Guidelines for incoming exchange students
Is there an orientation course?
As a new international exchange student or student participating in an exchange programme, you must take part in the orientation course in order to take care of all the important formalities for your stay at FAU with the help of student assistants. This includes registering at your place of residence, ensuring your health insurance is recognised or taking out new health insurance, opening a bank account, applying for a residence permit and finally enrolling at the University.
In this way, you can be sure that you do not forget anything and that no problems will arise later on, as it can be difficult to get to grips with the complex systems of the German authorities. An intercultural introduction to the university system and getting to know other international students and German students at certain events is also very helpful.
The orientation courses are held at the beginning of the semester in early October and early April.
There is also a specific orientation course of the DEIS programme which is also held at the beginning of the semester in early October.
Do I need a Learning Agreement?
Some home universities agree upon a list of courses which are to be taken at the host university with their students. This document is called Learning Agreement.
Before coming to Germany, please find out from your home university whether you have to fill out a Learning Agreement, which courses you have to take at FAU and how many ECTS credits you need.
FAU does not stipulate a minimum or maximum number of ECTS credits. However, we recommend 20 to 30 ECTS credits per semester.
Your Learning Agreement must normally be signed by the following:
• the person responsible at your home university
• your subject co-ordinator (departmental co-ordinator) at FAU
I am confused by the different online portals. Where do I find what?
• StudOn: think of StudOn as a personalized storage room for all your courses. On StudOn, the instructors upload lecture material and information, you can upload assignments and communicate with your peers / fellow students. You can join groups for all your courses there (some are password restricted, you will get the password in the first lecture). It is also where the instructors post all updates and news relevant to the course.
• MeinCampus: think of this as an administration office. This is where you can get all official documents, certificates and grades. It is also where you register for an exam and find information on its date and status.
• Univis: think of it as a public catalogue for courses. This is where you can see all courses offered with the relevant information. You can also select and download your courses as a pdf schedule and see offers for next semester already.
Where are the class rooms of our Institute?
Most courses of our Institute will be held in the building complex Kochstraße / Bismarckstraße. In the course description on Univis, you can click on the hyperlink with the room number and it will pop up exact GPS coordinates you can use on your phone. Most lectures are held in room 05.054, on the top floor (5th) of Kochstraße 4 (German: Seminargebäude). Some lectures might be taught in room A 401, which is at Bismarckstraße 1, in the Annex A of Audimax (north tower). Most seminars are held in room 01.055, on the second floor of Kochstraße 4. See the map here for reference.
All members of our staff have their offices on the first floor of Kochstraße 4 (see “Seminargebäude” on this map). If you want to see a staff member, please check their office hours beforehand. On the same floor, there is also a study room for everyone in our programme with computers you can use.
How do I set up my class schedule?
There is no pre-set class schedule, you are free to put together your own schedule. However, we cannot guarantee that you can take any course you want. There are sometimes restrictions with respect to the number of students per course. Regular students who have to take a specific course as a mandatory course have a privilege in this case.
Where do I find the offered courses?
All courses offered by our Institute can be found in Univis here . Alternatively, you can get there manually: go to univis.fau.de > “course list” (left side bar) > Faculty of Humanities, click “alle anderen Studiengänge…” > scroll down to “Wirtschaftswissenschaften”.
Note that you can select the semester in the top right-hand corner. In Univis, you can also find courses from all other Departments and Faculties. In the search bar at the top, you can use the drop-down menu to search by instructor, title or topic, please see the next question for more information on courses offered by other Institutes, Departments or Faculties. If you use “Search for a lecture”, you can use the option “expert search”. This option allows you to find all courses taught in English if you select “Englisch” under “Sprache”.
How many courses or credits can I take / should I take?
We recommend you to do 30 ECTS each semester as indicated in the curriculum. However, you are free to take more courses if you wish. You may also register for more than 30 ECTS and decide to drop some of the workload before exams if it proves too much (see the topic on Exams). Please mind that you can only de-register up to three working days before the exam takes place.
Most courses offered by our Institute have 5 ECTS. The number of ECTS for each course is always indicated in the course description in Univis, it can be less or more than 5 ECTS.
How do I sign up for courses?
For most courses (especially taught courses) from our Institute, you do not need to sign up before attending. You can just show up on the first day at the classroom given in Univis. In the first class, the instructor will tell you everything else you need to do for that specific course. Attending a class does not obligate you to take the exam, but also does not mean you are automatically registered. This is a separate process, see topic on Exams.
a) all seminars and some other courses require registration before the start of the semester. If that is the case, then you would find this information on Univis. In this case, you can register for the respective course on mein Campus (Veranstaltungen > Veranstaltungen der gesamten Universität > respective semester)
b) language courses have a separate sign-up procedure and may require a placement test, please refer to the language center (German: Sprachenzentrum)
c) courses not offered by our Institute may differ; again check Univis, and see the question below.
