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Everyday Academic Life Explained

Every beginning is difficult. This is also true at the beginning of your studies. You are not only confronted with a new environment and people, but also with an initially unfamiliar vocabulary. To help you find your way through this jungle of terms, the most important academic terms are briefly explained here.


comes from Latin and literally means "nurturing mother".

Nowadays it is a term for university.

The Auditorium maximum, Latin for the largest lecture hall at the university, can be found in Freiberg at the corner of Winklerstr./Agricolastr.


The Bachelor's degree denotes the first professional qualification ("Bachelor of Science") usually after six or seven semesters. (Link: Bachelor's degree programmes)

BAföG is the abbreviation for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (Federal Training Assistance Act). It regulates individual educational support, which is generally income-dependent. The maximum period of support corresponds to the standard period of study. Half of the amount paid out is granted as a grant and half as an interest-free loan. (Link: BAföG Office)

This type of lecture is not held over the duration of a semester, but "en bloc" in concentrated form, e.g. at the weekend or during lecture-free time.

The Europe-wide Bologna Process refers to the conversion of most study programmes to the requirements of a competitive common European higher education area, among other things through the creation of a tiered structure of degrees (e.g. Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) and a comparable credit point system (CPS). This study reform was decided and adopted in 1999 by the education ministers of 29 European states in the Italian conference venue of Bologna.


c.t. is a time indication for courses that start a quarter of an hour ("academic quarter") later than stated.

The campus refers to the entire university grounds around Leipziger Straße. Freiberg's university campus is home to lecture halls, seminar rooms, technical rooms, the university library and the facilities of the student union, as well as the refectory and halls of residence.

Regional and national companies and institutions present themselves at the ORTE career fair. Students and graduates can ask the company representatives their questions about job opportunities, internships and theses. In addition, they benefit from the extensive supporting programme with company presentations, application portfolio checks, the advisory EXTRA and much more. At each ORTE, the focus is on a special, current topic from the field of jobs and careers and complements the existing range of offers. ORTE takes place annually in January.

The University Career Service is a service institution for students, doctoral candidates and graduates. It offers a wide range of advice, events and information on the topics of job applications, career orientation and career entry. The aim of the Career Service is to assist students and doctoral candidates with their career orientation and to support graduates in the transition phase between their studies or doctorate and their career.

The Chancellor is a member of the Rectorate and heads the university administration. 
Seat: Main University Building, Akademiestraße 6

The colloquium is a form of event in which discussions take place on a specific topic in order to exchange scientific experiences and results.

The university is a complex structure. It consists of faculties, central institutions and the administration.

The function of disadvantage compensation is to compensate for the student's limitations and to enable the student to fully test the acquired knowledge in an examination. The compensation for disadvantages is regulated in the study regulations. The written application must be submitted to the respective examination board at the beginning of the degree programme if possible. A medical certificate regarding the disability is required for this. There are possibilities for disadvantage compensation in the form of aids and computer support, time extensions, rescheduling of examinations, oral examinations or the exchange of modules.

This refers to courses that are a compulsory part of a degree programme and must be attended, otherwise registration for the examination is not possible.

In the case of Bachelor's/Master's degree programmes, one speaks of consecutive degree programmes if the Master's degree programme directly follows the Bachelor's degree programme in terms of content, i.e. the Master's degree programme builds on the degree programme in question, so to speak. This connection is often expressed by the two degree programmes having the same name. Duration: 3 to 4 semesters

Credit points are a unit of measurement for the time students have to invest in attending a course. They reflect the quantitative amount of work required to pass the course/module. Not only the time spent in the lecture is taken into account, but also the time spent preparing for and following up the course at home or in the library.


The elected chairperson of a faculty. The dean represents the faculty within the university and conducts the business of the faculty.

The Dean of Studies in the individual faculties heads the Study Commission and is responsible for all matters relating to a degree programme. He/she advises on study requirements, on changing universities, on studying abroad and on career entry opportunities.

Structural unit of the central university administration, Akademiestraße 6. Student affairs are handled by the Department of Studies and Research. (Link: University Administration)

Students of the TU Bergakademie can apply for a Germany Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded in the amount of 300 euros per month. Of this, 150 euros are financed from private funds (companies, foundations or private donors) and 150 euros from public funds. The most important requirement is academic achievement. Applicants who enrol for studies at the TU Bergakademie can also already apply for a Deutschlandstipendium. The performance in the Abitur counts for this. When selecting scholarship holders, special achievements, professional experience, social commitment and special personal or family circumstances are taken into account in addition to performance at school or during studies. 

