Are you just starting university and struggling with the unfamiliar lingo? Have you begun considering what you’d like to study and keep hearing words you’ve never heard before?
That’s no surprise! After all, universities have a language all of their own. Our Campus ABC offers a handy guide for prospective and current students, both before and during their studies.
We wish you an insightful read!
Still need an explanation for a term? Then feel free to drop us an .
Also known as the Allgemeine Hochschulreife, this is the German secondary school leaving certificate that grants admission to studies in any subject at a German higher education institution. Depending on your chosen subject, you may also need to have obtained additional qualifications to be admitted to a → study programme.
One or more members of the teaching staff usually offer subject-specific academic advice. You’re able to receive guidance on subject-specific matters, such as the recognition of credits you’ve earned or individual study arrangements. Information is also available on the master’s study programmes offered in each subject.
German: Akademischer Grad
A title awarded by an authorised higher education institution based on the studies successfully completed with an → examination or special academic achievement and documented with a certificate (→ graduation). The bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, Diplom and doctoral degree are among the commonest academic degrees awarded.
You can apply for a → leave of absence from your studies should an important reason make this necessary (e.g. study abroad, internship, illness, pregnancy, childcare, etc.). A leave of absence is usually granted for one → semester. This does not count as a → subject-related semester and therefore is not included in calculation of your study duration. You cannot be granted a leave of absence for the first subject-related semester (except for → master’s degrees and → doctoral studies). More information
On the one hand, the → notification of admission can be meant here; on the other hand, it can also refer to the admission to → examinations. In the case of a (final) examination, admission is the confirmation that all of the → admission conditions have been met.
The requirements that applicants must fulfil in order to gain → admission to a study programme at a German higher education institution. As a rule, you’ll require → higher education entrance eligibility. Depending on the → study programme and university, further admission conditions may apply. For artistic study programmes, for example, you may need to submit a portfolio of your work. Further examples of admission conditions include intermediate examinations or proof of foreign language proficiency.
→ Selection procedure
The quotas applied first during the allocation of places for study programmes with → local admission restrictions. At HHU, 16 percent of the available study places are awarded to certain groups of applicants within advance quotas: 2 percent to elite athletes, 7 percent to international students (from outside the EU/EEA), 2 percent to minors, 2 percent to hardship cases, 3 percent to applicants for a → second degree. The places still available after this are then allocated during the main allocation procedure to those with vocational qualifications or according to the applicants’ → higher education entrance eligibility and → waiting period.
The → Foundation for University Admission (Hochschulstart) informs on study programmes with → national admission restrictions.
German: weiterführende Studiengänge
If you want to further your studies, you’ll usually need to have already obtained a relevant higher education qualification and/or completed vocational training. The aim is to enhance your existing higher education and/or vocational qualification. Advanced studies normally lead to a formal university degree, such as a → master’s degree.
The graduates and former students of a higher education institution. They keep in touch and network within alumni associations. HHU Alumni Network
Created in 2002, the assistant professorship position enables young academics to research and teach at higher education institutions without a → habilitation.
Short for allgemeiner Studierendenausschuss, which literally means the general student committee. This is the name of the student union in Germany. The members of AStA represent students’ interests vis-à-vis the university, the public and the political sphere, and therefore play a decisive role in ensuring students’ goals are achieved and their concerns are heard.
The largest → lecture hall at a university. At HHU, the Audimax is located in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
Anyone who is not enrolled at the university, but would still like to attend courses is able to register as an auditing student. Since auditing students don’t have student status, they cannot take any examinations. At HHU, auditing students must pay a fee of €100 per semester. See here for more information.
The first degree qualifying for a professional career and entitling the holder to pursue a → master’s degree. This qualification is not only recognised throughout Germany, but also internationally. Depending on the subject studied, a different type of bachelor’s degree is awarded, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc). In Germany, a bachelor’s degree normally takes three years (six semesters).
Short for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, the German Federal Training Assistance Act. This law outlines the financial support available as social benefits to foster the education of eligible schoolchildren and students. Contact Studierendenwerk Düsseldorf for advice and see here for more information on BAföG.
A provider of educational loans for financing your studies. You can use a Bildungsfonds loan to cover your living costs or any tuition fees that may be payable. Your family’s financial situation is not taken into account. Offered by companies, foundations, etc., prospective students must apply to the respective institution for funding. You repay the loan as a percentage of your subsequent income according to the individual conditions agreed. www.bildungsfonds.de
In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, international applicants who obtained their → higher education entrance eligibility in Germany are known as Bildungsinländer*innen. This does not include applicants who obtained their higher education entrance eligibility at a Studienkolleg in Germany.
Some courses don’t involve several sessions spread out over a week or semester, but rather take place in one block – usually on several consecutive days (often over a weekend).
Broadcasting licence fee
All residents of Germany over the age of 18 must pay the broadcasting licence fee for public media. If several people live together, the fee is only payable once. BAföG recipients can request exemption from the obligation to pay this fee. Rooms in student halls of residence are considered separate flats if they lead off of a generally accessible corridor. www.rundfunkbeitrag.de
The university premises – these can either be spread over several locations in a town/city or grouped together on one single site. If you include the university hospital, the HHU campus covers a total of 130 hectares in the south of Düsseldorf. Campus maps and directions
Campus management system
The → student portal is HHU’s central management system that students can use to complete all necessary study-related activities.
At a campus university, all central facilities such as the lecture halls, seminar rooms, → Mensa and other student cafeterias, libraries, etc. are located on the → campus. HHU is a campus university.
One of the student cafeterias on the HHU campus; students often simply refer to it simply as “Vita”. Located directly next to the large main cafeteria (→ Mensa), you’re able to purchase a varied selection of delicious dishes here, including pizza, chips and pasta dishes.
Many universities offer a career service to support students during their transition to a professional career. At HHU, the Students Academy provides a variety of career services, ranging from advice and information events to networking with companies and assistance with job applications. Career services at HHU
German: zentrale Einrichtungen
Facilities at universities that operate independently of the administration. These include the → university libraries, sports facilities (→ Hochschulsport) and → Student Services.
