Postgraduate studies

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A postgraduate degree is a degree that requires a previously successfully completed degree (usually an undergraduate degree ). The aim of postgraduate studies is usually a further academic degree , but it can also be further training without a further academic degree or preparation for a supplementary state examination . The curriculum is often offered in the form of a university course.

The term comes from the English-speaking or appropriately inspired education systems. It goes back to the English verb ( to ) graduate , the modern meaning of which relates to obtaining a degree, as well as the Latin post meaning "to". In the Anglo-American education system, however , the term “postgraduate” also includes PhD students, who are usually equated with doctoral students in German .

Admission, supervision and tuition fees for postgraduates generally differ from those of undergraduate students. Some academic institutions such as B. the European University Institute are attended exclusively by postgraduates. One possible form of organization are graduate colleges .

Bologna process

Typical postgraduate programs are master’s and doctoral programs . The duration of master’s courses is one to two years, the duration of doctoral courses, for example in Bavaria, is usually limited to three years.

A distinction is made between consecutive , non-consecutive and advanced training courses in the master’s degree programs .

  • Non-consecutive master’s courses are linked to any completed course. A common such master’s degree is the Master of Business Administration .
  • Further education master’s courses are similar to non-consecutive courses, but also require qualified practical experience.


Traditional styles

The University Framework Act distinguishes between postgraduate studies , supplementary studies and additional studies , without giving any definition.

Some of the state university laws also provide for such terms, but also without their own definition or in different contexts, so that no uniform meaning can be determined. For example, Hessen does not provide for any of these three types of study.

The postgraduate courses as advanced , supplementary and additional courses are to be distinguished from the contact studies or more general further education courses in the sense of older versions of the higher education framework law. However, the current version of the University Framework Act no longer provides for this.

Postgraduate studies

According to the Berlin Higher Education Act, postgraduate courses serve "to deepen a degree in order to obtain a doctorate ".

The Federal Statistical Office defines the postgraduate course as a "course of study following a university degree which is usually a prerequisite for admission. Postgraduate courses should deepen the subject matter of the first course or supplement it in terms of content. ”The consecutive master's degree is expressly excluded, but other master's courses are classified as postgraduate courses.

Supplementary study

According to the Berlin Higher Education Act, supplementary courses serve to impart further professional qualifications.

The Federal Statistical Office defines the supplementary course as "courses of study (courses, study units, courses) for graduates of a course with a professional degree in a subject other than the one previously studied, with which a supplementary, primarily job-related (partial) qualification is to be imparted."

Additional studies

In Berlin, additional courses serve to impart further academic and artistic qualifications.

In Saxony , in contrast to advanced and supplementary studies, additional studies cannot lead to a further professional university degree.

The Federal Statistical Office defines the additional course as "one to two-year courses for graduates of a course with a first professional qualification in the same subject outside of closed study systems, with which a further (additional) qualification related to the completed course is to be imparted."

Individual evidence

  1. Bavarian University Act i. d. F. of May 23, 2006, Art. 57
  2. State University Fees Act Baden-Württemberg i. d. F. of January 1, 2005, § 10
  3., as of October 2007
  4. University Framework Act i. d. F. of January 26, 2005, § 12
  5. a b c Berlin University Act i. d. F. of July 12, 2007, § 25
  6. a b c Federal Statistical Office: Catalog of definitions for student and examination@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /   statistics  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF file; 40.48 kB). Status: WS 2007/2008 and SS 2008
  7. Saxon University Act i. d. F. dated January 31, 2006, § 22