Setting up a Study Plan
The first steps are always the hardest. This is also true when it comes to studying at a university. On the following pages you will find more information on how your studies are organized in Göttingen.
The study year is divided into two semesters, a winter and a summer semester, each lasting six months. The academic year begins in winter semester (October 1st to March 31st). The semester is divided up into lecture periods and lecture-free periods. The lecture period in winter semester lasts for approximately four months (middle of October until the middle of February), and in summer semester three months (middle of April until the middle of July). Lecture periods are followed by a two week examination period, in which tests and oral exams are carried out. The lecture free period is designed to provide students with time for independent study, to write papers, conduct internships and carry out similar study related matters.
Your studies are divided into modules: study units that are comprised of various courses that are thematically related (e.g. a lecture course and a seminar). In order to successfully complete a module, you must complete the workload required, which is reflected in the number of credit points (ECTS) assigned to the module. One credit point corresponds to a workload of approx. 30 hours. This includes studying time and follow-up work, course attendance, preparation for and taking exams. Credit points are first transferred to your study account once the module has been entirely completed.
During your studies you will attend various types of courses. These courses often supplement one another and have different didactical purposes in order to provide students with teaching and learning concepts in a fashion most ideally suited for learning.
- Introduction/ Propaedeutic course/Basic course
- Practical exercise
- Undergraduate seminar
- Advanced seminar
A propaedeutic is offered at the beginning of your studies and is often a prerequisite before attending an undergraduate seminar. It aims to provide basic knowledge on a subject matter, which is later built upon in more advanced courses. A propaedeutic is usually finished up with an exam, a term paper or a presentation.
A lecture provides a systematic overview of a larger topic and is most often held by a professor. The professor may direct questions to the audience, but in general, the professor presents the information to the students and does not engage in any discussions on the subject matter. In very large lectures - especially in compulsory courses – as many as several hundred students may attend. Lectures are often followed up by a written exam.
A practical exercise serves as a follow-up course in order to review and implement exercises which were discussed in a lecture or seminar. It aims to convey special skills by working on and discussing exemplary tasks and materials. The number of participants is usually limited to 20.
A tutorial accompanies a basic course, a seminar or a lecture, in which contents are reviewed and analysed further. In addition, tips are often provided on exam content. Upper level students, known as tutors, often carry out the tutorials. The number of participants is limited and the atmosphere is more informal, so that students are encouraged to ask more questions. Participation in a tutorial is usually voluntary, but can also be required.
Undergraduate seminars are provided to undergraduate students as an introduction to academic queries and techniques. Students actively participate in the teaching process by discussing course content, participating in group work and making presentations. Proseminars usually require students to complete a term paper or make a presentation in order to earn credits.
A seminar provides an in-depth discussion of concepts and methods to a limited number of students who have already acquired basic knowledge and competencies in prior courses. It deals with more complex academic topics and is often accompanied by self-study. Active participation in discussions, group work and presentations are required.
Upper-level or graduate seminars are designed for students who have acquired advanced knowledge and skills on more complex academic topics of study. These courses often require that students write their own short paper or complete an academic study on a particular topic.
Advanced seminars provide more in-depth course content to students in the final phase of their studies, often when completing the Master's degree. Participation may be obligatory for students writing their final thesis (known as colloqiums), but may also be optional or by invitation only. Often times, student theses and their results are presented as part of the course.
An internship provides subject-related, practical knowledge and skills, in which experimental work is carried out by students under supervision. Internships can be carried out at universities (e.g. within a lab), in businesses, in public or private institutions in Germany or abroad depending on what the study and exam regulations require.
A repetitorium is a course that reviews teaching and learning contents during the course of one’s studies in order to prepare students for a (final) exam.
Types of Examinations
Examinations most often correspond with the completion of modules. They are regularly carried out during a two week period following the final days of lectures. Examinations that were not successfully completed during your studies can usually be repeated twice. Final papers or degree theses may only be repeated once.
In general, types of examinations are often determined by course types and teaching and learning contents related to modules. Further information about the type of examination, how they are to be carried out and graded are explained by instructors at the beginning of each semester.
- Term paper
- Project/Seminar paper
The written exam aims to test a students’ basic knowledge of a subject matter, and is generally used in introductory courses. By implementing openly formulated questions in essay form or closed questions with multiple-choice answers, exams are usually carried out within a fixed time frame. The exact layout and level of difficulty is determined by the lecturers. Sometimes several questions are asked and the students can choose which questions to answer. Whether aids are allowed and which aids can be used is generally made known before the exam (skills required: technical and methodical competence).
The term paper is one of the most common forms of examination. Students are assigned a topic limited in focus and directly related to the course subject matter which is to be worked on in accordance with scientific and/or academic methodology. The term paper requires a preliminary survey of the state of research: research of relevant secondary literature using subject-specific aids (bibliographies), a review of the secondary literature, and correct excerpting. The aim is to develop a line of argumentation with respect to a central question, using methodological tools and supported by references. The term paper does not require the development of 'new' knowledge, but implementing a methodically guided process of evaluating the state of knowledge on the topic in question. The special value of the term paper results from the fact that the state of knowledge on the subject is adequately prepared and presented and meets professional requirements. Term papers are longer in scope, require good self-organisational skills and work discipline (skills required: technical, methodological and self-organisational competence).
Through project work and presentations, students are expected to demonstrate their ability to work in a team, and to develop and present different concepts together with their group members. They should show that they are able to define goals, develop solutions and concepts, and implement these within the framework of a larger task. If the work takes place as group work, the contribution of the individual must be clearly outlined and assessable.
Tutorials often accompany a lecture or take place on their own. They may include practical exercises as a form of preliminary, examination work. Once completed, the student is then admitted to take part in the written exam. Some tutorials are designed as group or home exercises. Group exercises are created to promote interactions as a group so that participants arrive at solutions together, whereas home exercises are designed for individuals to develop solutions on one’s own (skills required: technical competence, social competence).
Presentations focus on a specific academic topic that is then presented to other students in the course, either alone or as a group assignment. The criteria for evaluation should be laid out by the instructor in advance, e.g. clarity, structure, and content, etc. (skills required: technical, methodological, social and self-competence).
Study portal eCampus
eCampus is a potal for students in Göttingen and a central entry point for online digital services in order to help you to organize your studies. Self-service functions, FlexNow, Stud.IP and UniVZ are all available via the eCampus platform.
UniVZ is an online registry of courses and people at the university. It also provides answers to the following questions:
- Which courses are on offer?
- Who is teaching the courses?
- Where and when does the course take place?
Stud.IP is an Open Source Lerning management system, which helps you to administer and participate in your courses. Stud.IP provides documentation for all courses that are available in the current course catalogue (with the exception of the medical studies program). You can download and share study materials, discuss course contents and create your own materials. Virtual teaching contents are also generally accessible through Stud.IP.
In order to use all of its functions, you will need to register with and login to Stud.IP. You will need the user name and password that was provided to you by the university. The user name and password are the same that you used for your student email account and FlexNow.
FlexNow Exam Administration
The online administration of your examination results for the Bachelor and Master Study Programs is carried out by FlexNow. With FlexNow you are able to register and deregister for examinations, to check your grades and credit points and it provides you with a summary (PDF-File) of all of your without having to visit the Examination Office. Once you have registered, you will receive notifications via Email, such as when examination results are available for review.