Studium generale

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Studium generale de Alcalá de Henares (05/20/1293).

As a general studies (also occasionally Contextual Studies , General Studies , fundamental studies or studies universal known) are nowadays mostly all non-compulsory, public lectures a university designated. In terms of humanistic educational heritage, they embody the mission of universities to promote comprehensive general education. Completion of such events is not rewarded with an academic degree .

The term also describes an orientation phase , usually lasting two semesters , in which first-year students attend courses from different subjects at the same time. This should enable a better decision in the choice of subject and at the same time facilitate the transition from pure learning at school to academic work at the university .


Originally the studia generalia or the studia were the name for the great schools of the Middle Ages , while the word universitas was used for the scholastic guild of a studium . At the end of the 13th century, it became customary to grant a studium generale the right to award academic degrees only after being licensed by the Pope , Emperor or King.

As part of the course

At several German universities and colleges, general studies are included in the course. In some cases, participation in such events is even compulsory and there are separate institutes for general studies ; for example at the University of Mainz and the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich .

In Karlsruhe, the history of the establishment of the Studium Generale can be traced back to the 19th century. Ferdinand Redtenbacher , professor of mechanical engineering, as director from 1857 to 1863 promoted the expansion of general education subjects at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic. After the Second World War, in the winter semester of 1949/50, a Studium Generale was introduced at what was then the Technical University of Fridericiana, and in 1972 it was finally institutionalized as a central facility of the University of Karlsruhe under the direction of the philosopher Simon Moser . According to §1 of the statutes, the Studium Generale should "serve the university's current and future problems-oriented self-reflection." Since 2002 it has been part of the then newly founded ZAK | Center for Applied Cultural Studies and General Studies , and is headed by Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha , director of the ZAK, a central scientific institution at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The principles of the courses include: "intercultural and interdisciplinary communication", "classification of specialist knowledge in the context of society as a whole", "exchange between university and society".

At the University of Witten / Herdecke , the fundamental course has been part of the training since the university was founded in 1983. At first there was a corresponding institute, but since 1993 it has had its own faculty . The study fundamentale is a compulsory course achievement that must be completed by students from all Witten faculties. One day a week there are no subject-specific lectures , but the students can choose the events that suit their interests from the extensive range of courses offered by the Studium fundamentale . The offer of the events is not chosen arbitrarily, but aims specifically at the development of artistic, communicative and reflective skills.

At the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, the Studium Generale is taught in the form of an interdisciplinary module that all Bachelor students in the first and second semesters must complete. Interdisciplinary communication of research methods and scientific questions serves to analyze social problems in a transdisciplinary context. In addition, since January 2019, the one-semester Kompass course has enabled a free combination of subjects from economics, culture, political and social sciences. 

There are similar structures at other universities, such as in Zittau / Görlitz , Erfurt , at the HTWK Leipzig , the Alanus University for Art and Society in Alfter near Bonn and at the Hamburg universities Bucerius Law School , HafenCity University , and at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg (complementary studies).

The Leibniz Kolleg of the University of Tübingen has offered a one-year general course since 1948 , which is intended to introduce scientific work and enable a well-founded study decision, but is not part of regular courses.

The Salem College in Überlingen on Lake Constance offers an orientation year that is intended to prepare students for their choice of study and career after graduating from high school. There are introductions to various courses and methods of academic work in general studies , accompanying and individual career orientation, outdoor and leadership training . The college is a non-profit GmbH and cooperates with the University of Konstanz and the University of Konstanz Technology, Business and Design .

The Aicher-Scholl-Kolleg at the former Ulm School of Design offers general studies after graduation. In the academic year from October to July, individual seminars, lectures, workshops, excursions and projects from the fields of art, design, architecture; Natural sciences / technology as well as humanities, economics and social sciences as well as cultural sciences and languages ​​can be freely selected and compiled. The one-year Studium Generale serves as an aid to orientation and decision-making as well as preparation for future studies or training. The college is part of the vh Ulm and cooperates with the University of Ulm , the University of Neu-Ulm and the University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd .

As a non-university form of education

In the sense of " Education for Sustainable Development " (ESD), a fundamental course of study for all areas of education can be understood as a standard in the non-university area for the development of sustainable thinking and acting, which enables the participants to better assess how their own actions affect themselves future generations or life in other regions of the world. A corresponding offer was developed in 2009 by “fundamentale - The young academy” in Leipzig.

Individual evidence

  1. General Studies. In: Retrieved October 28, 2019 .
  2. ^ Central institute studium plus. In: Retrieved May 19, 2019 .
  3. General Studies and Teaching. In: Retrieved March 18, 2018 .
  4. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Miriam Friedrichs, Marco Ianniello: The responsibility of universities in the field of tension between specialist knowledge and key qualifications: the role of Studium Generale, in: Ursula Konnertz / Sibylle Mühleisen (eds.): Education and key qualifications. On the role of key qualifications at universities, Frankfurt am Main 2016, pp. 123–140.
  5. Study fundamentals. In: Retrieved September 8, 2018 .
  6. Interdisciplinary module | Zeppelin project. In: Retrieved October 26, 2019 .
  7. Welcome to the fundamental studies! In: Retrieved October 20, 2018 .
  8. Studium Generale - what is it? In: Retrieved December 8, 2018 .
  9. Sabrina Engelmann: Interdisciplinary Study Generals | Frankfurt UAS. Retrieved November 24, 2017 .
  11. The Leibniz College. University of Tübingen, 2018, accessed December 7, 2018 .
  12. Salem College. Retrieved June 13, 2018 .
  13. The cooperation partners. Retrieved June 13, 2018 .
  14. Aicher-Scholl-Kolleg. Retrieved June 13, 2018 .
  15. Partner of the University and the University of Konstanz. Retrieved June 13, 2018 .
  16. "Fundamentale - The Young Academy": Goals and Steps. A look back and a preview. In: Retrieved April 2, 2019 .