First Steps

First Steps – Information for international students

You are already or will shortly be a guest in a country which you do not know very well yet and which has some different rules and customs to your home country in terms of cultural and social behavior – in daily life and at the University. “First Steps” aims to introduce you to life in Germany and answer some of the most important questions you may have when you first arrive.


Before you travel to Germany:

  • Apply for a visa/residence permit. Check the regulations which apply to your home country. See more information on the website of the city of Erlangen (website available in German).
  • Look for accommodation in Erlangen and the surrounding area (via FAU’s accommodation service or private advertisements). See more information on the FAU website.

After your arrival in Germany:

  • Register with the registration authorities of the city of Erlangen and apply for an income tax card. See more information on the website of the city of Erlangen (website available in German).
  • Open a bank account with a German bank.
  • Get health and liability insurance: see more information on the FAU website.
  • Enrole at the university: See more information on the FAU website.
  • As soon as you receive your login data: activate your IdM account and e-mail adress.
  • Activate your FAU Card: library-access and canteen.
  • Register for courses: meinCampus (website available in German), StudOn (website available in German).
  • Register for language courses: Oktis (website available in German).
  • Read the examination regulations and check the module plan. See more information on the FAU website (website available in German).
  • If you need any advice, get in contact the Student Advice and Career Service. See more information on the FAU website.

  • Attend the introductory event of your degree programme/faculty. See more information on the FAU website.
  • Re-register for the next semester (always in January/July). See more information on the FAU website.
  • Register for examinations (ensuring you observe the deadlines). See more information on the FAU website.
  • If you wish to change to a different degree programme: see more information on the FAU website (website available in German).
  • If you wish to apply for leave: see more information on the FAU website.
  • If you have a part-time job: apply for an income tax card.
  • You can look for a part-time job on the following FAU website (German).
  • Information about the buddy programme and other student initiatives is available on the FAU website (website available in German).

  • Cancel your rental contract and move out of your accommodation
  • Cancel all other contracts: mobile phone, internet, telephone, gym, associations, insurance, subscriptions (ensure you adhere to the notice period specified in the contract; you will need to cancel most contracts 2 to 3 months before departure)
  • After your last examination: make a consultation appointment with the immigration authorities to discuss any questions (e.g. When will my residence permit expire? How long can I stay in Germany? What are my options?). See more information on the following website (website available in German).
  • Check with the examinations office that all your grades have been registered. See more information on the FAU website.
  • De-register at the University.
  • Set a date for the closure of your bank account (check with your bank, as you may not receive your deposit back from your landlord until up to six months after you move out).
  • De-register with the registration authorities. See more information on the following website (website available in German).


In contrast to some other countries, you will not be allocated a room in student accommodation automatically when your place is confirmed at the University. Instead, you need to make your own accommodation arrangements.

Please note that FAU does not own or manage any accommodation and does not act as an estate agent. Your own initiative is required to find suitable accommodation.

There are two options for finding accommodation:

  • State-funded accommodation or private accommodation. Private accommodation includes accommodation run by church foundations, commercial organisations and private landlords.
  • Rooms in student accommodation are generally furnished, which means that a bed, wardrobe, table and shelf are available. Students are usually responsible for providing bedding, towels and tableware. Privately rented flats are usually let without furniture.

Approximately two weeks after you enrol in person, you will receive a letter by post to your address in Germany. This letter explains how you can activate your user account for the FAU Identity Management System (IDM), your FAU e-mail address and Mein Campus.

Students in Erlangen and Nuremberg have several options for obtaining advice on studying with a disability.

The Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) at FAU offers advice for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses. For general information and support, you can also contact the disability liaison officer at FAU, Dr. Jürgen Gündel.

Students can become a member of the FAU alumni network any time and benefit from many career and training opportunities. See more at the alumni-homepage.

Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes may apply for a room from Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg. Information on applying for accommodation is sent out with the admission letter.

Further information

Important note for all students:

The number of students applying for accommodation through Student Services is much greater than the number of rooms available. You cannot rely on finding a room through Student Services and we strongly recommend that you look for private accommodation.

The authorities are required to uphold the law in an orderly manner. The same laws apply to everybody – they are clear and cannot be negotiated. When dealing with the authorities it is important to remain polite and respectful; it is also essential to observe opening hours, appointments and deadlines.


If you are staying in Germany for more than three months you should open a German bank account. Note: Some banks charge fees for managing accounts; ask your bank for more information.

