Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find the answers to the most common questions students have during their studies in Germany while working on their specific degrees at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg.
If the answer to your question is missing, feel free to contact your study advisor. We are happy to help you out!
I am really struggling with my studies right now. What can I do?
The most important thing first: you are not alone! Almost all students are familiar with the experience of reaching a low point in their studies, feeling overwhelmed or not knowing what to do. The good news is that you can do a lot by yourself to feel better and have successful moments in your studies again. Here are some measures you can take right away:
- Self-help material for various psychological problems (recommended by our psychologist!)
- When you need to talk to a professional in person: make an appointment with our psychologist!
- When you need to improve your work-life balance and get out of you head: have a look at the offer of our University Sports
- If you are concerned you might not pass your conditional subjects or the third attempt of an exam: Please apply to another English-taught Master’s program for the next semester so that you have a backup plan.
- If you feel lonely and would like to make friends: join one of our student initiatives.
…and speak about study-related problems to your study advisor, your lecturers, supervisors and fellow students. Everything is easier when you talk it through with others.
Studying at FAU
Can I register for tutorials/exercise classes before the lecture period starts?
No. You will be told in the first week of the lecture period, when you attend the first session of your chosen lectures, when and how you can register for the accompanying tutorials/exercise classes for that lecture. You will also be informed about your options regarding the selection of specific time slots and as to how much your personal time preferences can be taken into account. You are not formally entitled to a certain tutorial date, especially since a certain maximum capacity (20-30 participants, depending on the room capacity) cannot be exceeded and certain dates are very popular among students. There will be, however, enough spots available for every student.
How many ECTS points am I expected to obtain per term?
The regular recommended workload per term is 30 ECTS points, as our Master’s program consists of 120 ECTS points and the regular duration of studies is 4 semesters. You can find the recommended distribution of credits per term in the module catalog (see “Information for current students”). However, you don’t have to stick to the exact same study plan, you are free to make your own choices and take less modules/credits per semester. There is no minimum amount of credits that you have to acquire per semester and nobody will check on you how many courses you are taking. The general duration of studies can be extended to 5 or 6 if you need it.
Especially during your first semester, when you are still getting used to your new university and study program, it can make sense to take less than 30 credits. If you were admitted with conditional subjects, please make sure that you concentrate on them first, as you only have 1 year to complete them. If you feel you need a lot of time to study for your conditions it is a good idea to accompany those course with less time-consuming options, such as a language course for “M8/Free Choice Uni” or medical modules from module group M1.
What does “VHB” in the module catalog mean and how do I use VHB courses?
VHB stands for “Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern” (Virtual University of Bavaria), an online study platform that FAU students can use without any costs. Please click in the top right corner of the VHB page for the English version. You have to register once (please select “Gesundheitstechnik” as your study program/”Studienfach”) and get access to several online courses, some of which are in English, too. Exams are mostly taken online, sometimes there is a regular written examination. Please note: VHB-exams which are taken online at your home computer (i.e. without video supervision by an examiner) cannot be accredited for the study program!
Is it possible to study German at FAU?
Yes, the FAU language center offers free German courses during the semester and intensive courses (with a fee) during the holidays. Please check the German department’s website for more information. You can use all language courses offered by our language center for the “Free Choice Uni” module (M8 from FPO 2018 onwards) if you wish to.
You can also take free German language courses and courses on German culture via the virtual learning platform VHB (www.vhb.org – please register with the study program “Gesundheitstechnik”). Please note, though, that you cannot use these course for your Master’s studies.
If you prefer learning German in an informal atmosphere and making new friends at the same time, you should consider registering for an online language exchange platform such as tandem.net or apply to be matched with a real-life tandem partner by our FAU tandem partner service.
I have completed the last achievement of my studies. Will I be deregistered from the university right away and lose my student status?
No, you stay registered as a student for the entire semester in which you have completed your last achievement. This means that you keep your student status until the end of the semester (30th of September or 31st of March respectively), hence you can continue to work as a student assistant/working student and continue to live in a students residence until that date. This also applies if you have already received your Bachelor´s or Master´s certificate. If you wish for an early de-registration (e.g. for job purposes), please contact our Student Records Office.
