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Course structure

Studenten werfen ihre Hüte in die Höhe © Stephan Floss

At almost all universities, the academic year is divided into a winter semester (WS) and a summer semester (SS). Not all study programmes allow you to choose whether you want to start your studies in the winter or summer semester. Some subjects (e.g. Veterinary Medicine) only start in the winter semester.

The course content of the Bachelor’s and Masters’ study programmes is structured according to modules - subject areas. Modules are closed thematic units. They consist of several classes that belong to a common sub-area of a subject. In the Bachelor’s study programme, modules of different classes teach general technical basics and methodological knowledge. A module can consist of various classes such as seminars, exercises and lectures. You have to demonstrate acquired knowledge in module exams. You will receive credit points for completing a module successfully. In addition to the compulsory modules that all students need to pass, elective modules are also offered. As a result, not all students in a study programme have completely identical classes, but can decide on specific focus areas depending on their interests. In the modules of the advanced study phase, knowledge is deepened and expanded and interdisciplinary qualifications are also acquired. Project work and internships are part of the programme. Compulsory as well as optional modules/subjects often allow individual focus. If a practical semester or semester abroad is planned, it is usually completed in the fourth or fifth Bachelor-semester. A major written and/or experimental work, the Bachelor’s thesis, must be completed at the end of the course.

One subject or two? A Bachelor’s study programme can include one or two major subjects. In a single-subject Bachelor’s programme, the focus is on the chosen subject. Minor subject modules are based on the content of a single subject and are integrated into the programme. Admission is granted only for the single subject. In a dual-subject Bachelor’s programme, two subjects are studied side by side with equal emphasis. For Bachelor's study programmes that qualify for the teacher training, these two subjects will become the first and second teaching subjects.

The course ends with a successfully completed Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis. The final grade comprises the grades earned in all modules of the respective course. Credit points are awarded upon successful completion of module examinations. A total of 180 credit points must be earned within a six-semester Bachelor’s study programme in order to successfully complete the course. 120 credit points are required to successfully complete the four-semester Master’s study programme. As a rule, the average workload for one semester is 900 working hours.

The ECTS, European Credit Transfer System, was developed by the Commission of the European Union in order to provide a uniform procedure for reliable academic recognition of study achievements abroad. It provides a method for measuring and comparing academic achievements and transferring them from one institution to another. If the university changes, the student’s achievements so far must be recognised by the new university. To do so, the new university not only needs to know the student’s examination grades, but also the completed workload for the respective subject. Each module is therefore provided with a number of credit points. Credit points indicate the workload of the student for each module, which is made up of university attendance, self-study phases, examination preparation and effort as well as the internships.

A transcript of records is the certificate that a student needs if he/she wants to switch to a university within or outside the country. It indicates all classes and modules completed so far, the ECTS points obtained for these and the national examination grades with the corresponding ECTS grades. The diploma supplement is a certified supplement to the Bachelor’s certificate. It is given to each graduate and indicates personal data, information on the course of study, title and grade. An additional passage explains the German educational system.


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