Erlangen and Nuremberg are bike-friendly cities with a large network of bicycle lanes. Therefore, it is recommendable to either rent a bike or even buy one. Please do not purchase a bike from somebody on the street you do not know. You could risk losing your money and the bike. We strongly recommend buying a secure bike lock – even though crime rates are low in Germany, bikes are frequently stolen in larger cities, especially if they are not secured.

The FAU buddy programme aims to promote exchange between German and international students and help exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes to get to know Erlangen and Nuremberg when they first arrive. Detailed information on the buddy programme.

In Germany, all major cities can be reached easily by train. Germany has an excellent public transportation infrastructure including underground trains, suburban trains, trams and buses. There are many special offers and fares.

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket desks (subject to a service charge) or the ticket machines at the station (NB: tickets usually cannot be purchased on the train). Tickets for local public transportation can be purchased from the customer service offices of the transportation companies or from ticket machines at major stops.

Information on public transport and tickets is available on the VGN and Deutsche Bahn websites.


Do not forget to cancel your mobile phone contract, fitness studio memberships or any other contracts which you have taken out in Germany in good time before you leave the country.

If you took out German health insurance, you will need to present confirmation that you have de-registered with the local authorities and end your contract. Make sure you also end your liability insurance contract.

Only cancel your German bank account when you have made all outstanding payments for rent, electricity, telephone, etc. for the entire duration of the contract. Before you leave, you can cancel your bank account in person and inform the bank on what date the account should be cancelled. This means that you could withdraw your returned deposit from your home country.

Some students need a Certificate of Arrival for their home university. This certificate confirms that the student has enrolled at FAU. You can obtain this form from the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA).

Before you leave FAU, you will be sent a Certificate of Attendance automatically by post to your German address. The Certificate of Attendance confirms the period you have studied at the University. Holiday periods will not be included on the certificate. If you are leaving before the end of the semester and need the Certificate of Attendance earlier, please contact the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA).

If you move during your studies you need to inform the registration office (Meldebehörde), immigration authorities and the Student Records Office (Studentenkanzlei) without delay. You can notify the Student Records Office of a change of address via Mein Campus under ‚Persönliche Optionen‘. You should also check whether your home address has been entered correctly in Mein Campus.

Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes can attend almost all courses at FAU. You can find a list of all courses in the course catalogue.

Students are advised to contact their subject co-ordinators to confirm which courses they should attend.

You must register for courses and seminars yourself. Refer to the course catalogue for detailed instructions. Some subjects require that you register for courses online. Otherwise, you will need to register at the secretary’s office in your department. For more information, contact your lecturer or the secretary’s office in your department.

You can also ask your subject co-ordinator.

Church organisations in Erlangen, Nuremberg and the surrounding area are open to all individuals regardless of their faith.

In Germany, communication is relevant and direct. It is quite common to receive a direct answer of a short ‚Ja‘ or ‚Nein‘. If you turn down an offer with ‚Nein, danke‘, the offer will not generally be repeated. If you want to accept an offer, just say ‚Ja‘. Don‘t worry: ‚Nein‘ is interpreted as the refusal of what is being offered rather than a rejection of the person. Criticism is common and acceptable, as long as the criticism is relevant and expressed in a neutral manner. If an agreement is reached, it is not renegotiated.

FAU offers computer pools at many locations where students and doctoral candidates can access the Internet free of charge. They are distributed across Erlangen and Nuremberg in all faculties, as well as branches of the library and RRZE. Since these pools were funded by the Computer Investment Programme (CIP), they are often referred to as ‘CIP Pools’ (German only).

Scanners and printers are also available. You will need a user account to use the computers. Instructions on how to activate and use your user account are available on the FAU website (German only).

The question as to the costs of studying can only be answered very generally as the needs and living conditions of every student are different.

You can find a breakdown of the estimated costs and more information on the websites of the FAU and of the German National Association for Student Affairs.

Student Services offer a counselling service (Psychologisch-Psychotherapeutische Beratungsstelle) for students who are experiencing psychological or social difficulties relating to their studies, parents, partners, sexual problems, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, feelings of guilt, psychosomatic illness and other welfare issues.

For more information on the support available, visit the Student Services-Homepage.


If you notice any damage to your accommodation, you must notify the landlord immediately – otherwise you may be liable for costs.

Students and doctoral candidates can de-register from the University themselves in order to change university or withdraw from their studies, and after completing their degree or doctoral degree.

