A Bachelor’s degree is the first academic degree which students might gain. It is also considered a professional qualification. Having completed a Bachelor’s degree, students might go on to complete further, higher level programmes of study. Bachelor’s degrees are intended to be of an equivalent value throughout Europe. This in turn, should ensure increased international comparability of graduates’ qualifications. Bachelor’s degree programmes equip students with fundamental understanding and methodological knowledge in their chosen subject of study.
Alongside specialist subject knowledge, students also gain broader professional skills, or so-called “key qualifications”. Programmes of study tend to be relatively structured, and may include parallel practical elements.
Bachelor’s degree programmes at Heidelberg University tend to have a total duration of six semesters. The University is currently in the process of developing Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes with more varied standard periods of study.
SUBJECTS OFFERED AT BACHELOR’S LEVEL
Some degree programmes enable students to gain a Bachelor’s degree in a single subject (100% weighting). It is generally the case however, that such degree programmes will also entail a certain number of modules taken in alternative subject areas.
The majority of subjects available at Bachelor’s level however, may be studied in combination with another subject (two subjects with a weighting of 50%; or a major subject with a 75% weighting and a minor subject with a 25% weighting).
Students are generally able to study any subject in combination with another. There are a handful of subjects however, which may only be studied with a weighting of 50%.
All students who have chosen to study a subject at Bachelor’s level with relevance to teaching (50% weighting) at Heidelberg University, will study this as part of a polyvalent Bachelor’s degree programme. Throughout such degree programmes, students have the opportunity to select modules which orientate their studies towards a subsequent subject-focussed Master’s degree programme, or towards a Master’s degree programme with a teaching degree option. The latter would prepare students for a teaching profession.
The admission regulations for the relevant subject-focussed Bachelor’s degree programme at Heidelberg University also apply for admission to the equivalent polyvalent programme (BA or BSc).
Modules and Degrees
Bachelor’s degree programmes generally consist in lectures, seminars and courses which are structured into modules. A module is a teaching unit, self-contained in terms of both time and content and comprised of various lectures and courses. Modules consist not only of lectures, seminars and courses, but also the examination prerequisites necessary for completion of the module. Modules may involve study in various forms (e.g. lectures, seminars, practice classes, excursions, self-study). The degree programme may require that students complete a combination of compulsory modules, compulsory elective modules, and elective modules. Modules will be summarised in a module handbook.
Students’ performance in each module will be tested using one or more methods such as written examinations or term papers. Each module is worth a given number of credits, designed to reflect the approximate workload required for successful completion of the module. One credit corresponds to thirty hours of work.
In accordance with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), students are to gain an average of thirty credits (Leistungpunkte, LP) per semester. As such, a Bachelor’s degree programme lasting six semesters requires that students gain 180 credits.
In addition, a Bachelor’s degree programme generally demands that students produce a Bachelor’s thesis.
A number of Bachelor’s degree programmes require that students sit an orientation examination by the end of the second semester. Bachelor’s degree programmes generally culminate with a final examination, which is sat following six semesters of study. In addition, a Bachelor’s degree programme generally demands that students produce a Bachelor’s thesis.
The final grade for the Bachelor’s degree programme therefore reflects the student’s performance in modules taken throughout the course of study, as well as his or her performance in the final examinations.
Students who complete a Bachelor’s degree in the humanities or social sciences will receive a Bachelor of Arts (BA), whilst students who complete a degree in the sciences will receive a Bachelor of Science (BSc).