Word of Caution: We do realize that the German exam process can be stressful and confusing for students from other education systems. Please read the following information carefully and be sure to clarify any specific situation before the exams to avoid conflict. Re-taking failed exams and dropping courses is relatively common in Germany but the formal process allows very few exceptions, so please make sure you are aware of your options and obligations.
Disclaimer: The statements made here are not legally binding. The binding rules and regulations can be found here. Only the official Examination Rules (German: Prüfungsordnung) count.
When do exams take place?
Regular exams are held in the last two weeks of the lecture period or the first two weeks of the lecture- free period (“semester holidays”). Re-sit examinations are held in the last two weeks of the lecture-free period or the first two weeks of the lecture period of the next semester. You can see the exact dates of exams on our website (https://www.economics.phil.fau.eu/study/examinations/) or on MeinCampus > Prüfungen.
How do I register for exams?
Exam registration opens halfway through the semester, and we will send you an email notification to remind you. You have to go to MeinCampus > Prüfungen and register all your planned exams before the deadline. For each course, you have to decide what examination number you want to use. You can use each examination number only once. When in doubt, double check your current grade overview in MeinCampus, it shows the numbers you already used. Under “Angemeldete Prüfungen” you can check which exams you registered for.
Can I make changes after the deadline?
No, you cannot make changes after the deadline, so please be mindful when you complete your exam registration. You cannot change a module from graded to non-graded or vice versa. You cannot change the number under which you registered a course, and you cannot add courses. However, you may still drop a course until 3 working days before the exam without any consequence or penalty (see De-registering below)
How does the German grading system work?
Please refer to the University’s guideline on German grading and the ECTS grading system: https://www.fau.eu/international/international-applicants/semester-abroad-at-fau/starting-your-studies/ects-and-german-university-grades/. In general, 1.0 constitutes a perfect grade, and 4.0 is the minimum grade you need to pass a course. The exact grading key for each course is set by the instructor at his or her discretion.
What happens when I pass, fail or drop an exam?
De-register: you may drop a course until 3 working days before the exam without any consequence, it will be as if you never took the course. Please note that you are not allowed to take the re-sit exam in this case.
Pass: if you get a passing grade (4.0 or better), you can see the grade and ECTS gained on MeinCampus. Please note that you cannot re-take the exam to improve your grade.
Fail: if you do not pass the exam (worse than 4.0, no show, or turning in blank paper), you have to retake the exam at the earliest possible date (usually re-sit exam or second submission in the case of a seminar). If you fail the re-sit, you get a third and final try. If you fail the third time, you completely failed the MA and you cannot get the degree. For seminars with papers, see below.
No-Show and Blank Exams: if you do not show up for an exam that you registered for, or you show up but turn in a blank paper, this counts as an automatic fail. For all further procedures, see the paragraph on “Fail” above. Contrary to popular belief, the only exception to this rule is medical certificates, see below.
Doctor’s Note (Notification of Sickness): if you do not show up, but can present a medical certificate of sickness (German: Attest) for the date of the exam, you are excused from the exam, it does not count as an attempt. Please fill out the notification of sickness (https://www.fau.de/files/2015/08/Krankmeldung.pdf) and send it – along with the medical certificate – to the Examinations Office within three days after the exam. In the case of sickness, you can take the exam on the date of the re-sit and this will be your first attempt. If you fail this first attempt, you can then try once again (see above). Please communicate with your instructor in advance if you have a medical certificate.
What happens if I fail a seminar paper?
In this case, it is up to your instructor to set up the process for you to re-do the work. Normally, you get a new topic and have to write a new paper by the deadline your instructor gives you, so please communicate individually. In any case, you get a fresh start, so the result of the “failed” paper does not impact the grade on your second attempt.
What do I have to be cautious about before leaving?
At the end of their stay, most students will require official proof of the courses they have studied at FAU in order for their achievements to be accredited by their home university. This official document is called a transcript of records.
Please inform all professors and lecturers from whom you have obtained grades and ECTS credits that these need to be entered into Mein Campus. A preliminary list of grades can be printed from Mein Campus.
Once all of your grades have been entered into Mein Campus, please contact the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) who will then print, sign and stamp the document.
If you have already returned to your home country, please provide your current address so that we can post your transcript to you.