The university will de-register you if you have missed the date for re-registration, if you have failed an examination at the final attempt or after the end of the semester in which you have successfully completed your degree.

You can apply for de-registration at the Student Records Office at any time throughout the year. In contrast to enrolment, there are no fixed deadlines for de-registration.

International students and doctoral candidates must de-register in person at the Student Records Office before leaving for their home country.

You must de-register your German residence at least one week before leaving the country. You can de-register at the registration office in the area in which you live. If your residence permit has ended and you have not de-registered properly, the immigration authorities will believe that you still reside in Germany illegally. This is why it is of utmost importance to de-register properly with the immigration authorities.

The Franconian Lakes are located approximately 30km south of Nuremberg. In summer, the lakes are a perfect destination for swimming, windsurfing and sailing. Between Bamberg and Bayreuth and to the northeast of Erlangen, Franconian Switzerland is an idyllic stretch of countryside, which can be best enjoyed by hiking or cycling. Charming and varied scenery awaits visitors to Franconian Switzerland: from peaceful river valleys and craggy hilltops (like the ‘Walberla’) to majestic castles and ruins – there is much to see over a small distance.

More information on possible destinations is available on the following websites:

If you are speaking to other people in a shop, on the street or at work, you should not get closer than a metre. This does not apply to close friends and family. People speak at an average volume. It is not common for people to speak loudly and gesticulate in Germany.

Diversity Scouts are student assistants who are trained by the Office of Equality and Diversity. As peer mentors for students who represent diverse experiences they offer support directly at their faculties as well as at the Learning Lab. The Diversity Scouts help other students to get oriented at the FAU and create networking opportunities around the topic of diversity.

For more information, please visit the website of the Office of Equality and Diversity.


In the past, the workload of a class was expressed in weekly hours or semester hours (SWS), irrespective of whether the class was a lecture or a seminar. Today, the amount of time you spend preparing for a class is also taken into account. This means that the overall workload can be calculated which is much higher for a seminar than a lecture. The units for measuring the workload are called ECTS credits. Study achievements can be compared and transferred to another university or even to another country using ECTS credits. A Bachelor’s degree is worth 180 ECTS credits. In the calculation of the workload, 1 ECTS credit is equivalent to about 25 to 30 hours of work.

For further information visit the website of FAU.

Erasmus code: D ERLANGE 01

Some international students may have to sit at an examination for their home university while studying at FAU. In some cases, it is possible to sit examinations in Germany to avoid having to return to your home university. Please contact the Central Office for International Affairs for more information.

If you have a question relating to examination arrangements, please contact the examinations office for your subject. The examinations office is responsible for all administrative processes regarding the application for, admission to and organisation of examinations as well as for the preparation and documentation of meetings of the examinations committees.

See the FAU website to find the examinations office responsible for your degree programme.

For admission to an examination you must register first (see examination deadlines). Responsibility for all issues regarding examinations lies with the individual Examinations Offices at the University.

Via mein campus (only German) you can manage your personal data and print out your official documents. Registration and de-registration for examinations is also carried out via this website. Moreover, you can download an overview of the grades you have achieved so far.

To extend your stay at FAU, you will need to reach an agreement with your home university, the FAU co-ordinator and the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA).

You will need to do the following:

  1. Request an extension form from RIA.
  2. E-mail the form to the co-ordinators at your home university. Your home university will decide on the extension and send the form back to RIA.
  3. After receiving confirmation from your home university, RIA will decide whether to extend your stay up to a maximum of one semester.

Please contact RIA in good time, as approving agreements can take a long time.

If you are travelling to Germany on a national visa, this must be converted to a residence permit after your arrive. To apply for a residence permit, you need to contact the immigration authorities for your place of residence.


Every student receives an e-mail address when they enrol at FAU. This is important as much information is sent out to students by the University using e-mail rather than post. You can activate your e-mail address using your IDM user account. During activation, you will be asked to choose an e-mail address from the suggested addresses.

If you don‘t want to use the FAU E-mail account, you can redirect e-mails from the University to your private e-mail address. We recommend that you enable the option in IDM to store all e-mails sent to you.

What’s my professor’s e-mail address? Which room is my seminar in? What’s on the menu today? In the free FAU app for iOS and Android you can find the answers to these and many more questions.

You can download the FAU app for free from the Apple app store or the Google Play store. Then you can add your lectures to the planer from UnivIS, create your own appointments and choose which cafeteria menus you would like to have access to. You can also use the settings to choose which functions you want to see in the app – sorted by faculty.

The School of Business and Economics launched a specially-designed FAU app at the beginning of the summer semester 2015. This pilot project was extended to the whole University at the end of the semester. This means that the School of Business and Economics already has its own navigation area and news services – with a newsfeed, blog and newsletter.

With the FAUbox, the Regional Computer Centre Erlangen (RRZE) offers all FAU staff and students 50 gigabytes of free storage on RRZE’s servers. Users can synchronise their data easily via app, desktop or web client. All FAU members need to log in is their IdM username and password. One of the main advantages of the FAUbox is that it has a higher level of security than comparable online services.

To find a student job you can use the FAU student jobs portal, the jobs website of the Federal Employment Agency and other internet portals:

Exchange students, students participating in exchange programmes and international students in English-language degree programmes taught in English can contact the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) for assistance in finding accommodation. More information is included with your admission letter.

In general: You will be more successful if you show your own initiative.

Don‘t wait until you have received an offer of accommodation. Actively search for accommodation yourself.

See this website for tips and detailed information.

You may be able to apply for some student accommodation from abroad using the appropriate registration form. This also applies to some private accommodation.

You may be asked to provide details of your financial circumstances and other personal details. It is unlikely that you will be offered accommodation if you do not provide this information. Landlords are entitled to ask you about your income by law and you must answer these questions honestly. You must also declare the number of persons who are moving into the accommodation truthfully.

Many private landlords will want to get to know their future tenants before signing a contract. We recommend that you contact landlords in the morning and arrange an appointment as soon as possible. It is common for several applicants to be invited to a viewing. If you are interested in a flat, you should contact the landlord immediately to arrange an appointment as the demand for accommodation is far greater than the availability.

If you want to work as an intern at FAU or another organisation in Germany, you will need to apply for an internship yourself. FAU does not have an internship service. You will also need to find accommodation by yourself.

Detailed information for incoming interns at FAU is available on our websites for international applicants.

The German language differentiates between two different forms of address: ‚Du‘ and ‚Sie‘. Always address people you do not know with ‚Sie‘ (with the exception of children) and use ‚Herr‘ (Mr) or ‚Frau‘ (Ms) with the person‘s surname. (Example: ‚Darf ich Sie etwas fragen, Frau Müller?‘). ‚Sie‘ is also used with surnames in the workplace.

FAU cannot accept free movers. Student exchanges are only possible as part of an exchange programme.


In Erlangen and Nuremberg there are many counselling services (Beratungsstellen) which can offer support for a wide range of issues including pregnancy or drug addiction. Details of these organisations can be found easily by searching the Internet. Student Services also maintains a list of counselling services and self-help groups.

There are several computer systems which you will need to use at FAU. The most important are the Identity Management System (IDM) and Mein Campus. In Mein Campus, you can print out your enrolment certificate and register for examinations. Your grades are also available in Mein Campus.

Grades at German universities are awarded from 1 to 5, where 1 is the best possible grade and 5 is the worst possible grade. Written examinations are passed when you achieve a grade of at least 4 (ausreichend/sufficient).

According to the examination regulations, the following grades are awarded at FAU:

  • 1.0–1.3 = sehr gut (excellent)
  • 1.7–2.3 = gut (good)
  • 2.7–3.3 = befriedigend (satisfactory)
  • 3.7–4.0 = ausreichend (sufficient)
  • 4.3–5.0 = nicht ausreichend (unsatisfactory)


All students must have health insurance. You cannot enrol at FAU if you do not have health insurance.

Detailed information on the obligation for students to have health insurance is available on the page about health insurance.

Heating and ventilating the building properly is the responsibility of the tenant as outlined in the house rules and not doing so can lead to a rental contract being terminated without notice. Buildings must be ventilated regularly to avoid mould. Even in winter, you must open windows completely at least 2–3 times a day for 5–10 minutes.
You must heat your accommodation in winter. We recommend that you always maintain a temperature of 17 degrees – when you need to, you can increase the temperature quickly and with low energy usage. If your pipes freeze because you have not heated the accommodation, you will be liable for the repair costs.

Interns are entitled to paid holiday if the duration of their employment contract is longer than six months.

Guests are welcome in Germany if a time and date has been arranged or an invitation has been made. Spontaneous visits are not commonplace.


Make sure that you inform the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA). RIA will provide assistance and contact your home university.

