Studying and teaching
Updates, information and questions relating to studying and teaching
The coronavirus has had an impact on studying and teaching at FAU: face-to-face classes have been cancelled, seminars and lectures are now being held online and examinations requiring attendance in person can only be held if strict precautions are observed. We have therefore gathered all the information and updates relevant to students and teaching staff on these pages. We will add to it as and when necessary and make sure that it is always up to date.
Please contact the Student Advice and Career Service if you have any questions about studying. If you have any questions about dealing with the coronavirus, you can write to email@example.com.
This page gives information about studying and teaching. Information about examinations is available on the coronavirus information page from the Examination Office (including information about necessary overnight stays for attending examinations).
Current information on examinations and submission deadlines
Scheduled examinations will take place on campus at FAU, observing all current hygiene guidance. Examination candidates may also travel more than 15 km to attend their examination. More information is available on the Examinations Office website. The Examinations Office website also includes information about the extension of submission deadlines for final theses and extension to deadlines for completing examination achievements for admission to a Master’s degree programme.
Information on contact tracing in the winter semester, on the obligation to wear masks, and social distancing is available on the coronavirus hygiene website
The local health authorities (Gesundheitsamt) are responsible for tracking and tracing contacts. If you have tested positive, you are therefore obliged to contact the local health authorities and notify them of your test result. We would also recommend recording your positive result in the official German Corona-app.
We would ask students who have tested positive for the coronavirus after taking part in an examination or face-to-face class to inform the person in charge of the examination or teaching session. This person will then forward the information to the Examinations Office or Occupational Safety. Alternatively, you can let us know that you have tested positive for Covid-19 by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This means that even if the local health authorities are swamped with enquiries, we at FAU will be able to use the contact details available to us to trace and inform anyone who might have been near you in an enclosed area for any amount of time, and let them know that they may potentially have contracted the virus.
We would ask people in this situation to strictly avoid all contact and isolate as far as possible for the 14 days following the class or event during which the infection first arose, unless instructed otherwise by the local health authorities. If these people develop symptoms corresponding to an infection with SARS-CoV-2 or if their health deteriorates, they must immediately inform the local health authorities by phone.
Information on recording contact details manually and digitally is available on the coronavirus hygiene website.
The latest information concerning examinations is available from the Examinations Office’s information page.
Since winter semester 2020/21, teaching at FAU has consisted of largely online teaching combined with individual face-to-face classes (‘hybrid semester’).
This means that face-to-face classes can be offered in addition to online teaching if necessary, provided we are able to do so in accordance with legal provisions and regulations aimed at preventing infection and provided we are able to organise it (for example if sufficient rooms are available and students are able to attend).
Students and lecturers received an e-mail from the President about this on 7 June.
The legal framework is provided by the 13th Bavarian Regulation on Infection Prevention and Control Measures (13. BayIfSMV), in particular Section 23.
The StudOn page FAU Digitale Lehre (FAU online teaching) provides teaching staff information and support on digitalising their classes.
Information on the regulations that apply at each of the faculties is available on the following pages:
Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology https://www.phil.fau.de/2021/03/10/lehre-im-sommersemester-2021/
Faculty of Sciences: www.nat.fau.eu/information-on-the-measures-concerning-the-corona-crisis/
Faculty of Business, Economics, and Law:
- School of Business, Economics and Society: www.wiso-virtuell.fau.eu
- Law: www.jura.rw.fau.de/corona and www.jura.rw.fau.de/studienbeginn-am-fachbereich-rechtswissenschaft-im-sommersemester-2021/
Faculty of Medicine: www.med.fau.de/studium/medizin/im-studium/hybrid_sem_ws20_21
Teaching in winter semester 2021/22 will once more consist of a mixture of online teaching and face-to-face teaching tailored to suit our needs (hybrid planning with prospects for returning to face-to-face teaching combined with an alternative digital track).