What do I need to know about the German academic system and German culture?
When you make the decision to study in a foreign country it is crucial to understand that things will differ in many aspects from your life and studies in your home country and that you will need to adjust to these differences, such as:
- how the university and its infrastructure are organized
- how students and teachers interact in class, how students communicate with lecturers, staff and other students
- what exams look like and how you prepare for them
- which services the university offers (and which it doesn’t offer)
- the concept of courtesy and good manners in daily life-interactions
- which activities students engage in in their free time
But don’t be scared, if you have an open mind and are willing to learn about these differences, you will find that they broaden your horizon and can result in a very enriching experience!
If you are unsure if the intercultural experience is for you or want to prepare for your time at FAU, you can take this online course offered by the Virtual University of Bavaria (VHB). You have to create a user account, but it is free of cost!
Regarding Master Modules
Can I take more modules within a module group than required?
Yes, definitely, there is no ECTS credit limit for taking additional modules and/or additional exams. If you don’t communicate another preference at the end of your studies, our Examinations Office will automatically account the modules with the best grades for your master’s degree. The other modules and grades will only be listed in your Transcript of Records, but not in the Master’s certificate.
You may also use the modules you take additionally in other module groups, according to the rule for switching modules that is explained at the bottom of your module catalog – or in the module groups M7 (Felixible Budget Faculty of Engineering) and M8 (Free Choice Uni).
It is also ok if the modules you want to use to complete a certain module group exceed the ECTS requirement for the respective group. E.g. it is no problem if you use a 5 ECTS module and a 7,5 ECTS module to complete module group M7 (which only has an ECTS requirement of 10 ECTS). Please note, however, that in this case 2,5 ECTS of the module with the worse grade of the two will be lost. You cannot split up modules and use the remaining ECTS elsewhere.
Can modules be interchanged within the module catalog?
Yes, but only some of them – according to the following rules:
- For module M3 you can use max. 5 ECTS points in total from the module groups M2, M3 and M5 of your own study branch and the others branches (which may be in German!)
- For module M5 you can use max. 5 ECTS points in total from the module groups M2, M3 and M5 of your own study branch and the other branches (which may be in German!)
Which lectures am I supposed to use for M7/Flexible Budget Faculty of Engineering (study regulation FPO 2018 and onwards)?
For this module group (10 ECTS), you can generally take any graded course offered by our Faculty of Engineering which is offered as a mandatory subject or “compulsory elective” in a Master’s program of our Faculty of Engineering. You can find out which faculty and study programs a certain course belongs to by consulting our online course platform Campo.
Please search for your desired course under “studies offered” – “search for courses”.
- Under “parallel groups/dates” you can find the lecturer of the course. Please click on their name in order to find out about their affiliation with a chair/lab. By clicking on the arrow next to their name, you can see the department structure which the chair/lab belongs to. If you want to use the course in M7, your lecturer has to be a member of a lab/chair that is part of the Faculty of Engineering.
- Please click on the “basic data” section of the course. Here, you can find out if the course is part of the curriculum of at least one Master’s program of the Faculty of Engineering (“TechFak”). If this is the case, the cours is suitable for M7.
- The course has to be graded.
In addition to the above-mentioned engineering modules, you can also use a defined set of modules from the field of economics, which are listed in your module catalog for M7.
Exception for HMDA students: If you are studying in the branch of study “Health & Medical Data Analytics and Entrepreneurship” (HMDA), you can only choose your modules for M7 from the list you can find in your module catalog for module group M7. This is due to the fact that for HMDA students, all M7 modules have to be related to economics, innovation or entrepreneurship.
IMPORTANT: Conditional subjects cannot be used in M7, as they are considered courses on Bachelor’s level, which you needed to take additionally to qualify for our master’s program.
If the module description in Campo states explicitly that the module cannot be used for M7, this statement applies.
If you are unsure about whether a certain module falls into these categories please contact your study advisor.
Can I take additional exercises or practical courses that are being offered together with a lecture from my module catalog?
Yes. All lectures can be complemented by additional exercises and practical courses offered by the same lecturer to accompany the respective course. This way, you can increase their ECTS value of the grade that you obtain by taking the respective exam.
