General Course Information
- Information about study programs and about the departments (in German) at the Universität Stuttgart.
- Faculty Locations
What kinds of courses are offered?
The Universität Stuttgart distinguishes between the following types of courses:
- Lecture: held by an instructor in front of a large group of students
- Exercises: the subject matter is reviewed again and deepened in smaller groups; often exercises accompany lectures
- Seminars: student active participation is very important; students present papers on a given topic followed by discussion
- Practical courses: common in the natural sciences and engineering and usually involve experiments in a laboratory.
As a rule, a class involves two credit hours. One credit hour called "Semesterwochenstunde" (SWS) corresponds to 45 minutes in the classroom per week over the whole semester. Generally, most courses are taught in German.
How to structure your studies:
In comparison with the Anglo-American university system, students at German universities have more freedom in the selection of the courses they take and when they take them. This, however, varies from subject to subject. Many of the courses in the natural sciences and engineering are obligatory, whereas students studying the humanities and social sciences can generally choose the courses they want to take.
One further difference is that courses are not normally selected at the end of the previous semester but rather during the first two weeks of the semester itself. This, and the freedom of choice, is often confusing for international students. For this reason, the individual faculties offer comprehensive information seminars at the beginning of each semester to help students in their selection. Additional information is given in the Welcome Guide and during the Orientation Program. Should you still have difficulties do not hesitate to contact the International Office.
There are different possibilities for visiting students to receive credit for work done in Stuttgart:
Visiting students can participate in regular courses and take the final written or oral exam in each course in order to be awarded a proof of academic achievement, or Schein. In addition to receiving a Schein for successfully completing a written exam, or Klausur, it can be awarded for a project paper or Hausarbeit (an essay on a specific topic of 10 to 20 pages in length) or for an assignment and oral presentation or Referat (a paper presented on a given topic usually as part of a seminar). Grades range from 1 (very good) to 4 (sufficient). If a student receives a grade below 4, then the course has been failed and needs to be repeated. In some courses grades are not given.
Students under the ERASMUS exchange-scheme will receive their credits according to the ECTS agreement (European Credit Transfer System), which is to be discussed between the student and the home and host supervisors.
For some study programs ECTS Information Packages are available.
Some advanced visiting students may wish to work on an independent project supervised by a professor. Such independent study corresponds closely to a Studienarbeit, which is required in engineering and many of the natural sciences. Students wishing to do this type of independent study need to find a professor at the Universität Stuttgart who is willing to supervise such a project. The question of credit transfer to the home universities should also be clarified in advance. The subject advisors, or Fachstudienberater/in , can assist in finding a supervisor.
Please clarify the question of credit transfer with your home universities prior to coming to Stuttgart and make sure that you maintain contact with your home supervisor during your stay here. This is possible via e-mail.