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Akademisches Auslandsamt - International Student Office
Part of the university. Among its duties are the establishment and upkeep of international contacts, advising for international students and promotion of student exchanges.




The Bachelor Degree is part of the new system of studies and also internationally the first academic and independent career-qualifying degree. Time allotted: 6-7 Semesters. Prerequisite for a Masters Degree.


BAföG - federal financial aid
The BAföG (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz = law for the federal promotion of education) is a financial support for a course of studies that is mainly for German students and is based on the income of parents / a spouse. For further information click here.




Credit Points

Credit Points (CP) measure the effort you need to put into your studies. One Credit Point equals around 25 to 30 hours of work, completing a Bachelor's degree requires around 180 CP.  In contrast to the "Semesterwochenstunden", Credit Points also take into account how much time you have to spend on your studies before and after the actual courses.




Dekan / Dekanin - Dean
The director of a department or college, who is voted upon by his or her colleagues of professors for a particular time period.


Diplom - Diploma
The “Diplom” is the certificate of completed university exams; mainly in technical fields, natural sciences and economics, but also for courses of study in the social sciences.


Diplomarbeit - Diploma thesis
The Diploma thesis is the required final thesis in order to earn a Diploma.


Double Diploma programs
Double Diploma programs make it possible for students to earn university degrees from two different universities at the same time.


Dozent / Dozentin - lecturer
Teacher at an institution of higher education




Eignungsprüfung/-test - suitability test
Establishment of the suitability for studying a particular subject.


ERASMUS (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is an exchange program of the EU. Its goal is to support the mobility of European students. The organization strives for as many students as possible to complete a part of their studies in another European country and in another European language.




Fachschaftsrat - student council (for a particular course of studies)
Student representatives for a field of studies or a department


Fachsemester - semester of studies in a particular subject
Name for the completed number of semesters in a particular course of studies and subject


Fakultät - department
Traditional organizational unit for research and teaching at an institution of higher education.




Grundstudium - basic studies
First part of studies, which is usually spread over 4 semesters. In the basic studies, students acquire a general overview of methods and content of their subject. The basic studies are completed with the intermediate examination.




Hauptstudium - specialization / advanced studies
Name for the advanced studies after the basic studies and intermediate examination. Often, the specialization and topics of emphasis can be picked during this time.




Immatrikulation - inscription / registration
Prerequisite for the acceptance to a course of studies is, among other things, the accurate and timely application for registration by turning in the registration form. The registration means the acceptance of the applicant in the list of students.


Institut - college / institute
Colleges are often part of an academic institution or a department of a university.




Kolloquium - colloquium
Discussions of academic topics that are offered supplementary to courses (lectures, seminars, etc.). For example, there are colloquiums for PhD students to exchange ideas about dissertation topics.


konsekutiv - consecutive
Simplified, this means a tiered course of studies. Consecutive (chronologically continuing) Bachelor and Masters courses of study have content that builds on each other, and the normal time frame does not exceed the maximum of five years. The course of studies in tiered subjects is more flexible: first, you study the Bachelor course of studies for 6 semesters, the first level. If you decide that the Bachelor is enough, you can leave the university with a degree. If you would like to study further, you go to the second level, the Masters course of studies (4 semesters).




Lehrstuhl - Chair, professorship
Chair, professorship


Lehrveranstaltung - course
Types of courses include lectures, seminars, practical courses, labs, course or colloquium.




A “Magister” is the traditional degree for a course of studies in the liberal arts. The course of studies lasts approximately 10 semesters. This degree will be replaced by the Master of Arts / of Science at most academic institutions.


The Masters course of studies builds upon a previously completed Bachelor course of studies, or another degree. It lasts 3-4 semesters and ends with the attainment of the academic degree Master (of Science / of Arts).


Mensa - Cafeteria / dining hall
Cafeteria for students and faculty.




