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
…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 before the semester starts?
No. After the semester has started, you will be told where, when and how you can register for the accompanying tutorial(s) during your first lesson. You will also be informed about possibilities regarding course selection and as to how much your desired date 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?
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 university’s 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 also use your language courses for the “Free Choice Uni” module (M8 from FPO 2018 onwards). If you prefer learning German in an informal atmosphere and making new friends at the same time you should consider registering for a language platform such as tandem.net or check out an introductory language tandem session at our Language Learning Centre at FAU.
What am I supposed to do with paper certificates (“Scheine”)?
Sometimes a course achievement (for example for a seminar or a practical course) can not be processed via the MeinCampus 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 MeinCampus account.
I have completed the last achievement of my studies. Will I be withdrawn from the university register?
No, you are registered for the entire semester in which you have completed your last achievement. 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), contact the Student Records Office.
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 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 a certain module belongs to by clicking on the responsible lecturer’s name in our online information system UnivIS. Among the contact data of the lecturer, you will find a link to his or her chair/lab in the “Institution” category. By following the link UnivIS shows you the organizational structure the chair/lab is integrated in at the top of the page, e.g. Prof. Andreas Maier belongs to the Pattern Recognition Lab and the Pattern Recognition Lab belongs to the Faculty of Engineering. If you look up a module in UnivIS and scroll down a bit you can find out in which study programs the module is used. If one of them is an engineering Master’s program you know that the program is suitable for master’s students. If all threee criteria apply you can use the module in M7.
In addition to the above-mentioned technical modules, you can also use some modules from the field of economics, which are listed in your module catalog for M7.
Conditional subjects cannot be used in M7, as they are courses on Bachelor’s level.
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 in order to increase their ECTS value.
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. If you want to decide for yourself which subjects should be accredited for your Bachelor’s/Master’s certificate, please contact the Examinations Office in due course before the certificate’s issuing. The remaining achievements will not be listed in the certificate but in the transcript of records under the category “Sonstiges” (miscellaneous).
Which lectures am I supposed to use for M7/Flexible Budget (study regulation FPO 2013) and 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 UnivIS and select “English” as the course language. 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, Medicine, any module of the School 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 this group.
You can also render several achievements for the module that are higher than the required amount of ECTS points. If you render significantly more achievements than needed and do not state any preference at the Examinations Office, it will select the best possible grades when issuing the certificate.
If you take classes outside of the School of Engineering, it is possible that the exam registration cannot be conducted via MeinCampus. In this case, please contact the lecturer 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 MeinCampus 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 UnivIs. 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 UnivIS to find out when the registration starts and via which platform (StudOn, Mein Campus, 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 Mein Campus (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 or master certificate.
The exams that are concluding my studies are in 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 MeinCampus and have the possibility to take the catch-up exams 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.
How do the examination and grading system 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 MeinCampus 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 catch-up 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, see above).
If you have registered for a first attempt of an exam and don’t feel well prepared you undo your registration via your MeinCampus 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 have to use a third attempt to pass an exam or I failed this third attempt. What do I do now?
Recommendable, before taking the third-exam attempt, you should contact your student advisor in order to be optimally prepared and to be informed about other possible study alternatives.
If you feel unable to take the exam on the examination day, you must retire from the exam and handle a medical certificate to the Examinations Office, respectively quit immediately the exam and go to a doctor (Vertrauenssarzt). After knowing the grade of the exam, it is not possible to declare it invalid (for example due to illness or personal crises). It will be not accepted by the examination board. According to the examinations office, hardship applications do not exist and will not be processed – please contact your student advisory service directly after the exam.
If you have failed your exam in the third attempt, your student advisor will provide further information about changing a major.
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 Mein Campus?
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 MeinCampus. However, there are some exceptions:
- For courses offered at VHB (Virtual University of Bavaria) you cannot register via MeinCampus. Please read the course information on the VHB website (it’s mostly in German – if you need help ask a German-speaking friend or your study advisor). It will tell you whether you have to register online via the VHB website, via email with your lecturer or not at all.
- For most courses outside the Medical Engineering curriculum you won’t be able to register in MeinCampus on your own. This may be the case for your conditional subject or for courses which you want to take within the module group “Flexible Budget/M7”. e.g. economics, psychology etc. Please talk to your lecturer and ask them to register you manually (please give them your student number).
- There are some courses which are part of the Medical Engineering module catalogs but don’t appear in the MeinCampus exam registration. This is mainly the case for seminars. Please ask your lecturer how you can register for their exam. They will usually 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 (if any) your grade. Please take this certificate to the examinations office in order to have your coursework registered in MeinCampus.
How are my average grades calculated in MeinCampus (FPO 2018 & 2019)?
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 Mein Campus. 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.
I need a document stating the provisional end of my studies
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.