Central Student Advisory Service
German: Zentrale Studienberatung (ZSB)
A service for current and prospective students offering advice, among others to help you decide on a study programme or provide assist should you encounter any difficulties during your studies. More information
Centre for Information and Media Technology (ZIM)
German: Zentrum für Informations- und Medientechnologie (ZIM)
A → central institution at HHU and the first point of contact for all IT issues at the university (e.g. if your → university ID no longer works). www.zim.hhu.de
Certificate of enrolment
German: Immatrikulationsbescheinigung, Studienbescheinigung
Serves as proof of → enrolment at HHU (in addition to the → HHU Card). Issued by university administration, the certificate is valid for one → semester. In addition to your full name and date and place of birth, it also indicates the validity period and the key details of your study programme. These usually include the type of degree you’re pursuing, the subject you’re studying, the → subject-related semester you’re in, the → standard study period and your → matriculation number. At HHU, you’re able to print a copy of your certificate of enrolment in the → student portal.
Confirmation by an official body that a document is a copy of an original certificate. This is indicated on the copy with an official stamp and signature. You’ll need a certified copy of your secondary school leaving certificate when you enrol for a study programme, for example. If you provide HHU with the original certificate, → Student Services will prepare its own certified copy to use for its purposes. Please note that you can’t use this copy as official certification to present to other institutions.
The position held by someone appointed a full professorship. A → professor holding a chair not only affords the corresponding material resources, but often also has staff, e.g. → research assistants, who work for/with them.
At German universities, the chancellor holds the most senior administrative position. They oversee the budget, real estate, legal matters and administrative tasks. The chancellor is a member of the rectorate or president’s office. They are responsible for all non-academic and non-artistic employees at the university. Also see → president.
Change of study programme
In principle, you’re able to change study programmes during your studies. This can involve changing to a completely different → study programme or simply changing your → subject combination and continuing to work towards the → university degree originally aimed at. You’re either able to switch to a higher → semester (if credits can be recognised) or to begin studying the new subject from the first semester. In both cases, you must meet the → admission conditions.
HHU’s Family Support Centre coordinates the childcare places in day care facilities on/near the university campus. See here for more information.
German: Kinderbetreuungszuschlag (KBZ)
You’re able to apply for this financial support if you live in the same household as your children aged under ten. It can supplement the → BAföG educational loan.
For many prospective students, the clearing procedure is the last chance to obtain a place on a study programme with restricted admission. If study places still haven’t been allocated after the selection procedure has ended, higher education institutions are able to conduct a clearing procedure. A lottery then determines who will be offered the remaining places. Neither your marks nor your waiting period play a role any more. Higher education institutions set their own application deadlines for the clearing procedure. You’ll need to register separately should you be interested in being included in this procedure. See this video tutorial on the clearing procedure for more information (in German only).
A scientific discussion – at universities, this is often an oral examination.
Compensation for disadvantages
Students at a disadvantage in an assessment due to an impairment are able to apply to the responsible examination office for compensation for disadvantages. If their application is approved, they may be granted an extension to the time allowed to complete a → written assessment or → term paper, for example. You must submit a medical certificate with your application for compensation for disadvantages. More information
Compulsory elective module
A mandatory course that you must take to be able to complete your studies. You must select your compulsory elective modules from the subjects specified in the → examination regulations or → study regulations.
Removal from the list of students enrolled on a study programme. A higher education institution can exmatriculate you if you fail to meet certain requirements (e.g. academic performance or payment of the → semester fee). Compulsory exmatriculation is regulated in the statutes of the higher education institution. → Exmatriculation will mean you also lose your student status.
Also see → health insurance.
You’ll need to provide proof during → enrolment that you hold (independent or family) health and nursing care insurance. Request an insurance certificate from your insurance provider for this. You can remain on your family’s insurance until the age of 25, after which you must take out compulsory student health insurance. This offers more favourable conditions than the standard health insurance. If you hold private health insurance, you must submit a certificate of exemption from your health insurance provider to the university.
German: Lehrveranstaltung, Kurs
All teaching formats offered at a higher education institution (e.g. → seminars, → lectures).
A catalogue containing the details of all courses offered during a → semester. The course times and rooms are listed, along with the person(s) responsible for the course. You’re able to organise your study timetable and register for courses within a certain period of time via the course catalogue. HHU course catalogue
German: Leistungsnachweis (LN), Schein
You’ll be awarded a course certificate for each course you successfully complete, i.e. attended regularly or successfully passed the required oral examination, → presentation or → term paper. Course certificates sometimes include the marks you obtained; you’ll be informed in advance whether they will be included. You must have obtained a certain number of course certificates to be admitted to an → intermediate examination or the → final examination. This is specified in the → examination regulations.
German: Kreditpunkte, Leistungspunkte
Also see → ECTS credits.
Academic credits awarded to enable a (Europe-wide) comparison of study programmes. You must earn credit points during your bachelor’s or master’s study programme or modular teacher training programme. The credit points quantify the approximate time required for a course. A total of 180 CP are usually awarded for a → bachelor’s degree lasting six semesters, whereby approx. 30 CP are awarded per → semester. The 180 CP are distributed across all of the → modules that you must complete for the study programme. The greater the → workload for a module, the more CPs you will be awarded for a module. When you complete a module (e.g. by passing a → written assessment), the full points are awarded, regardless of the mark you achieved. You must successfully complete a course in order to be awarded the points, though. So you also must have taken – and passed – the required assessments.
Once you’ve completed all of the modules, you’ve automatically obtained enough CP to conclude your studies.
Latin for “with praise”. An academic honorific awarded for → doctoral studies.
The content of a study programme and organisation of the components – also see the → study regulations.
The head and representative of a faculty. The Faculty Council elects the dean, who remains in office for a period of four years. The dean is represented by a vice dean. The Dean of Studies assists with the organisation and planning of studies.
Department of Student and Examination Administration
German: Studierenden- und Prüfungsverwaltung (SPV)
The department responsible for a variety of tasks, such as applications, → enrolment, examination matters, refunds of the → semester fee, subject changes, etc. Contact
Departmental student committee
A committee comprising representatives elected by the students of a particular subject.
