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Glossary of terms


German school-leaving certificate generally required for admission to university. The Abitur is typically obtained from a Gymnasium (university-preparatory school) after 12 years of schooling. International first-year students seeking direct admission to a German university need to show they have the equivalent of a German Abitur to be eligible to enrol.


In the wake of the >> Bologna Process, a system of accreditation has been established in Germany to test whether institutions of higher education have observed minimum standards with regard to subject matter when designing their courses of study. A National Accreditation Council (Akkreditierungsrat) now works to enforce comparable quality standards. Moreover, it accredits and supervises the agencies that perform course accreditations. At HTWK Leipzig, all Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes have been accredited by agencies such as ACQUIN (Akkreditierungs-, Certifizierungs- und Qualitätssicherungs-Institut), ASIIN (Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaften, der Informatik, der Naturwissenschaften und der Mathematik), and AHPGS (Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge im Bereich Gesundheit und Soziales).

Akademisches Auslandsamt

Akademisches Auslandsamt is the German term for International Office. At HTWK Leipzig, the International Office is part of the Department of Public Relations and International Affairs and responsible for managing the University’s network of international contacts, implementing its exchange, scholarship and mobility programmes, and promoting internationalisation on campus. If you are an international exchange student from one of our partner universities, you should turn to the International Office for guidance and information. Degree-seeking students, in contrast, should contact the Department of Student Affairs, not the International Office.

Application form

There are two different forms for applying to HTWK Leipzig. Teilstudenten (non-degree students) from one of our partner universities should complete the Application for Admission to Non-Degree Studies (PDF) and submit it to the International Office along with the other required documents. Direktstudenten (degree students, undergraduate and postgraduate) need to complete the Application Form for Admission to Studies for Foreign Applicants (PDF) and submit it to uni-assist, the Berlin-based organization that assesses international applications on behalf of HTWK Leipzig.


The local Ausländerbehörde (Aliens’ Registration Office) is responsible for issuing residence and work permits and for dealing with other legal matters relevant to foreign students and citizens. Unless you are a student from the European Union, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you need to register with the Ausländerbehörde within three months after your arrival in Germany.


The term Bildungsinländer (foreign student in Germany) refers to foreign or stateless students who have acquired their Abitur (German university entrance qualification) in Germany. If you are a Bildungsinländer, you do not have to apply to HTWK Leipzig via uni-assist.

Bologna Process

The Bologna Process is an intergovernmental initiative which aims to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and to promote the European system of higher education worldwide. It was launched in 1999 when ministers from 29 European countries, including Germany, met in Bologna and signed a declaration establishing what was necessary to create a EHEA by the end of the decade. The broad objectives of the Bologna Process became: to remove the obstacles to student mobility across Europe, to enhance the attractiveness of European higher education worldwide, and to establish a common structure of higher education systems based on two main cycles: undergraduate and graduate. To comply with the Bologna Process, all German universities have been undergoing far-reaching reforms in recent years.  At HTWK Leipzig, we have not only replaced our traditional Diplom degrees with the new, internationally recognised Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but have also reviewed all of our degree programmes to bring them more closely in line with industry needs and expectations.


The Bürgeramt (sometimes also called Einwohnermeldeamt) is the Residents’ Registration Office. All international students need to register with this office within the first two weeks after their arrival.

Consecutive degree programmes

Consecutive Bachelor's and Master's programmes are designed to build on each other in terms of content. After completing the Bachelor's programme with its subject-specific fundamental and methodological knowledge, you may enrol in a consecutive Master's programme to enhance your skills and specialise. A non-consecutive Master's programme, by contrast, is a stand-alone programme that gives you the option of taking up a new subject area for your second academic degree. (Engineers may choose to obtain a Master of Business Administration, for example.) Such additional or combined qualifications are often sought after by employers. HTWK Leipzig offers both consecutive and non-consecutive Master’s programmes.


At HTWK Leipzig, Direktstudent is the word we use to refer to an international degree student – that is, an international student who enrols at the University directly and for a full course of study rather than for a semester or two through one of HTWK Leipzig’s exchange programmes (cf. >> Teilstudent).


