Difference Between an Architecture and Civil Engineering Degree
What is the difference between a civil engineering degree program and an architecture degree program?
In general, the difference between an architecture program and a civil engineering program is that a civil engineer focuses on the technical details and the functionality of a building, whereas an architect focuses on the design and artistic aspects.
Completion of Examinations
If I enroll in a course, do I have to take the examination?
You have to enroll for classes and the exams separately in RWTHonline. Thus, enrollment for a course is not automatically the enrollment for an exam.
Taking exams in the elective compulsory area
Do I have to take an examination for a compulsory elective course I withdrew from, in the future?
No. If you have withdrawn from the examination in time or have submitted a medical certificate correctly, no failed examination attempt will be recorded. In this case, you do not have to take the examination for this course, instead, you can choose to take another compulsory elective examination. Furthermore, it is not necessary to apply to the examination board to delete the registration of the course or inform the ZPA.
Recognition of Examination Performances
How are examination results recognized?
Examination performances that have been completed through other degree programs from the RWTH or other universities are eligible for recognition, as long as the competencies gained from the course are similar to that of the course it would replace. The comparability of the courses is subject to review by a representative of the institute that offers the course for which you are seeking recognition. You may apply for course recognition with the appropriate examination board after the course's comparability has been reviewed. Students in the Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering B.Sc. program looking to have courses accredited must apply for recognition with the School of Business and Economics.
1. Inform and Compare
- Compare the course and exam description of the module from the other university that you have completed to that of the description of your degree program at RWTH Aachen University to see if there are similarities between the two. If the module description of the other university is uninformative, conclusive, or in-complete you can try to obtain and compare additional materials such as the syllabus or transcripts of the course.
- If you are interested in the recognition of examinations from temporary stays abroad you can inform yourself with the information provided by the International Exchange Office at the Faculty of Civil Engineering or gather information from former outgoings concerning which examination results from your guest university have been recognized for your degree program in the past.
2. Apply and Review
- Have you identified an external result that you think could be accredited for your current degree program at the RWTH Aachen University? Then contact the chair/institute that offers the module that you think can be replaced. Please give them all the necessary information and materials, for example, the external module description in German or English at this time.
- Some Institutes have a designated contact person that is responsible for the recognition of examination results:
- Chair and Institute of Construction Business and Project Management: Caroline Kothes
- Institute of Highway Engineering: Nicolas Carreño
- Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management: Julian Hofmann und Simone Lechthaler
- Chair of Geotechnical Engineering and Institute of Geomechanics and Underground Technology: Jonas Willing
- Institute of Structural Concrete: Abedulgader Baktheer
- Institute of Transport Science: Bastian Kogel
- Research Group Gender and Diversity in Engineering: Ann-Kristin Winkens
- Institute of Applied Mechanics: Jaan Simon
- Teaching and Research Area for Building Materials - Building Materials Conservation and Maintenance and Institute of Building Materials Research: Christian Helm
- Chair of Structural Analysis and Dynamics: Simon Klarmann
- Chair of Urban Water and Waste Management and Institute of Urban Water Management: Michael Krumm
- E3D Institute of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Building: Jérôme Frish
- AVT - Aachener Verfahrenstechnik (This includes the following Chairs: Biochemical Engineering, Chemical Process Engineering, Computational Systems Biotechnology, Fluid Process Engineering, Mechanical Process Engineering, Microscale Bioengineering, Soft Matter Process Engineering, Process Systems Engineering): Tobias Harhues
- For recognition regarding all other institutes, please contact the person responsible for which you would like to receive accreditation. You can find this information on RWTHonline.
- To request recognition of modules from the elective section (for example foreign languages or elective modules) please consult the examination board management.
- For the recognition for the module "Relevant additional subjects from studies abroad" please contact the International Exchange Office at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and include the module description of the external module as well as a short statement why you consider the external module to be a relevant additional subject for your studies. Please indicate your student ID and your specialization in your request as well.
- This applies currently only for the master's degree program business administration and Engineering Civil Engineering: for accreditation concerning business and economics modules please refer to the form for reviewing the content comparability for business and economic modules.
