Distance University in Hagen

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FernUniversität in Hagen
founding 1974
Sponsorship state
place Hagen
state North Rhine-WestphaliaNorth Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia
country GermanyGermany Germany
Rector Ada Pellert
Students 76,647 (summer semester 2020, including those on leave)
Employee 1,828 (August 2020)
including professors 90 (August 2020)
Annual budget 89.9 million euros (2018)
Website www.fernuni-hagen.de

The distance university in Hagen (spelling: FernUniversität ) is the first and only state distance university in Germany . Its headquarters are in Hagen in North Rhine-Westphalia . According to the Federal Statistical Office , it was the largest German university with over 76,000 students in the 2016/2017 winter semester, even if academia and continuing education students were not taken into account . Since certain subjects, in particular medicine, cannot be meaningfully offered as distance learning , the distance university is not a full university .

The degrees of the distance university are regular university degrees . It awards bachelor's , master's and diploma degrees, which expires in the 2019/2020 winter semester . All faculties have the right to award doctorates and habilitation . In addition, the distance university in Hagen offers partial courses for professional or personal further education . The distance university is a member of the European University Association (EUA) and the courses are accredited by the two accreditation agencies FIBAA and AQAS .


The campus is located on Universitätsstraße in Hagen in the immediate vicinity of the A46 and A45 autobahns and in close proximity to the A1 autobahn and is also accessed by the Hagener Straßenbahn AG bus routes 514, 515, 527 and 534 . All faculties, the rectorate , the university library , the regional center Hagen, the central service center for students , the cafeteria , the center for media and IT , the archive of the Hagen Open University and the administration are housed on the campus. There are plans to locate the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences on the campus.


The General Disposal Center (AVZ) was the first building on the Hagen campus.

The Fernuniversität in Hagen was founded in 1974 as a university and comprehensive college of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and began studying in three departments with 1,330 students in 1975. The law faculty was founded in 1979 . As at all North Rhine-Westphalian comprehensive universities, its status as a comprehensive university was revoked in 2003 and the distance university from then on continued exclusively as a university.

In 1999, the Faculty of Economics was given a professorship by Douglas Holding AG and a year later, in 2000, a second professorship in business administration by the Westfälisch-Lippischen Sparkassen- und Giroverband and the Sparkasse Hagen.

Number of students from 1976 to 2017

In 2006, Ernsting's family established a professorship for the Faculty of Cultural and Social Sciences and a professorship for the Faculty of Law sponsored by a patronage association of patent attorneys . The departments of electrical engineering and information technology , computer science and mathematics were also merged to form the faculty for mathematics and computer science. In 2012, Ernsting's family endowed an additional junior professorship in sociology to research family lifestyles.

With the waiver of tuition fees under the University Financing Justice Act by 2010 and the introduction of tiered degrees in the form of bachelor and master degrees , the distance university in Hagen was able to increase the number of students significantly.

The era of engineering at the distance university ended with the winter semester 2012/13 . It was last possible to enroll in the master's degree in electrical engineering and information technology for this semester.


The tasks of the distance university extend to research , teaching , study and further education .

Research priorities

  • Digitization, diversity and lifelong learning
  • Energy, environment and sustainability
  • digital_culture

Further research clusters

  • Center for East Asia Macro-economic Studies (CEAMeS)
  • Management of energy flexible factories (MaxFab)
  • Intelligent Systems for Decision Support
  • Research Center for the Psychological Study of Individual and Community Change (PSINCC)
  • Cooperative assistance systems


The university performs its teaching and study tasks through a wide range of courses. The undergraduate courses include the Bachelor and Master courses. As part of the academy course, students can select individual courses or modules from the range of courses and study without classifying their activities in the structure of the courses mentioned. This offer is age-independent and can, for example, also be used by schoolchildren prior to obtaining a university entrance qualification.

Bachelor degree

Master's degree

  • Education and media - eEducation
  • European Modernism - History and Literature
  • History of Europe - epochs, upheavals, entanglements
  • Computer science
  • mathematics
  • Newer German literature in a media-cultural context
  • Philosophy - philosophy in a European context
  • Political Science - Governance and Participation (formerly Governance )
  • Practical computer science
  • psychology
  • Jurisprudence
  • Sociology - Approaches to contemporary society
  • National economy
  • business Informatics
  • Economics
  • Economics for engineers and natural scientists

Preparation for state examination

  • First State Examination in Law - State Examination (Degree in Law)

Further education master’s courses

These courses require a successfully completed university degree.