The Examinations Office automatically selects the best achievements from the module group while issuing the BA or MA certificates. The remaining achievements will not count towards your grade average. If you want to decide for yourself which subjects should be counted for your Bachelor’s/Master’s degree, please contact the Examinations Office in due course before your final certificate is issued. The remaining achievements will not be listed in the certificate but in the transcript of records under the category “Zusatzleistungen” (additional achievements).
Which lectures am I supposed to use for M8/Free Choice Uni (study regulation FPO 2018 and onwards)?
For this module, you can take any graded technical or non-technical course offered at any faculty of FAU. Please make sure that you receive a grade in that course. Just browse through our online course platform Campo and see which courses look interesting to you. You can also use courses offered by the Virtual University Bavaria (VHB), provided that they offer an exam with identity control (= exam under supervision, either on-site or remotely via zoom/camera) or a written paper.
Possible courses include but are not limited to: economics, language courses, psychology, literature, cultural history, any module of our Facutly of Engineering or the Medical Engineering degree program itself (under the condition that the course is not counted for other module groups) or your conditional subjects. In case you don’t feel inspired we can recommend “Nailing your Thesis” (by Prof. Dirk Riehle), as it is a good preparation for your Master’s thesis.
If you were admitted with conditional subjects you can also use your conditional subjects in module group M8.
You can also take more modules and exams for M8 and thus acquire more ECTS credits than the required amount of ECTS points for M8 (5 ECTS). If you complete more exams than needed and do not state any preference at the Examinations Office, it will select the best possible grades when issuing your Master’s certificate.
If you take classes outside of our Facutly of Engineering, it is possible that the exam registration cannot be conducted via the Campo portal. In this case, please contact the lecturer or Mrs. Jahreis of our Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de) and ask them to register your exam manually.
Can I use my conditional subjects for my Master’s course?
Yes, if you have achieved a good grade in your conditional subjects you can use them for your module group “Free Choice Uni/M8” (according to Study Regulation/FPO 2018 and 2019). You cannot use them for any other group, as these other groups have to consist of Master’s level content, which the conditional subjects are not – by definition.
In order to have your conditional subject moved to the “Free Choice Uni/M8” section of your Campo account, just send an email to Mrs. Jahreis of our Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de) and ask her to do so.
Do I have to register for my courses – and if so, how?
You don’t need to register for regular lectures at FAU (which comprise the largest part of you Master’s curriculum). If you are interested in taking a certain lecture you just go to the respective lecture hall at the time that ist indicated in our online course portal Campo. You can stop attending the lecture anytime and don’t have to inform anybody of it. Since most lecturers will share course material on the StudOn platform, you will need to join the respective course in StudOn at some point – but this does not equal a binding registration. In principle, you could join the StudOn course and never attend the lecture (or vice versa). You can register for the exam later on in the semester (you will be informed by your study advisor and lecturers when exam registration takes place), but it is important to note that attending a lecture does not mean that you have to register for the respective exam. You can also register for an exam without ever attending the lecture, but then it is your responsibility to study the content on your own, of course!
Exception: If you want to take online lectures offered by VHB (Virtual University of Bavaria = e-learning platform of all Bavarian universities) you will need to register for the course via the VHB website. Please look up the respective lecture on the VHB website to find out when the course registration takes place.
Seminars and practical courses (lab courses): These courses require previous registration, as they have a limited number of participants. Please look up the seminars and practical courses of your choice in Campo to find out when the registration starts and via which channel (usually via our StudOn platform or in rare cases via email to the responsible tutor/professor etc.) it is carried out. Important: The registration for seminars and lab courses usually takes place several weeks before the actual lecture period begins (in March or September respectively).
How are my average grades for the module groups calculated in the Campo portal (FPO 2013)?
If you only render the ECTS points required for the module group, the individual module grades are weighed according to the average grade. The grade will be calculated not by rounding it, but only takes the first decimal into account.
