• Germany's news in English

Germany's students fail to graduate in time

The Local · 28 Jul 2014, 14:32

Published: 28 Jul 2014 14:32 GMT+02:00

Reforms to reduce degree times have not yet cut down on numbers of so-called "Dauerstudenten" - eternal students who can take up to six years for their undergraduate degree before embarking on a lengthy master's course.

Under the old German system, students were allowed to take semesters off to work, earn cash, travel, do work experience placements or study abroad. This led to lengthy degrees which could take years to complete.

At its outset in 1999, the EU's Bologna Process aimed to harmonize university education across member states.

Germany was particularly keen to shake off its reputation for having the continent's oldest graduates - on average 28 years old.

But the reforms sparked protests in Germany from students who said switching to British-style three-year bachelor's and a separate master's would restrict the flexibility and depth of study they were used to.

Three-quarters of Germany's 2.4 million undergraduates have now switched to the British six-semester bachelor's, usually designed to be completed over a maximum of three years.

Supporters of the Bologna reforms said they would revitalize German higher education. But new figures suggest the average study time for a bachelor's is still around four years, wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine am Sonntag (FAS).

In North Rhine-Westphalia, where around a quarter of German students are based, the average student last year took 8.64 semesters or just over four years to graduate.

In Bavaria, students took an average of eight semesters and in the capital Berlin they needed 7.8 semesters, the leaked government figures showed. Official government statistics for 2013 are due to be released at the end of September.

The latest government statistics showed German master's students were now on average just over 29 years old at the point of graduation.

One recent graduate told The Local the problem was that German universities had tried to get too much material into three year courses when the new bachelor's came in.

"They stuffed in too much without changing the supervision," said the 29-year-old, who graduated this year from Munich's LMU with the equivalent of a master's degree after going through the old system.

SEE ALSO: Top university switches master's to English

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record as wins Berlin marathon
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd