Starting your studies
Starting your semester abroad at FAU
If your application was successful, you have already received your admissions letter, and you have all the documents you need from your home university, then you have taken the most important step towards your semester abroad at FAU.
Nevertheless, there are a few more things you have to do before starting your studies at FAU. You have to take care of certain formalities, move into your new accommodation, maybe take a language course to improve your language skills and decide which modules to take. This can be quite a challenge for international students.
Don’t worry though, you are not left to deal with these things alone. In this section you will find out what you have to do and take into account, and who will help you with any queries during your stay at FAU.
As a new international exchange student or student participating in an exchange programme, you must take part in the orientation course in order to take care of all the important formalities for your stay at FAU with the help of student assistants. This includes registering at your place of residence, ensuring your health insurance is recognised or taking out new health insurance, opening a bank account, applying for a residence permit and finally enrolling at the University.
In this way, you can be sure that you do not forget anything and that no problems will arise later on, as it can be difficult to get to grips with the complex systems of the German authorities. An intercultural introduction to the university system and getting to know other international students and German students at certain events is also very helpful.
The orientation courses are held at the beginning of the semester in early October and early April. For students taking part in the intensive German course before the beginning of the semester, the orientation course starts in September or March before the intensive German course.
Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes will automatically be forwarded the schedule by the Central Office for International Affairs. Participation in the orientation courses is mandatory for all exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes.
The teaching language at FAU is usually German. It is important to have good German skills to enable you to complete your studies within the required period of time. Good knowledge of German is also important for communication outside of the University.
FAU’s Language Centre offers intensive German courses before the start of the semester which will allow you to improve your language proficiency. There are courses for various different levels. You can register for the course at the Language Centre.
Choosing your course and Learning Agreements
Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes can attend almost all courses at FAU. However, we recommend that you contact your subject co-ordinator to discuss your choice of courses.
You must register for courses and seminars yourself. You can find the courses on offer in the course catalogue, where you will also find instructions on how to register. 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.
As an exchange student or student participating in an exchange programme, you are only admitted to FAU for the subject specified in theco-operation agreement with your home university. After your place has been confirmed, we will send you the contact details for your subject co-ordinator. The subject co-ordinator is your point of contact at our University and will help you choose the courses which are right for you.
Your subject co-ordinator must also sign your Learning Agreement. Your Learning Agreement is not valid without this signature.
Please contact your subject co-ordinator before you arrive at FAU.
The UnivIS system is a directory which you can use to search for people at the University and to access the course catalogue.
The course catalogue (German) contains details on all courses which are on offer at FAU in each semester. Select the appropriate semester at the top right of the page (SS = summer semester; WS = winter semester). Courses for each semester are only published online a few weeks before the start of the semester. If you require an overview of the courses on offer before this information is available, you can use the courses from the previous summer or winter semester as a guide. Please note that it cannot be guaranteed that all courses from the previous semester will also run in the semester that you spend at FAU.
The course catalogue is structured according to faculty and also shows courses offered by other university institutions (such as the Language Centre).
Please choose the majority of your courses in your subject and faculty.
Courses taught in other languages: If you are looking for courses taught in English or other languages, you can sort them according to faculty (under ‘Suchraum’) and language (under ‘Unterrichtssprache’)
Some home universities agree upon a list of courses which are to be taken at the host university with their students. This document is called a Learning Agreement.
Before coming to Germany, please find out from your home university whether you require a Learning Agreement, which courses you have to take at FAU and how many ECTS credits you need.
FAU does not stipulate a minimum or maximum number of ECTS credits. However, we recommend 20 to 30 ECTS credits per semester.
Your Learning Agreement must normally be signed by the following:
- the person responsible at your home university
- your subject co-ordinator (departmental co-ordinator) at FAU