Smart systems are devices that collect information over sensors, make independent decisions based upon this information, then act upon it accordingly. Security aspects, reliability, miniaturisation, energy consumption and intelligent data processing, all play a critical role. To find successful solutions, it is therefore necessary to consider the smart system and its environment as a whole (systems strategy). Early developments were systems which make independent decisions regarding maintenance, networks which independently select communication modes, and intelligent reactions to sensor data such as automatic windscreen wiper control and dimming mechanisms in the automotive sector.

The Smart Systems degree programme equips students with the knowledge and skills required in this interdisciplinary field, with specializations offered in computer science, electrical engineering and physical technology. To successfully conceive, design, simulate, programme, produce, test and maintain smart systems, a solid grounding in several of the areas involved is essential. Successful solutions depend on applying the correct strategies in any given area of expertise.

This graduate programme was conceived especially for students with degrees in Electrical Engineering or in Computer Engineering or others degree with a mechanical orientation. It is also suitable for foreign students with an undergraduate degree. For this reason, the majority of courses are conducted in English. After successfully completing two semesters of study and an additional thesis semester, graduates will be awarded an MSc degree in Smart Systems which is recognized internationally. This qualification offers graduates broad career opportunities due to rapid globalization in all business sectors.

Quick Information

Degree awarded Master of Science (MSc)
Undergraduate/postgraduate degree postgraduate
Duration of programme 3 semesters
Delivery full-time
Campus Furtwangen
Programme begin summer semester (March; applicants with EU qualification) and winter semester (October)
Application deadline(s) 15 May (applicants with non-EU qualification), 15 January & 15 July (applicants with EU qualification)(Please note: There will be no summer semester intake for non-EU applicants in 2017 - next available entry date is October 2017)
Restricted intake yes
Language of instruction English 90% / German 10%
Academic entry requirements bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, electronics, computer science, mechanics, natural sciences or related discipline
Language requirements English: TOEFL ibt min. 90 points, IELTS min. 6 points
German: A1 CEF
Pre-sessional course / Foundation course requirement none
Additional requirements none
Tuition Fees none
Programme accreditation ACQUIN accredited
Contact SDek-SMA@hs-furtwangen.de

Programme Content and Areas of Specialization

The degree programme recruits students from around the world, making the student body very diverse. The programme structure is very flexible, which allows any differences in initial skills and knowledge to be used constructively.

To provide support in such a flexible programme, each student is assigned a personal academic advisor at the beginning of the programme (one professor usually supervises four or five students). Advisors help students make choices based on individual circumstances and requirements, introduce them to research work (academic colloquiums, scientific projects), and offer other support within the academic environment.

The SMA degree programme offers three key areas of specialisation: 

  • Microsystems Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering

Microsystems Engineering
The microsystems engineering specialisation focuses on engineering physics. If necessary, additional skills in computer science and electronics can be specifically emphasised for individual students, depending on the skills they already possess and on their objectives. The Study and Examination Regulations ensure that a minimum number of electronics and computer science courses are taken to guarantee a targeted focus on smart systems. Graduates with a specialisation in microsystems engineering have microtechnology as their main area of expertise.

Electrical Engineering
The electrical engineering specialisation is geared towards students who are interested in sensors, processing, and actuators and who come to the programme with a good knowledge of electrical engineering. Students in this group deepen their knowledge of electronics and electrical engineering and build on it with a solid education in either computer science or engineering physics. 

Computer Engineering
The specialisation in computer engineering is ideal for students with a strong computer science background. Students in this group deepen their knowledge of computer science and build on it with a solid education in either electronics and electrical engineering or engineering physics.

Programme Objectives

  • Knowledge of basic theory and functions of smart systems
  • Knowledge of important components and modules of smart systems
  • Understanding of design methods, production techniques and implementation of new smarter systems
  • Understanding of signal processing for and communication between smarter systems
  • Understanding of modeling and simulation methods for smart systems
  • Understanding of smarter systems applications using examples
  • Ability to take a holistic view and carry out interdisciplinary analysis and design of smart systems (systematic thinking)
  • Synthesis of smart systems using instructions in a structured form
  • Evaluation of solutions and critical comparison with the latest scientific stand

Job-oriented Objectives

  • knowlege of interdisciplinary, system-oriented methods, which take account of rapid technological developments, in several Smart Systems areas (Electronics, Microsystems technology and Computer applications)
  • familiarity with complex, workplace-relevant soft and hardware tools in the areas of design, simulation and physical technology
  • ability to foresee and evaluate innovative developments and actively effect the shape they take

First-rate Career Prospects

Smart systems are used in various industrial sectors, including the automotive industry, automation, communication, microsystems engineering and the manufacture of everyday items.

