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Glossary of terms of the German university system


"Vorlesung" (lecture):
2 to 4 ECTS credit points available, typically with a requirement of a (short) essay or short in-class test.

"Übung" (exercise course):
2 to 4 ECTS, typically with a requirement of a (short) essay or short in-class test. Groups are much smaller than in lectures and students are expected to take an active part in the seminars.

"Grundkurs / Einführungskurs" (introductory course):
5 ECTS (sometimes 6); includes a longer written exam (typically, a final test of 90 min.) at the end of term.

"Begleitübung" (accompanying course):
1 ECTS; accompanies an introductory course.

"Tutorium" (tutorial):
no credit points available; accompanies an introductory course.

"Proseminar" (intermediate seminar):
6 ECTS; (misleadingly perhaps, for an English speaker, "pro" stands for "preparatory", not "professional", so it is a course designed for first and second-year students)
Coursework: write a short mid-term essay (or some other type of mid-term test), give a short oral presentation in class (or some other in-class contribution)
Exam type: write a longer essay (term paper) with research effort at the end of term / alternatively (in some classes:) final written exam at the end of term.

"Hauptseminar" (advanced seminar):
8 ECTS
Course requirements are the same as in a "Proseminar", but the term paper at the end needs to be longer and show a more substantial research effort.

"Oberseminar" (research seminar):
special seminar with varying topics; participation is by invitation only

"Kolloquium":
2 ECTS; the “Kolloquium” prepares students for their final exams