Railway Systems Engineering



Railway Systems Engineering (RSE)


at RWTH Aachen University


The RSE program is one of the five specializations of the Master's program in Transport Engineering and Mobility at the RWTH Aachen University. In addition to the German-language specializations, the RSE specialization can be studied completely in English and offers an interdisciplinary structure.

In this specialisation the railway is covered as a complete system. In addition to infrastructure and operation, contents from vehicle technology and the electric drive of the railways are discussed. The contents are therefore from the fields of civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

The RSE program is one of the only international and interdisciplinary master programs in the world focusing the complete system railway.

Additionally, a focus is being placed on the practical application of modern research topics. For instance, RWTH Aachen University maintains close contact with locally based companies including Talbot Services, Siemens AG with its Wildenrath test and validation center (PCW) and the infrastructure owner and operator Rurtalbahn.

How can innovative ideas in vehicle construction enable new transport concepts? How can transport networks be logically developed, expanded, relieved, and ecologically planned? How can factors like rolling stock and routing be managed in a way that need-oriented and smooth railway traffic is possible? How do random disturbances in transportation have to be considered in order to avoid jamming or to optimize safety strategies? How can we shift more passenger and freight transport to the rails? Is driverless operation possible for all kinds of rail transport means?

When the interaction of technical possibilities, infrastructure, and human behavior is supposed to be optimized, transport engineers are called upon for their interdisciplinary perspective. At RWTH Aachen University, students of the Transport Engineering and Mobility program acquire this interdisciplinary expertise by studying the perspectives of three engineering disciplines: civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. This extraordinary breadth allows them to consider not only the aspects of infrastructure development and rail vehicle engineering but also the economic framework conditions of their concepts.
Take advantage of the opportunity to expand and refine your expertise within designing the ever-present desire of people to be mobile.

The specialization Railway Systems Engineering concentrates on the further development of railway engineering. Students work with rail vehicles, rail transportation systems, and infrastructure developments in rail transportation. This master‘s program covers each aspect of the complete system „Railway“, the infrastructure, the operation and the vehicles including the electrical drive as well as electric power supply. Furthermore, this is the only specialization of the Master degree program Transport Engineering and Mobility which can be studied completely in English.

The Research Center Railways who organizes the RSE-Master program is a cooperation between three institutes from three different faculties.

Institute of Transportation Science and Chair of Railway Engineering and Transport Economics (VIA)

This institute is a part of the Faculty of Civil Engineering. The lectures from VIA focus on the fundamentals of railway construction such as track construction, alignment, stations and switches as well as railway operation. This includes dimensioning the infrastructure, productions systems, signaling and safety systems and operation of urban transportation systems. This way, our students obtain a broad knowledge about planning, operating and maintaining a railway network. Another task of this institute is transportation economics (Transport Management, Intermodal Transport and Logistics).

Chair and Institute of Rail Vehicles and Transport Systems (IFS)

As a member of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the IFS is responsible for research and teaching in the field of railway rolling stock. The IFS investigates and develops methods, processes and products that improve the attractiveness and competitiveness of the railway system, including the interfaces with other means of transport. The rail vehicle is placed in the center of the research activities at the IFS, closely integrated in the overall railway system and with logistic connections with other transport systems.

Chair and Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA)

The research at the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) focusses on next generation power electronics, electrical drives and battery storage systems. With more than 100 research associates, it is one of the largest university-based research facilities in electrical engineering in Europe covering all components of modern electric drivetrains including inverter, charger, e-motor and battery. Besides the development of high power density converters and drives, ISEA has a strong focus on system modeling, control and reliability.

Industry contacts

Mobility is the global motor for economic development and personal evolution. International experience for prospective transport engineers is becoming increasingly important and is often a deciding factor for one's career path. This program offers a great opportunity for young engineers of diverse backgrounds to learn, study and work together in an international environment.

German universities are well-known for working closely with the industry on cutting edge topics, thereby rendering their research not only relevant to the needs of the current times, but also fostering a fruitful environment of mutual development. Each of the organizing institutes has outstanding contacts to companies in and outside of Germany. The involved faculties are members of many different research associations as well. All these factors help generate chances for interesting and highly instructive internships for the students.

Career Prospects

Engineers with expertise in mobility and transport are multidisciplinarily trained professionals who are able to optimize the interaction of transport carriers and transport infrastructure with regards to technical, economic, and social aspects.

Among the many positions held by RWTH graduates of such master courses are, for instance, optimizing transport processes in public administration, where they support the entire organization from the political decision to budgeting continuing to the operation of transport systems. On another level, many employment possibilities exist directly in the railway industry, for example working for manufacturers for rolling stock or signaling systems. Our graduates also work in consulting and engineering offices which offer support and solutions to the original equipment manufacturers. Furthermore, transport companies which operate the rail networks across the world as well and the logistics sector both face very challenging tasks of an interdisciplinary nature which are ideal areas of application from the perspective of a mobility specialist.

Finally, a very important and interesting opportunity is to continue one's career in the university as a doctoral candidate. Doctoral studies in the engineering field in Germany offer you the chance to work on open questions in the railway sector, in close cooperation with the aforementioned industries.

The RWTH Aachen University is a university of excellence and one of the largest and one of the best renowned universities in Germany. There are more than 45,000 students at the RWTH, from which most are enrolled in engineering sciences. Due to its large student population, Aachen is a young and dynamic city offering many leisure activities, located near the border to the Netherlands and Belgium.

Contact us

Academic Program Coordinator Transport Engineering and Mobility and academic advisor (for program-specific questions): support@fb3.rwth-aachen.de
Master-Application Support (for general questions): master@fb3.rwth-aachen.de

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