Language courses

Language courses for students of all faculties


Foreign language proficiency is required, desired or advantageous in many academic positions, not only with international organisations or multinational corporations. The following foreign language requirements could be typical for a range of different professions:

  • Understanding technical foreign language literature
  • Navigating simple situations abroad (train station, hotel, etc.)
  • Communicating at international meetings and conferences
  • Understanding or summarising documents in a foreign language

Foreign language proficiency also gives you the edge on the job market and may well be the deal-making skill required by a future employer.

In the new Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes, foreign language skills are included as career-related qualifications known as ‘core skills’. Foreign language skills as core skills are either offered as part of the degree programme (e.g. compulsory English skills on a certain level in some degree programmes) or as language courses (as an alternative to other core skills).

However, even students who do not want to or do not have to incorporate foreign languages into their studies as a core skill can take advantage of the Language Centre’s courses. The language courses for students of all disciplines at FAU comprise elementary courses for students with or without previous knowledge as well as general and advanced degree-related language courses.

FAU’s Language Centre is affiliated with the certification system UNIcert, which aims at standardising language courses at institutions of higher education in Germany and providing graduates with a certificate that is also recognised outside of universities. The certification system is divided into four levels. A certificate is awarded after successfully passing the examination at each level. For an overview of the range of languages and proficiency levels, please visit the Language Centre website (German).

UNIcert language courses, which are mainly orientated towards professional, technical communication requirements, are designed so that students can study in parallel to their degree programme. The flexible structure of the teaching programme, evening and holiday courses, online blended learning courses, teaching materials designed especially for students of all disciplines, and use of the Language Lab and other digital teaching media contribute to students reaching an impressive examination level with only a relatively small number of teaching units.


The language courses offered at FAU’s Language Centre are based on the certification system UNIcert which is designed specifically for university language courses. The courses are divided into four levels:

The UNIcert levels Basis I and II teach basic knowledge of the language. Depending on the language, the course UNIcert Basis (level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) lasts 8 to 12 semester hours per week (SWS), the course UNIcert I (level B1 of the Common European Framework for Reference of Languages) 4 to 8 SWS and the level UNIcert II (level B2 of the European Framework for Reference of Languages) 6 to 8 SWS.
If you have previous knowledge of a foreign language you can start directly at the corresponding level after a placement test. Holiday courses are offered in some languages. Please visit the Language Centre’s website or see the notice board at the Language Centre (Bismarckstraße 10, third floor) for further information.

Elementary level examinations for the languages Bulgarian, Icelandic, Japanese and Norwegian may be taken, but they are not UNIcert-accredited.

The Language Centre does not offer level I courses for English. Students with the result ‘level 0’ in the English HaF (‘Hörer aller Fakultäten’ – students of all faculties) placement test can attend the ‘Level 0, English Preparation Course’. Students with the result ‘level 1’ can attend ‘Level 1: Introduction to Basic Academic English’. These courses aim to bring you up to the level required for the courses of UNIcert level II (placement result ‘level 2’). Students with the result ‘level E’ (= Elementary) are recommended to attend the courses at the adult education centre (Volkshochschule) (German).

The UNIcert level III courses are based on level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and can be completed in approximately 8 SWS. The content of the courses at this level is based on learning to deal with practical (ideally professionally relevant) situations. A requirement for attendance of the UNIcert level III courses is the successful completion of the UNIcert level II courses in that language or proof of an equivalent achievement (assessed upon application).

The following language skills are practised at UNIcert level III:

  • Listening and reading comprehension: comprehension of demanding, long texts relating to the relevant study and professional fields, as well as current affairs.
    Speaking: spontaneous, fluent and flexible oral expression in standard situations relating to the relevant study and professional fields.
    Writing: clear, structured and detailed written expression regarding complex subject matters.

The UNIcert level III courses are available either as general foreign language courses or technical foreign language courses (e.g. economics, law, medicine, technology). Typical contents of the technical foreign language courses:

  • Communicating in professional environments (e.g. situations that a medical student should be able to handle while working as an extern at a foreign hospital)
  • Overview of the conceptual structure of a field and corresponding terms (e.g. typical structures of the French legal system with the corresponding vocabulary)
  • Terminological structures (e.g. laws of terminology creation in natural sciences)
  • Practice of subject-specific oral and written forms of communication and text types (e.g. legal advice for law students or functional description of devices for engineers)
  • Reading technical texts
  • Country-specific knowledge about specific fields with relevant vocabulary (e.g. administration of justice in the UK or US hospitals)

FAU’s Language Centre offers information on UNIcert training (German) and an overview of the courses offered (German).

Unless there are special admission requirements, the language courses within the framework of the UNIcert language course levels Basis, I, II and III may also be attended without the goal of sitting the examination where the student has previous knowledge of a language.