- For recognition of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) in the compulsory elective courses of the Sustainable Management - Water and Energy M.Sc. program, please have the academic program management check the eligibility of recognition before applying for recognition. You can register for one or more MOOCs. A total of up to 10 ECTS can be taken. Please note that MOOCs in the free version can only be recognized if semester-long, assessed examinations, such as tests and course work submissions, are offered. A final examination is not necessary in the case of semester-long assessed examination achievements. Furthermore, please keep in mind that the attendance of courses without evaluated performance cannot be recognized. A list of MOOCs that have already been approved and recognized, as well as instructions on how to register for MOOCs, will be emailed at the beginning of the program and upon request by the academic program manager. Please inform yourself on edX whether examination achievements for the selected MOOCs are available in the free version for the current semester.
- Have you received positive feedback concerning your reviewed accreditation application?
Then please use the Control Sheet Course Recognition to receive a written endorsement for recognition.
- This applies only for the master's degree program in business administration and engineering civil engineering: for accreditation of useful supplements in the area of free elective courses or fields of study is the signature on the form for review of content recognition ability is sufficient for business and economics modules.
4. Apply for Recognition
- For accreditation of examination results please use the correct application. For recognition of examination results from a temporary stay abroad please use the application for recognition of examination results from temporary stays abroad. For all other accreditation applications please use the application for recognition of examination results.
- Please attach the following forms to your application for recognition: transcript of records from the other university, control slip for recognition as well as the form for review of content comparability for recognition for business and economic modules.
- You will receive a notice of accreditation via mail. The positive notice of accreditation is required for ERASMUS+ students.
5. Grade Calculation and ECTS Credit Points
- The grades of the recognized results of a university outside of Germany will be converted via the RWTH Recalculation guidelines
- The RWTH Aachen University uses ECTS credit points as a guide to the scope of a course. If an elective course examination is completed outside of Germany and is recognized, the ECTS credit points from the foreign university may be used, as long as these do not exceed the maximal number of credit points allowed in the electives section.
- Credit points from other systems can also be converted to ECTS credit points via a comparison of the workload.
How do I register for an examination using RWTHonline?
Information can be found in RWTHonline using the "Help" function as well as in the internal Wiki.
When can I register for my Bachelor's Thesis? / How do I register for my Bachelor's Thesis?
See Bachelor's Thesis
How do I register for my Master's Thesis
See Master's Thesis
Specialization Enrollment (Masters)
What do I need to do to enroll in a specialization during my master's studies?
- Who needs to enroll?
Students in their first semester of the master's degree programs: civil engineering, transportation engineering and mobility, environmental engineering as well as business administration and engineering civil engineering.
- How do I enroll?
You will automatically be notified of your specialization when you register for the first examination of the chosen specialization. The exams must be registered via the Curriculum Support. If the exams are registered via another application, the wrong specialization may be registered.
Applications for the Examination Board
See Examination Board
Additional Requirements ("Auflagen")
How do I enroll for additional required courses?
If your master's admission contains admission subjects, please register these via curriculum support.
Who can advise me about studying abroad?
The International Exchange Office at the Faculty of Civil Engineering advises and assists you in the planning, preperation, financing and execution of study-related stays abroad (e.g. studying abroad, internships abroad or summer schools) as well as the accredidation of your accomplisments abroad and with the search for international and interculterual possibilities at home.
How do I receive a topic for my bachelor's thesis?
Institutes and chairs either have a list of topic suggestions on their website or advertised within the institutes themselves on their bulletin boards. You can also request a list of the responsible contact person of the institute/chair. Please inform yourself about the process at the institute/chair where you are writing or planning to write your thesis. If you have an idea for your thesis, your mentor must first approve of the topic.
When can I register for my bachelor's thesis?
You can register for your topic when you fulfill the following criteria:
- Civil Engineering (B.Sc.): Evidence of 125 CP and evidence of a recognized pre-internship
- Mobility and Transport (B.Sc.): Evidence of 125 CP
- Environmental Engineering (B.Sc.): Evidence of 125 CP and evidence of a recognized pre-internship
Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering (B.Sc.): Evidence of 125 CP and evidence of a recognized pre-internship
How do I register for my bachelor's thesis?
