University of Applied Sciences

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The Fachhochschule (FH) is a type of university that conducts teaching and research with an application-oriented focus on a scientific basis (University of Applied Sciences - HAW). The English term University of Applied Sciences (University of Applied Sciences) is regularly used as a translation and sometimes as a name addition.

History and definition

The term “Fachhochschule” was coined in the educational discussion of the 1960s in the Federal Republic of Germany. The passing of the technical college laws and the establishment of the technical colleges by the federal states took place between 1969 and 1972. Their forerunner institutions were the technical schools and engineering schools, whose students from the end of the 1960s demanded an upgrading of their education. The background was the German economic miracle in the 1950s and 60s, which required more well-trained, technically savvy and specialized skilled workers. A new regulation of the right of establishment for engineers planned by the EEC caused additional resentment among engineering students: They would have degraded them to technicians, to second-class engineers. The aim of the students and their teachers was to remove the engineering schools from the School Administration Act, to recognize them as independent corporations, to increase entry requirements, to upgrade them in the direction of a scientific institution. To do this, they took to the streets and, for the first time, held nationwide lectures on strike in the 1968 summer semester.

On July 5, 1968, the minister-presidents of the federal states agreed to introduce the new type of university, and on October 31, 1968, the "Agreement between the federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany for the standardization of the technical college system" named their mission: "You convey a scientific Foundation-based education. " This was followed by the individual agreements between the federal states. In North Rhine-Westphalia it was the University of Applied Sciences Act of July 29, 1969, which the other federal states partly took as a model. In Schleswig-Holstein, in Lübeck, Flensburg and Kiel, the first universities of applied sciences in Germany started as early as August 1969. Hamburg followed in 1970, while the vast majority of German universities of applied sciences were founded in 1971.

Numerous development steps have taken place to this day. One followed immediately after German unification in 1990, which among other things led to a merger of technical schools and polytechnic institutes to form technical colleges or even to the devaluation of individual universities to technical colleges, including the loss of the right to award doctorates. However, this led to an upgrading of research at the newly founded East German universities of applied sciences. The new higher education laws of the federal states, published between 1990 and 1993, all gave more space to application-oriented research and development. In some countries, research was named as a compulsory task for universities of applied sciences for the first time.

Since the 1990s, universities of applied sciences in the German-speaking area have been allowed to add an English or French suffix to their name, such as University of Applied Sciences (University of Applied Sciences). Since 2000, in Germany and Austria, as part of the Bologna process, there has been a switch to international Bachelor and Master courses. The "universities of applied sciences" thus became "universities of applied sciences (HAW)". The name also makes it clear that this type of university focuses specifically on application-oriented courses and application-oriented research. The degrees awarded by universities of applied sciences correspond formally to those of universities and are therefore identical. The indication of the type of university after the academic degree , for example (FH) or (univ) , is no longer mandatory since the Bologna Process.

Equality was a key argument in the much-noticed judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of April 13, 2010, in which it was established that university professors can invoke Article 5, Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law: Bologna process, which show that according to the will of the legislature, universities of applied sciences should also be viewed as scientific training centers. "

In contrast to universities, universities of applied sciences or universities of applied sciences do not have the right to award doctorates . In some federal states, however, there are pilot projects for doctorates at universities of applied sciences. In 2017, Hessen started two doctoral centers for applied IT and social work in which only (technical) universities are represented. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the University Act of July 11, 2019 provides for the existing graduate institute for applied research to be converted into a doctoral college and, after a positive assessment by the Science Council, to grant it the right to award doctorates.

Regardless of their clearly subject-specific orientation, z. B. Music, theater, film and, in general, all colleges devoted to art (including subject-specific conservatories or academies) are not part of technical colleges in the actual sense. Instead, all of these are usually grouped under the term art colleges .

Situation in individual countries

There are technical colleges in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as in South Tyrol (in the form of the state college for health professions "Claudiana" ). Today's University of Liechtenstein was founded in 1992 as the Liechtenstein University of Applied Sciences . In Austria the decision to set up universities of applied sciences was taken in 1990, in Switzerland in 1995.

There are related types of higher education in other countries:

  • Denmark: Professionshøjskoler
  • Finland: Ammattikorkeakoulu (Swedish: Yrkeshögskola )
  • Netherlands: hogeschool (hbo) :
As a rule, there is the option of switching from this training, known as hbo ( hoger beroepsonderwijs ), to the academic degree WO ( wetenschappelijk onderwijs ).
  • Norway: Høgskole
  • Sweden: Högskola

In the Anglo-Saxon-speaking area, the term university college is often used for forms of higher education related to technical colleges, but this term is ambiguous.

Web links

Commons : Universities of Applied Sciences  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Fachhochschule  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Werner Mayer: Educational potential for economic change. The emergence of the "Fachhochschule" type of university in North Rhine-Westphalia. Essen 1997, p. 98 .
  2. Holuscha: The Principle University of Applied Sciences. Success or failure? A case study using the example of North Rhine-Westphalia. MArburg 2012, p. 71 .
  3. ^ Jörg-Peter Pahl: University of Applied Sciences. From technical college to university of applied sciences. Bielefeld 2018, p. 70 .
  4. ^ Christian Braun: Right to award doctorates for universities of applied sciences? Bonn 1994, p. 146-153 .
  6. Universities of Applied Sciences Hessen: Inter-university doctoral center for applied computer science - HAW Hessen. Retrieved July 17, 2019 .
  7. Universities of Applied Sciences Hessen: Inter-university doctoral center for social work - HAW Hessen. Retrieved July 17, 2019 .
  8. "An innovative model with a role model". Graduate Institute NRW, Bochum, July 11, 2019, accessed on August 26, 2019 .