Managing your academic schedule

Part of the fun of going abroad is getting to know a different culture, and that means new food, entertainment, social conventions — and academic culture, too!

At Germany universities, we have a long tradition of placing great emphasis on independent work and independent thinking. This system is so effective that other countries — such as the United States and Japan — have used it as a model for their own education systems. If you would like to learn more about university types in Germany, titles and degrees, and many other things, the Study in Bavaria website is a great resource!

Academic calendar

The academic calendar plays a major role in our philosophy of giving students time and space to work and think independently. At LMU Munich (and most German universities), the months of March, August, and September are officially free of lectures. You will be able to use this time to focus on papers, research, examinations, or additional short courses. During the Christmas and New Year holidays (December 24 – January 6), much of the university is closed, and no classes take place. The semester dates for the Faculty of Medicine are slightly different.

For information on the actual lecture periods, check the upcoming dates.

Course catalog and registration

You can find a comprehensive list and brief description of all lectures, seminars, and courses in the LMU course catalog, released in “LSF,” the Online-Portal Lehre, Studium, Forschung. The Course Catalog is published online about two months before the start of the semester.

The course catalog does not always list the ECTS credit point value of each course, but you will find that most departments have this information on their homepages. You can also contact the departmental coordinators to find out how many credits will be awarded for the courses you are interested in taking.

Registration

How you’ll register for classes varies from department to department (i.e., register online or register directly with the lecturer). You can read about it here and check the department website or get in contact with your departmental coordinator for detailed information. But don’t worry, you’ll also receive clear instructions upon your acceptance to the program!

Credit and grading system

ECTS

At LMU, credit for bachelor’s and master’s courses is given in accordance with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). On average, you should aim to take on a workload of about 30 ECTS per semester, since bachelor students must complete 180 ECTS in three years, and master students must complete 120 ECTS in two years.

Grading system

Your coursework will be graded in accordance with the German grading system (1–5), with 1 being the best and 5 being the worst grade, and with 4 or above being a passing grade.

Not all courses are graded (non-graded lectures). If you need to have grades for the courses you take, in order to receive credit for the courses from your home university, speak with your lecturers early in the semester to see if it will be possible to get numerical grades for the courses.

General grading system

  • < 1,00 exceptional (not given in all departments)
  • 1,00 – 1,50 very good (sehr gut)
  • 1,51 – 2,50 good (gut)
  • 2,51 – 3,50 satisfactory (befriedigend)
  • 3,51 – 4,00 sufficient (ausreichend)
  • > 4,00 deficient (mangelhaft)

Grading system for Law

  • 16 – 18 points: very good (outstanding)
  • 13 – 15 points: good (well above average)
  • 10 – 12 points: fully satisfactory (above average)
  • 07 – 09 points: satisfactory (meets all normal requirements)
  • 04 – 06 points: sufficient (meets requirements, some weakness)
  • 01 – 03 points: deficient (considerable weakness, unacceptable)
  • 0 points: inadequate/unsatisfactory (wholly unacceptable)

Types of courses

There are a range of course types for you to choose from, and it helps to know exactly what you’re selecting.

  • Vorlesung (lecture): Lectures are opportunities to hear presentations from our faculty members. The classes are often quite large, attendance is usually not monitored, and active student participation is not required. At the end of a lecture series, assessment generally takes the form of a graded examination.
  • Grundkurs (basic course): A basic course focuses on the fundamental principles of your field of study and the basic research methodologies. The expected amount of active participation varies from department to department.
  • Proseminar or Hauptseminar (seminar): In a seminar, you deepen the knowledge you have gained in introductory lectures and basic courses—and are expected to take an active role in the class. You will usually make an oral presentation and also submit a written paper at the end of the course.
  • Übung (exercise): An exercise is a more focused and interactive form of lecture where you’ll explore the content in depth and have the opportunity to ask detailed questions. Generally, you’ll have weekly assignments that you’ll then discuss further in class.
  • Kolloquium (colloquium): In a colloquium, you’ll have stimulating conversations with your professors and peers on focused topics in a more interdisciplinary environment. You will receive a certificate of participation, but no grade.
  • Tutorium (tutorial): Tutorials are one-on-one or small group intensives on specific topics or in preparation for examinations. Participation is voluntary and the tutorial is not graded.