FAQ – Going Abroad During Your Studies

Going abroad during your studies – all the important questions and answers
“Tell me again how it works?” Our FAQs provide concise, straightforward answers to important questions about academic recognition of your achievements and competences from abroad

Different countries and universities use different grading systems. Thus, it may well be that your grades from abroad don’t correspond to the grading system of your home university – for example, you may receive a 2.0 here, but in England this will be reported as a “B”. This cannot simply be transferred to your German transcript of records – it has to be converted using a chosen method. The modified Bavarian formula is often used for this. The grade conversion can also be done using relative grades, e.g. according to the recommendations of the respective current ECTS Users’ Guide. If this is not possible, an assessment will be made whether another conversion procedure can be used, or whether the performance can be recognised as “passed” without a grade. Your university will let you know which grade conversion system it uses.

The examination of a substantial difference takes place primarily by comparing learning outcomes. Although the ECTS credit point system and the modularisation of study programmes are helpful here, they are of secondary importance in the comparison of competences. For example, a divergent workload can be an indication of differing competence acquisition, but this must be justified by checking for a substantial difference regarding the learning outcomes. The ECTS credits of the respective module are awarded in one’s own degree programme, so it is less important which credit system the other university uses.

Universities can decide for themselves how to proceed in such cases. For example, the achievement could be recognised without grading, which would remove the ECTS credits provided for it from the overall grade calculation. Not all universities allow ungraded academic recognition

If you take different courses than planned at the beginning of a semester abroad at short notice, e.g. because a module that was announced is not offered at your host university after all, you should change your learning agreement in consultation with your home university and the host university. After your stay abroad, you also have the option of submitting an application for recognition without previously having entered into a learning agreement. The learning agreement assures you before you go abroad of the recognition of your achievements – however, it does not replace the application for recognition after your stay abroad.

For an additional semester abroad, you can likewise enter into an additional learning agreement with your home university to also have the modules from the additional semester recognised after your return. Please contact the relevant office (e.g. International Office) sufficiently in advance of the start of your additional semester abroad to discuss this and all other relevant questions regarding the extension of your stay abroad.

The legally binding requirements are contained in the Lisbon Recognition Convention, which was transposed into German federal law as the “Gesetz zu dem Übereinkommen vom 11. April 1997 über die Anerkennung von Qualifikationen im Hochschulbereich in der europäischen Region” and in the regulations in the higher education laws of the Länder. In addition, the state ordinances on the Interstate study accreditation treaty are relevant. As a rule, state law requires universities to regulate academic recognition procedures in their (framework) examination regulations. The following resolutions and similar are also relevant as interpretative notes and working instruments: