Glossary of Academic Terms

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  • Lecture
    German: Vorlesung

    A crucial form of teaching at universities. A lecturer presents a topic, and students listen, typically writing down the most important information. Lectures are often supplemented by additional aids such as slides, maps, transparencies, or projectors.

  • Lecture Directory
    German: Vorlesungsverzeichnis

    A directory of all the courses offered at the university during a semester. It contains information about the course time, location such as lecture hall, seminar room, or lab, and the name of the lecturer. The lecture directory is also available online in Campus.

  • M.Sc., M.A., M.Ed., or Master
    German: M.Sc., M.A., M.Ed. oder Master

    Master courses of study require an initial academic degree such as Bachelor, Magister, Diplom, or Staatsexamen. Depending on the course of study, the academic degrees Master of Science or M.Sc., Master of Arts, M.A., or Master of Education, M.Ed. are awarded.

  • Magister or Magister Artium
    German: Magister oder Magister Artium

    The academic degree Magister Artium was common for philosophical, linguistic, cultural, or historical subjects. It is no longer possible to begin or enroll in Magister courses of study at RWTH Aachen.

  • Mandatory Modules
    German: Pflichtbereich

    The mandatory modules encompass all courses that are already determined and which all students must take.

  • Medical Licensing
    German: Approbation

    The Staatsexamen in medical courses of study is a state finishing exam based on a unified exam regulation. THe medical courses of study are completed by the so called Medical Exam or Dental Exam. Medical licensing allows a doctor or dentist to practice medicine or dentistry.

  • Mentoring Program
    German: Mentoring-Programm

    A mentoring program was created as part of the RWTH-wide initiative Excellent Teaching institutional strategy to improve study conditions. The goal of the program is to individually support and promote them. The service expands and supplements the services of the departmental student advising and student representative council to include personal and individual accompaniment throughout studies.

  • Module
    German: Modul

    Modules are a collection of courses that are focused on a certain thematic or content-related focus. A module is teaching and learning unit that is over both content-wide and temporally. This unit is made up of different courses.

  • Module Handbook
    German: Modulhandbuch

    The module handbook describes the individual modules including information about the core semester, content, duration, learning goals, SWS, prerequisites, frequency, grading, rotation, examinations, and language.

  • Numerus Clausus or NC
    German: Numerus Clausus oder NC

    Numerus clausus, abbreviated as NC, is the restriction of admission to universities. The term comes from the Latin numerus for number and clausus for closed, and means a limited number, that is the the capacity for admission in certain courses of study.

  • Oral Supplementary Exam
    German: Mündliche Ergänzungsprüfung

    If someone fails the second retake of an exam and receives a grade of insufficient or 5.0, the student has the opportunity to take an oral supplementary exam. Depending on the oral supplementary exam, a student will either receive a sufficient or 4.0 or an insufficient or 5.0.

  • Orientation Period
    German: Orientierungsphase

    The orientation period is the first five weeks after lectures begin.

  • Orientation Week
    German: Einführungswoche

    First-year students in Bachelor and Staatsexamen courses of study are welcomed at the beginning of the semester with the orientation week. The week is organized primarily by the student representative councils and begins with the orientation events on the first day of the semester. Then, smaller groups are formed that are accompanied by a tutor to the week's events. Some Master's courses of study offer orientation events as well. Additional information is available at the link below.

    Further Information

  • Post-Examination Review
    German: Prüfungseinsicht

    After grades are announced students can view their corrected exam or examination paper.

  • Practical Components (Teacher Training)
    German: Praxiselemente (Lehramt)

    The Bachelor’s teacher training programs require an internship of at least four weeks in duration in a non-school context. The aim of this internship is to help students reflect on their choice of studies and career and broaden their horizons for their later activities as teachers.

    Another practical component is the "suitability and orientation internship," which encompasses a preparatory seminar, the internship of at least 25 days in duration, and a written report by the students critically reflecting on their experience. The internship aims to introduce students to educational practice at schools and give them the opportunity to develop profession-oriented perspectives from which to pursue their studies.

    The Master of Education program requires a “practical” semester, which is divided into a preparatory phase and a participatory phase at a school. The activities at school are in turn divided into a practical and theoretical part. The practical semester coincides with a 6-month school term. It is part of a two-semester period focusing on vocational aspects, complemented by seminars in the field of educational science and pedagogy.

