Allocation Process Glossary


On this page you will find a selection of explanations of relevant terms regarding the allocation of university placements. A complete list of academic terms can be found in the general glossary for RWTH students.

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  • Academic Progress Certificate
    German: Studienverlaufsbescheinigung

    International students, who received a visa to study in Germany, are required by the Foreigners' Office in the Aachen City Region to submit an academic progress certificate after the typical length of studies has passed. On the academic progress certificate, the university confirms that the student is completing studies as scheduled and provides a prognosis on the expected academic degree. Contact your departmental advising to get an academic progress certificate.

    German: ANABIN

    The ANABIN database documents the education systems in about 180 countries. It provides information about the university institutions, types of degrees, and degrees. Individuals who possess a university entrance qualification certificate from another country can use the database to estimate the validity of their education with regard to the German education system. On the Anabin website you can find information on whether or not your completed education allows you to gain admission to a course of study or field. You can also learn more about the German grade system by having your grade point average or average grade recalculated.

  • AStA
    German: AStA

    The abbreviation AStA is short for Allgemeiner Studierendenausschus or the General Students' Committee, which is the executive student representation. Chairs, speakers, and officers of the ASta are elected by a committee made up of representatives from all of the student representative councils. You can find out more about the team, its responsibiities, and how to get involved on the AStA website.

  • Bachelor, B.Sc., B.A.
    German: Bachelor, B.Sc., B.A.

    The Bachelor is the first career qualifying degree and has a typical length of study of at least six semesters, eight semesters at the most. Depending on the course of study, students earn one of the following academic degrees: Bachelor of Science, B.Sc. for short, or Bachelor of Arts, B.A..

  • BAföG
    German: BAföG

    The Federal Training Assistance Act or BAföG, regulates financial support for student from the state. It is issued independent of the parents' or spouse's income or from assets available.The longest period of funding available is the typical length of study for the course of study. Bachelor and Master are two courses of study. Half of the funding is awarded as a grant and the other half is an interest free loan. The Student Services Office of Federal Assistance can provide information about specific details.

  • Bridge Courses
    German: Vorkurse

    A service for first-year students to refresh or advance what they learned in school in subjects that are important for many courses of study. The goal of the courses is to enable an easier start to studies by repeating the basic knowledge required in the first semesters. Participation is voluntary and free of charge. You can get more information about the bridge courses from the Student Advice Centre.

  • Certificate of Good Standing
    German: Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung

    In order to enroll in a different course of study at RWTH Aachen, you must submit a certificate of good standing. You can get this from the examination board or departmental advising, for the course of study you wish to transfer into. You must submit all certificates about academic performance up to now, including previous studies at other German universities. A certificate about past studies at RWTH Aachen can be issued in RWTHonline or you can get a print out from the Central Examination Office.

  • Colloquium
    German: Kolloquium

    A course with a small group of students, who talk with the lecturer and among themselves.

  • Credit Points or ECTS
    German: Credit Points oder ECTS

    Academic performance in individual modules is evaluated and are weighted with credit points or CP for an average grade. They are the unit of measure for the amount of time students have to invest to participate in class and prepare, homework, and exams. The term and abbreviation credits or ECTS points are often used. A credit point corresponds to an estimated amount of work of about 30 hours. One semester is typically 30 credit points.

  • Dean
    German: Dekanin und Dekan

    The dean is a professor of a faculty elected by the faculty council. The dean represents the faculty and is also involved in teaching matters.

  • Departmental Student Advising
    German: Fachstudienberatung

    Every course of study has its own departmental advising, that advises them on questions about the content of studies, surrounding studies, or problems about their course of study.

  • Diplom
    German: Diplom

    An academic degree that is awarded after a student has passed the Diplom exam from a university of applied sciences or a university in technical, natural science, economic, or social science courses of study. The Diplom degree is being replaced by Bachelor and Master degrees as part of the Bologna Reform. It is no longer possible to begin Diplom studies at RWTH Aachen.

  • Dissertation
    German: Dissertation

    An independent academic paper for the acquisition of a doctoral degree. All dissertations that are accepted by the university can be taken out from the University Library.