"dies" is the abbreviation for "dies academicus", an academic holiday on which teaching is suspended. At the TU Bergakademie, there is usually a dies on these occasions: 

  • at the Academic Celebration - on the occasion of matriculation (in October)
  • at the Open Day with the career fair ORTE (in January) 
  • at the Student Days.

The schedule for the Academic Year sets this out. (Link zu den Terminen und Fristen)

The diploma is an academic degree and traditional qualification in the natural sciences and engineering, awarded and certified after passing the diploma examination.

Dissertation or doctoral thesis is produced as part of the doctorate. It serves as proof of independent scientific work and the development of new research results.

Doctorate is a term for the award of a doctoral degree or the academic procedure by which a doctoral degree is obtained by means of a written thesis (dissertation) and an oral examination (disputation). The prerequisite for this is the acquisition of a first degree.


Enrolment refers to registration in the university's list of students (matriculation list). With enrolment, you become a member of the university with all rights and obligations.

ERASMUS is a joint EU programme in the field of higher education. 

You have to register for the examinations. The student office publishes the application dates on the homepage. It then checks whether all the relevant prerequisites have been fulfilled. You can find out whether you have been admitted to the examination in the self-service portal on the homepage.

Students contact the examination board if, for example, they have studied abroad for a semester and would like to receive credit for their examinations or if they would like to extend the time for completing a piece of coursework (e.g. due to illness).

There are different types of examination performances:

  • Oral examinations
  • Written examinations
  • Alternative examinations, which are carried out in the context of internships or projects.

The examination regulations describe all questions regarding the examinations to be taken during the course of study and the degree to be achieved.

An examination is a written assignment to be completed under supervision and is graded.

Exercises are offered to deepen and apply the material. In many subjects, sample exercises are calculated or other topics are covered. It is easier to ask questions in the small exercise groups.

If you terminate your studies, drop out or change university, you will be removed from the list of students (matriculation list) as part of the exmatriculation process.


The university is represented on Facebook. There you can find the latest news and event tips.


(lat. exempted) - This refers to courses whose attendance is completely optional for the student, the content is not examined.

A faculty is a structural unit (teaching, research and administrative unit) of the university. It comprises related scientific fields and is subdivided into institutes. There are six faculties at the university.

Term for Co-students or also called Study colleagues. 

Free elective modules must be taken to a certain extent from the entire range of modules offered by the TU Bergakademie or a cooperating university.

Students in their first semester should not miss the orientation and introductory weeks.


The habilitation is an academic procedure by which a habilitation thesis and a disputation (oral discussion) are used to prove that a person is capable of independently representing a scientific field in research and teaching. As a rule, the prerequisite for this is a previous doctorate, after which appointment as a professor is possible.


Subunit of the Faculty

At the beginning of the winter semester, there are introductory events for first-year students in the faculties during the introductory and orientation phase. The place and time of the introductory events and the preliminary courses are communicated with the admission and can be found on the study start page on the web


In the lecture, the professor lectures, presents with Power Point if necessary and/or demonstrates using videos.


The Master's degree is a further professional qualification ("Master of Science"), which requires the Bachelor's degree as a prerequisite for admission.

The matriculation register is the university's register of students. Every student has a matriculation number. When we talk about a matriculation number in connection with a specific year, for example the matriculation number 2016, we mean all students who started their studies in the academic year 2016/17.

A characteristic feature of studies in a Bachelor's or Master's degree programme is the modularised study programme. Modules are teaching and learning units that are self-contained in terms of content and time. A module can consist of one or more courses (e.g. lectures, seminars, exercises, excursion, internship). A distinction is made between compulsory modules and compulsory elective modules (interdisciplinary and general). If a module has been successfully completed at the end of a semester, the credit points provided for it are credited. Module descriptions are the most important part of the "module handbooks". The module description states: Contents, qualification objective, form of the course, duration of the module and examination modalities.

The module handbook contains the description of all modules of a degree programme with course content, duration, reference to specialist literature, credit points and the form of the certificate of achievement.


The numerus clausus (Latin for closed number) regulates the numerical limitation of places within a specific degree programme. As soon as there are permanently more applicants than places on a degree programme, an admission restriction is introduced. The Nc limit is only determined as a result of the admission procedure and depends on the number of applicants and their qualifications.