A national scholarship programme. This financial support can be granted to students at German higher education institutions, who demonstrate outstanding achievements. The Deutschlandstipendium is funded in equal parts by the German federal government and private sponsors. www.deutschlandstipendium.de
Dialogue-oriented service procedure (DoSV)
German: Dialogorientiertes Serviceverfahren (DoSV)
The → Foundation for University Admissions carries out this procedure on behalf of all state-recognised universities. The aim is to coordinate the allocation of places centrally in order to enable applicants an overview of their applications and admission offers at different universities and to prevent study places from being reserved for an unnecessarily long time for applicants with other admission offers. HHU participates in the dialogue-oriented service procedure with various study programmes – see here for an overview.
Using electronic media, online tools, etc. to learn. HHU uses the → ILIAS online learning platform.
Also known as a doctoral thesis, a dissertation is the piece of academic work that you must complete in order to obtain your → doctorate.
You must complete your doctoral studies to be awarded a → doctorate. This involves proving that you are able to perform advanced scientific work. The doctorate comprises a written academic/scientific paper (→ dissertation) and an oral examination. In some subjects, you’re alternatively able to complete a cumulative doctorate, which involves writing and publishing several scientific articles or papers together with partial results. A completed → master’s degree, Diplom or → State Examination is a prerequisite for admission to doctoral studies. A doctorate confirms your ability to conduct independent research.
The member of staff at a higher education institution responsible for supervising you while you prepare your → dissertation.
The highest academic degree, acquired by writing a → dissertation and completing an oral examination (Rigorosum).
A student who has decided to end their studies prematurely and therefore does not have a → university degree. Before you decide to drop out, we advise taking advantage of the extensive services offered by the → Central Student Advisory Service. Sometimes it is possible to find a solution to your issue before you drop out. See here for more information.
Dual study programme
German: duales Studium
An educational path that combines an academic education with practical training. This route involves working for a company during your studies. Allowing you to already earn an income and to gain more practical experience than you would during a purely academic course.
Stands for the “European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System”. A European system for crediting study achievements that enables a comparison of students’ academic achievement across Europe.
You can use an educational loan to finance your studies. The KfW development bank and the German federal government both offer various financing options. Your family’s financial situation is not taken into account. Contact the Studierendenwerk Düsseldorf for advice.
→ Digital learning
A subject that you are free to choose from an extensive catalogue of courses. The aim is to broaden your horizons by allowing you to attend courses offered by other faculties or taking a language class, for example.
Matriculation on a study programme. You’re able to enrol for study programmes with → unrestricted admission without applying, provided you afford the required → higher education entrance eligibility. You’re only able to enrol for study programmes with → restricted admission following → admission to the study programme (i.e. when your application is successful). When you receive your confirmation of admission, you must enrol by the deadline indicated. At HHU, the → Department of Student and Examination Administration is responsible for enrolment. Application and enrolment procedure at HHU
Enrolment deadline/closing date
If you’ve applied for a place on a study programme with → restricted admission, you’ll learn after the application period has ended whether your application was successful. If you receive a letter of acceptance, you must actively accept the offer. This takes place during → enrolment. A date will once again be set (the enrolment deadline) by which time you must have submitted the required documents. The study place is then deemed accepted. If you don’t get back to us within this period, your place will be offered to another applicant. Therefore, be sure to adhere to the enrolment deadline! Deadlines and lecture periods at HHU
German: Erstis, Erstsemester*innen
Students in their first semester of study.
German: Erstiwoche, ESAG, Einführungswoche
The orientation week at HHU. There are not normally any lectures during this period; the focus is more on providing an introduction to the university. Countless activities are offered on the university campus, most of which are organised by the → departmental student committees. These include everything from timetable planning sessions, through introductions to the subjects, to the campus rally and parties for first-year students. Allowing you to rapidly make your first friends and gain an overview of studying at HHU. Start following your departmental student committee on social media early on, attend the introductory event and don’t miss this orientation week!
Each study programme comprises different types of examinations. These can be → written assessments, → term papers or → presentations, but sometimes also project or research work or → internships. See the → examination regulations for your chosen study programme for details of the types and scope of examinations. You’ll be awarded marks and → credit points for most study achievements, which are combined to determine your final mark.
In order to take part in an examination, you must submit a binding registration in advance. As a rule, registration must take place within the period set by the → examinations office.
German: Prüfungsordnung (PO)
The types of examinations that you must complete for → courses and the procedures for these. They detail all of the prerequisites, examination subjects and components and → course certificates that you must obtain. The responsible → faculty drafts the examination regulations, which are then published by the university. Before the examination regulations can come into force, they must first be approved by the federal state’s ministry of economic affairs.
The office responsible for examination administration, including registration, the exam structure, deadlines, questions regarding withdrawal and the issue of marks. At HHU, the → Department of Student and Examination Administration takes care of these tasks.
The committee within each faculty responsible for all aspects of examinations and academic achievements. The examining board usually comprises → professors, → research assistants and students. It decides on your → admission to → intermediate examinations and → final examinations and on the recognition of → course certificates, and sets the → examination regulations. The → examinations office is then responsible for enforcing these regulations.
Content from → lectures is covered in greater depth and applied to practical situations (as far as possible). Exercises are usually led by teaching staff.
Removal of a student from the list of students enrolled on a study programme. Use this form to apply to exmatriculate at the end of each semester. The university may expel you (→ compulsory exmatriculation) if you fail to fulfil certain requirements (e.g. academic performance or payment of fees). Be aware that exmatriculation means you lose your student status.
This can mean one of two things. It either refers to all of the students in a department – so the student body. So when you enrol for a subject, you automatically become a member of the Fachschaft for your chosen subject. As a rule, however, this term is mainly used to refer to the Fachschaftsrat, which is the → departmental student committee. Elected by the students for the respective subject, this committee represents the interests of the members of the student body. Departmental student committees at HHU
Faculties are the organisational units of a university, divided into academic disciplines. They comprise students, teachers and the staff working there. Each faculty is responsible for organising its teaching, studies and research. There are five faculties at HHU: the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
A compulsory four-month clinical placement in a medical practice or hospital that you must complete during your medical studies.
A clinical placement is not a mandatory part of the dentistry study programme, hence you can complete a shorter placement.
The last assessment in a study programme (e.g. → thesis) that must successfully be passed to complete a study programme. After passing this final examination, the → academic degree is awarded and confirmed in a degree certificate. You’ll be awarded the → State Examination once you’ve completed the required assessments.