  • Doctoral Degree
    German: Promotion

    "Promotion" is the German word for the process of acquiring a doctoral degree. It is uncommon to acquire the doctoral degree in a structured graduate program at German universities in contrast to Anglo-American universities. Instead, doctoral candidates work on a research project that is supervised by a university professor, called either the Doktormutter oder den Doktorvater. The goal of doctoral studies is to independently write a scientific paper that advances the level of knowledge in a selected field of research. A prerequisite for being accepted to doctoral studies is the completion of a consecutive Master's degree or a comparable degree. A doctoral degree is aquired by finishing a dissertation and completing studies with a preferable above average grade.

  • Enrollment
    German: Immatrikulation

    Applicants become members of the university with full rights and obligations through immatriculation or enrollment. There is an enrollment deadline, provided in the admission letter, for Numerus Clausus subjects. If you do not enroll by this time, you will lose your spot. Enrollment takes place in person and electronically or in writing at certain times in Registrar's Office.

  • Erasmus or Stays Abroad During Studies
    German: Erasmus oder Auslandsaufenthalt während des Studiums

    Erasmus stands for EuRopean (Community) Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. The fundamental elements are recognition of academic performanc abroad with the help of the European Credit Transfer Systems, ECTS for short, and financial support for exchange students via scholarships. If there is talk of Erasmus, people usually mean the organized and financially supported student exchange. A prerequisite for participating in Erasmus is that there be an agreement between the home university and host university.

  • EU or EEA
    German: EU oder EWR

    European Union, EU for short, member countries include Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Cyprus.

    The European Economic Area, EEA for short, encompasses the European Union member countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

  • Exercise or Tutorial
    German: Übung

    A course with a restricted number of students in which students learn and apply the scientific work methods of a field.

  • Faculties
    German: Fakultäten

    A subdivision of the university responsible for the teaching and research in a field of academia, also called departments at many universities. There are a total of nine faculties at RWTH Aachen. You can refer to the course of study descriptions to find out which faculty your course of study is in.

  • Habilitation or Post-Doctoral Lecturing Qualification
    German: Habilitation

    The process for acquiring the “Venia legendi,” that is the right to teach as a professor. This process includes submitting an academic paper, teaching experience, and a presentation in front of the faculty.

  • HiWi or Student Assistant
    German: HiWi

    Student assistant, comes from the word “Hilfswissenschaftler.” Usually a student employee in a department or other university institution working a limited amount of hours for relatively low wages.

  • HZB or University Entrance Qualification Certificate
    German: HZB oder Hochschulzugangsberechtigung

    You can acquire the university entrance qualification certificate in a variety of ways:

    • General University Entrance Qualification, also the Abitur, is a general university entrance qualification for all courses of study at RWTH Aachen, a university or university of applied sciences degree is also recognized as a university entrance qualification, in the event that a restricted study permit had originally existed (subject-related university entrance qualification or university of applied sciences entrance qualification)
    • the subject-related university entrance qualification, also the subject-related Abitur, is a restricted university entrance qualification for certain courses of study at RWTH Aachen
      Note: the university of applied science entrance qualification, also called the Fachabitur, is the entrance qualification for courses of study at universities of applied sciences
    • Access for applicants qualified through professional training without a university entrance qualification certificate
    • foreign secondary education degree, that is equal to the German Abitur, for example the International Baccalaureat, when certain conditions are fulfilled. It is possible that your foreign degree does not allow you to immediately begin studies in Germany. In that case, you may need to study for a few semesters in your home country or complete a Studienkolleg in Germany. You can get more information about the recognition of foreign school degrees in Germany from Anabin.
  • Individuals with German Secondary Degrees
    German: Bildungsinländerin und Bildungsinländer

    Individuals with German secondary degrees include international students or prospective students at German universities, who acquired their university entrance qualification certificate, HZB for short, in Germany or at a German school abroad.

  • Kommilitonin oder Kommilitone
    German: Kommilitonin oder Kommilitone

    A term for a fellow student

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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