Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

Germany

Stakeholder Survey Overview

As part of our research we carried out a survey of Education & Training stakeholders. Find the results of this survey below or download it..

Legislation & Policy Overview

The following section gives an overview of the national PHE environment within Germany. The profile was completed by  Cooperative State University Baden Wurttemberg.

Section A: General Profile of PHE

1. How is PHE defined in your country?

Higher education (HE) studies in Germany are offered at three types of Higher Education Institutions (HEI)14.  – Universitäten (Universities) and institutions of equal status including various specialized institutions, offer the whole range of academic disciplines. In the German tradition, universities focus in particular on basic research so that advanced stages of study have mainly theoretical orientation and research-oriented components.  – Fachhochschulen (Universities of Applied Sciences) concentrate their study programmes in engineering and other technical disciplines, business-related studies, social work, and design areas. The common mission of applied research and development implies a distinct application-oriented focus and professional character of studies, which include integrated and supervised work assignments in industry, enterprises or other relevant institutions.  – Kunst- und Musikhochschulen (Universities of Art/Music) offer studies for artistic careers in fine arts, performing arts and music; in such fields as directing, production, writing in theatre, film, and other media; and in a variety of design areas, architecture, media and communication.  Higher Education Institutions are either state or state-recognized institutions. In their operations, including the organization of studies and the designation and award of degrees, they are both subject to higher education legislation.  In adition to Fachhochschulen, a more specific type of PHE is the so called “Dual Study” or “Cooperative education” model in which public and private sector organization directly cooperate with the higher education sector to deliver OHE.

1.1 What is your nationally recognised definition of a PHE Institution?

The regular type of PHE institution is the Fachhochschule (FH) or University of Applied Sciences (UAS). This is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas (e.g. technology or business). Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece. An increasing number of Fachhochschulen are abbreviated as Hochschule, which is also the generic term in Germany for all institutions awarding academic degrees in higher education, or expanded as Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften (HAW). Due to the Bologna process, Universitäten and Fachhochschulen award legally equivalent academic Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.[1].  Fachhochschulen do not award doctoral degrees themselves. This and the rule to call professors with a professional career of at least three years outside the university system remain their major difference from traditional universities. Universities of Applied Sciences are designed with a focus on teaching professional skills. Swiss law calls Fachhochschulen and Universitäten “separate but equal”.[2].  Just like more academically oriented traditional universities, the UAS are able to issue both Bachelor and Master degrees. In Switzerland, they may run doctoral programs when the degree itself is awarded by a partner institution which is allowed to, just as some German Fachhochschulen also co-run doctoral programs, with doctoral degrees being awarded by the partner university.  In addition one higher education institution exists in Germany which is called Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University  which is defined through the model of cooperative higher education. Public and private organization are by law members of the institution and there is a close cooperation in the alternating study model. (3)

1.2 Are there any specific requirements towards PHE Curriculum/Course?

In Germany there exists a specific framework for cooperative higher education  programmes, which is issued by the federal accreditation council: Handreichung zu Studiengängen mit besonderem Profilanspruch: http://www.akkreditierungsrat.de/fileadmin/Seiteninhalte/AR/Beschluesse/AR_Handreichung_Profil.pdf.  In addition there is a qualification framework specifying the details for qualification requirements for academic programs by the Kultusministerkonferenz.  Qualifikationsrahmen für deutsche Hochschulabschlüsse (zu Frage C3) http://www.kmk.org/fileadmin/veroeffentlichungen_beschluesse/2005/2005_04_21-Qualifikationsrahmen-HS-Abschluesse.pdf

2. Which EQF Levels does PHE cover?

EQF Level 5 – Yes/No
EQF Level 6 – Yes
EQF Level 7 – Yes
EQF Level 8 – Yes/No

3. Which governmental bodies are responsible for governance of the PHE sector? Do these differ from the governance of AHE? Is there any engagement of any other public authorities and which, if so?

The responsibility for the German education system lies primarily with the states (Länder) while the federal government plays only a minor role.

4. Quality assurance: Please provide information on quality-related legislation (national QA/accreditation system, regulations concerning QA at institutional level etc.). Are there any specific QA criteria for PHE? If so, which (if necessary, refer to specific EQF levels or institutions)?

There are no specific quality criteria relating to PHE, accreditation is done on basis of the specific profile of the respective programme without prescribing normative elements which need to be existing. The German national qualification framework specifies qualification levels of Bachelor and master level, both of which can be obtained from German PHE institutions. For the Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University as a special cooperative institution, the framework for programmes with a special profile is important which is issued by the German accreditation council.