The necessary application forms for your bachelor's thesis can be found in the ZPA. It will be checked if you meet the requirements to write your bachelor's thesis at this time (see "When can I register for my bachelor's thesis?). Your contact person at the ZPA .
You must submit the registration form to the chair that is to supervise your thesis. They will then complete the application and send it to the ZPA for further processing. The degree program Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering is an exception to this process. In this case, the chair forwards the registration form to the B.Sc. examination board, which then must approve the topic. After they approve the topic, the application will be sent to the ZPA.
Can I write my bachelor's thesis externally?
You can submit an application to the examination board for approval of writing your thesis outside of the RWTH. The application must include the topic of the bachelor's thesis and the supervisor. They must attach a certificate from an approved supervisor, stating that they will mentor you.
When does the working time begin?
The day the examination board committee countersigned.
The registration and the latest submission date will be entered in RWTHonline by the ZPA.
Please also note the details of the bachelor's thesis in the examination regulations valid for you.
Can my working time be extended?
In individual cases and upon request, the examination board might extend the working time of the bachelor's thesis by up to four weeks. Please submit the request for more time, at least 2 weeks before the date of submission for your thesis, to ensure timely processing by the examination board. Please attach a form in which your mentor approves of the time extension to your time extension request application.
Is it possible to sit in on a thesis presented in preparation for my own?
This is possible in many institutes/chairs. Please contact the chair where you are writing your thesis.
Applying for Admission
How do I apply for a place in a bachelor's degree program?
The B.Sc. courses at the Faculty of Civil Engineering are currently not restricted to admission. Therefore, no application is requried, but only the enrollment in a degree program.
More information can be found here.
How do I apply for a place in a master's degree program?
The Faculty of Civil Engineering offers a variety of Master's programs. Both for those who have completed their first university degree at the RWTH Aachen University and for external interested parties. The application is submitted and filled-out via a web-based tool that can be found on the website of the student secretariat.
Information about the application can be found here.
If you would like to apply for several fields of study in the same Master's program, please apply only once for this study program and hand in all desired fields of study on the printed application form. Otherwise - if you submit more than one applciation for the same course of study but each with different fields of study - only the most recent submitted application will be considered.
Please note that the application deadline for the winter semester ends on July 15 and that for the summer semester ends on the January 15. After this period an application will no longer be possible.
International prospective students will find more information about the master's degree program application here.
Applying for placement in a higher semester
It is possible to apply for the 2nd semester of our master's programs. However, we advise applicants against admission to higher semesters because they would then have to fulfill both of the following requirements:
- Fulfillment of the general application requirements for application to the 1st semester of the master's degree program.
- Completion of at least 30 CP for the intended Master's degree program, in order to be placed directly in the 2nd semester.
If you do not completely fulfill the criteria for placement in a higher semester, you will be rejected and will not automatically be placed in the first semester of the master's degree program. Due to this, please apply only for placement in the first semester of the master's degree program. The recognition of completed academic achievements from previous master's degree programs is still possible after admission.
What is the institute internship phase?
The institute internship phase gives students an insight into the practical implementation of scientific work. Each of the four fields of study in the Bachelor of Science programs Civil Engineering (B.Sc.), Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering (B.Sc.) offers its own internship phase. The study program Transportation Engineering and Mobility (B.Sc.) offers an internship phase. Students studying Environmental Engineering (B.Sc.) (PO 17) can choose to partake in an internship phase as an elective.
The institute internship is a fixed-semester course and is planned for the sixth semester. Students are required to register via RWTHonline. Please note that you also have to register for the examination. Further information regarding the content of the institute internship can be found in RWTHonline.
How do I receive a topic for my master's thesis?
Topic suggestions can be found on the websites and on the bulletin boards of the institutes/chairs. You can also request a topic from the responsible contact person. Please inform yourself about the usual procedure at the institute/chair at which you would like to write your thesis. If you would like to work on your own idea or topic for your master’s thesis, you are required to obtain approval from your mentor first.