DSH is short for Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber, a common German language proficiency test. There are three grade levels: DSH-1 (fulfilment of the exam requirements with a mark above 57%), DSH-2 (fulfilment of the exam requirements with a mark above 67%) and DSH-3 (fulfilment of the exam requirements with a mark above 82%). At HTWK Leipzig and many other German universities, level DSH-2 is required for admission (see also >> TestDaF).

ECTS Credit points

Academic achievement in Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes at HTWK Leipzig is assessed on the basis of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The ECTS determines the amount of work necessary to attain an academic degree. This ‘workload’ does not only include actual classroom time, but also the time needed for the preparation and revision of course materials, work placements, or preparation for exams. ECTS credit points are awarded for each module you complete successfully, and one ECTS credit point is equivalent to 25-30 hours of work. The completed work is then graded and averaged as the final grade. To finish your studies, you must obtain the total amount of credit required by your programme (180–240 ECTS points for a Bachelor’s programme; 60–120 ECTS points for a Master’s programme).


Established in 1987, ERASMUS is a European Union student exchange programme that currently involves more than 4,000 higher education institutions in 31 countries. Erasmus students may study or do an internship in another European country for a period of three months to one academic year. The Erasmus programme guarantees that the period spent abroad is recognised by students' home university when they come back as long as they abide by terms previously agreed. A main benefit of Erasmus is that students do not pay tuition fees at the foreign university they attend. Moreover, students may apply for an Erasmus scholarship to help cover the additional expense of living abroad. To participate in Erasmus, you must be enrolled at a participating European university and have completed your first year of study.


Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) were founded in the late 1960s and early 1970s to fill the gap between academia and the working world by offering a sound academic training designed to meet the practical aspects of professional life. Typical subjects include business and management, technology, engineering, IT, social work, education and nursing, but also design, film and photography. Studies at a university of applied sciences are structured much like those at a comprehensive research university, but hands-on preparation for a concrete and specific profession or career field, e.g. through extensive for-credit work placements, plays a much greater role. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded by universities of applied sciences are the same as those awarded by a university. In fact, as a result of the >> Bologna reforms, these two types of higher education institutions are becoming increasingly alike.


If the school-leaving certificate you earned in your home country is not sufficient for university admission in Germany, you will have to take an exam in Germany called a Feststellungsprüfung (FSP, qualification assessment examination). The FSP assesses students’ proficiency in several subjects that are considered essential for the chosen degree programme. In addition, one component of the FSP is a German language test. Students may prepare for the FSP by enrolling in a >> Studienkolleg, or foundation course, offered at various universities and universities of applied sciences.


International students in Germany are required to provide a Finanzierungsnachweis (proof of financial resources) in order to obtain a visa and/or residence permit. In most cases, this document must be included with your visa application. At present, you must prove you have at least €7,776 per academic year at your disposal (€643 per month).


International first-year students who wish to study at a German university or university of applied sciences require a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), or ‘higher education entrance qualification’. Although the word is daunting, the idea behind it is quite simple – it is a school-leaving certificate confirming that you are qualified to begin your university studies. In Germany, the most common HZB is the >> Abitur. If you happen to come from an EU country, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland and your school-leaving certificate is recognised as a university entrance qualification there, it will also be recognised in Germany. If you attended school in a different country, you can use the DAAD Online Admissions Database to find out whether your certificate will be recognised as an entrance qualification or not. If your school-leaving certificate is not sufficient for university admission in Germany, you will have to take an exam in Germany called a >> Feststellungsprüfung (qualification assessment examination).


Mensa is the German word for student dining hall. (Actually, it is the Latin word for table.) At German universities, the Mensa is the most popular place for students, professors and university staff to have lunch, which is the main meal in Germany. The Mensa offers a variety of affordable dishes each day, including vegetarian ones. At HTWK Leipzig, the 'Mensa Academica' is located at the heart of our central campus.


Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes at HTWK Leipzig are divided into modules. Modules are academic units comprised of thematically related courses – e.g. lectures, seminars and practical sessions. A module can take a maximum of two semesters to complete and consists of six to ten hours of academic work per week.

