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Higher education study programmes in the German VET system

Higher education programmes are mostly academic programmes but some of them offer vocational elements that link them to the vocational education system and the world of work.

Obtaining vocational qualifications within the higher education system

Universities, universities of applied sciences, academies of vocational studies and schools of administration and business offer a wide range of programmes of study, many of which do not provide direct preparation for an occupation. However, practical semesters, brief practical placements and dual programmes all facilitate an insight into the world of work during the course of study itself. A general or subject-specific higher education entrance qualification is usually required for entry to training. However, it is also possible for those with vocational qualifications to access higher education

In the wake of higher education study reforms in Europe, Germany’s traditional “Diplom” and “Magister” degrees have been replaced by Bachelor and Masters qualifications. These enjoy considerable popularity worldwide. After three years (usual period of study), students obtain a first degree in the form of a Bachelor qualification. This is a prerequisite for entry to a Masters course of study, the normal duration of which is two years.

A state examination is mandatory for some courses of study, especially if the future employer will be the state or if society has a particular vested interest in qualified training. Examples include medicine and law.

Dual study programmes that take place at institutes of higher education or vocational academies in cooperation with companies represent a special type of programme. Dual courses of higher education study which are integrated with training are particularly significant to vocational education and training because such programmes culminate with a qualification in a recognised training occupation and a Bachelor degree from an institute of higher education.

For more information about dual study programmes read here.

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