A smaller assessment completed during your study programme, for example to conclude a → module, might also be meant here.
In addition to the → semester fee, you’ll also need to cover your accommodation costs and living expenses as well as pay for any necessary teaching materials. Various other financing options are available in addition to support from your family: → BAföG, → scholarships, → educational loans, part-time jobs.
Institutions that manage money or other assets, tasked with allocating funds for a specific purpose. Some foundations award a → scholarship to talented students to enable them to receive a good education.
Foundation for University Admissions (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (SfH)/Hochschulstart
German: Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (SfH)/Hochschulstart
The foundation responsible for allocating places on study programmes with → national admission restrictions (medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and pharmacy). It also coordinates the allocation of places on study programmes with → local admission restrictions, such as law and psychology. www.hochschulstart.de
Literally, a “free attempt”. This means that you may attempt an examination more than once. Should you not pass the examination the first time round or if you are dissatisfied with your mark, you can retake the examination. The better mark then counts. Be aware that a free attempt is only offered for certain examinations! For more information, see the → examination regulations for your study programme.
Someone who has successfully completed their course at a school, university or other educational establishment.
A course of study to supplement, deepen or also extend the studies you’ve completed so far. A → master’s degree often builds on a → bachelor’s degree, for example.
Similarly, state examinations are divided into → undergraduate studies and graduate studies.
Awarding of an → academic degree to students, who have successfully completed a study programme.
Successful completion of your studies – → graduates are awarded an academic degree, such as a Diplom or Magister, → bachelor’s degree, → master’s degree or the → State Examination.
The highest examination that can be taken at a German university. It aims to determine whether academics holding a doctorate are able to conduct research and teach the full breadth of a subject. In addition to a doctorate, the academic striving to achieve their habilitation must complete a → dissertation, publish several research papers and have gained teaching experience. After successfully completing their habilitation, academics are conferred the academic title of Privatdozent*in or Dr. habil. A habilitation is usually a prerequisite for appointment of a → chair.
Halls of residence
Affordable accommodation specifically for students. The rooms tend to be small, however larger flats are also available for couples (even with children!) in some halls of residence. Living in a hall of residence will allow you to quickly get to know your fellow students. In Düsseldorf, the → Studierendenwerk operates the halls of residence, which include single flats, flats and shared flats near the → campus. The rent is usually lower than in the private housing market. More information
During the allocation of study places, a small proportion of places is reserved for applicants who would suffer particular hardship if they are not admitted to the study programme immediately and admission to the study programme is therefore necessary. A case of hardship is justified if the applicant has specific health, social or family reasons. See here for more information on hardship applications for study programmes with → local admission restrictions.
Also see → compulsory insurance.
You’ll need to provide proof of (individual or family) health insurance during enrolment. Contact your health insurance provider to request a certificate.
The card for HHU students that combines your → student ID, library card, student cafeteria card and → semester ticket in one single card. Valid for five years (with re-registration every year), you’ll be sent your HHU Card by post once you’ve enrolled. If you lose your card, you can apply to the → Student Services Centre for a new one (fees apply). See here for more information.
Higher education entrance eligibility
German: Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB)
To be admitted to a German university, you need to have obtained a secondary school leaving certificate qualifying you to study at a higher education institution. In Germany, you’re only able to study at university if you’ve acquired the → Abitur secondary school leaving certificate; other equivalent international qualifications are also recognised (e.g. A-Levels, international baccalaureate). Two other secondary school leaving certificates, the Fachgebundene Hochschulreife (subject-related secondary school leaving certificate) and the Fachhochschulreife (secondary school leaving certificate for admission to a university of applied sciences) entitle you to study at a university of applied sciences as well as to pursue bachelor’s study programmes at some universities. If your secondary school leaving certificate is not recognised as equivalent and does not automatically qualify you to study in Germany, you are able to obtain higher education entrance eligibility at a Studienkolleg. Be aware that depending on the study programme, other → admission conditions may apply in addition to the higher education entrance eligibility.
Higher education institution
In Germany, you can obtain your → academic degree at various different types of higher education institution, including a university, university of applied sciences, ecclesiastical college (kirchliche Hochschule) or university of public administration (Verwaltungshochschule). Each of these higher education institutions has a different focus.
The sports association offering a comprehensive sports programme for students at HHU and other universities in Düsseldorf. The varied offerings include around 80 disciplines, most of which are free for HHU students. Sports programme and registration
→ Foundation for University Admissions
German: Integriertes Lern-, Informations- und Arbeitskooperations-System (ILIAS)
An open-source integrated learning, information and work cooperation system for → digital learning. ILIAS has a similar structure to the → course catalogue. Lecturers are able to upload slides, presentations, e-papers, etc. here for students. It is moreover possible to send messages, create quizzes and ask lecturers questions anonymously in chat rooms. You’ll need your → university identifier to register. Click here to access ILIAS.
Universities have faculties – and faculties have institutes. These organisational units bring together study programmes in the same discipline at a higher education institution. At HHU, there’s an Institute of Media and Cultural Studies as well as an Institute of Economics offering several different study programmes, for example.
If a medium you require is not available in the → University and State Library (ULB), you can order it from another library via the interlibrary loan system. ULB is responsible for organising such loans. Fees apply for this service. See here for more information.
German: Zwischenprüfung (ZP)
In some study programmes, you conclude your undergraduate studies with an intermediate examination. Passing this examination proves that you have acquired the requisite knowledge. This examination is sometimes also referred to as the Vordiplom or Vorprüfung.
The office at HHU responsible for diverse tasks relating to the internationalisation of teaching and international relations. These include awarding scholarships for stays abroad, maintaining contact with partner universities worldwide, bringing German and international students together on campus, supporting international students at the start of their studies and preparing them for the time after graduation, and helping Erasmus and exchange students to enrol and find accommodation. See here for more information.
International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
A card allowing students to take advantage of certain benefits and services in other countries. You might not be able to access these if you cannot present an international student ID card, as the → student ID cards issued by German universities are not recognised worldwide. www.isic.de
In higher education, there are essentially two types of internships:
1. Professional internships, which you complete at a company or another institution active in your chosen field of study. Such an internship allows you to gain preliminary professional experience and to apply your theoretical knowledge to practical situations. You can moreover establish important contacts for your future career start. Many study programmes include a mandatory internship that you must complete either during a → practical semester or the → lecture-free period.
