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Studying Part-Time at Universität Heidelberg: Baden-Württemberg Funds Pilot Project

Press Release No. 111/2010
26 May 2010
Ruperto Carola tests new ways of making higher education more flexible

Students at Heidelberg University will in future have the opportunity to enrol for a part-time course of study. The prerequisites will be worked out over the course  of a three-year pilot project. The state of Baden-Württemberg is providing funding in the amount of 500,000 euros for this project, which is part of the Ministry of Education’s “Studying at Your Own Pace” programme. The Heidelberg project is entitled “Promoting Diversity, Facilitating Individuality“. It also includes counselling and qualifying courses designed to help students identify their competencies and to provide a structure for integrating the target group into the courses of study. By creating more flexibility in the pursuit of a degree, the university is responding to a new reality for many students, who need to combine studies with a job, an internship or family.

Up to now, part-time courses of study have been “special offers”only. With its new pilot project, Heidelberg University is instituting a “paradigm shift” to establish part-time courses as a regular option. Part-time courses are designed to enable students to gear their study pace to their own needs, thus making it easier to finance their studies while working and to fit in internships. The new option is especially targeted towards students who either already have children or intend to start a family. “We want to make Heidelberg more attractive to potential students who face significant obstacles to full-time study,” says Dr. Andreas Barz, head of the Department for Studies, Teaching and In-Service Training.

The new Heidelberg pilot project consists of three subprojects. In the initial planning phase, courses will be designed to ensure they are doable on a part-time basis. This not only involves adapting the number of credit points to be earned each semester to the modified pace. Other aspects to be taken into consideration include credit transfers, exam regulations, exam deadlines and study grants. The part-time approach at Heidelberg University will be tested on a representative selection of courses as to practicability and demand. The implementation process during this first stage will be supervised and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

The second part of the pilot project is the development of a programme to support selecting a course of study, starting coursework and ongoing study progress for the target group. The third subproject aims at individually tailored qualification and orientation in the initial phase of study. This not only involves the acquisition of key study skills but compensating for differences in aptitude. The new offerings will be targeted not only towards part-time students, but also educationally disadvantaged students, and over the longer term, immigrated students.

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