Glossary of Academic Terms
Abitur: the final oral and written examination at high school level (A-levels). Entitles you to study at a university.
Akademisches Auslandsamt: a university's international students' office is the administrative bureau responsible for foreign students coming to Germany and German students going abroad.
AStA: Elected student representatives, performing a series of services for students as well as doing campus political work. They have several thematic working groups, for international students, for female students, for lesbian or gay students. They also help with social or financial matters. Most of the FHD-AStA offices are located at the campus on Josef-Gockeln-Strasse.
Aushang: a sheet of paper on the bulletin board, giving you up-to-date information
BAFöG: means 'Bundesausbildungsfoerderungsgesetz', a law regulating a national scholarship fund for deserving students Dekan: elected head of a department; dean.
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD): provides information for students from abroad in Germany and for German students going abroad. They also run scholarships for German and international students.
Visit their web site: www.daad.de for useful info.
Dies academicus: the cancellation of normal university scheduling to allow participation in some special event
Diplom: a first degree granted in four-year study programmes that do not conclude with the Staatsexamen, a Magister degree or a Bachelor degree. This degree is being phased out in favour of the BA/MA structure advocated by the Bologna Process.
Dozent: a lecturer at a Fachhochschule or Universitaet
Fachbereich: a 'school' or department in the sense of a college or faculty within the University of Applied Sciences Fachhochschule: type of university placing special emphasis on applied teaching. Research activities focus on the needs of business and industry.
Fachschaft: is the student body within a given department. It has official representation within the student government.
Gasthörer: registered student but not allowed to sit exams
Geisteswissenschaften: correspond to the Humanities and Social Sciences
German Academic Exchange Service: see Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
Grundstudium: the first four semesters or years one and two of a Diplom degree course. Finishes with the Vordiplom.
Hauptstudium: with a Vordiplom students enter the final two years of a Diplom degree programme, choosing their majors. Finishes with the Diplom.
Immatrikulation: formal enrolment procedure for official admission into a university
Klausur: a written exam of one to four hours, usually at the end of the semester
Lehrbeauftragte: visiting lecturers or instructors at universities, recruited because of their specialised experience. The majority hold high-level positions in business and industry
Leistungsspiegel: a certificate that shows the exams a student has taken during a program (transcript of records). The grades are: 1 = excellent; 2 = well above average; 3 = average; 4 = pass; 5 = fail.
Matrikelnummer: enrolment number
Mensa: the main student cafeteria
Naturwissenschaften: the natural sciences
N.N.: (lat. nomen nominandum) means that the lecturer for this course is yet to be appointed.
Professor: member of permanent teaching staff, usually with a PhD degree, responsible for a special field within their department, institute or clinic.
Prüfungsamt: the Departmental Examination Office regulating and conducting exams (Prufung) according to the rules laid down in the Prufungsordnung by the Department and the Examination Board (Prufungausschuss). Please register for the exams you want to take at the end of the semester. Registration dates and exam dates will be announced by the Prufungsamt.
Rektor: the official head of a university; president.
Rückmeldung: procedure of re-registration at the beginning of each semester by paying the Semesterbeitrag
Semester: divides the academic year into two periods. Our fall/winter semester (Wintersemester) is from mid-September to the end of February, the spring/summer semester (Sommersemester) from March to the end of July.
Semesterbeitrag: contribution paid by all students per semester to student services provided. It includes the Semesterticket which entitles students to free public transport and other benefits. The semesterbeitrag is a prerequisite for enrolment.
Semesterticket: comes as part of your Semesterbeitrag and entitles you to free public transport for the whole of the semester within the VRR region. Your student ID serves as the ticket. More information, maps of the region, timetables are available from the Info Centres at Heinrich-Heine-Allee (underground station) opposite the main train station.
Seminar: form of instruction that requires the students' active participation, and a written and/or oral exam at the end of the semester is generally required. Sometimes presentations are part of the course work and exam.
Senat: a university's governing body. It consists of elected faculty members.
Staatsexamen: the state examination that qualifies students for civil service careers (e.g. teaching, law) or state licensed professions (e.g. medicine, dentistry).
Studentenwerk: a non-profit service organization for students that runs various services, e.g. student residences, student cafeterias, kindergarten, federal scholarships.
Studiengebühr: tuition fee.
Tutorium: learning group covering what has been taught in a lecture, often conducted by a senior student.
Universität: type of university where the main emphasis is on theoretical knowledge and research, the furthering of knowledge in general.
Vordiplom: awarded after successful completion of the relevant exams in the first four semesters of a Diplom degree program (= Grundstudium) that qualifies the student for the Hauptstudium. The Vordiplom is not a degree, but a qualifying stage within the degree program.
Zweithörer: status that allows students to take part in courses at other departments (also at Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet) and sit exams.