Further education studies and courses

  • Project management and IT
  • Medical ethics
  • Management certificate course
  • Business training
  • Specialist lawyer training in criminal law
  • Criminal tax law
  • Sports law
  • Law for patent attorneys
  • Further education in mediation
  • Further education in Mediation Compact
  • Basics of Japanese Law
  • Certificate course in legal law (expiring)


Regional and study centers

Brilon information and advice center
Regional center Neuss in the Romaneum

The branch offices of the regional and study centers are spread across Germany and partly abroad . There are now 13 regional centers in Germany.

The documents are sent worldwide so that studies can also be carried out from abroad. Cooperation partners and study centers to support studying abroad are located in:

Exam locations for final module exams are not to be equated with the study centers, but usually take place at other universities .

Admission requirements and types of study

The following admission requirements apply for admission to study at the distance learning university:

  • The general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur / Matura) enables enrollment in every offered bachelor's degree .
  • Professionally qualified with master's certificate or equivalent qualification (for example, business administrators or State-certified technician ) can assign each bachelor program also unrestricted.
  • Professionally qualified people who have completed their training and have at least three years of professional experience can take up a corresponding bachelor's degree. The training and professional experience as an industrial clerk entitles z. B. for admission to the bachelor's degree in economics.
  • Professionally qualified people with at least three years of practical experience outside of the profession they have learned can gain admission to the bachelor's degree via a trial course or an entrance examination. Raising children and caring for relatives are counted as practical experience.
  • Enrollment in master’s courses is only possible with a previously completed, professionally qualifying university degree, usually a Bachelor, Magister or Diploma.
  • Particularly gifted pupils can be admitted as “young students” upon application. With the exception of the bachelor thesis, all achievements in the bachelor’s degree can be achieved before the university entrance qualification is obtained. The achievements are fully credited when continuing the course after obtaining the higher education entrance qualification.

The advanced technical college entrance qualification alone is not sufficient for admission to a bachelor's degree. There is no numerus clausus as an admission restriction for Bachelor and Master courses.

Participation in the courses is possible in different forms (the so-called listener status):

  • Full-time students do not work or only work as students , are not subject to compulsory social insurance in this activity and may a. student health insurance. Full-time students are the only group, under certain conditions, eligible for BAföG .
  • Part-time students are also employed. Unlike full-time students, they are usually not covered by student health insurance .
  • Academy students do not have to meet the formal admission requirements for a degree. You can freely choose from the entire range of courses and study them outside of the examination regulations. The academy course corresponds to the status of a “guest student” at face-to-face universities and enables further training at a scientific level outside of a regular course.

Course content and performance records

Philipp Reis Building (Building 5)
IT center (building 3)
University Library (Building 6)

The course content is conveyed through written course units, through submission work, through seminars and internships. Examinations are carried out in the form of oral and written performances.

Course units (officially: study letters) are sent to the enrolled students. The delivery frequency varies depending on the faculty and is between fourteen days and once or twice per semester. Depending on the faculty, the course units range from approx. 30–80 pages ( mathematics , computer science , electrical engineering and information technology , economics ) to over 200 pages ( law , cultural and social sciences ). Mentors in the study centers and course supervisors in Hagen are available to answer any questions.

With the course units, the students receive submission tasks that must be processed and returned by a specified deadline. A certain quorum of submissions must be passed in order to be admitted to a final exam. For some courses, internet-based return options are available for the associated submission work. In some cases, the processing of the submission tasks is not mandatory and is therefore used exclusively for individual success control.

The modules, in which several courses are combined, are completed with an examination at the end of the semester, i. H. completed as a final exam, term paper or oral exam.

Depending on the number of students, written exams are held at several locations at the same time. The university rents lecture halls in various German cities and, depending on the faculty, also abroad. Oral exams usually take place on site in Hagen. Students with permanent residence in non-neighboring countries can take written exams and oral exams via video conference at Goethe Institutes , German schools abroad and German embassies . Under certain conditions, disabled students have the opportunity to take exams in a nearby regional or study center of the distance university or even under supervision at home. Imprisoned students can take the exams directly in the correctional facility . After the examination results have been announced, it is possible to view the exam electronically.