2. There are also internships that you must complete at the university, such as laboratory internships (practicals). During this type of internship, you practise experimental work and can request help from teaching staff.
Some study programmes include the option of completing an internship in another country. Allowing you to gain practical experience abroad and improve your foreign language skills. Universities usually have a central office for coordinating such internships, however there are also agencies that can also arrange an internship for you. For more information, contact the → International Office.
The building of the Faculty of Law on the HHU → campus. The law library is also located here, which has a number of workspaces (also for students of other subjects).
Special events and courses run at HHU for schoolchildren, which aim to get kids excited about science and research at a young age.
Kommilitone (masculine) or Kommilitonin (feminine) are the German words for “fellow students”. The word is taken from the Latin meaning a “community of students”. Fellow students in higher semesters can often be a real lifesaver if you need help or advice from someone in the know!
Entry to a higher semester. This is possible if your study achievements to date (often from another study programme or professional experience) can be recognised, allowing you to skip one or more semesters. In the case of study programmes with restricted admission, you must also adhere to the application deadlines when applying for a higher semester. More information
Proof of proficiency in Latin that you’ll need to provide for certain study programmes; the requirements vary from university to university. A distinction is often made between the kleines Latinum confirming basic knowledge and the großes Latinum proving more advanced proficiency in Latin.
Leave of absence
You can apply for a leave of absence for important reasons, such as pregnancy, illness or a stay abroad during your studies. You’ll need to re-apply for a leave of absence every semester. You can also be granted a leave of absence for a semester retroactively, provided that you haven’t taken any examinations. See here for detailed information and the application form.
A teaching unit mostly lasting 90 minutes. Lectures are usually intended for larger groups and take place in → lecture halls. A → lecturer delivers a presentation on a specific topic, normally accompanied by information projected onto a screen or whiteboard. Unlike many other → courses and laboratory practicals, attendance is not mandatory. The amount of interaction with students depends on the lecturer. Lectures are mostly open to the public, allowing you to get a taste of lectures before you start your studies. All lectures are listed in the → course catalogue.
A large room at a university (often with ascending rows of seats) in which → lecturers hold → lectures.
A sequence of → lectures during which a different subtopic is covered in each lecture or each lecture is delivered by a different lecturer.
German: vorlesungsfreie Zeit
The lecture-free period always lies between the lecture periods in the winter and summer semesters. No → lectures take place during this time, hence this period is often referred to as the → semester holidays. Depending on your subject, however, you must take → examinations or write → assignments during this period. You can also use this time to study, for → internships, to work or to travel. The exact dates of the lecture-free period vary from year to year. Current dates
A member of the teaching staff at a higher education institution. These include professors, doctoral students, research assistants and lecturers, for example.
→ Reading list
Local admission restrictions
German: ortlich zulassungsbeschränkte Studiengänge
“Local” indicates that a specific university has set admission restrictions for a study programme. Be aware that other universities might offer → unrestricted admission for the same study programme. In contrast, there are also study programmes for which → national admission restrictions apply at all universities at which they are offered, namely medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and pharmacy.
If your chosen study programme is subject to local admission restrictions, it is important to check which criteria are used to award study places there. At HHU, once the → advance quota has been deducted, 20 percent of the remaining study places are awarded to the applicants with the best marks in their → higher education entrance eligibility. For 80 percent of the remaining study places (after deducting the 3.1 percent quota for applicants with vocational qualifications), a point value is determined from the → higher education entrance eligibility and → waiting period. A maximum waiting period of seven semesters is taken into account, whereby the waiting period is weighted less than the higher education entrance eligibility. Access the HHU application portal
magna cum laude
Latin for “with high praise”. An academic honorific awarded for academic work such as a dissertation to signify that academic excellence was achieved. As the second highest possible honorific, it means an extremely/very good performance was achieved.
A type of university degree recognised throughout Germany and worldwide. It serves to deepen or expand the academic knowledge/scientific expertise gained during a first degree. You must therefore have completed a → bachelor’s degree or obtained a comparable qualification before you can begin a master’s degree. In Germany, master’s degrees usually take two years (four semesters). Depending on the subject studied, different types of master’s degrees are awarded: Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Master of Music (MMus), Master of Education (MEd), Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Each student is assigned an individual number to facilitate their identification by university administration. You’ll need to provide your matriculation number when you take examinations, for example.
A list of all students at a university.
HHU’s main student cafeteria. Centrally located on the → campus, it offers a variety of meal options for affordable prices. You can normally use your → HHU Card (or the former Mensa Card) to pay here. → Campus Vita is located just next to the Mensa.
MINT stands for mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and technology. Areas of study or entire study programmes that focus on these subjects are referred to as MINT subjects. The acronym “STEM” is sometimes also used; this stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In higher education, modularisation means that an entire study programme is divided into → modules. The topics and content covered during each course within a module are related.
A teaching unit with defined content and time allocations. It can comprise several courses and examinations on an overarching topic. In the bachelor’s/master’s system, study programmes are divided into several modules. If you conclude a module with a → final examination, you’ll be awarded a set number of → credit points. You find more information on the various modules in a study programme in the → module handbook.
An overview of the various → modules that you can/must take during a study programme. The key requirements and types of examinations are outlined, along with the → intermediate examinations and/or → final examinations that you must take. The module handbook is essentially a study guide providing orientation.
N.C. – numerus clausus
Latin for “limited number”, the abbreviation “N.C.” (or “NC”) is used when the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available for a study programme. The N.C. is calculated from the number of applicants, the number of places available and the applicants’ “qualifications” (i.e. the mark they obtained in the → Abitur or their → waiting period). It therefore isn’t possible to predict the N.C. Rather, it can only be calculated and published after the application procedure has ended – to provide orientation for admission in future semesters. The N.C. does not say anything about the quality of a study programme. N.C. values at HHU
N.N. – nomen nominandum
If “N.N.” appears in the → course catalogue after a → course, it means that it has not yet been decided which lecturer will teach the course.
