Courses, Modules, and Credit Points

Course formats

While you can probably imagine what a lecture is, you might be a little less certain when it comes to a proseminar or a colloquium. At the university, you will find a much greater variety of events than you were used to at school. But don't worry - you'll quickly adjust to the new ways of teaching and learning. Here is a short list of the different types of courses:

This is probably the one type of course that is most reminiscent of traditional classroom teaching. A university instructor gives a lecture on a certain topic, often some kind of scientific problem and its solution, supported by technical aids such as a projector, overhead transparencies, and, naturally, a blackboard. The main purpose of the lecture is to give an overview of the subject at hand. Usually the number of participants is unlimited. There is little discussion among the participants and/or the instructor (questions are allowed, of course). Independent preparation and review of the material is expected.
A tutorial is designed to provide a more in-depth review of lecture content. The participants are divided into tutorial groups, and the number of participants is usually limited. Tutorials teach special skills by working on and discussing exemplary problems under the guidance of a tutor.
A seminar is a group session intended for the discussion of scholarly or scientific problems, often requiring intensive independent study. Participants are expected to actively participate, usually by giving presentations or writing papers, and to contribute to the discussions that arise in the course of the seminar. The number of participants is limited.
Proseminars are introductory courses with active participation of the students in the course organization (presentations, group work, discussions) as well as literature review and assignments.
This is a course that usually accompanies or follows the writing of the bachelor's thesis. It is in the form of a lecture on the topic of the bachelor thesis and may include a presentation of its results.
"Kurse" (courses) teach and train systematic basic knowledge and skills, including foreign languages.
An internship is a group session with a limited number of participants. It imparts subject-related practical knowledge and skills.
Colloquia are designed for the discussion of special topics and the research results of a particular discipline, as well as for the examination of scholarly perspectives.
Excursions are university courses that are conducted off-campus.

Modules and credit points

In modular courses of study, teaching and learning units that are coordinated thematically and chronologically are referred to as modules. A module can extend over one or two semesters and comprise various courses. A distinction is made between compulsory and compulsory elective modules (Pflichtmodule, Wahlpflichtmodule), which enable students to set their own priorities. The relevant details are governed by the respective study and examination regulations.

For each successfully completed module, students receive a certain number of credit points according to the rules of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), depending on the content and workload. One credit point corresponds to 30 hours of student work (including preparation and follow-up). For receiving credit points, only the successful completion of the module is decisive, not the resulting grade.

Modules are completed with an examination (written exam, term paper, course work, etc.). The module appendix of the study regulations contains all information on the content, scope, study and examination requirements and learning goals of the modules.


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