If you become ill, you are entitled to be treated by any physician, however not all treatments are free of charge. You should ask your doctor about any costs before receiving treatment. More information on health insurance is available at the German National Association for Student Affairs website.

If you are only planning a short stay in Germany as an exchange student without enrolment or to participate in a language course or Studienkolleg, you are not eligible for statutory health insurance. You will need to arrange for travel health insurance in your home country or register with a private health insurance company for the duration of your stay in Germany. If you have any queries, please contact the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA).

All employees earning up to EUR 450 do not have to pay income tax (Lohnsteuer). However, a contribution of 3.9 percent of the total income must be made towards a pension (Rentenversicherung). You can opt out of making these payments, but this will affect your future pension. More information

To be eligible to work in Germany, you will need an income tax certificate (Bescheinigung über den Lohnsteuerabzug). You can obtain this document from your local tax office (Finanzamt). It is only available in German:

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the only student ID card recognised throughout the world. This card will entitle you to various discounts while you are abroad. You can get an ISIC from many travel agencies and Student Services Erlangen Nürnberg. You can find contact details for Student Services in the guide “Studieren in Erlangen und Nürnberg” on their website and

Interns can use the computer rooms (CIP pools) and the Internet free of charge. A user account is required for this. To apply for a user account, you will need to fill out the application form, ask your host institution (department) to sign it and submit it to the correct RRZE office.

You can download the application form from the RRZE website.

You can also use the wireless network at the University. You will need to apply for a guest account for this.

If you decide to work as an intern at FAU or in Germany after your exchange, your status changes at the University. Interns cannot be enrolled at FAU or live in student accommodation.

Many towns nearby to Nuremberg and Erlangen are charming destinations for exploring the south of Germany. Towns of particular historical interest include Bayreuth, Würzburg, Bamberg, Ansbach, Aschaffenburg, Coburg, Eichstätt, Dinkelsbühl, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Augsburg and Munich. You can visit all of these towns on the Romantic Road.


If you lose your key, the locks will often need to be replaced in the entire building. If this happens, you will be liable for all costs. We strongly recommend taking out private liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) for this situation.


Many departments and degree programmes require that you take out laboratory liability insurance before you can use the laboratory. At FAU, you can take out laboratory liability insurance (Labor-Haftpflichtversicherung) at the secretary‘s office in your department or institute. Note that all students carrying out practical work for inorganic, organic and physical chemistry must take out laboratory liability insurance for the relevant semester. Exception: The laboratory liability insurance for students in the first or second semester of inorganic chemistry can be taken out at the start of the practical.

The official language in the Federal Republic of Germany is German. There are many regional dialects of German including Bavarian and Franconian, however, Standard German is the official language for written and legal communication. Many Germans can understand and speak at least some English, but you cannot expect that English will be understood or spoken in all situations.

The Language Centre at FAU offers courses in over 30 languages. ‚Deutsch als Fremdsprache‘ or ‚German as a Foreign Language‘ is particularly useful for international students, and is offered at a range of different levels. The Language Centre also offers an independent learning laboratory (Selbstlernlabor) for students to improve their language skills.

For more information on language courses at FAU see on the website of the Language Center. Information on intensive German courses in the holidays can be found at:

If you want to improve your German, you can take part in a language tandem at FAU. This involves teaming up with someone who would like to learn your native language. For more information see the homepage of Sprach Duo.

German law treats all individuals as equal regardless of their gender, age, religion, social status or sexual orientation.

Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes may need a list of courses they will attend at FAU for their home university (a learning agreement). For more information on learning agreements, visit the FAU homepage.

The Learning Lab is a place for all students at FAU. Through trained diversity scouts, it acts as a point of contact for all questions concerning studies and student life. In addition to events, the Learning Lab also offers a writing centre with individual advice, learning places for independent learning as well as space and materials for group work, discussions and exchange of ideas.

For more information, please visit:

Erlangen and Nuremberg have a wide range of activities on offer: the city centres and the surrounding countryside offer ample opportunity for discovering the city or trying out new sports. All students and postgraduates enrolled at the University can enjoy a wide range of cultural events – theatre, opera, concerts, festivals and museums – at a reduced rate (Studententarif).

If you cause damage to persons or material, you are liable to pay for any costs including consequential damages which might arise due to an accident. To reduce the risk of such events, we strongly recommend taking out liability insurance (private Haftpflichtversicherung), which covers costs incurred by accidental damage. There are many different offers and we recommend comparing costs and services carefully. If you require assistance, you can contact the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA).


