Potsdam. Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute, at the University of Potsdam, combines the education of its computer science master’s students with special support in the areas of research, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Institute invites candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science, or a related discipline, with a final result of “good” to “very good” to apply for the coming summer semester. The deadline for application submission is January 15, 2014. HPI is the only university institution in Germany offering a major in “IT Systems Engineering” – a form of computer science studies that is extremely practical and engineering-oriented. HPI always earns top positions in the CHE university ranking.
Only about 60 places are awarded in the master’s program each year by HPI, Germany’s center of excellence for IT Systems Engineering. This guarantees the opportunity to study in small groups and to receive optimal support from professors. Students enjoy the advantages of a privately financed, tuition-free educational institute. Besides acquiring intensive knowledge in such diverse areas as business administration and project management, so-called soft skills are taught that are crucial in successfully leading large IT projects. Some of the skills focused on are: communication, team leadership and presentation techniques. Students complete a master’s project in their third semester.
In the HPI master’s program, experienced lecturers explain the most important steps in entrepreneurship and business creation. Besides theory, practical aspects play a vital role. For example, start-up business founders are on hand to present their own experience. Moreover, every two years the Institute puts on its own business plan competition – to be held again in 2014. The partner is the venture capital fund Hasso Plattner Ventures. In the meantime, more than two dozen startsups have been established by HPI graduates. Most of them are based in Berlin or Potsdam.
From Bachelor to Doctor in Four and a Half Years - on the PhD Track
Since 2011, HPI has additionally offered an innovative master’s study program that is also geared toward completion of the PhD. Master’s students are integrated into the HPI Research School from the very beginning. The especially chosen students receive a place in one of the HPI research departments and are personally supervised by its director - who also mentors them as their doctoral advisor. The time required for excellent bachelor graduates to earn a doctoral degree can be shortened to four and a half years.
Unique Support of Design Thinking Europe-Wide
Since 2007, the Potsdam HPI School of Design Thinking has offered a training program in Design Thinking that is unique Europe-wide. The academic training program is modeled on HPI’s sister institute “HPI d.school” at the US elite university Stanford. In the program, HPI master’s students and experienced students from other disciplines acquire the ability to develop particularly user-friendly products and services for all areas of life while working in small multidisciplinary teams. The training program lasts one or two semesters, with attendance in Potsdam required two days a week.
Thanks to further collaboration with Stanford University, HPI’s IT Systems Engineering master students can develop prototypes of innovative products, services and concepts for global corporations, based on the methods of Design Thinking. This is carried out together with fellow students at leading partner universities worldwide. The project, which is called ME310, promotes transcontinental cooperation.
Profile of Hasso Plattner Institute
The Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering GmbH (HPI) in Potsdam is Germany’s university excellence center for IT Systems Engineering. It is the only university institution in Germany offering the bachelor and master program in “IT Systems Engineering” – a practical and engineering-oriented study program in computer science, in which 470 students are presently enrolled. The HPI School of Design Thinking is Europe’s first innovation school and modeled on the Stanford d.school. It offers 240 places yearly for a supplementary study. There are a total of ten HPI professors and over 50 guest professors, lecturers and contracted teachers at the Institute. HPI carries out research noted for its high standard of excellence in its nine topic areas, as well as at the HPI Research School for PhD candidates, with its further branches in Cape Town, Haifa and Nanjing. HPI teaching and research focus on the foundation and application of large-scale, highly complex and networked IT systems. The development and exploration of user-driven innovations for all areas of life is an additional field of importance. Since September 2012, HPI has provided an interactive Internet learning platform - openhpi.de. Its free, open online courses are available to everyone.