3.2 Aspects of the course structure at German universities

The Bachelor's and Master's courses are modularised. A module (Modul) is a coherent unit with respect to content. It is considered to be a thematic and time-limited entity. Modules are concluded with at least one examination or other assessed attainment tests (6.3.1). From the first semester on, all examination and test results throughout the modules will be incorporated in the overall assessment of a student's performance (6.3.2).

The German higher education system requires students to be highly independent. Reasoning and discussion skills are to be developed in the context of academic discourse. Students will draw up their own timetables, thereby deciding what subjects to prioritise in their studies.

There are no tuition fees at Berlin universities. A few Master's courses are exceptions to this rule.

Information about German universities can be found in German embassies or consulates, in local branches of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), at Goethe-Institutes or by contacting DAAD lecturers who work at universities all over the world.

Plenty of information is available online:

The academic year in Germany is divided into two semesters: the winter semester from 1 October to 31 March (actual lecturing period from mid-October to mid-February, i.e. four months); the summer semester from 1 April to 30 September (lecturing from mid-April to mid-July, i.e. three months). Semester breaks in August/September and in March are reserved for internships, private study and examinations. Details of the precise semester dates, official (national) holiday arrangements, etc. can be obtained from the academic calendar.

Admission to most study courses is only possible in the winter semester. Consequently, there are more orientation and guidance sessions offered before the winter semester than at the beginning of the summer semester.