The University has a new student blog: meineFAU. Read what students have written about everything to do with life at FAU, including living in the area, cultural events, going out tips, places to visit in the region, reports on stays abroad, interviews, and various initiatives.

The range of topics is just as diverse as the team behind the blog. The reports and interviews are often fun and light-hearted.

It’s worth taking a look and finding out about the many things that FAU and the region have to offer. And if you have any ideas about topics, initiatives or projects that you would like to introduce and see discussed in the blog or are running an event that could be of interest to its readers, please contact the team by e-mail.

The most important contacts for international exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes are the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) and the subject co-ordinators at the faculties. Tutors and buddies are also important mentors.

Further information:

A list of contacts in the Central Office for International Affairs.

Subject co-ordinators

Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes can contact the subject co-ordinators at the faculties with any subject-specific questions. The subject co-ordinators can help you with details related to your degree programme and specific courses. The contact details for the co-ordinators will be sent out via e-mail.

Other contacts

Buddy programme

Buddies complement the international offices at FAU by helping exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes. The buddy programme aims to establish and maintain contact between German and international students. German students enrolled in the programme help international students familiarise themselves with life at the University. More information.

If you are an exchange student or student participating in an exchange programme in student accommodation provided by Student Services, your rental contract expires at the end of the semester. Even if you move out earlier, you will need to pay rent until the contract expires. You can either let Student Services continue to debit your German bank account (please make sure that there are sufficient funds left in the account) or you can pay the rest of the rent in a lump sum to the Student Services Payment Office (Kasse des Studentenwerks). You are not permitted to sublet a room provided by Student Services.

Make sure that you arrange a handover appointment with the accommodation manager in good time before you leave for a final room inspection and returning the key. Before the handover appointment:

  • clean your room thoroughly and carefully,
  • repair any damage you may have caused.

Your deposit will only be returned if the room is in an acceptable state. Deposits may be returned to a German bank account or transferred to a foreign bank account.

Students have ample opportunity to pursue their musical interests at FAU. The Akademische Chor, Collegium Musicum (symphony orchestra), Big Band, brass ensemble and other musical groups practice every week in the University Orangery in Schlossgarten.

For information on music at FAU, see:


If you have arrived in Germany from outside the EU with a student visa, you will need to extend your visa to a residence permit for study purposes (Aufenthaltserlaubnis zu Studienzwecken). Please note that you must notify the immigration authorities (Ausländerbehörde) of any change in your circumstances, including changes to your subject or studying at another university. Your residence permit will need to be changed in these cases. It is important that you contact the immigration authorities as soon as possible and request an appointment to discuss your situation. If you leave contacting the authorities until too late, you may risk serious legal consequences, as you will be considered as an illegal resident.

You will need to bring the following documents with you when you register with the immigration authorities:

  • form to apply for a residence permit
  • passport/identity card (with visa)
  • certificate of enrolment (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung) from FAU
  • proof of/exemption from health insurance
  • proof of financing: you will have already obtained this from the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country


Generally most people pay for the drinks and meals they have ordered themselves – even if a group are going out together. It is perfectly acceptable to request a separate bill. Service is usually at the table. If the service was good, a tip of between five to ten percent of the total bill is expected. Water and bread are not automatically served with the meal. These must be ordered separately and paid for.

All individuals must possess an identity card or passport in Germany. We recommend that you always carry this with you, should you need to identify yourself to the police.

The University does not provide finite schedules for degree programmes. It is not always easy to plan your schedule at the start of your studies. The Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) and the Student Service Centre at your faculty can help you with general questions on planning your schedule and the subject advisors can help you with subject-related questions.

International students in English-taught Master‘s degree programmes can usually download a completed schedule from the degree programme website. We strongly recommend that you take the opportunity to attend introductory courses and information events at your department at the start of your studies. More information is available from your degree programme co-ordinator.

Some degree programmes including Italian Romance Studies, Iberian Studies and Political Science require a placement test. The dates are usually announced during the introductory courses. You can register on FAU website.

For many courses (seminars, practicals, foundation courses) you will need to register online:

  • you can use the Mein Campus portal to manage your degree programme data, register for examinations and view your grades. You can also download and print official documents and student ID.
  • seminar handouts and online examinations are available on the StudOn e-learning platform
  • language courses and practice: OKTIS

Students of medicine, dentistry and law cannot use Mein Campus to register for several examinations. Students of these faculties will need to contact their degree programme co-ordinator to find out how to register for these examinations.