National admission restrictions
German: bundesweit zulassungsbeschränkte Studiengänge
The medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and dentistry study programmes are so popular in Germany that → restricted admission applies at all universities. This means that there is a → numerus clausus. The application procedure and allocation of places is organised centrally by the → Foundation for University Admissions, which regularly publishes the latest selection criteria and limits. See here for more information (in German only). HHU’s application portal
Notification of admission
German: Zulassung, Zulassungsbescheid
Prospective students who have applied for a study programme with → restricted admission and been granted → admission will be sent → notification of admission. This guarantees you a place until a certain date. If → enrolment does not take occur by this date, the study place is offered to another applicant during the → succession procedure. Be aware that HHU does not send out → rejection letters!
O.A.S.E. – Place of Exchange, Study and Development
German: O.A.S.E. – Ort des Austausches und der studentischen Entwicklung
The German word for “oasis”, O.A.S.E is the specialist library for the Faculty of Medicine. Located on the premises of the University Hospital Düsseldorf (UKD), it offers an attractive contemporary learning and working environment. Explore the O.A.S.E.
The modern main building of the Faculty of Economics; it mostly houses offices and a number of seminar rooms. In fine weather, you’re able to relax on the Oeconomicum’s terrace directly beside the university lake and enjoy the sunshine.
→ Digital learning
Some students are unable to pursue their studies full-time, for example because they must work or care for children or relatives. Some higher education institutions offer the option of studying part-time. Part-time students have less hours per week but a longer standard study period.
German: postgraduales Studium
You must have successfully completed undergraduate studies to begin postgraduate studies. For some postgraduate programmes, professional experience is also a prerequisite. Master’s degrees and doctoral programmes are the commonest types of postgraduate studies.
A practical semester often forms part of the study programme at universities of applied sciences, however they can also be included in the curriculum at other types of universities, too. During a practical semester, you don’t attend any → courses but instead engage in other practical subject-related activities. Most practical semesters take the form of an → internship at a company or institution with links to your department.
German: Referat, Vortrag
Presentations often count as an assessment or serve as the basis for written → term papers. Depending on your → course, you might be required to hold a presentation on your own or as a group. During a presentation, you’ll consider a specific topic in greater depth and also have the opportunity to practise speaking in front of an “audience”.
The head of a university with a presidential constitution. A new university president is elected every four to six years. Also see → chancellor.
A teacher at a university. Professors appointed a → chair are obliged to teach a certain number of → courses. As a rule, a habilitation is a prerequisite for becoming a professor at a university.
An introduction to independent scientific work that some universities offer first-year students at the start of the study programme.
German: psychologische Beratung
An offer for HHU students of free support for personal and psychological problems during your studies. The psychotherapists are bound by the obligation to professional secrecy. More information
Books, essays and other publications that you should/could read for your study programme. Lecturers will refer to relevant literature during their → courses, which is detailed in the course literature/reading list. You’ll usually receive a reading list from the course lecturers at the start of the course.
The head of the university with a rectorate constitution. As a member of university management, the rector also represents the university externally.
If you cannot be offered a place on a study programme with → restricted admission, you’ll often be sent a rejection notice. Be aware that HHU does not issue rejection notices. If you don’t receive → notification of admission from HHU, then you can assume that you’ve unfortunately not been accepted onto your chosen programme.
Taken from the Latin repetere meaning “to repeat”, a repetitorium is a → course during which the teaching material is repeated. It serves to prepare you for a → final examination.
You must re-register for your study programme every → semester, i.e. confirm to the university by a specified deadline that you wish to continue your studies and remain enrolled at the university. At HHU, re-registration takes the form of timely payment of the → semester fee. You’ll be sent a reminder via email in good time. Should you fail to pay in time, you’re still able to re-register if you pay the late fee of €10. If you still haven’t paid the semester fee by the time the second deadline expires, you’ll be exmatriculated (see → compulsory exmatriculation).
Be aware that the re-registration procedure may be different at other universities; the above procedure applies at HHU.
German: wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft
Actually the same as a → student assistant, but for those who already have an academic degree – a master’s student who already has a bachelor’s degree, for example.
German: wissenschaftliche*r Mitarbeiter*in
A member of mid-level academic staff working in the scientific/academic field.
German: zulassungsbeschränkte Studiengänge
There are study programmes with → local admission restrictions and study programmes with national admission restrictions. “Local” means that a particular higher education institution has restricted admission to a → study programme it offers. In the case of study programmes with national admission restrictions (medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and pharmacy), the → Foundation for University Admissions is responsible for allocating places and admission to these study programmes is restricted at all universities in Germany.
A scholarship can take the form of financial or material support. Various → foundations and associations award scholarships, whereby different selection criteria apply for each. As a rule, however, your performance and social commitment play a key role. Unlike → BAföG or → educational loans, scholarships don’t have to be paid back. www.stipendienlotse.de
The recipient of a → scholarship.
A study programme started after you’ve already completed a first degree. You’ll need to provide detailed justification of your decision to complete a second degree when you apply for study programme with → restricted admission.
Higher education institutions often receive more applications than they offer study places. When this is the case, a selection procedure must take place. The selection procedure depends on whether → national admission restrictions or → local admission restrictions apply for the study programme.
At German universities, the academic year is divided into two semesters: a → winter semester and a → summer semester. Each semester lasts six months and includes both a lecture period and a → lecture-free period. The study programmes, individual courses and examinations are organised in this rhythm. Current dates and deadlines
You are often able to complement your studies with a semester abroad, either by participating in an exchange programme (e.g. Erasmus) or by organising an individual stay abroad. Be sure to begin planning in good time and be aware that the work you complete abroad will not necessarily be recognised in Germany. HHU has partner universities all over the world. For more information, contact the → International Office.
All students must pay the semester fee each semester. Should you fail to pay this fee, you’ll be sent a reminder and may be exmatriculated if you still fail to pay. At HHU, the semester fee includes numerous components: the largest share goes to Rheinbahn public transport company for your → travel pass. Another portion covers the → Studierendenwerk fee. When you pay the semester fee, you essentially also → re-register for the new semester. The semester fee is sometimes referred to as a “tuition fee”. This is incorrect, however – there are currently no → tuition fees in North Rhine-Westphalia. More information
Strictly speaking, there aren’t any holidays as such, however this term is often used to describe the → lecture-free period. In other words, the time during which no courses take place (except for → block seminars/lectures and → internships). The semester continues however. The examination periods often fall within the lecture-free periods. Current dates and deadlines
Semester hours per week
German: Semesterwochenstunde (SWS)
The number of hours you’ll need for the course each week during the semester. One SWS is 45 minutes.