In order to remain in a position to continue teaching even if restrictions are re-introduced, we must ensure that students can study all degree programmes, if not every class, online.
In addition to online teaching, classes can also be held on campus pursuant to Section 23 of the 13th Bavarian Regulation on Infection Prevention and Control Measures (13. BayIfSMV), provided the hygiene guidance applicable for examinations at FAU are complied with.
The content of compulsory classes should be made available online to ensure that everyone can continue to study for their degree programme even if they cannot attend classes on campus if restrictions are re-introduced, for example if they are particularly vulnerable (e.g. pregnant or classed as belonging to an at-risk group), are involved in caring for children or relatives, or are affected by official travel restrictions or quarantine requirements.
If in certain specific instances it is not possible for adequate teaching to be provided online for a particular degree programme, students must still be offered other options for continuing their studies (for example by making alterations to the degree programme structure pursuant to the Coronavirus Regulations). If individual students have valid reasons preventing them from attending classes on campus for which there is not an adequate online alternative, they must still be offered other options for continuing their studies (for example by making alterations to their individual study plan).
Each faculty is responsible for deciding in consultation with the Deans of Studies or those responsible for the individual degree programmes firstly, whether classes can be offered on campus, and secondly, how the rooms they have at their disposal can be used for teaching purposes whilst still meeting physical distancing requirements. New students and students who have not yet had the chance to attend classes on campus at FAU ought to be given priority when scheduling face-to-face classes.
When planning which rooms to use, we would recommend that you book rooms under the proviso that the currently applicable physical distancing rules will be lifted. This will make it easier for us to adjust once this is actually the case. If physical distancing rules do still apply, the faculties or the individual degree programmes must organise the rooms at their disposal in a sensible way tailored to their needs. One option would be to arrange groups which take it in turn to attend class on campus.
Responsibility for prioritisation lies with the faculties and not the central room allocation service, as only the faculties can decide which classes can feasibly be offered online and which on campus.
The situation at present suggests that it is unlikely that we will have to plan for another entirely online semester, but we must still bear it in mind as the worst case scenario.
The faculties must decide on the format for all classes at FAU by 15 September 2021 and communicate their decision accordingly. From this point on, the format for each class should be stated clearly in UnivIS. The information required for booking the required rooms must be included in UnivIS by 15 September 2021. The final decision will be based on the situation as it is at that time.
Since the legal amendment to the Bavarian Higher Education Act (BayHSchG) came into effect on 1 August 2020, followed by the amendment on 1 April 2021, the following has applied retrospectively to the standard duration of study and study deadlines:
Summer semester 2020, winter semester 2020/21 and summer semester 2021 shall not be considered study semesters (Fachsemester) in the context of the standard dates and deadlines stipulated in the examination regulations for the degree programmes (Section 99 (1) BayHSchG). This means that the semester in question will not be considered when calculating the expiry of standard dates and deadlines and students will automatically be granted an extension. Students enrolled in summer semester 2020 will have their standard duration of studies extended by one semester, provided they have not already had a deadline extended on the basis of this rule (Section 99 (2) of the Bavarian Higher Education Act (BayHSchG)).
This happens automatically and will be indicated accordingly on the certificate of enrolment and transcript of records. All that is included on your final academic record and your degree certificate is the date you sat your final examination (achieved the degree of XYZ on xx.yy.zzzz). It does not state the number of semesters you studied or whether or not you exceeded the standard duration of study.
More details on how this rule works and examples are given on the Examinations Office website.
The following (minimum) requirements must be met in order to ensure the quality of digital education: high-quality online teaching which supports students in their learning and does not simply provide facts. It is important that online teaching includes structural elements which encourage interactive exchange and offer an opportunity to clarify questions. Students should be able to raise questions, either in regular drop-in consultation sessions (online or face-to-face) or in writing. Teaching staff must be available to students. Interactive exchange should be encouraged wherever possible. In a nutshell: teaching must always cater to students’ needs.