Numerus clausus (NC)

Latin for ‘closing number’. If a degree programme in Germany is announced as having a numerus clausus, this means that admission is restricted because there are more applicants than spots available.  An NC of 2.0, for example, indicates that an average grade of 2.0 in the university entrance qualification (Abitur) was the minimum requirement for admission to this particular programme in the previous round of admissions. Very popular programmes, therefore, tend to have high NCs, meaning you will need excellent grades to be admitted. At HTWK Leipzig, all Bachelor’s programmes generally attract more applicants than there are spots, meaning admission is more or less competitive, and there is a different NC for each programme each year. (There is no official NC for the University’s Master’s programmes, but if there are more applicants than spots available, grades will obviously play a role in admissions decisions.)


HTWK Leipzig does not charge tuition, but all students are required to pay what is called a Semesterbeitrag (semester fee). One part of this semester fee covers social services provided by the Studentenwerk in Leipzig. This helps finance, for example, student halls of residence, >> Mensa services, athletic facilities and administrative services. Another major part of the semester fee is the ‘semester ticket’, which allows you to use public transportation in and around Leipzig for six months at no extra cost.


In Germany, there are 58 local Studentenwerke (student services), headed by the parent organization, the Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) in Berlin. While German universities focus on the academic side of studying, Studentenwerke take care of the economic, social and cultural aspects by running dining halls and cafeterias, operating student halls of residence, or providing counselling services. The Studentenwerk, although legally an independent organization, works very closely with universities and universities of applied sciences to ensure that students’ needs are met. To support their Studentenwerk’s activities, all students are required to pay a >> student services fee at the beginning of each semester.


Studienkollegs are foundation courses offered at various German universities and universities of applied sciences. They are designed for international first-year applicants whose school-leaving certificates from their home countries do not qualify them for direct university admission in Germany. These courses, which usually take two semesters to complete, prepare students for taking the qualification assessment examination (>> Feststellungsprüfung). At HTWK Leipzig, we do not run any foundation courses of our own, but refer students to Zittau-Görlitz University of Applied Sciences, where foundation courses are offered on a regular basis. The course itself is offered free of charge, but like regular students, foundation course participants are required to pay the semester contributions.

Summer semester

In Germany, the academic year is divided into two semesters: >> winter semester and summer semester. The summer semester at HTWK Leipzig begins in March and lasts until the end of August.


At HTWK Leipzig, Teilstudent is the word we use to refer to an international non-degree student – that is, an international student who comes to study here for one or two semesters via >> Erasmus or one of the University’s other international exchange programmes. In other words, Teilstudenten enrol at HTWK Leipzig to complete part of their studies here, not to obtain a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (cf. >> Direktstudent).


The Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF) is a standardized language qualification accepted by all German higher education institutions, including HTWK Leipzig. Tests are held five times a year at numerous TestDaF testing centres worldwide. The test is divided into reading comprehension, listening comprehension, written expression and oral expression components. The components can be passed at different levels. At HTWK Leipzig, the level TDN-4 is required for admission. See also >> DSH.

University of applied sciences

See >> Fachhochschule.


Vorlesungszeit, or lecture period, refers to the part of the semester during which courses are in session.


For some of HTWK Leipzig’s Bachelor’s degree programmes, e.g. in architecture, business administration or publishing technology, applicants are required to complete a 6-week internship (Praktikum) in their intended field of study prior to enrolling at the University (hence Vor-praktikum). To find out whether an internship is required for admission to your programme of choice, please refer to the programme descriptions (in German) in the University prospectus (PDF, 5.4 MB) and contact the respective Faculty adviser about ways to satisfy the internship requirement in your home country.

Winter semester

In Germany, the academic year is divided into two semesters: winter semester and >> summer semester. At HTWK Leipzig, the winter semester begins in September and lasts until the end of February.

Work permit

Permit required by non-EU citizens seeking employment in the Federal Republic of Germany. A work permit must be applied for at the appropriate >> Ausländerbehörde. Non-EU international students without a work permit are generally allowed to work for 90 full days or 180 half-days per calendar year.

Letzte Änderung: 28.8.2012
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