Numerus Clausus - restricted admissions
The term Numerus Clausus means the minimum grade that one needs for acceptance into a degree program with restricted admissions. It is used when the number of applicants is greater than the number of available study places. There is usually a selection process in which the Abitur final grade plays a deciding role. There are two kinds of N.C.: one for most degree programs - a local N.C. determined by the university; and one for a few nationwide restricted degree programs that is determined by the ZVS (Zentralen Vergabestelle für Studienplätze = Central Distributor of Study Positions).




Praktika - internships
Internships with companies or scientific organizations (within the study plan) occur mostly in the natural science fields or engineering courses of study. They serve as a supplement to theory.


The term “professor” in Germany denotes the department chair at an academic institution. A professor is usually permanently appointed as a civil servant at an academic institution. (also a lecturer)


Promotion - doctoral studies
Attainment of a PhD


Prüfungsamt - Examination Office
This university establishment governs the organizational preparation and execution of examinations.




Regelstudienzeit - normal time allotted for a course of studies
Name for the time period in which a course of studies can be completed, content-wise and facility-wise.


Rektor - Rector
The rector is voted upon from the members of the council and represents the university publicly.


Rückmeldung - re-registration
This is the regular and necessary renewal of registration at the end of the semester. A person who does not reregister loses his or her student status.




Schein - course certificate of completion
Proof of performance or proof of the successful participation in a course. Course certificates are often prerequisite for examination authorization.


Schnupperstudium - Open House
Advanced high school students are invited to the institutions of higher education in order to get to know the institutions, to inform themselves and to participate in chosen seminars and lectures.


A semester is 6 months of study at an academic institution. Semester breaks (time without classes) are included. Tests, examinations, labs and other internships take place during the semester breaks. Often, this time is also used for autonomous studies and exam preparation. The winter semester at many universities is the time period from October 1 to March 31 of the next year; the summer semester is the time period from April 1 to September 30 of the same year.


Semesterwochenstunden - hours / credits
In the degree programs, course volume is measured in hours per week during the semester (SWS). A visited course (that usually lasts 90 minutes) counts as 2 SWS. The number of SWS to be completed and in which courses is outlined in the study / examination requirements.


Staatsexamen - State Exam
Final examination in the degree programs that allow one access to state-run careers. Afterwards, one adds a practical training phase that ends with the second State Exam.


Stipendien - scholarships
Financial donations; opportunities for financing one’s studies besides the BAföG federal financial aid. Scholarships are most often awarded by endowments.


Studentenrat - student council (in general)
This organization represents student interests.


Studentenwerk - Student Services
The Student Services Office offers students various services. For example, it runs the dining halls and cafeterias, builds and manages dormitories, is responsible for the management of federal financial aid, and offers day care and advice.


Studienberatung - Academic Advising Office
The General Academic Advising Office (also Central Academic Advising Office) of an academic institution informs mostly about prerequisites, content, and requirements of a degree program. It also advises on acceptance questions as well as all types of study-related problems.


Studiengang - course of study, degree program
A degree program is the academic studying of a subject. The course of study aims towards a certain degree. This degree is governed by study and examination requirements.


Studienkolleg - an institution that offers preparatory courses
An establishment at different university locations in which international applicants (with high school degrees that are not recognized in Germany for admission to an academic institution) can prepare for the admission examinations.


Studienordnung - study requirements
This governs the requirements and activities of a degree program.


Studium generale - general education requirements
Not a degree program; instead interdisciplinary course offerings in overlapping subjects for students of all departments.




Tutorien - tutorials
These work groups offer the opportunity to prepare and review the content of a lecture or a seminar under the leadership of a tutor.




Uni-Tag - University Day
Interested persons are invited to inform themselves about an academic institution, view laboratories or take tours.




Vordiplom - Intermediate Diploma
Similar to the Intermediate Exam, prerequisite for the Diploma Final Exam.


Vorlesungsverzeichnis - course bulletin
Catalog of all courses; available at the beginning of the semester.




Zwischenprüfung - Intermediate Exam
Examination after the first part of one’s studies (Basic Studies). Known as Intermediate Diploma in Diploma degree programs.