Example: Flexible Budget of master degree programme (M7 of FPO 2013, 10 ECTS points):
- Achievement of 5 ECTS points: grade 1.0
- Achievement of 2.5 ECTS points: grade 1.0
- Achievement of 2.5 ECTS points: grade 2.0
- Average grade: (5 x 1 + 2.5 x 1 + 2.5 x 2) : 10 = 1.25
–> The average grade of 1.2 weighs 10 ECTS points into your final Master grade. The calculation of the total Master grade is based on 110 ECTS points, because of module group M6 being ungraded.
If you render more than the ECTS points required for a module group, the Examinations Office will automatically select the best possible combination that fulfills the modules ECTS requirements when issuing the certificate. Additional module will not be taken into account. Module are always weighed by their full ECTS value. A proportional calculation of ECTS points is invalid according to the General Examination Regulations (ABMPO TechFak), even if the required ECTS requirement has been met for the module group!
Example: Flexible Budget of master degree programme (FPO 2013, 10 ECTS points):
- Achievement of 5 ECTS points: grade 2.0
- Achievement of 2.5 ECTS points: grade 1.0
- Achievement of 2.5 ECTS points: grade 1.0
- Achievement of 2.5 ECTS points: grade 1.0
- Average grade: (2.5 x 2 + 2.5 x 1 + 2.5 x 1 + 2.5 x 1) : 12.5 = 1.25
–> The average grade 1.2 will be accounted for the grade with 10 ECTS points. The calculation of the total grade is based on 110 ECTS points, because of module group M6 being ungraded.
If you have rendered more than the ECTS points required for the module group and do not wish for the automatic selection of the best possible combination, you can contact the Examinations Office before it issues the certificate and communicate which achievements should be considered for you Bachelor’s or Master’s certificate.
What am I supposed to do with PDF certificates (“Scheine”)?
Sometimes a course achievement (for example for a seminar or a practical course) can not be processed via the Online Portal-Campo platform. In this case your lecturer will issue you a paper certificate stating your name, the course title, your grade and the ECTS value of the course. You have to take this certificate to Mrs. Jahreis at the examinations office in order to have her enter your course achievement in your Campo account.
The exams that are concluding my studies take are part of the second exam period and therefore take place in a new semester. Do I have to re-register?
No, if they are the last exams of your studies, you do not have to re-register. You can take those exams even if the dates are in the new semester. You can still see your grades in the Campo portal and even have the possibility to take the respective repeat exams in the subsequent if necessary.
I have failed an exam attempt for a module. Can I switch to another module?
This depends on whether the respective module is mandatory or not. If you failed the exam for a conditional subject or for a module that is marked as mandatory in your module catalog (please see the footnotes there) you cannot switch it. You have one year (= two attempts) to pass your conditional subjects and three attempts to pass any other mandatory module.
If the module in question is not mandatory, you can switch your registration for the repeat exam to another module of the same module group with the same ECTS value. Please note that your failed attempt(s) will be subtracted, meaning that if you switch to another module after a first failed attempt you will only have two attempts left to pass the exam of the new module. If you switch after your second failed attempt you will only have one attempt left to pass the exam of the new module. If you switch from one module with 5 ECTS to two modules of the same group with 2,5 ECTS each, the failed exam attempt(s) will only be subtracted for one of them, meaning that you will have three (=regular) attempts for the other. If you want to make use of this option, please send an email to Ms Helga Jahreis of our Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de) during the official exam registration period and ask her to switch your registration to a new module of the same module group. If exam registration period is already over, you can only switch your registration to exams of the same module group which you have already registered for.
How do the examination and grading system at FAU work?
All exams can only be taken once per semester. They either take place in the first exam period (= first two weeks of the holidays) or in the second one (last three weeks of the holidays – the second exam period partly coincides with the beginning of the new semester). Exams will only be offered in one of those two periods. You have to register for exams via the Campo system. It is only open for registration for three weeks during lecture period. Your lecturers and study advisor will let you know when the exam registration starts. Attending a lecture doesn’t mean that you have to take the corresponding exam or are automatically registered for it. You have to register for every exam you want to take otherwise you cannot participate!
If you fail an exam you have to take the repeat exam in the following semester and are automatically registered for it. You generally have three attempts in total for each exam (exception: only one year, i.e. max. two attempts for conditional subjects).
