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3 April 2003

University of Heidelberg Steps Up "Competition for the Best Minds"

The University of Heidelberg is such a popular choice with future students that it now has entrance restrictions of its own (the so-called "local numerus clausus") for 19 subjects — Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff: "We are making determined but responsible use of the new opportunities for selecting applicants"

With its clearly defined emphasis on research, Germany's oldest university is very popular with future students. Accordingly, it has introduced admission restrictions of its own — the so-called "local numerus clausus" — for 19 subjects. The Senate has now passed selection regulations for this admission procedure. Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff comments: "We are making determined use of the opportunities for selecting applicants, wherever it appears sensible and we can responsibly take it upon ourselves to do so." Vice-rector Prof. Dr. Silke Leopold, in charge of student matters and teaching, added: "In this way the University of Heidelberg is stepping up the competition for the best minds."

The new selection regulations cover a broad range of subjects. They apply, for example, to the B.A. courses "Translation Studies for Information Technologies", "Application-Oriented Informatics", "Molecular Biotechnology" and the Diplom courses "Translation/Interpreting" in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, as well as psychology as a subsidiary subject, sport and other courses. As the Master of Theological Research course planned at the Faculty of Theology involves exacting requirements in the knowledge of foreign languages, the Senate has adopted admission regulations requiring formal qualifications in Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

The selection process involves different emphases in different subjects. For the B.A. course "Translation Studies for Information Technologies", yet to be finally approved by the Ministry of Higher Education, the Faculty of Modern Languages has resolved to supplement the school performance criterion with consideration of professional training, practical experience, and other achievements or qualifications. For the courses in sport/sport science leading to an academic degree (state examination/M.A.), where selection procedures have been used successfully for a number of years already, additional criteria have been included in the new regulations for applicants: professional training, qualifications as trainer or supervisor and sporting distinctions.

Last summer, the Faculty of Law of the University of Heidelberg selected its new students for the first time. At the time, Rector Hommelhoff substantiated this decision as follows: "We welcome the fact that admissions to study law are no longer regulated by the University Admissions Centre in Dortmund, as we are now able to base entrance admission systematically on a wider range of achievements and qualifications." More highly motivated and achievement-oriented students, he added, "make greater demands on professors and teaching staff and thus contribute significantly to creating an intellectual climate enabling the Faculty of Law of the University of Heidelberg to maintain its leading position in the national rankings." The Rector designated the selection procedure for law admissions in Heidelberg as a "model for the whole of Germany," adding, however, that the costs involved should not be underestimated.

The new selection procedures are based on the Law on Changes to Selection Regulations in Higher Education (11 December 2002) and the new version of the Higher Education Admission Regulations (13 January 2003). In future, subjects with local numerus clausus will be in a position to allocate 90 percent of their study places on the basis of the new selection procedure.

For more information on the selection procedure for law students go to

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 13.04.2003


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