→ Travel pass
Courses for approximately ten to 35 people, held in a more intimate setting than → lectures. Meaning they can be more interactive.
The central executive body at a university responsible for making decisions on all matters concerning the university, i.e. research, teaching and studies.
Standard study period
The number of → semesters you’ll normally need to complete a study programme. Intended merely for orientation, this period might be exceeded for various reasons or circumstances. Among others, it determines the duration of your→ BAföG entitlement.
Some study programmes, e.g. law, medicine, pharmacy and teaching, conclude with the State Examination. Run by a state authority, a State Examination qualifies you for work in a public office (i.e. as a civil servant) or state-approved profession. All study programmes that conclude with a State Examination have in common that there’s a practical phase between the first and second state examinations, usually a traineeship known as a Referendariat. The State Examination is a regular university degree qualifying you for a profession.
German: studentische Hilfskraft
Students employed by the university, usually by → professors who hold a → chair. They assist with research or help them to prepare classes, for example. They can also work in libraries, computer pools or on research projects, though.
Student assistants have not obtained an academic degree yet. When they have, they are known as → research assistants.
Student ID card
Also see → HHU Card.
All enrolled students receive a student identity card. At HHU, this is known as the → HHU Card. This chip card contains your personal information, along with the name of the university you’re enrolled at and your → matriculation number. You can use this card to obtain discounts, for example at zoos, museums and cinemas as well as for train tickets and magazine subscriptions. You’ll need to apply for an → international student ID card (ISIC) if you plan to spend time abroad.
→ Educational loan
This portal serves numerous functions, including to register and deregister for → examinations, activate your → HHU Card, view examination results and download → certificates of enrolment and BAföG certificates. You’ll need your → university identifier to register. Access the student portal
The main port of call for current and prospective HHU students seeking general academic guidance, psychological counselling and information on the different study options. Student Services also takes care of various administrative tasks. Student Services Centre (SSC).
Student Services Centre (SSC)
German: Studierenden Service Center (SSC)
Located in building 21.02 on the HHU campus, the Student Services Centre (SSC) brings the → Department of Student and Examination Administration, → Student Services and → International Office together under one roof. It is therefore a central hub for you during your studies. The SSC moreover offers a space for learning or group work in its multifunctional area on the ground floor. Student Services Centre (SSC).
The organisation responsible for → financing, the mediation of → halls of residence, → childcare and social and cultural support. In Düsseldorf, the Studierendenwerk Düsseldorf operates the → Mensa and student cafeterias at HHU (along with at five other universities in and around Düsseldorf!). www.stw-d.de
The fee payable to the Studierendenwerk. At HHU, the fee for the → Studierendenwerk Düsseldorf is included in the → semester fee. It is used to finance the facilities that it operates, such as the → Mensa and the → halls of residence. At some universities, the word “Studierendenwerksbeitrag” is also used to mean the semester fee.
Usually a booklet or collection of course receipts documenting your studies. You must enter all of the courses you take during a → semester in your study log and obtain an official stamp as necessary. The study log is one of the documents that all first-semester students receive during → enrolment. Not all universities still use a study log. You may need to present your study log when you register for the → final examination. Ask your → faculty whether you need a study log (and in which format).
A guide for organising your study timetable. It is usually included in the → examination regulations.
→ Undergraduate studies and → postgraduate studies regulated by → study regulations and → examination regulations. Successful completion of a study programme qualifies you for a professional career. See the study programme database for details of the entire range of study programmes offered at HHU.
The content and structure of a → study programme are laid out in detail in the study regulations. The exact distribution of subjects and the → workload are determined. Before the study regulations can come into force, they must first be approved by the federal state’s ministry of economic affairs.
Studying without higher education entrance eligibility
German: Studium ohne Abitur
You may still be able to study at a university even if you haven’t obtained some form of → higher education entrance eligibility. You’ll need certain professional qualifications instead, such as vocational training plus work experience, a Meister (master craftsperson) qualification or similar. Contact your chosen university for details of the requirements. See here for more information on studying at HHU without higher education entrance eligibility.
The discipline you’re studying, e.g. a Bachelor of Arts → study programme in the subjects of history and philosophy.
A → semester completed in your chosen subject. The number of subject-related semesters can (but does not have to) correspond to the number of → university semesters. University semesters are different to subject-related semesters. So if you change subjects during your studies, the subject-related semesters start from “1” again, but the count for the university semesters continues. This means that you can be in your second semester of a master’s degree and at the same time in your eighth university semester (if it took you six semesters to complete the bachelor’s degree).
Not all applicants accept the study place they are offered. Study places that are not accepted are released for the succession procedure. Prospective students not offered a place in the first allocation round are given the chance to be admitted via “succession”. Unlike the → clearing procedure, all applicants are automatically included in the succession procedure.
summa cum laude
Latin for “with the highest praise” or “with distinction. The highest possible academic honorific awarded for outstanding academic work.
German: Sommersemester (SS/SoSe)
As a rule, the summer semester runs from 1 April to 30 September each year.
If you’re unhappy with the location where you’ve been allocated a place during the → selection procedure, you might be able to swap places with a student at another university. As a rule, place swaps are possible at German universities. That being said, they’re subject to strict regulations: the swap can only be approved if the two students have been definitively enrolled at a German higher education institution in the same subject and semester.
You can search for another student to swap places with online. See here for more information on swapping places at HHU.
Short courses providing an insight into a study programme. At HHU, prospective students are able to learn more about everyday life on their chosen study programme and the → campus during a taster day (Schnuppertag). You’re able to attend → lectures together with current students and to ask questions during HHU’s Schnuppern@Uni events.
The staff at a university who deliver lectures. Also see → professor and → lecturer.
An assessment completed at the end of a module (equivalent to a → written assessment or oral examination).