When can I register for my master's thesis?
The topic of the Master's thesis can be registered if 60 CP have already been achieved according to the requirements of the examination regulations.
If your master’s admission states that you are to complete additional requirements (additional courses, “Auflagen”), then you have to prove the courses when registering for the master’s thesis.
How do I register for my master's thesis?
The registration form is available in the ZPA responsible for processing such forms.
You are required to submit the registration form to the chair that is supervising your thesis. They will then further fill out the form and send it to the ZPA.
Students of the Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering degree program are an exception. After you submit your registration form to your supervising institute they will forward it to the respective examination board for subject approval. After your topic receives approval from the examination board your registration form will then be sent to the ZPA.
Can I write my master's thesis externally?
You can apply to write your master’s thesis outside the RWTH to the examination board. The application must include the topic of the master’s thesis and your supervisor. Please attach a letter confirming supervision from an authorized person in the degree program.
When does the working time start?
Civil Engineering, Transport Engineering and Mobility, Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Management - Water and Energy: On the day, the professor signed the registration form.
Business Administration and Engineering: Civil Engineering: The day the examination board signed the registration form.
The registration and the latest submission date will be entered by ZPA in RWTHonline.
Please be aware of the details of the Master's thesis in the examination regulations valid for you.
Can the working time be extended for a master's thesis?
On a case-by-case basis, the examination board may extend the working time of the Master’s Thesis by up to six weeks. Please submit the application for a time extension in a timely manner (at least two weeks before the required submission date of the thesis) to ensure timely processing by the examination board. A letter from your supervisor supporting the time extension must be attached to your application.
Is there a possibility to attend a thesis presentation in preparation?
Many institutes and chairs offer you the possibility to attend a thesis presentation in preparation. Please contact the institute at which you are writing your thesis for more information.
Is it possible to take only one course from a module?
No, modules must always be completed entirely.
How can I take master's courses as a bachelor's student?
See Taking Master's Courses Early.
Supplementary Oral Examination
Am I required to apply for a supplementary oral examination?
Yes. The application for the supplementary oral examination must be submitted to the chair immediately in writing or electronically, latest by the time of the publication of the results of the second examination taken of the course. Should a candidate not be able to participate personally in a post-examination review it is possible for the application to be submitted by an authorized representative in the post-examination review. The date for the oral supplementary examination will be set and the date of the examination will take place at the latest within the next four weeks from the beginning of the examination.
If the responsible examination committee approves a resignation for good reasons, a new appointment must be made within a further two weeks. After the expiry of six weeks from the examination, the right to oral supplementary examination lapses.
Where can I find the application forms for the examination board?
A collection of various application forms can be found on the Faculty of Civil Engineering's website.
Which examination board should I send my applications to?
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Transportation Engineering and Mobility
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Prüfungsausschuss Mobilität und Verkehr / Verkehrsingenieurwesen und Mobiltät
Faculty for Civil Engineering
Prüfungsausschuss Umweltingenieurwissenschaften und Sustainable Management - Water and Energy
Sustainable Management - Water and Energy
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Prüfugnsausschuss Umweltingenieurwissenschaften und Sustainable Managment - Water and Energy
Management and Engineering in Construct
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Prüfugnsausschuss Management and Engineering in Construct
Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering
- If you are working towards your bachelor's degree (even if you are enrolled for master's courses)
School of Business and Economics
B.Sc. Prüfungsauschuss Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen
- If you are working towards your master's degree
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Diplom/M.Sc. Prüfungsausschuss Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen FR Bauingenieruwesen
Change of examination regulations / equivalence list
How do I know how my benefits from the previous PO will be transferred when I upgrade to a new PO version?
The new PO version contains an equivalence list as an attachment. This list shows how the services are transferred. This is valid for accomplished academic achievements as well as for failed attempts.
See Elective Courses / Modules
Expunging Your Worst Module Grade
How can I have a grade expunged from my graduation records when completing my studies in the regular study period?
