Normal period

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The standard period of study (also standard period ) is the number of semesters that are envisaged until the completion of a full-time course according to the examination or study regulations of a course at the respective university. It was intended as a legal right for students so that they would not have to worry about their subject being deleted from the university's offerings during their studies. The actual individual study time can correspond to the standard study time or fall short of or exceed it.

The standard period of study is largely regulated by university legislation.

Length of the standard period of study

Magister and Diploma

For Magister and university diploma courses, the standard period of study in business administration and economics is 8 semesters, in humanities mostly 9 semesters and in engineering and natural sciences mostly 10 semesters.

In North Rhine-Westphalia there are graded diploma courses at former comprehensive universities , i.e. H. after 7 semesters you can graduate with Diploma I or after 9 semesters with Diploma II. The Kassel model follows a similar approach (after 7 semesters Diploma I, then three semester advanced studies).

Diploma courses at universities of applied sciences usually have a standard period of study of 8 semesters, usually including at least one practical semester. Courses at vocational academies usually have a standard period of 6 semesters, with half of the period spent in the company.


Bachelor courses at German universities usually have a standard duration of 6 semesters, at universities of applied sciences and music colleges (Bachelor of Music) usually 8 semesters. Bachelor degrees with 9 semesters are also permitted. At universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands, Bachelor courses generally have a standard study period of 4 years.


Master’s courses require a first university degree and have a standard duration of 2 to 4 semesters.

Consecutive master’s courses together with a corresponding bachelor ’s degree form a consecutive course . They award a consecutive Master’s degree (MA, M.Sc., M.Eng., LL.M.) after a total of 10 semesters of standard study time (or 300 ECTS points ) with the preceding Bachelor’s degree. This means that, for example, a four-semester master must be added to a six-semester bachelor's degree or a three-semester master's must be added to a seven-semester bachelor's degree.

Non-consecutive and postgraduate master’s courses are not based on a previous bachelor’s degree and have to award different degrees than consecutive master’s courses, if they do not require 10 semesters of total standard study time like these.


There is usually no standard period of study for doctoral programs in Germany. More relevant for the doctoral candidate are the contract duration of the employment or the funding period of a scholarship. In Austria, the standard period of study for a doctoral program is 6 semesters (180 ECTS).

Duration of study

The standard period of study sometimes differs significantly from the actual period of study. For example, the normal period for the will graduate -Studiengang Economics at the University of Cologne with nine semesters indicated - but the average actual time is 15.8 semesters . The reason for this difference is that the standard period of study is based on idealized conditions that are often not given in practice. Reasons for a long-term study are e.g. B. overcrowded seminars and lectures, simultaneous appointments of compulsory courses, the cancellation of courses or simply the necessity of a (time-consuming) part-time job to finance studies and life. The degree of talent and motivation of a student can also have a significant impact on the time spent studying if examinations have to be repeated or are only taken later.


  1. Specification by the framework examination regulations of the HRK and KMK
  2. a b c Common structural specifications / resolution of the Standing Conference of October 10, 2003 i. d. F. of September 22, 2005