RWTH graduates throwing their caps into the air Copyright: © Kurt Beyer

Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Staatsexamen? Here you can find an overview what academic agree you take home with you after successfully completing your studies at RWTH Aachen and what possibilities each degree offers you.


Degree ABCs

The Bachelor and Master are the new academic degrees, to which RWTH Aachen, like all universities North Rhine-Westphalia has converted. The background for the change is the Bologna Reform, with which 47 European countries voted for a uniform university system. The goal was also to make academic degrees and course of study content more comparable and make them transparent, thus enabling students more mobility.

Diplom, Magister, and the Staatsexamen are academic degrees, whose names you may still currently hear around the university. These courses of study are no longer offered to first-year students. The medical courses of study are an exception at RWTH Aachen, as they finish with a Staatsexamen.



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Bachelor and Master

The new study structure is broken down into two periods: the Bachelor period, which generally encompasses six semester, seven semesters in mechanical engineering, and the Master period, which generally lasts four semesters, but only three semesters for the mechanical engineering courses of study.


You can begin a Bachelor course of study after acquiring the general university entrance qualification (Abitur), even if you already know that you later plan on doing a Master's . Only after successfully completing this initial career qualifying degree, can an individual be accepted to a Master’s program. Students must actively submit a renewed application at that time.


A Master course of study expands and deepens knowledge gained in a Bachelor course of study, providing students with a higher academic qualification. Students also seek out a specialization at this time from one of those offered in the Master’s program. Completion of a Master course of study prepares students for an academic career and qualifies them for a leadership position outside the university.

The Degree Markers B.A., B.Sc., M.A., M.Sc., M.Ed., RWTH Aachen University

Depending on the faculty and subject, either a Bachelor or Master of Science (e.g. science, economics, engineering) or a Bachelor or Master of Arts”(e.g. humanities) is awarded.

In the teacher training courses of study, where you combine two subjects, the name of the degree in the Bachelor course of study, depends on the topic of the final thesis. The Master course of study in teacher training is completed with a Master of Education.

RWTH Aachen adds "RWTH Aachen University" to all of its degrees.

Studies in Modules

Bachelor and Master courses of study are laid out in modules Modules are usually made up of multiple class sessions or courses that are thematically or methodically linked to each other. Modules typically stretch over one or two semesters of an academic year. They are concluded with assessments, that influence a student's overall grade.

ECT System

Time spent in courses and completing the associated work is calculated into credit points or ECTS points. The abbreviation stands for European Credit Transfer System. They measure not only the workload at the university in class or labs for example, but also the time you spend doing schoolwork at home. An average of 40 hours per week has been set as a typical workload. The acquired credit points are recognized throughout Europe.


Credit points alone do not measure a student’s success. There is an additional grading scale of very good to sufficient for the evaluation the quality of a student’s work. Assessments consist of tests, seminar papers, exercise problems, oral exams, etc. They take place throughout the studies, accompanying the material. The final assessment component is the Bachelor or Master thesis.


Employers expect graduates to have not only thorough knowledge of their field but broader interdisciplinary knowledge and skills as well. To prepare graduates for this, the Bachelor course of study includes a supplementary portion, where key skills, language courses, interdisciplinary studies, or supplementary courses from other subjects are offered.

The Transition from Bachelor to Master

A Master course of study can either be completed directly after the Bachelor course of study or after an initial period in the professional world. For admission to a Master's program, RWTH Aachen formulated subject-specific prerequisites in every exam regulations, which you must have fulfilled and submit proof of. This is the so called subject-specific background education. The respective examination boards, determines whether you have fulfilled the educational background requirements. You can find more information about admission to individual Master's programs at RWTH Aachen on the page Application Master.

Two-Subject Course of Study in Teacher Training Programs

Teacher training programs always encompass two semesters, and are thus studied as a two-subject Bachelor's ot a two-subject Master's.

One-Subject Bachelor and Two-Subject Master in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Starting in winter semester 2012, the previously combinable courses of study in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, will be offered as a one-subject Bachelor's. The two-subject structure will only be temporarily offered in the Master's program.


Diplom, Magister und Staatsexamen: Courses of Study Being Phased Out

The Diplom and Magister courses of study are currently being phased out at RWTH Aachen. Students switching degree programs or schools will no longer be accepted in the Magister courses of study. Under certain prerequisites, you can enter a Diplom course of study or a Lehramt course of study with the Staatsexamen degree (effective summer semester 2012). Please inquire about the current guidelines in the Registrar's Office and contact departmental student advising immediately.


Staatsexamen in Medical Courses of Study

The Staatsexamen in the medical courses of study are a state final exam, based on unified exam regulations. The medical courses of study are completed with the so called Ärztliche Prüfung, and Zahnärztliche Prüfung respectively. After successfully completing these exams, students can apply for a license to practice medicine, i.e. admission to practice medicine.

The Aachen Model course of study in Medicine distinguishes itself through an alternative assessment series. However at the end of their students, students complete the second part of the Ärztliche Prüfung, just like students in a typical (not model) course of study.


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