Test for Medical Studies (TMS)
German: Test für Medizinische Studiengänge (TMS)
A test that many medical → faculties stipulate as a mark-independent criterion for → admission in addition to the mark achieved in the German secondary school leaving certificate (→ Abitur). It is intended to test applicants’ general ability to study and to check how they cope with the methodology that will be used in the study programme. No medical expertise is needed for this test; it’s more about how you handle different types of tasks. Among the aspects assessed count reading comprehension, spatial awareness, basic mathematical skills and retentive power. The TMS is one way to increase your chances of being admitted to medical subjects, as it is an important admission criterion at many universities. An average mark is calculated from the mark you obtained in the higher education entrance eligibility and your mark for the TMS. At HHU, the weighting is two thirds for the former and one third for the latter. Since you can only write the TMS once in your life, we recommend that you prepare well! There are books, courses, forums, etc. available for this. See here for more information.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
An internationally recognised test to demonstrate and rate your proficiency in English. It is a prerequisite for some study programmes. See here for full details of the TOEFL test.
Another word for the → dissertation you must complete to conclude your bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Transcript (of Records)
A list of all the courses you attended during your study programme for which proof of participation was provided. The Transcript of Records documents your individual studies and chosen specialisations. As such, it is an important document that complements your degree mark sheet and certificate.
At HHU, the travel pass is integrated into the → HHU Card and enables enrolled students to remain mobile around the clock and throughout North Rhine-Westphalia. It can be used in local buses and trains as well as for second-class travel in suburban trains, regional (RB) and regional express trains (RE). Within the travel network, you’re able to take one bicycle with you for free at any time. You’re also able to take one companion with you for free after 7 p.m. on weekdays and at any time on the weekends and public holidays as well as on 24 and 31 December. See here for more information.
Instead of being divided into two → semesters, the academic year can also be divided into three trimesters. Each trimester comprises four months.
Since the winter semester 2011/12, tuition fees have no longer been payable in North Rhine-Westphalia. A → semester fee must be paid instead.
Students, usually from a higher semester, who supervise and support their fellow students. Tutors often lead → tutorials during which course content is covered.
A study group led by a → tutor during which the course content is reviewed and occasionally also prepared or deepened.
The State Examination is divided into two parts: undergraduate studies during which the fundamental principles are imparted and → graduate studies, which then build on the knowledge gained during the undergraduate studies.
Undergraduate study programme
German: grundständiger Studiengang
A study programme leading to a first professional qualification, e.g. a → bachelor’s degree or the → State Examination.
German: Referat (AstA)
The various offices of the → AStA serving as contact points for specific questions, needs and interests. A distinction is made between autonomous and integrated units. www.asta.hhu.de/referate
University and State Library (ULB)
German: Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek (ULB)
The main library at HHU. Centrally located on the HHU campus, the ULB contains → literature for almost all study programmes. You’ll find specialist literature for medicine, law, natural sciences, the humanities, etc. in the specialist library for your chosen discipline. You’re able to study here comfortably and to also book smaller study rooms for group work. Coats, bags, food and drinks (except water) must be left in a locker. More information
The → academic degree awarded after you complete your university studies – a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, for example
Important for all of HHU’s online services, each student is assigned a personal identification number and email address for the duration of their studies. More information
Meant in the general sense, the university library is the main interdisciplinary library at a university. The → faculties and → institutes often also have their own separate libraries with a corresponding focus housing specialist literature. Also see → University and State Library (ULB).
University of applied sciences
Offering a more practical orientation than universities, most of the study programmes at universities of applied sciences are in the fields of technology, economics and social work. Courses can sometimes also be taken in fields such as media or design. Subjects like medicine, German studies or a teaching degree are not offered at universities of applied sciences. A bachelor’s/master’s degree obtained at a university of applied sciences is equivalent to one obtained at a university.
University selection procedure
German: Auswahlverfahren der Hochschule (AdH)
Within the admission quotas, higher education institutions are free to set their own selection criteria and to weight these criteria as they see fit. Depending on the admission procedure, they must adhere to certain rules however: the mark achieved in the secondary school leaving certificate (e.g. Abitur) may not be the sole criterion for admission to the medicine study programme, for example, and a subject-specific test must be taken into account (e.g. the → Test for Medical Studies). Therefore, be sure to check at the start of the application phase which → selection procedure applies for your chosen study programme and which criteria the higher education institutions will take into account.
Any semester in which you are enrolled at a university, regardless of whether you study, complete an internship, etc. Also see → subject-related semester.
German: zulassungsfreie Studiengänge
Sometimes there are no restrictions for admission to a study programme. In this case, prospective students don’t have to apply for a place, as no → selection procedure takes place. Provided you meet the → admission conditions (normally the German secondary school leaving certificate (→ Abitur) or equivalent → higher education entrance eligibility), you are guaranteed a place on the study programme. The lack of restrictions says nothing about the quality of the study programme, but rather about the places available and the number of people interested in pursuing the study programme. Be aware that different deadlines apply for direct enrolment than for applications to study programmes with admission restrictions. See here for more information on the study programmes offered at HHU for which there aren’t any admission restrictions.
The deputy to the head of a faculty or department at a higher education institution.
A course taken before you start your first semester at a higher education institution. The aim of such courses is to impart content that will facilitate the start of studies. They also allow you to refresh the knowledge you gained while at school and to begin networking with your fellow students before you even start studying. Attendance of a pre-semester course is not mandatory.
The number of semesters that have passed since you obtained your → higher education entrance eligibility during which you’ve not been enrolled at a German higher education institution.
Although there’s no longer a quota specifically for the waiting period in the allocation procedure for study programmes with → local admission restrictions, it is still taken into account: a point value is calculated from the mark you obtained in your higher education entrance eligibility and your waiting period. A maximum waiting period of seven semesters is taken into account, whereby the waiting period is weighted less than the higher education entrance eligibility. The waiting period quota has also been abolished for study programmes with → national admission restrictions.
German: Wintersemester (WS/WiSe)
As a rule, the winter semester runs from 1 October to 31 March each year.
The amount of work that you must complete for each course. This not only includes the teaching time, but also the independent/private study – so the preparation and follow-up work. → Credit points serve to quantify the workload, whereby one credit corresponds to approximately 30 hours of work. You normally need to earn an average of 30 credits per semester.
Examinations taken under supervision, often multiple-choice quizzes. Be aware that you need to register for examinations!