Your study FAQ

You want to start studying in Darmstadt and you still have a lot of questions? Here you will find answers that will prepare you for your studies!

The entire system – structure of universities and studies

Technical university, university of applied sciences and dual studies - what is the difference?

Basically, there are two types of “higher education institutions”: universities and universities of applied sciences. In Darmstadt, there is both a university, the Technical University of Darmstadt, or TUDa, with a focus on natural sciences and engineering, and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, or h_da, with a focus on technology, society and arts. There are three different types of study: the university study programme, the university of applied sciences study programme and the dual study programme. The dual study programme combines university studies with professional practice.

Bachelor or Master - what does it mean?

Most degree programmes are offered as bachelor’s or master’s degree programmes. Bachelor’s degree programmes are the basic degree programmes, so you’ll start with them; master’s degree programmes are advanced degree programmes. A bachelor’s degree already qualifies you for a profession, i.e. you can enter working life directly. Some degree programmes end with a diploma or a state examination, in Darmstadt, for example, teaching for grammar schools.

How long does it take to study?

A degree programme has a standard period of study, which is given in semesters. One semester corresponds to half a year. This is initially a guideline and a bachelor’s degree progrramme amounts to 6 semesters at the TUDa, 6-7 semesters at the h_da and 4 semesters for the master’s degree programme. Your university allows you to complete your studies in the number of semesters specified. However, it is not compulsory to complete your studies in the standard period of study. However, the payment of BAföG or scholarships is usually tied to this requirement.

Some degree programmes can also be studied part-time under certain conditions. Within part-time studies, the programme is spread over more semesters, so that everyone can benefit from it who wants to get an academic education while working, caring or the like. Part-time study is possible at both the TUDa and the h_da.

How is the degree programme structured and what subjects will you have?

A degree programme is always structured in a similar way and there are different types of modules (components): compulsory and elective modules. In contrast to the compulsory modules, which are a set component of the degree programme, in an elective module you can choose between different main topics . Often a module is made up of different courses. Depending on the time required, you receive so-called credit points (CP) or ‘Leistungspunkte’ (LP), or, internationally, ECTS points after participating and passing an examination. They are the central “currency” in the degree programmes. Examinations can be, for example, a term paper or a written exam. You can find an overview of all modules in the degree programme in the module overview or in more detail in the module handbook of your degree programme.

Lectures, seminars, exercises - you don't understand anything?

A lecture is a course in which the necessary academic knowledge – mainly theory – is taught. In contrast to a lecture, a seminar is a course in smaller groups, in which topics are discussed in depth together with the other participants. A tutorial is a course in which a small group of students discusses topics, basic concepts or basic questions under the guidance of older students in order to deepen problematic questions from lectures or seminars.

Exercises are usually practice-oriented courses that are offered alongside lectures and in which the theoretical knowledge from the lecture is applied. In the natural sciences and engineering programmes, accompanying laboratory practicals take place. Here, the lecture material is deepened in practical experiments. Excursions lead to companies or large research facilities and provide an insight into the manufacturing and process sequences in production or into special (large-scale) research facilities.

Apply – how does it work?

What do you have to do if you want to apply for a degree programme?

If you have decided to study, you have to apply to the respective university online via a university portal. There are certain periods of time when you can apply: the application deadlines at the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

There are degree programmes with open admissions, for which you can simply enrol as soon as you meet the necessary admission requirements, and degree programmes with restricted admissions (NC). NC stands for Numerus Clausus and means that there are only a limited number of places available for a particular degree programme. Among other things, a decision is made here on the basis of grade and/or waiting period as to who gets an acceptance. You can find the NC values (results of the procedure) of the past years on the websites of the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

For some degree programmes, you also have to pass an aptitude test or prove that you have completed a pre-study internship or have certain language requirements. For each degree programme you are interested in, check the website of the respective university for application deadlines and admission requirements.

What to do if you are accepted?

After you have been accepted for the degree programme of your choice, you have to enrol. You may have to submit additional documents and pay the semester fee. Pay attention to the deadlines and information provided by the respective university during the application process. Please note the special rules for NC degree programmes; you can find more information here.

When you enrol, you will receive a personal matriculation number that will accompany you throughout your studies, e.g. during exams to identify yourself. You will also receive a student ID card, which is your proof of study and identity for the entire duration of your studies and also serves as a semester ticket.

The time has come – you are a student!

What do you need to know about starting your studies?

You can find all the important information about starting your studies directly on the websites of the TUDa and the websites of the h_da. There you will also find the introductory events for the degree programmes, where you will get important information about starting your studies and get to know your fellow students.

Now your study adventure can begin. Good luck!