If you have registered for a first attempt of an exam and don’t feel well prepared you undo your registration via your Campo account until 3 working days (Mon-Fri) before the exam day. After that deadline, or if the registered exam is a mandatory repeat exam, you can only cancel your registration with a medical certificate, which you have to send to our examinations officer Mrs. Jahreis (helga.jahreis[at)fau.de).
If you have passed an exam you cannot repeat it in order to improve your grade. Failed exam attempts will not be listed in your final transcript of records or Master’s certificate. All passed exams will be listed in your transcript of records.
The best grade in the German academic system is 1.0, the worst passing grade is 4.0:
I am facing my third (=last) attempt for an exam or I failed my third attempt. What do I do now?
When you learn that you failed your second attempt, you should contact your study advisor as early as possible in order to be optimally prepared for the third attempt and to inform yourself about possible study alternatives.
Please be aware that in order to switch to another Master’s program, you need to formally apply for this alternative program via the Campo portal within the official application period and be granted admission to this program. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to apply to another English-taught Master’s program in the semester in which you have your third exam attempt. This way, you have a backup plan for the following semester if you fail your third attempt and cannot continue your studies in the Medical Engineering program.
If you feel unable to take the exam on the examination day, you must withdraw from the exam before it takes place by submitting a medical certificate to the Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de). If you suddenly feel ill during the exam, you have to inform your exam supervisor, leave the exam and directly go to an officially recognized doctor (Vertrauenssarzt). After you have finished the exam, it is generally not possible to declare it invalid retroactively (for example due to illness or personal crises).
If you have failed your exam in the third attempt, your student advisor will provide further information about changing your study program.
I have already acquired all ECTS points that are necessary for my master’s degree. Can I still take exams?
Yes, during the semester in which you have acquired the 120 ECTS points for the master’s degree you have the possibility to visit classes for elective and compulsory elective modules to improve your total grade.
Please contact Ms. Jahreis of the Examinations Office (email@example.com), in order for your certificate to be issued prematurely.
It is however not possible to repeat passed exams.
How do I register for an exam if I don’t find it on the Campo platform?
First of all, exam registration is only possible during exam registration period (usually three weeks in the middle of the lecture period – you will be informed by your lecturers and your study advisor). For most of your exams you will be able to register online via our Campo platform. However, there are some exceptions:
- For courses offered at VHB (Virtual University of Bavaria) by lecturers who are not members of FAU, you cannot register via the Campo platform. Please read the course information on the VHB website (it’s mostly in German – please use google translate or ask a German-speaking friend). It will tell you whether you have to register online via the VHB website, via email with your lecturer or in a different way.
- For most courses outside the Medical Engineering curriculum, you won’t be able to register via the “study planner with module plan” in Campo. This will mostly be the case for courses which you want to take within the module groups “Flexible Budget Faculty of Engineering”/M7 and “Free Choice Uni/M8”. In order to register for these exams, you have to select “Register for electives” in Campo and use the search function. This works best if you search for the exam title or the exam number:
- Option 1: Search for the exam title, which is in most cases identical or very close to the title of your module/course.
- Option 2: Ask your lecturer in the next lecture session or in the StudOn forum to give you the exam number. Please avoid asking your lecturers for the exam number via email in order to save them from being bombarded with emails!
- If you cannot find your desired exam via option 1 or 2: Please contact your study advisor.
- There are some courses which are part of the Medical Engineering module catalogs but don’t appear in the Campo exam registration. This is mainly the case for seminars and practical courses. Please ask your lecturer how you can register for those achievements. If you have to register with them personally (i.e. not via the Campo system), they will issue you a paper certificate (“Schein”) after the successful completion of the module, which states your name, the course title, the amount of ECTS credits and your grade. Please send this certificate to Mrs. Jahreis of our Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de) in order to have your coursework registered in the Campo system.
How are my average grades calculated in the Campo portal (FPO 2018 and onwards)?
All modules that are required to fulfill the ECTS requirements of a module group are included in the average grade for this module group, weighted according to their ECTS value. In doing so, the calculated grade value is not rounded up, but truncated after the first decimal place:
Example: module group M5 in the Master’s program (10 ECTS):
- Performance with 5 ECTS: grade 1.0
- Performance with 7.5 ECTS: grade 2.3
Average grade: (5 x 1 + 7.5 x 2.3) : 12.5 = 1.78
The average grade of 1.7 is included in the Master’s examination with 10 ECTS. The calculation of the master’s examination grade is based on 110 ECTS, since module group M6 is ungraded.