Is the learning platform for students and teachers in Saxony. Students can use web-based communication tools (forums, email, chat, ect.) for discussions or exchange of information, download scripts and organise projects.


Postgraduate studies build on an existing specialist, university of applied sciences or university degree and serve to expand and deepen knowledge in previous or other disciplines.

researches and teaches at the university, has usually written a doctoral thesis and a habilitation thesis

The prorector is the elected deputy of the rector. There are three prorectors at the TU Bergakademie: the prorector for education, the prorector for research and the prorector for structural development.


The Rector is the highest representative of the university and is elected by the Extended Senate for a term of 5 years.

a compulsory module must be completed in order to be admitted to the examination

an internship of several weeks, which is prescribed in the study regulations

Students must "re-register" at the university in due form and time for each semester by paying the semester fee. Re-registration usually takes place via the self-service portal. It is completed upon receipt of the semester fee of 94 euros at the university.


Courses marked s.t. start punctually at the specified time; those who expect the "academic quarter" will be late.
A course announced for 9.00 a.m. s.t. also starts punctually at 9.00 a.m..

A scholarship is the amount of money that can be used to finance a course of study. The largest scholarship providers are the funding organisations of political parties and organisations. As a rule, only particularly talented and committed students and doctoral candidates receive a scholarship.

A second degree programme can be taken up if a certificate of higher education study has already been obtained and further study is pursued with the aim of obtaining a "first professional qualifying" degree, e.g. a second Bachelor's degree. For degree programmes with restricted admission, there is an extra quota for second degree applicants, who must enclose their reasons and, if applicable, expert reports; in contrast, in subjects with open admission, anyone can take up a second degree.

The academic year consists of two study periods lasting several months - the winter semester (WS: 1 October to 31 March) and the summer semester (SS: 1 April to 30 September).

Every student is required to pay a fee, currently 94.00 euros, when enrolling and re-registering for each semester. The contribution is made up of the administrative costs for the tasks of the Studentenwerk and the contributions for the student body (student council).

As a student, you can be granted leave of absence from your studies for up to two semesters. This can be due to illness or to go abroad or to prepare for a repeat examination. The application for leave of absence is available at the Student Office. Before taking a leave of absence, you should seek advice from the Student Office, as a number of signatures are required and often also have financial implications (e.g. BAföG).

Seminars are courses in which the student works out aspects of the material him/herself and for other participants. The seminar is moderated by a professor. Topics are often given and deadlines set. The results of the independent work are presented and discussed in the form of lectures.

The winter semester WS runs from 1 October to 31 March. Lectures usually begin on the second Monday in October and end in mid-February. The lecture period is interrupted by holidays at Christmas/the turn of the year. The summer semester SS lasts from 1.4. to 30.9. of the year, lectures begin at the beginning of April.

Abbreviation for semester hour per week. If a course is given as 2 SWS, this means that it lasts two times 45 minutes per week, i.e. one and a half hours at a time.

Term for a research assistant who works for a professor, e.g. researching a specific topic, working on research projects, maintaining the homepage of an institute, etc.

Self-governing body and representation of students' interests

The student ID card identifies its holder as a member of the university. The student card is at the same time, through its chip card function

  • A library card for borrowing books and a locker key in the library, 
  • The card must be topped up with a certain amount of money at the top-up station in the new refectory. The card must be activated once beforehand.
  • This can be used to get into the cinema, theatre or museum for less.

Student unions are institutions under public law that are independent of the universities. They are responsible for the diverse tasks of student support and social security for students, e.g. educational support according to the BAföG, administration of student halls of residence, catering or psychotherapeutic counselling as well as social counselling. The Studentenwerk Freiberg is responsible for students at the TU Bergakademie.

a university institution that promotes interdisciplinary and cultural education

Every degree programme has study and examination regulations that regulate all questions regarding the course of study. The study regulations describe the study objectives of the degree programme and specify the contents and the structure of the achievements to be made during the course of study. The study regulations contain a study schedule that regulates which courses and which modules must be completed in order to meet the standard period of study.

The contact person for applicants and students with disabilities is the Disability Officer, Gert Schmidt, Tel: +49 3731 39-3524. He provides advice on questions about starting your studies, contact points and all aspects of studying, including compensation for disadvantages and accessibility. The university has equipment for the hearing impaired, workplace lighting for the visually impaired, streaming service for Audi max and the large chemistry lecture hall.


The term tutor comes from Latin and refers to a person who supervises or guides students in younger semesters. Students from higher semesters often take on these tasks.