discussions but every lecturer is happy if you ask questions. That shows that you are following. Normally a lecture lasts 90 min so that one lecture counts for two semester hours (Semesterwochenstunden, SWS for short).

Please attend and follow the lectures as a courtesy to the lecturers.


In a seminar you will usually hear a lot of talks. Everybody will most likely need to give a presentation and maybe even write homeworks depending on the structure of the seminar. Here you will finally have the opportunity to really discuss the content of the course. So basically a seminar consists of presentations and the discussion of these presentations. They also allow you to gain ECTS and will normally last 90 min.

Practice Sessions

A practice is normally held by a helper of the lecturer but not by the lecturer himself or herself or a tutor. In the practice they will normally talk about sample solutions of the last homework, give hints for the new homework and give interpretations for the tasks and how you can solve them. A practice lasts also 90 min and is worth 2 SWS. There is often more than one timeslot per practice but you just need to attend one of the practices (or none; that is your decision). There are just more timeslots so that everyone has the opportunity to attend one practice. Every practice has the same content.


They are held by tutors. Normally, they give a short review of the lecture and answer your questions and try to make everything clear. The tutors, usually higher semesters, also give you hints for the homework. (An exception here is the tutorial for Analysis I and Lineare Algebra I, where you even can solve your homework with the help of the tutors.) Tutorials also last 90 min but they do not count to your SWS. There are also different timeslots available but you do not have to attend all but just one. Even if tutorials give you a short review we recommend to attend the lectures because the final exam is about everything in the lecture (except the lecturer says else) and not what you are talking about in the tutorials.

"Blockkurse" and practical courses

In general these courses are offered in the time between the examination period and the start of the new semester.
"Blockkurse" sometimes serve as substitutions for regular courses during the semester and can consist of the same basic elements as the lectures.
Practical courses offer the opportunity to work on a project, e.g. programming projects in the robotic or java practical courses.