Bachelor students can apply for a grade cancellation. Please inform your contact person at the ZPA within one week of the announcement of the result of the last examination whether and, if so, which module grade(s) should be canceled. The extent to which grades can be canceled can be found in your examination regulations. A grade cancelation is only possible if you have completed your studies within the standard period of study.
Environmental Engineering Seminar Paper (Studienarbeit UIW)
How do I register for my seminar paper?
The module "Seminar Paper" is anchored in the environmental engineering bachelor's degree program. Registration does not take place via RWTHonline nor directly at the ZPA. The seminar paper is just to be completed. After completion of the paper and the colloquium, the supervising chair sends a message to the contact person in the ZPA, who then records your performance. You will find a template for the notification of grades under the student applications and forms section of our faculty's website.
Academic Progress Certificates
If you need an Academic Progress Certificate, please contact email@example.com to make an appointment.
Where can I find my degree program specific curriculum?
You can find the curriculum in your degree's examination regulations.
Overarching Examination Regulations (ÜPO)
What are the "overarching examination regulations"?
Winter semester 2015/2016 the overarching examination regulations (ÜPO) came into effect. These regulations take into account the requirements of the new Higher Education Act, to which all university regulations had to be adapted. The ÜPO contains the general and interdisciplinary regulations and applies only in conjunction with the respective degree-specific examination regulations, which contain supplementary and course-specific regulations.
Certificate of Good Standing
Where can I get a certificate of good standing?
If you have already been enrolled in a university and have failed a course and wish to enroll in one of our degree programs, you must submit a certificate of good standing (UBB) when enrolling in the student secretariat.
Three documents are required to be sent to the examination board at the Faculty of Civil Engineering when applying for a certificate of good standing:
Overview of examination boards and addresses.
- A cover letter indicating which course of study you intend to study and that you need a UBB.
- A certified overview of the positive as well as the negative examinations of your previous course of study or your previous degree programs (RWTH students receive this "account statement for clearance certificate" at the ZPA). It would therefore also be necessary to know whether you have finally failed an exam. We need the student account statement for all courses you have ever taken (passed and failed).
- The top part of the UBB filled out.
After examination by the chairman of the examination board or another authorized person, the UBB will be sent to your postal address.
If you want to change from RWTH Aachen University to another university, the Faculty of Civil Engineering will not issue you a UBB. You can obtain a grade sheet with passed and failed performances at the ZPA during office hours in that case.
Attention: If you would like to enroll in the Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering (B.Sc.) degree program please contact Ms. Otten for more information.
Leave of Absence
Am I allowed to take courses during my leave of absence?
Yes, according to the general examination regulations (ÜPO), you can take both events and exams during a vacation semester.
Who is responsible for the leave of absence from my studies?
The registrar's office. Frequently asked questions about the vacation semester can be found on the website of the registrar's office.
What do I need to do to be able to register a specialization in my master's?
See Master's Degree Specialization Enrollment.
Can I change my specialization?
- Civil Engineering (M.Sc.), Traffic Engineering and Mobility (M.Sc.), Environmental Engineering (M.Sc.): The chosen main emphasis or specialization in the Master's program can be changed once upon request to the examination board.
- Business Administration and Engineering (M.Sc.): Civil Engineering: The economic specialization, can be changed once upon request to the examination board. The engineering field of study (structural engineering, etc.) can also be changed once upon request to the examination board.
Can I choose a different specialization than what I completed in my bachelor's degree?
- Civil Engineering (M.Sc.): Since it is a consecutive master's, the Master's program can be formally chosen without any problems, without having to take courses to catch up (e.g. main emphasis Construction Engineering and Geotechnical Engineering in the Master's Degree in the Bachelor's degree). However, it is the responsibility of the student to review the contents of subjects that were not taken, independently.
- Business Administration and Engineering (M.Sc.): Civil Engineering: Since it is a consecutive master, the master's program can be formally chosen without any problems, without having to take courses to catch up (e.g. field of study construction engineering and geotechnical engineering in the master's degree in the bachelor's degree). However, it is the responsibility of the student to review the contents of subjects that were not taken, independently.