Information event

An information event for those interested in language courses for students of all faculties takes place at the beginning of each semester. Dates and locations are announced on the notice board for students of all faculties at the Language Centre and on the Language Centre’s website (German).
As the website can answer many of your questions, reading it is highly recommended in preparation for the information event.

Due to high demand, registration is obligatory. Please register online via the website (German). You will need your student registration number to register. All information regarding registration and contact numbers in case of problems are available on the website.

Information on the placement test (German) is available in English, French, Italian and Spanish and relevant dates are listed on the Language Centre’s website. It is recommended that you check the course catalogue in UnivIS several weeks before the start of the semester to check which courses are available.

Please read the information carefully before registering. Placement tests will take place one week before the start of the semester at the latest. You must register for the placement test.

Students who are enrolled at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg currently do not pay any course fees.

If you are interested in UNIcert foreign language examinations, we recommend that you come in for personal consultation as soon as possible. It is important to gather information on the following points early on:

  • formal examination regulation issues
  • examination requirements
  • accreditation of equivalent achievements
  • choice of suitable courses/lectures and order of attendance

An individual consultation is also available to anyone interested in language courses for students of all disciplines without certification. Names and office hours of advisors can be found at the Language Centre Secretary’s Office (German).

Teaching degree programmes with foreign languages

Modules for teaching English for teaching degree programmes for primary education and Mittelschule are held by the Department Fachdidaktiken in Nuremberg (Lehrstuhl für Didaktik der englischen Sprache und Literatur). The remaining degree programmes for teaching English, French, Italian and Spanish are taught at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology (German) in Erlangen. For further information, see the Student Advice and Career Service information sheets on the teaching degree programmes.

The supplementary courses at the Department Fachdidaktiken (Nuremberg) for students of teaching degree programmes require students to acquire skills in one of several languages spoken by foreign employees. The relevant courses in Turkish, Spanish, Italian and Russian are taught at the Department itself.

Information on the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes offered at FAU is available in the degree programme catalogue (German). The foreign-language philological degree programmes are offered by the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology. Please direct enquiries regarding these degree programmes to the appropriate institute or department. In some non-philological Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes, foreign language skills are either strongly recommended as part of the core skills, or specified in the form of a UNIcert level or a compulsory elective subject.

Foreign language courses at the Faculty of Business, Economics, and Law in Nuremberg

As part of the degree programmes at the Faculty of Business, Economics, and Law (Nuremberg), the courses International Studies English, International Studies French, International Studies Spanish and International Studies Portuguese are offered. The International Studies courses consist not only of academic courses and lectures but also of practical language training orientated towards students of economics and social studies. More information is available at the Chair of International Studies in Nuremberg.

Institute for Foreign Languages and Foreign Studies (Institut für Fremdsprachen und Auslandskunde) at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg

The University’s philological foreign-language degree programmes and language practice training should not be confused with the programmes for foreign-language professionals offered at the Institute for Foreign Languages and Foreign Studies at FAU in Erlangen. This institute offers vocational training and degrees for foreign-language professions. The final state examinations at the end of the Institute’s full training programme are the examinations for ‘Staatlich geprüfte Übersetzer’ (state-certified translators) and ‘Staatlich geprüfte Übersetzer und Dolmetscher’ (state-certified translators and interpreters). Students enrolled at the University who are not pursuing a qualification at the Institute can register as guest students for individual courses a semester at a time. For more detailed information, please contact the Secretary’s Office at the Institute.

Important addresses and information

  1. Language Centre website (German) – You can find up-to-date information on the courses/lectures, examination dates, office hours and an overview of the range of languages offered on this website.
  2. Notice board at the Language Centre – Bismarckstraße 10, third floor – You can find up-to-date information on courses/lectures, examination dates, office hours and an overview of the range of languages offered.
  3. Language Centre Information Desk (Infotheke) (German) in Erlangen: Bismarckstraße 10, room 00.217, 91054 Erlangen, phone +49 9131 852400, office hours: Mon–Thur 11 a.m.–1 p.m. and Fri 10 a.m.–12 p.m., during semester breaks Mon–Fri 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and Thur 2 p.m.–4 p.m.
  4. Language Centre Information Desk (Infotheke) (German) in Nuremberg: Lange Gasse 20, new building room 2.430, 90402 Nuremberg, phone: +49 911 5302-414, e-mail:, office hours: Mon–Thurs 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Fri 9 a.m.–3 p.m., during semester breaks Mon–Fri 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
  5. Online registration for language courses via Oktis (German). Oktis Hotline (for questions or problems regarding registration): for language courses in Erlangen:, phone: +49 9131 8524000 (for office hours see Infotheke); for language courses in Nuremberg:, phone: +49 911 5302414, or in person at the Language Lab at the School of Business and Economics in Nuremberg
  6. Overview of UNIcert courses (German)
  7. Registration for placement test (German)