Comprehensive university

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The comprehensive university (abbreviated to GH or GHS) was a form of university that combined the characteristics of universities and technical colleges. It made it possible to study at a university in certain so-called “integrated courses of study” with both a technical college entrance qualification and a general university entrance qualification ( Abitur ). Various diplomas could be obtained in some of these integrated study programs : Diploma I, as the conclusion of a short-term academic course, as well as Diploma II, which corresponded to the conventional university diploma. In addition, pure technical college courses were offered, leading to a technical college diploma.


Plans to establish comprehensive universities have been discussed in several federal states since the mid-1960s, including Baden-Württemberg ( Dahrendorf plan) and Berlin ( Evers model). The first comprehensive university (and the only one outside of North Rhine-Westphalia), however, was established in Kassel in 1971 under the Hessian Minister of Education, Ludwig von Friedeburg .

A year later, on September 1, 1972, five comprehensive colleges in Duisburg , Essen , Paderborn , Siegen and Wuppertal were simultaneously founded in North Rhine-Westphalia as a “practical reform model” , as well as the Hagen Open University . This "integrative model" had several goals:

  • Overcoming different entry requirements (university entrance qualification and technical college entrance qualification) - the declared educational and socio-political goal of the state government at the time and certainly the main motivation for the decision in favor of this model
  • the uniform organizational association of universities, technical colleges and universities of teacher education
  • the creation of basic units for research and teaching that are integratively geared towards subject areas as an alternative to the course-related structures elsewhere
  • bringing together the scientific staff (lecturers and researchers) into a functional unit

In North Rhine-Westphalia, as of January 1, 1980, the comprehensive universities were renamed the university-comprehensive university through the law on the academic universities of North Rhine-Westphalia of November 20, 1979.

On January 1, 2003, the comprehensive universities in North Rhine-Westphalia were converted into universities at the suggestion of a council of experts. The university type comprehensive university was abandoned because the model has not proven itself for specific reasons inherent in the structure of the comprehensive university. The conversion took place under the condition that the universities, as universities, develop a dedicated profile in research and teaching.

Study models and bridging courses

Y model

In the Y model, which was mainly practiced at the North Rhine-Westphalian comprehensive universities, all students first completed a joint basic course (up to the intermediate diploma or intermediate examination). In the main course, the students could then decide for Diploma I or II. Students with a technical college entrance qualification had to complete so-called bridging courses up to the intermediate diploma , with which the subject-specific university entrance qualification was acquired if they had decided on the Diploma II.

Consecutive model

At the Kassel University, on the other hand, all students initially studied up to Diploma I. With this, the students with a technical college entrance qualification acquired the general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur). Then they switched to the profession or, building on the Diploma I, also completed the Diploma II course.

Integrated course with one degree option

With this model, which was practiced in some courses at North Rhine-Westphalian comprehensive universities, all students acquired Diploma II, students with a technical college entrance qualification had to complete some bridging courses (in German, mathematics and English) up to the intermediate diploma. Together with the intermediate diploma, they acquired the subject-specific higher education entrance qualification , with the Diploma I the general higher education entrance qualification.

There was an exception to this model in Faculty 5 Economics / Law at the Duisburg University of Applied Sciences . When the GHS Duisburg was founded on September 1, 1972, the Duisburg University of Applied Sciences was integrated into the GHS Duisburg along with some other training institutions. Those who had completed a commercial apprenticeship and had at least one year of practical work experience could also study at this FHS. When the FHS was transferred to the GHS, the students and applicants who had registered with the FHS for the winter semester 1972/73 became GHS students. On the basis of the initiative of the founding dean, the Ministry of Science in Düsseldorf was able to ensure that GHS students could only complete further studies up to the “Diplom-Ökonom” without intermediate courses with a certificate of advanced technical college entrance qualification.

Comprehensive universities in Germany

  • In North Rhine-Westphalia : As of January 1, 2003, all comprehensive universities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia have been exclusive universities by law. The last universities of applied sciences had been spun off a year earlier and merged with application-oriented universities of applied sciences. Enrollment with a technical college entrance qualification was possible at the universities concerned until the winter semester 2005/2006 (registration deadline was usually July 15, 2005). Since 2003, all universities in North Rhine-Westphalia have been able to make regulations in examination regulations to enable access with a technical college entrance qualification through proof of general education and degree-related aptitude. For example, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and other scientific / technical courses with a technical college entrance qualification can be studied at the University of Paderborn if an aptitude test is passed before the course.
  • In Bavaria , for political reasons, the comprehensive university could not prevail. At the same time, various universities in Bavaria also offer university degree courses. A subject-specific higher education entrance qualification is acquired by passing the intermediate diploma examination, the general university entrance qualification is acquired with the technical college diploma. Such de facto (and in some cases also earlier) comprehensive universities include:


Since students with a technical college entrance qualification make up the majority of the students in some departments of the former comprehensive universities, regulations have been made for all universities in North Rhine-Westphalia that allow these students to continue studying at university in the future. This happens, for example, in bachelor’s degree programs with an additional aptitude test (according to Section 66, Paragraph 6, Sentence 1 of North Rhine-Westphalia ) at the start of the course. This stipulates that the future student without a high school diploma should have both an appropriate general education (for which evidence, for example, the technical college entrance qualification may be sufficient) as well as a subject-specific aptitude (which can be proven, for example, by a conversation with an examination committee). However, it is at the discretion of the departments of the universities how these aptitude tests are specifically designed, or whether this is even possible in the relevant department.

See also

Web links

Commons : Colleges  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Law and Ordinance Gazette for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, 1979, p. 926.
  2. ^ Explanation of the law for the draft law for the establishment of the University of Duisburg-Essen and for the conversion of the comprehensive universities.
  3. Law on the reorganization of universities of applied sciences of November 27, 2007. In: Law and Ordinance Gazette for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Volume 2001, No. 40, Düsseldorf December 7, 2001, p. 812.
  4. Section 49 (10) Law on Universities in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.