    All practical components must be documented in a portfolio. They are required for admission to the next stage in teacher education, the so-called “preparatory service.”

  • Preparatory Service
    German: Vorbereitungsdienst

    Preparatory service, formerly called Refendariat, is teaching training completed at schools and state centers for practical teacher education. It lasts at least twelve months and is completed in the subject, in which a student has studied and wishes to teach.

  • Proof of Performance
    German: Leistungsnachweise

    The transcript of records offers an overview of your proof of performance. You can print out your transcript of grades yourself on Campus Office.

  • PuL
    German: PuL

     The project "Reorganization of Processes Surrounding Exam and Course Management including the Introduction of an Integrated Software Solution" or PuL for short, aims at improving the related processes, including introducing corresponding IT support. The project is hosted and coordinated by the Department of Academic Affairs and Registrar's Office. The link below provides additional information.

    Further Information

  • Reenrollment
    German: Rückmeldung

    Studients, who wish to continue their studies at RWTH Aachen, must reenroll before the start of every semester in order to continue studying. You are reenrolled as soon as you have paid the full student body and social contribution fee before the reenrollment deadline.

  • Retirement of a Professor
    German: Emeritierung

    This is retirement of a professor due to old age. The professor can voluntarily continue to hold classes and events though.

  • RWTHonline
    German: RWTHonline

    RWTHonline is the University’s Campus Management System. It will accompany you throughout your studies – from when you first apply to RWTH to the day you graduate. In RWTHonline you can plan your studies, register for courses and exams, download certificates, and much more.

  • Schein or Slip
    German: Schein

    A casual term for proof of performance

  • Self Assessment
    German: SelfAssessment

    A self assessment is, simply put, an orientation test.  It serves to help you to realistically assess your own abilities. The individual test results offer you an opportunity to orient yourself when choosing your subject. Our Self Assessments help you get to know not only your own aptitudes and tendencies but also the demands of certain fields of study, since the tests were created in close collaboration with representatives from the individual subjects.

  • Semester
    German: Semester

    The semester indicates the academic half-year of a six month period. An academic year is broken down into a winter and summer semester. The summer semester lasts from April 1 to September 30, and the winter semester is from October 1 to March 31.

  • Semester Ticket
    German: Semesterticket

    The Semesterticket is a ticket for all public transportation in Aachen and North-Rhine Westphalia. It is valid for one semester.

  • Seminar
    German: Seminar

    Courses with a smaller group of students. Selected topics are discussed and discussions are led by a seminar leader. Students often have to give a presentation or present how they worked something out.

  • Social Contribution Fee
    German: Sozialbeitrag

    Students pay a fee each semester, which finances different student institutions, Student Services, and the semester ticket, among other things.

  • Staatsexamen
    German: Staatsexamen

    Some university courses of study are not completed with an exam by the university but rather an exam in front of a state exam office, the so-called Staatsexamen. RWTH Aachen has Staatsexamen in its teacher training subjects, which are being phased out and replaced by the Bachelor and Master, and human medicine and dentistry.

  • Start of Studies
    German: Studienbeginn

    Many RWTH Aachen courses of study begin in both summer and winter semester. However some only start in the winter semester. Students interested in teacher training courses of study are recommended to start their studies in the winter semester. Prospective students should visit academic advising before beginning studies in the summer semester.

  • Stay Abroad
    German: Auslandsaufenthalt

    Students are recommend to complete a stay abroad to expand their horizons, expand their social skills, for intercultural experience, improve foreign language skills, expand technical qualifications, and build up a network. Below are possibilities for going abroad:

    • Exchange program through a university partnership
    • Application for a scholarship from the DAAD or another organization
    • Independent and individual planning for a stay abroad (independent planning, application, financing as a "free mover")

    Additional information can be found at the link below.

    Further Information

  • STEM
    German: MINT

    STEM is short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. RWTH Aachen has begun various projects to awaken and promote school students' interests in studies in one of these areas. The link belows provides additional information.

    Further Information

  • Student Council
    German: Fachschaft

    A student council is a student administrative institution that represents students' interests at RWTH Aachen. Additional information is available at the link below.