We have to find an appropriate balance between face-to-face and digital teaching. FAU still is a university which is geared to having students on campus, where digital media and digital teaching would normally be offered as an additional extra to discursive, interactive and co-constructive settings. As it is to be expected that students, in particular new students, will have even more heterogeneous learning needs as a result of the pandemic and the changes they experienced to learning at school and university, we should aim to offer them additional support and assistance in the guise of the digital learning options we have developed to date.
The lecture period in summer semester 2021 begins on 12 April 2021 and ends on 16 July 2021.
Winter semester 2021/22 will begin on 18 October 2021 and end on 11 February 2022.
All information on semester dates is also available on the semester dates website.
Students who are intending to travel to Germany for their first semester or students who returned to their home country in the lecture-free period and are now ‘stuck’ there due to travel restrictions are facing a particularly difficult situation. We will do our best to help you as much as we possibly can.
If you are anxious about missing part of the semester here, please rest assured that you are of course entitled to use any of our digital teaching resources, provided you have access to the internet where you are.
If you have any individual problems, please either contact your lecturer directly or the Student Advice and Career Service email@example.com. Our colleagues will be happy to help you.
In a change to the rules valid over the summer, since 11 September 2020, international students no longer require proof for the German embassies that it is absolutely necessary for them to enter Germany. All they need is a letter of admission from the university.
Teaching during summer semester 2021 at universities will largely consist of online teaching and individual face-to-face classes. A letter of admission from a university is accepted by the German embassies as sufficient proof that the student has to attend classes in person, and they will process the visa application. This was confirmed by the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) after consultation with the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) in a letter to universities in Germany on 26 April 2021.
For international students from countries who are not allowed to enter or leave the country due to the pandemic, we must take care to ensure that all Master’s degree programmes in English can still be studied remotely. We are keen to ensure that international students who are not in Germany or the Nuremberg region can still study at FAU. For international students in other degree programmes, the general regulations for winter semester 2021/22 will apply.
The University Library will re-open on Wednesday, 10 March, provided all currently valid hygiene guidance is complied with. The decision to re-open the library has been taken subject to the relevant provisions in the 12th Bavarian Regulation on Infection Prevention and Control Measures (BayIfSMV). Please note that everyone using the University Library will be required to wear an FFP2 mask in the library itself and in the parking spaces allocated to the library.
The opening hours of the main library, the Science and Technology Branch Library, the Economics and Social Sciences Branch Library, the Branch Library for Law (02JU) and the Educational Science Branch Library are listed on the University Library website.
The reading rooms in the central University Library and the branch library for law are open. Spaces in study areas must be reserved at: https://reservierung.ub.fau.de.
Study areas in branch libraries can be used from 12 April onwards. Please speak to the person in charge, who will show you to a free desk.
FFP2 masks must be worn.
The University Library offers an introduction to the library via Zoom for all students who are new to FAU. All important information about using the library is summarised on the welcome page.
The regulations concerning what has become known as the ‘coronavirus semesters’ (summer semester 2020, winter semester 2020/21 and summer semester 2021), set forth special rules concerning the standard duration of study in Bavaria, which are also of relevance for BAföG. Information is available directly from Student Services. Information about BAföG is updated regularly and is available online..
According to the communication from the Bavarian State Ministry for Family, Labour and Social Affairs (STMAS), the measures for high local rates of infection now apply. This means that pregnant students at FAU are now classed as being at a greater risk. In consultation with the pertinent Supervisory Authority for Occupational Safety, pregnant students are currently prohibited from entering FAU.
Pregnant students are not permitted to attend face-to-face sessions.
This also applies to taking part in examinations on campus.
Pregnant students do not usually need to apply for compensation for disadvantages during an examination if they would like to take any examinations. Pregnant students should first contact Julia Åkerlund (Student Advice and Career Service) for notifying the Supervisory Authority for Occupational Safety about the pregnancy. The student should then contact the examination officer to request an alternative examination type that can be taken off campus.