The following public holidays are observed in Bavaria (these are non-working days):

  • 01 January – Neujahr (New Year)
  • 06 January – Heilige Drei Könige (Epiphany)
  • Karfreitag (Good Friday)
  • Ostermontag (Easter Monday)
  • 01 May – Tag der Arbeit (International Workers’ Day)
  • Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day)
  • Pfingstmontag (Whit Monday)
  • Fronleichnam (Corpus Christi)
  • 03 October – Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity)
  • 01 November – Allerheiligen (All Saints’ Day )
  • 25 December – 1. Weihnachtsfeiertag (Christmas Day)
  • 26 December – 2. Weihnachtsfeiertag (Boxing Day)

15 August (Mariä Himmelfahrt) is mainly observed as a public holiday in Bavaria in Catholic communities.

Punctuality in Germany is essential. Routines are important in Germany (with fixed working hours and breaks, and appointments taking place after work) and it is important to be punctual to your appointments. Punctuality is a sign of respect and this also applies to meeting people outside of work or study.


All students who are studying at FAU for more than a semester will need to re-register at the start of the next semester. To re-register, you will need to transfer the Student Services fee for the upcoming semester. If you do not transfer this fee to the University within the deadlines, you may face de-registration.

You can find the deadlines on this website.

You will usually register for examinations online through Mein Campus during a fixed time. For technical support, contact Mein Campus support by e-mail:

For more information, see: (in German).

Registration deadline for examinations.

Note: Students of medicine, dentistry and law cannot use Mein Campus to register for several examinations. In this case, contact your subject co-ordinator.

You must register with the local authorities (Meldebehörde) at your place of residence within seven days after your arrival in Germany. You can find a list of addresses and opening hours on the website of your district or municipality (only in German):

You can only register once you have a permanent address. The address of a youth hostel or hotel is not sufficient.

International students in English-taught degree programmes can contact the degree programme co-ordinator with any questions regarding formalities.

More information on enrolment for international students is available under information for international applicants and “Application and enrolment“.

In Germany, rubbish is separated by plastic (Grüner Punkt), glass, organic waste and residual waste and sorted in different bins. You should check with your landlord or fellow tenants how this is organised for your building. Never dump rubbish directly on the street.


Studying at FAU is free for international students. To finance your costs of living, you can apply for a scholarship. Several scholarship organisations offer financial support at particular stages in your studies. You can search for scholarships in the scholarship database of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

For a list of all foundations which also offer programmes/scholarships for students, please see:

You can find the most important semester dates (lecture periods, deadlines for registration, enrolment and re-registration) on the FAU website.

In collaboration with the local transport network (VGN), Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg is introducing a semester ticket for the winter semester 2015/16 and the summer semester 2016. All students must pay the fee for the basic ticket and may choose whether they also wish to purchase the additional ticket.

Further information and prices.

If you are not able to finance a flat on your own, sharing with others is another option. In university towns, it is common to share accommodation with other students. These are known as Wohngemeinschaften (WG) in German. Sharing accommodation is a great way of getting closer to German language and culture for international students.

Rooms in shared accommodation are normally applied for through the students who live there, rather than contacting the landlord directly. As shared accommodation is popular, students often hold interviews for prospective housemates. As an international student, you may find that your chances of finding a room are increased as students value getting to know students from other cultural backgrounds.

When you are looking for a room in shared accommodation, pay attention to offers on the notice boards in your institute or department, the libraries and in the restaurants and cafeterias. It is always worth asking fellow students if they know of any offers.

Shortening your stay is only possible in exceptional circumstances such as for family or health-related reasons. Please contact your co-ordinator and the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) in such cases. You can bring your buddy with you to any meetings if you like.

Do not return to your home country without informing your co-ordinators. Please make sure you complete all formalities before leaving the country. Make sure to pay any unpaid bills or rent before you leave.

Smoking is banned in public buildings, restaurants and bars in most parts of Germany.

In Germany various social contributions and taxes are automatically deducted from earnings. However, special rules apply to students: they either pay reduced social contributions and taxes or none at all.

IBZ, the Student Advice and Career Service, is your main point of contact for all questions concerning your studies. Here, you will find all the necessary information on the degree programmes offered at FAU: subject combinations, study plans, admission regulations, application procedures, studying abroad, etc. IBZ can offer advice if you have problems during your studies or if you want to change your subject or transfer to another university. IBZ can also provide information on the structure and contents of individual degree programmes.