What to consider when completing your pre-internship?
A four-week internship is an admission requirement for the B.Sc. degree programs in civil engineering, environmental engineering, and business administration and engineering civil engineering. Detailed information can be found in the examination regulations of the degree programs (found under the Official Announcements section of the RWTH Aachen University's website).
Further information about the pre-internship can be found on our internship office website.
Taking Master's Courses Early
It is only possible to enroll for modules for the master's program during your undergraduate studies after you have attained at least 120 CP (exceptions are regulated by the examination board). The total amount of master modules may not exceed 30 CP. Information Taking Master's Courses Early
The corresponding application has to be addressed to the bachelor's examination board if you are a student of the business administration and engineering civil engineering degree program (please note the registration deadlines!).
Which master's programs can be used to advance modules depends on your bachelor's degree program:
Civil Engineering (B.Sc.): Civil Engineering (M.Sc.), Transport Engineering and Mobility (M.Sc.), Environmental Engineering (M.Sc.), Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering (M.Sc.)
Transport Engineering and Mobility (B.Sc.): Transport Engineering and Mobility (M.Sc.), Civil Engineering (M.Sc.)
Environmental Engineering (B.Sc.): Environmental Engineering (M.Sc.), Civil Engineering (M.Sc.), Sustainable Energy Supply (B.Sc.)
Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering (B.Sc.): Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering, Electrical power Engineering, or Materials ad process Engineering (M.Sc)
Please note that you are not eligible for admission to capacity-limited courses.
Failed modules can only be repeated in the master's program.
How do I register for an elective?
In the various degree programs, this faculty has to offer electives that may be chosen. Electives may be described differently depending on the program and focus. Various electives include the non-technical subject, the free optional subject, the elective module, the free elective module, and the elective are of free choice. One examination must be taken in each case. To register for an optional subject please use the application Elective Registration.
Can electives be changed after failed attempts?
According to § 11 PO, freely selectable modules can only be "replaced as long as no examination has been taken [...]". However, there is the option of having "surplus" modules removed at the end of your studies if the requirements of the examination regulations regarding the CPs to be provided have been met. In this case, an application for the cancellation of the examination or modules has to be submitted to the examination board.
For Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering (M.Sc.): Which subjects are suitable for the elective area "Free Choice" (Group 3 or Group 5)?
Practically all subjects with sufficient CP from the lecture program of RWTH Aachen are considered, except those that come from faculties 3 and 8. The module can be fulfilled via multiple classes as long as the mandatory 5 CP are provided. There is no list of subjects already taken by other students. A course from faculties 3 or 8 can only be taken as an elective after consultation with the academic program management.
For Business Administration and Engineering Civil Engineering (M.Sc.): Are language courses also recognized for the elective area "Free Choice" (Group 3 or Group 5)?
Language courses successfully completed at RWTH Aachen Language Center will be recognized in conjunction with the certificate issued by the language center upon application to the examination board in the optional elective modules or alternatively in the academic skills module. Two different language courses (e.g. English and Italian) can be combined to achieve the required CP. The grade of two language courses with 2 SWS each are averaged in this case.
For Business Administration and Engineering (M.Sc.): Civil Engineering: Are other English courses also recognized as "Technical English" for the elective area "Free Choice" (Group 3 or Group 5)?
In principle, yes. Other English courses with sufficient CP are also recognized. Please make a corresponding request to the examination board. For 5 CP two courses with 2 SWS each or a course with 4 SWS can be recognized.
Who has to complete the module Scientific Integrity?
The following applies to all students who enroll or have enrolled in a master's program at RWTH Aachen in the winter semester 2020/2021 or later: The passed module Scientific Integrity is a prerequisite for the master's thesis.
How do I enroll in additional courses?
Students may take any examinations, formal registration is not required. However, the offering chair should be informed at the beginning of the semester. If you would like an additional subject to be shown on your certificate documents, you can submit this form together with a certificate of performance from the chair at the ZPA (see § 8 ÜPO).