    Further Information

  • Student Course Evaluation
    German: Studentische Lehrveranstaltungsbewertung

    Student course evaluations serve to ensure and improve the quality and efficiency of individual courses. Its primary goal is to consistently review the teaching and learning methods practiced and to give teachers constructive feedback about the courses from students' perspectives. Teachers thus receive tips and estimations, on the basis of which they can implement short-term modifications. Student course evaluations are conducted once a semester. The link below provides additional information.

    Further Information

  • Student ID
    German: Studierendenausweis

    After enrolling all RWTH Aachen students receive a student ID that services as a multifunctional chip card. This is the RWTH University BlueCard. The link below provides additional information.

    Further Information

  • Student Services
    German: Studierendenwerk

    Student Services is a service provider for students that is responsible for the cafeterias, the different dormitories, and questions about the Federal Training Assistance Act.

  • TBA or TBD
    German: N.N.

    This stands for "to be announced" or "to be determined" when a name has not yet been provided or determined.

  • Teacher Training Center
    German: Lehrerbildungszentrum

    The RWTH Aachen Teacher Training Center or Lehrerbildungszentrum, LBZ, is a central academic institution and is not part of any of the faculties. It was founded in October 1999 with an integrated internship office and was restructured in 2010 due to law reforming teaching training from May 12, 2009 (Article 2). It then became the center of teacher training within the university.

  • Teacher Traning Subjects
    German: Lehramtsfächer

    Teaching training subjects are subjects chosen within the framework of teacher training studies. Depending on the grade level, one instructional subject, a vocational subject , a small vocational subject, or a big vocational subject. The combinations possible are legally set.

  • Termination of Enrollment
    German: Exmatrikulation

    All students who are ending studies or are switching to another university must terminate their enrollment. This means, they are no longer listed among students. Students who did not pay the semester fee on time or do not pass their course of study due to three fails also have their enrollment terminated after being previously notified.

  • Testat or Credit Certificate
    German: Testat

    Proof of an exam you have passed or successful participation in an internship or practical experience day.

  • Transcript of Records
    German: Notenspiegel oder Transcript of Records

    The transcript of records offers an overview of your proof of performance. You can print out your transcript of grades yourself on RWTHonline.

  • Transfer Students
    German: Hochschulortswechsel

    If you have begun studies at another German university and wish to continue them at RWTH Aachen, you need recognition of your academic and exam performance as well as placement into a higher core semester of the chosen course of study. You can request recognition of past academic and exam work as well as placement into a higher core semester from the responsible examination board. The examination board must also issue a certificate of good standing in order for you to continue your studies. Please make sure you have information about the process, how long the process takes, and possible forms you need to submit.
    If there is no restricted admission for the higher core semesters, you can enroll with just the placement certificate and certificate of good standing. If the higher core semesters have restricted admission, a selection process takes place. You can only enroll after you have been admitted.

  • Transfer Students with New Course of Study
    German: Quereinstieg

    Changing subjects or courses of subject is always recognized as a Quereinstieg. To transfer with a new course of study you need recognition for your past academics and exams as well as placement in a higher core semester of the desired course of study. You must send a request to the responsible examination board to have your past academics and exams recognized and to be placed in a higher core semester. Please make sure you have all the necessary information about the process, the processing duration, and posisble necessary forms. If the higher core semester has open admission, you can enroll with the placement certificate. If it does have restricted admission and there is a selection process, applicants from this group are selected via a lottery.

  • Tuition Fees
    German: Studienbeiträge

    Tuition fees were discontinued in North Rhine-Westphalia, NRW, after winter semester 2010/2011. The tuition or study fees, were fees collected by the university from students to pay for teaching.

  • Tutor
    German: Tutorin oder Tutor

    Tutors are mostly student assistants who volunteer or get paid to lead exercises and practical experiences. There are also tutors in the student self-administration or the student dorms, who take care of newly enrolled students for example.

  • Typical Length of Study
    German: Regelstudienzeit

    The typical length of study is the time period in which studies should be completed. It can depend on the course of study and academic degree.

  • WiHi or Research Assistant
    German: WiHi

    Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft, a research assistant who is temporarily employed after final exams to assist wtih teaching and research

  • Withdrawal
    German: Rücktritt

    it is possible to withdraw from an exam. Individual details are regulated by the corresponding examination regulation.

  • Workload
    German: Workload

    This is the expected amount of work students will have, see credit points.

  • Written Exam
    German: Klausur

    A written examination at a university taken under supervision of staff from the department within a set time limit. The result is usually part of the final course grade.