Furthermore, in addition to the print courses, students must complete a certain minimum number of face- to- face seminars during the course of their studies , which initially consist of a home work phase in which the students have to write a seminar paper at home. There is also a presence phase in which students present the results of their work in a seminar lecture to fellow students and supervisors and discuss their results with them. The attendance phase usually lasts two to three days. In some cases, the results of the home working phase are to be presented in a summarized manner in group presentations. There are also virtual seminars in which presentations and discussions take place in newsgroups or other online channels.

There are various types of internship at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. Organized internships at the other faculties are rather unusual. Industrial internships are completed in companies. The prefix “industry” is intended to indicate that practical work is carried out there as opposed to research at a university. Industrial internships can in part be replaced by work experience prior to starting your studies.

Home internships are completed by the students at home. For example, there is a hardware internship in the computer science course on Diploma II , for which the students at the distance university receive the necessary programmable microcontrollers with accessories. The form of the internship can also take place in such a way that students are sent home a small test laboratory. Home internships can also be completed in the form of virtual internships. In the case of face-to-face internships, practical experience is gained for a certain period in the practice rooms of the distance university. Internships can also be carried out online. These internships are particularly suitable for programming activities in computer science courses. Often the option of a face-to-face phase at the end of the internship is given if the goals are not achieved during the virtual phase.

In addition to the courses that are part of the modules of the BA and MA programs, the Faculty of Cultural and Social Sciences in particular offers a whole range of other academic courses that deal with specific individual problems in the respective academic disciplines and within the framework of an academic degree or can be additionally taken within a regular course of study. Most of these courses can be completed with an examination, and some of the courses are also offered in modular form in the form of further training packages.

In 2010, the distance university estimated its dropout rate at 70 percent. The planning for the introduction of second course fees in North Rhine-Westphalia, which began in 2002, also meant that many of the students affected by this dropped out of their studies prematurely. Since many academics who are affected by second tuition fees traditionally study at the distance university, the drop-out rate was also significantly higher than the rate at other universities in North Rhine-Westphalia. These fees were then abolished.

Partner universities and institutes


The special position of the distance university means that it is hardly represented in the usual university rankings . The Center for Higher Education Development (CHE) moved into the compartments in 2005, Sociology , Business Administration and Economics of Open University in their ranking with one. In terms of the number of researchers, sociology ranks among the top group of German universities. With its third-party funding and the number of publications, business administration is also in the top group. Economics was placed in the middle of comparable courses at German universities.

In 2007, the CHE ranking evaluated the courses of education , history and sociology. The majority of all three were classified in the middle group.

The 2011 CHE ranking examined the business administration and educational science courses and ranked both in the middle group for German universities.


A course fee of € 20 per hour in the semester is charged to cover the costs for study material and supervision. In addition, a student body contribution of € 11 per semester has to be paid. The fees for a bachelor's degree are roughly between € 1,600 and € 2,400 and for a master's degree between € 1,000 and € 1,200. There are some fee reductions for students in need.


Web links

Commons : Fernuniversität in Hagen  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Rector at fernuni-hagen.de (last accessed on July 31, 2019).
  2. a b c d Office for Communication and Public Relations: Figures and data. Retrieved August 18, 2020 .
  3. Short semester overview. Fernuniversität in Hagen, January 9, 2017, accessed on January 11, 2017 .
  4. Archive link ( Memento from March 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) p. 31.
  5. Study Guide on fernuni-hagen.de, called on June 11, 2018
  6. Master's degree in electrical engineering and information technology , on fernuni-hagen.de, accessed on July 11, 2018
  7. § 3 Law on the Establishment of a Distance University in North Rhine-Westphalia (FUEG) of November 26, 1974, GV NW of November 30, 1974, p. 1470 f.
  8. ↑ Main research areas - FernUniversität in Hagen. Retrieved November 27, 2019 .
  9. ^ First legal examination. Fernuniversität in Hagen, December 16, 2016, accessed on December 22, 2016 .
  10. Master's degree infernum . Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  11. Master's degree in European intellectual property law . Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  12. Master's degree in Mediation ( Memento from September 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  13. Master's degree in Management . Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  14. Master's degree in Legal Law and Legal Practice (LL.M.) (to be discontinued) . Retrieved July 11, 2018 .
  15. Web presence, Regional Center Munich
  16. ^ Regional centers of the Fernuni Hagen
  17. ↑ Open University in Hagen - Service Switzerland
  18. Buffalo without end
  19. a b c costs of distance learning , on fernuni-hagen.de, accessed on July 11, 2018

Coordinates: 51 ° 22 ′ 38 "  N , 7 ° 29 ′ 43"  E