Our graduates are qualified for leading positions in various professional areas – such as innovative roles and research & development work in all of the above fields, as well as in related areas in industrial companies and public research institutions – where they work as development engineers, system designers and consultants.

The "Generating Mechanisms of Microstructures" doctoral programme, which is offered in cooperation with the University of Freiburg, provides master's students with the option of continuing their academic career and obtaining a doctorate.

Application deadlines

Application GroupDeadline
with degree from an EU university and good German skills

15 January/
15 July

with degree from an EU university and some German skills15 July
all others15 May

Please note:
There is will be no summer semester intake for
non-EU applicants in 2017. Next available entry is October 2017.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements for Germans and applicants with degrees from countries within the European Union differ from those for applicants with degrees from countries outside the European Union.

In order to successfully complete the programme, a good command of German and English is necessary. Details of language requirements can be found below.

Forms required for Application
Application form
Evaluation form

Please note:

There is will be no summer semester intake for non-EU applicants in 2017. Next available entry is October 2017.

Please complete the Application form and Evaluation form and send them with the other required application documents by the deadline to the following address:

Pamela Weis
Faculty
of Mechanical and Medical Engineering
Furtwangen University
Robert-Gerwig-Platz 1
78120 Furtwangen
Germany

Admission Requirements for Non-EU Applicants

The following additional documents must be submitted with the application form. Please note all certified copies must be officially endorsed by a German embassy or consulate.

  1. A certified copy of your  secondary school diploma (i.e., High School Diploma or A-Levels). If the original is in a language other than English or German, a certified copy of the translation of the diploma is required.
  2. A certified copy of your first academic degree. If the original is in a language other than English or German, an officially certified copy of the translation of the degree is required.
  3. A certified copy of academic record ( i.e. transcripts -  a list of all the higher education courses attended with the grade obtained in each course). If the original is in a language other than English or German, a certified copy of the translation of the document is required.
  4. Curriculum vitae in English or German.
  5. Proof of English and German language proficiency.
  6. Personal statement in English or German explaining reasons for wanting to participate in programme. The essay should be at least one, but no more than two typewritten pages in length.
  7. Two letters of recommendation from persons who are in the position to judge the academic abilities and the motivation of applicant. If the original is in a language other than English or German, a certified copy of the translation of the document is required.
  8. Copies of other relevant documents which might indicate additional experience and a particular aptitude for a Master’s Degree programme, e.g. letters of references from employers.
  9. If a student is admitted who has an academic degree from an institution of higher education outside the European Union, he or she is required to have all transcripts certified by that institute. The applicant is obliged to obtain this confirmation before submitting the documents. Students who have submitted transcripts which are not certified, can have their admission revoked. 

Proof of Language Proficiency

The programme includes courses held in English and in German. For this reason, all applicants must submit proof of proficiency in both languages.

Native German-speaking Applicants
Applicants whose native language is German must submit proof of an English proficiency level of B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

HFU graduates must have at least English level 6 in their transcript of records.

Native English-speaking Applicants
Applicants whose native language is English must submit proof that they have attained level A1 on the CEFR in German for admission in the winter semester and level A2 on the CEFR in German for admission in the summer semester.

Non-native English or German-speaking Applicants
Applicants whose native language is neither English nor German must demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English. A minimum TOEFL ibt score of 90 or higher, OR IELTS 6 or higher is required. If other documents certifying English language competence are submitted, the applicant must provide evidence that his or her English competency level is equivalent to the TOEFL ibt of the IELTS scores stipulated above. Additionally they must submit proof that they have attained level A1 on the CEFR in German for admission in the winter semester and level A2 on the CEFR in German for admission in the summer semester.

Applications within the European Union

Applicants with a degree from an university within the European Union are required to submit the following documents in addition to the application:

  1. A certified copy of  first academic degree
  2. Curriculum vitae in German
  3. A personal statement in German explaining your reasons for wanting to participate in this programme. The essay should be at least one, but no more than two, typewritten pages in length.
  4. Proof of English language proficiency
  5. Copies of other relevant documents which might indicate additional experience, e.g. letters of references from employers

Contact Information

Pamela Weis
Faculty of Mechanical and Medical Engineering
Secretary to the Dean
+49-7723-920-2181
+49-7723-920-2637
Furtwangen Campus, Room A 2.23
Sdek-SMA(a)hs-furtwangen.de

Prof. Dr. Robert Hönl
Faculty of Mechanical and Medical Engineering
Programme Director Smart Systems (Master)
+49-7723-920-2328
Furtwangen Campus, Room A2.25
Office hours: Tuesday 4.00 pm - 5.00pm
Sdek-SMA(at)hs-furtwangen.de