Lecturers are required to offer an alternative examination where possible. This option is stipulated in Section 4 (4) of the Coronavirus Regulations, irrespective of the stipulations in individual degree programme and examination regulations.
Students can contact Julia Åkerlund (Student Advice and Career Service) or the FAU Family Service by phone beforehand for advice. Every consultation is treated in the strictest confidence.
The FAU Family Service offers comprehensive advice on all issues concerning pregnancy and maternity protection. The Family Service can give you advice on both statutory and university-specific maternity-protection rules.
Detailed information is available on the Family Service website at:
The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to switch over to entirely online teaching for the first time ever in the long history of FAU. Please refer to fau.de/semesterstart for a lot of useful information and tips.
Students can find tips for learning online and share their experiences with others on the StudOn platform online learning
Occupational Safety at FAU has published a summary on its website (in German) of the guidelines and standard procedures which must be observed during field trips and excursions.
The same regulations apply for attendance of online teaching as for attendance of regular face-to-face classes. Attendance cannot be made compulsory if the face-to-face class did not meet the legal requirements for this either.
In addition, we would explicitly ask you to pay special consideration to students who are classed as being at-risk or who are in a special position due to caring for children or helping out in hospitals.
Subject to approval by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts, the additional effort required for preparing and holding a class online is estimated on the basis of the three-tier model and procedure described in the Executive Board resolution of 21 October 2020. This only applies subject to the proviso that the faculties provide all necessary teaching options.
Important help and information about Zoom is available on the StudOn page FAU online teaching.
The ILI team can offer you a Zoom coaching session to help you switch over to online teaching as quickly as possible. Experienced colleagues at FAU are available to walk you through the basic functions of the software live in a Zoom meeting. You can cover any questions you have during the 30 minute video conference, and then you should be able to start straightaway with your first session. You can book an appointment online.
If you are planning a class for up to 300 students, you should use the ‘meeting’ function in Zoom, which is available to all members of staff at FAU. ‘Meetings’ are designed to be a collaborative event in which all participants are able to share their screens, switch on their audio and video and see and hear other participants, provided they have also switched on their audio and video.
If you are planning a class for more than 300 students or if you have special requirements for your classes, you will need to request the ‘webinar’ option. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, writing ‘Zoom webinar’ in the subject line.
Students who have run into difficulties as a result of the pandemic can again apply for interim financial aid from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, up to a maximum of 500 euros a month.
Do you have any questions about classes or lectures? UnivIS is the central platform for scheduling courses and lectures.
Where to go for more advice and support
The social work, psychological and legal counselling services run by Student Services can be reached by telephone or e-mail. The psychological counselling service also offers appointments for a video chat.
Social work unit
Phone: +49 9131 8002-75
Phone: + 49 9131 8002-750 Mon-Fri 8.30am -12.00pm to arrange an appointment
Appointments are currently only available by telephone or video chat.
The drop-in consultation service is offered via this phone number on Tuesdays from 1.30pm to 4.30pm for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meeting for a chat via Zoom
The Innovation in Learning Institute at FAU offers a Zoom room where students can go to meet other students for an informal chat. Events are published on the FAU online learning website.
Students’ Representatives feedback form
The Students’ Representatives have set up a feedback form where you can post any problems and questions you may have with respect to the coronavirus pandemic. The representatives will try to answer your questions directly. They also hope to be able to identify any areas which are causing problems and forward these to the people responsible for them at FAU.
Everyone is, of course, also welcome to contact FAU directly:
Please take care of yourselves in these turbulent times, and rest assured that we take your concerns into consideration in all the decisions we make.
We would appreciate it if you could send us any topics which you feel have not been covered sufficiently to the e-mail address email@example.com. We will then include them in our FAQs.