Which qualification should I aim for?
By deciding on a study programme, you determine which degree you can obtain. Barring Law, Medicine, Teacher Training and some diploma courses, almost every course starts with a Bachelor’s degree. Depending on the university and subject, it takes six to eight semesters for students to receive their Bachelor’s degree as their first professional qualification. They can then pursue their Master’s or start a professional life straight away.
Regardless of which university or type of study you choose, all universities confer internationally recognised Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. A Bachelor’s degree is the foundation for and entry ticket to the scientific world. It is the first academic degree that a student receives after three to four years of study. Without it, a subsequent Master’s degree is not possible. However, students can also enter professional life after completing their Bachelor’s.
Bachelor’s study programmes can concentrate on one major subject (mono-bachelor) or can be completed as a combination course with several subjects (combination Bachelor’s degree or dual Bachelor’s).
Those who want to delve deeper into the scientific world or broaden their professional knowledge will need to get a Master’s after completing their Bachelor’s. For experienced professionals, it is best to choose study programmes having application-oriented profiles. On the other hand, Master’s study programmes having a research-oriented profile are a must for those who aspire for an academic career. There is always a choice between a consecutive or an advanced, often extra-occupational, Master’s study programme.
Consecutive study programmes build on the knowledge gained from the Bachelor’s programme and broaden, deepen and expand this knowledge. The Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are named differently depending on the subject group in which they are acquired. After successfully completing their studies, linguists, cultural scientists, sports scientists, social scientists and art scholars receive a Bachelor or Master of Arts (BA/MA) degree.
Mathematicians, natural scientists, agricultural scientists, forest scientists and nutritionists on the other hand receive a Bachelor or Master of Science (B.Sc./M.Sc.) degree – as do engineers, who can additionally obtain a Bachelor or Master of Engineering (B.Eng./M.Eng.) degree.
Legal scholars receive a Bachelor or Master of Laws (LLB/LLM) degree, if they have not already completed their studies successfully with a state examination.
Graduates of study programmes for applied or performing arts and musicians receive the Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts (BFA/MFA) degree or a Bachelor or Master of Music (B.Mus/M.Mus) degree.
A few study programmes end with state exams. In Saxony, this also includes Teacher Training courses in addition to Human Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry, Pharmacy, Food Chemistry and Law. Their final exams are regulated by the state. After the first state examination, graduates complete a preparatory service, called traineeship, which lasts for several months and which is crowned by the second state examination, a practical examination of sorts.
It is also possible to complete one’s studies with a diploma as a graduate engineer in Saxony. Of the nine leading technical universities in Germany (“TU9”), the TU Dresden is the only one that continues to offer traditional one-level diploma study programmes. These programmes are recognised and comparable internationally. Modularisation makes this possible. Like the Bachelor’s and Master’s study programmes, diploma study programmes award credit points too.
Those who wish to continue with scientific work after successfully completing their Master’s, diploma or state examination, work on a dissertation, usually at a university. Artists may also pursue their doctorate at a university of fine arts, but only in fields with a particularly scientific focus. For graduates from technical colleges, Saxony offers a special option by way of the cooperative doctoral procedure. A professor from a university and a professor from a technical college together supervise their doctoral students, who also need to take up additional university courses. The reward for the effort, which often requires several years, is the doctorate. The next step on the scientific career ladder is the habilitation; the only thing that tops it is a professorship.