If you acquire more than the ECTS required for a module group, the examination office automatically selects the modules with the best grades necessary to fulfill the ECTS requirement of the module group when issuing the certificate. Additional modules are not included in the calculation.
If you have taken more than the required ECTS points in a module group and do not want the modules with the best grades in each case to be automatically credited, you can inform the Examinations Office before your certificate is issued which achievements should be included in your Bachelor’s or Master’s examination.
From the calculated overall grade of the Bachelor’s or Master’s examination, the second decimal place is truncated (i.e. not rounded), e.g. 2.35 becomes 2.3.
I have passed my conditional subjects – what now?
From the day of your enrollment, you have one year to proof that you have passed your condtional subjects. Otherwise you cannot be re-registered for the third semester of your Master’s studies. Once your lecturer lets you know that you have passed your condition(s), you have to wait until the grade appears in the Campo portal. When this is the case, please contact Mrs. Helga Jahreis of our Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de) and inform her that you have passed your conditions. It is crucial that you attach your Master’s admissions letter to this email, as it contains your conditional subjects. Mrs. Jahreis will pass the information on to our Student Records Office and our officers there will switch your semester status to “3”.
I have obtained more ECTS credits than I need for my degree. Which courses will be counted towards my Master’s degree?
This decision is up to you!
If you don’t communicate any preference to our Examinations Office, the modules with the best grades will be used by default to be counted for your degree and to calculate your final Master’s grade. The remaining modules will not be listed in your Master’s degree certificate, but in your transcript of records in the section “Additional achievements”.
If you have other preferences and want to have a certain module, which you find important, listed in your Master’s cerificate, please inform Mrs. Jahreis of out Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de). You can make the decision until the end of your studies but you have to notify Mrs. Jahreis before your documents are issued.
Whom do I need to contact if I want to move credits & grades from one module group to another?
Please contact Mrs. Jahreis of our Exminations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de). Your study advisor cannot make any changes in your module/grade overview in Campo. It is only possible to move modules to a certain module group if it is in compliance with the rules explained in your module catalog (see the footnotes there).
What do I need to do if I want to transfer credits form previous studies/studies abroad to my Master’s in Medical Engineering?
Achievements from previous studies and studies abroad can only be accredited towards the Medical Engineering program if the have been evaluated positively by your accreditation officer for Medical Engineering.
In order to apply for accreditation of previously acquired credits and grades, please read the information on accreditation carefully and follow the process described here: https://www.medical-engineering.study.fau.eu/current-students/recognition-of-academic-achievements/
How can I register for exams from other branches of study which I want to use in my module group M3 oder M5 (rule for interchanging modules)?
As explained in the footnotes in your module catalog, you can interchange some modules between the other branches of study (which you have not chosen) and your own branch of study: You can use a modul/modules with max. 5 ECTS from M2, M3 or M5 of the other branches of study for your module group M3 and another modul/modules with max. 5 ECTS from M2, M3 or M5 of the other branches of study for your module group M5. However, you cannot register for exams from other branches of study by yourself in Campo.
If you want to take exams from the other branches of study please send an email to Mrs. Helga Jahreis of our Examinations Office (helga.jahreis[at]fau.de) and let her know in which module group you would like to register which exam. Please always include the title of the exam and the exam number in your email.
I have to give I scientific presentation – how do I do that?
Prof. Andreas Maier has published a very useful video which explains the elements of a good scientific presentation. Please find it here.
I need a document stating the provisional end of my studies. Where can I get such a document?
The authority for foreigners or non-residents (Ausländerbehörde) often requires a document in order to ensure your current status as a student (“ein aktuelles Schreiben der Universität über das voraussichtliche Studienende”). In this scenario, your certificate of enrollment does not suffice. You need to get an official document from our university for this exact cause, which you can apply for by contacting Mrs. Bächle-Grosso elisabeth.baechle-grosso[at]fau.de.