5. Are there any specific funding mechanisms/principles/criteria for PHE, different from general HE principles?

No, there is no specific funding system for PHE, funding of HE in general is done through the states (Länder) in Germany.

6. Are there any formal requirements for stakeholders, in particular from the part of the professional sphere/employers’ representatives concerning their engagement in PHE steering and provisions? If so, in which areas (governance, quality assurance, curriculum development, students’ placement etc.)?

No, there are no special legal regulations.  However, through its nature of profession and practical orientation, it is usual that cooperations exist between Universities of Applied science and the public or private sector.  For the Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative state University, specific legislation exists which makes the partner organisations members of the university and which leads to a fully integrated system of higher education institution in which academia and business as well as public sector work hand in hand to provide study programmes.

7. Are there any other legislative differences between PHE and other HE institutions (e.g. partnership with enterprises, regional involvement etc.)?

No.

8. Is PHE limited to some specific branches and/or fields of study? If yes: Which ones?

Usually PHE is limited to programmes with clear job profiles, and less includes programmes of the liberal arts or the legal domain.

Section B: Teaching & Staffing

1. Are there any formally set requirements for academic staff teaching at different levels in PHE (e.g their qualification, expertise, selection & appointment)? Are they different from AHE?

Yes, there is a requirement that professors and part time lecturers have to have a string record of practical experience outside the university. For UAS this is usually 3 years, for the baden-Wurtemberg Cooperative state University even 5 years.  Part time lecturers usually are required to come prof the field of practice, however also practical experiences academics are allowed as part time lecturers.

2. Are there any specific requirements for PHE staff work (teaching/research) arrangements and workload? If so, which? How do they differ from AHE?

The teaching workload is different between universities and Universities of applied science. This is in principle different from state to state and is regulated within the higher education law of the states.

3. Are there requirements to include non-academia (professionals) to teach in PHE institutions? What qualifications must they have if any?

Yes, there is a requirement that professors and part time lecturers have to have a string record of practical experience outside the university. For UAS this is usually 3 years, for the baden-Wurtemberg Cooperative state University even 5 years.  Part time lecturers usually are required to come prof the field of practice, however also practical experiences academics are allowed as part time lecturers.

Section C: Curriculum

1. Are there any specific requirements as regards contents/structure (e.g. percentage of practically oriented modules) as regards PHE? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

For PHE a practical orientation is required which is usually implemented through a) practice phases accompanying the study and b) practice oriented curricula.  For the Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University as a special cooperative institution, the framework for programmes with a special profile is important which is issued by the German accreditation council.

2. Are there any specific requirements as regards practical elements of PHE study programmes (e.g. work experience/Practical placements/Internships)? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

For PHE a practical orientation is required which is usually implemented through a) practice phases accompanying the study and b) practice oriented curricula.  For the Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University as a special cooperative institution, the framework for programmes with a special profile is important which is issued by the German accreditation council.  The Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University follow a fully integrated practice-theory approach in which student alternate between the organization win which they are employed and the university every three month until they reach their bachelor degree.

3. Are there any other legal requirements specific for PHE programs?

No.

Section D: Research & Technology Transfer

1. What is the involvement of PHE in R&D&I&TT activities? Are there any formal differences at different levels/institutions of PHE?

PHE is in recent years more and more turned towards research which is called applied research. The level of research activities is much lower than the one from universities.  However, more and more Universities of applied science have a strategic research agenda.  By law research is one obligatory ask for professors employed in Universities of Applied Science.  This is also true in the same way for the Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University.

2. Are public research programs restricted to some types of HEIs (e.g. academic sector)? If so, what are the criteria?

Yes, there are specific research programmes targeted at Universities of Applied science in Germany (e.g. profund, which is a research programme for UAS).

Section E: Recognition & Credit Transfer

1. Are there formal differences in the enrolment process into PHE and AHE?

For Universities a secondary high school degree is necessary (12 to 13 years of school), whereas for Universities if applied science 11 yearsof school are necessary.  For the Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University, the same access regulations like for universities exist.

2. Are there formal paths from PHE programmes (for graduates, during the study)? Are there automatic transfers for students between PHE and AHE? Do students need bridging programmes or other means of transition?

Since the Bologna process students can change between the different higher education institutions.

3. Are there any specific regulations concerning employment of PHE graduates? Do you need to justify delivery of certain PHE studies? e.g provide evidence of labour market needs or collect data on employability of graduates).

No answer provided

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