Many students work alongside their studies in Germany. International students are also entitled to seek employment. However, there are regulations which need to be observed if you do seek work. These regulations apply differently to EU citizens (students from the EU excluding Bulgaria and Romania) and non-EU students. Please check the information on the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) website or the DAAD website.

All students admitted to FAU must enrol at the Student Records Office by the deadline stated in the admissions letter. The Student Services fee (currently EUR 42) must be paid on enrolment. This fee pays for subsidised meals in the restaurants and cafeterias as well as for student support and advice services. You must pay the Student Services fee for each semester you study at FAU. You must also pay a contribution towards the semester ticket each semester (EUR 74 as of the winter semester 2018/19). The total fee is therefore currently EUR 116 per semester.

More information is available on the Student Services website.

If all your applications are rejected or you have no idea what to do after you finish your degree, you may feel worried and anxious. If these feelings get too much for you to deal with on your own you can contact Student Services’ counselling service.

Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg offers all FAU students psychological counselling and psychotherapy in individual sessions, with partners and family members, and in therapy groups at two locations in Erlangen and Nuremberg.

Further information, contact details and opening times are available on the counselling service web page.

Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes can study at FAU for a maximum of two semesters. They are enrolled for a fixed term at the University and have the same rights as regular students.

Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes may only study at the University for a maximum of two semesters. However, if you would like to stay at FAU after your exchange, you can enrol in a degree programme. You must apply for a place at the University to do this.

Information on degree programmes at FAU and application deadlines are available here.

It is important that you research all options available to you for enrolling in a degree programme at FAU with assistance from the Student Advice and Career Service as early as possible – at the latest six months before your exchange is due to end. Contact

You will also need to think about finding alternative accommodation if you have received a place in student accommodation for international students. This accommodation is reserved for incoming exchange students only.

Students address lecturers and professors with ‚Sie‘ and usually use their academic title (Doktor, Professor). The secretary’s office of your department can answer organisational questions. The lecturers have office hours for answering subject-specific questions. Students are expected to ask for help proactively from their fellow students or lecturers if they experience any difficulties. If you don’t ask, you won’t get any help.


Please observe the traffic regulations closely. All vehicles must be roadworthy. Bicycles must have a working light.

If you are coming to FAU within the Erasmus internship programme, you will need a Training Agreement. You can request a Training Agreement form from your home university. The host department or institute at FAU must complete the form and sign it.

All of your achievements at FAU will be recorded in Mein Campus. You can find a list of all of your achievements under ‚Notenliste‘. Please check carefully that all of your grades have been entered into Mein Campus. As soon as your grades are entered correctly, you can contact the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) to request your Transcript of Records. You will need to arrange for your Transcript of Records to be issued yourself.

Note: Students of Medicine must request their Transcript of Records from Nataliya Walther from the Office of the Dean of Studies for Medicine (Krankenhausstraße 12, Room 00.116, 91054 Erlangen).

Students who study Social Science or Economics in Nuremberg must contact Jörg Reisner from the Office of International Relations in Nuremberg (Lange Gasse 20, Room 2.231, 90403 Nürnberg).

Law students can find contact information here.

If you have attended a German language course or a course not related to medicine, you can apply for a non-subject related transcript from the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA).

If you never want to miss an important date you can follow FAU on Twitter. FAU tweets all dates and events relevant for students. (German) (English)


Academic work also includes reading other academic texts. The necessary media to do so (books, journals, etc.) can be found in the University Library (abbreviated as UB or Uni-Bib in German) and all branch libraries.

For further information visit the university library’s homepage.

The University Sports programme is open to students, doctoral candidates and staff and runs a wide range of low-cost sports courses in Erlangen and Nuremberg. The programme is divided into sports classes and competitive sports with regular participation in university championships. Important note for all sports classes: please sign up online at an early point in time.

More information is available on the FAU website.


Rubbish is separated in Germany. If this is not done correctly, you may incur an extra charge. Information sheets on heating, ventilating and separating rubbish properly can be requested from the FAU accommodation service. Please write a short request to:

See more information at: (German)

Seminar papers, theses, lab reports, articles: The Writing Centre at the Learning Lab offers one-on-one help with academic writing in English for native and non-native English speakers. This service is free for members of the FAU academic community and is also offered in German for international students, for whom German is not their native language.

For more information, please visit: