Choosing Courses Abroad
- General enquiries - Fachstudienberatung Anglistik
- Literature and Cultural Studies - Dr. Anna Auguscik
- Linguistics and Language Science - Dr. Ilka Flöck
- Didactics - Christian Kramer
- Sprachpraxis - Lauren Freede
- Compulsory internships - Christian Kramer / Dr. Sylke Bakker / DIZ
Many students choose to fulfill the requirements for the stay abroad by studying in an English-speaking country. The University of Oldenburg has exchange agreements with a number of universities, and it is also possible to apply directly to study elsewhere. If you choose to study abroad, it is possible in many cases to get credit for your courses as part of your Oldenburg degree. However, there are a number of factors to take in mind as you plan in order to make this process work as smoothly as possible and to avoid potential problems on your return. The guidelines below will help you with your course choices.
Which courses can I take?
Generally, credit points completed at a foreign university can be recognized as part of your Oldenburg degree. To make sure that the courses studied abroad fit your programme of study in Germany, there are certain elements to consider.
- The courses you attend abroad should be equivalent in topic area, content, level, workload, and credits (depending on the country) to the Oldenburg course you would otherwise have to attend. An American introductory class is NOT equivalent to a German Aufbaumodul seminar. Similarly, a British course on language acquisition cannot be counted for a module in cultural studies, and a one hour tutorial in Australia be counted as an entire module in Germany. Nevertheless, we will always do our best to look at the courses as a whole and assess their equivalency – whether the workload, content and assessment was compatible with similar German classes.(1)
- Credit points. Courses in Europe are usually evaluated via the ECTS system – a complete semester load in Oldenburg is 30 ECTS. However, be aware that the points system used at British or Irish universities may not be the same as Oldenburg. You need to check this in advance to make sure you don’t study too many – or too few – subjects. Course loads in other countries (US, Australia, South Africa) may be calculated using other unique credit point systems or by credit hours.
- Workload. You should always make a note of the amount of class time and the workload (including all the assessment requirements), as well as the standard number of courses studied by local students each semester. For example, in the US and Australia, a normal full-time load usually involves four courses(2), whereas in Malta, courses tend to be worth half the Oldenburg ECTS for a similar amount of work - you will need to choose twice as many courses in this case!
Click on the tabs below for more detailed information about course choices when planning a stay abroad.
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(1) The Prüfungsamt has some advice on potential issues that can arise.
(2) You may feel that four courses is not very many compared to Oldenburg; remember that in most English-speaking countries all assessment is completed during the semester and there is no extra time at the end to finish writing essays and papers!
- Check your degree programme in Oldenburg, your study plans for the next semesters and the courses offered at your chosen university. Which courses/modules have you already completed, and which ones are possible to do abroad?
- Choose the courses you would like to attend at the overseas university – keeping the equivalent modules in Oldenburg in mind – and find out as much information about them as possible. This may include course descriptions, reading lists, assessment requirements or the number of contact hours/credit points – we cannot make decisions about credit transfer based on course title alone!
- Once you have made some preliminary choices, consult the Fachstudienberatung and in particular the subject coordinators (see the details in the grey box ) for each subject area as part of a Blocktermin or in their office hours so they can approve your course choices via a learning agreement.(A) / (B)
(A) Learning Agreement - non-Erasmus exchange and study abroad students. Independent applicants to the UK and Ireland and those studying in the United States, Canada, North America and Africa do not always need to complete a learning agreement in advance; however, it is highly recommended that you do so to clarify which courses you want to attend and for which Oldenburg modules you can get credit. You should use the non-binding learning agreement(*) form before your departure to plan ahead - follow the instructions above when choosing your courses.(**)
- (*) Final approval for learning agreements for free movers in the UK and Ireland come from Ms Freede or Dr Auguscik; final signatures for all other destinations come from Dr Auguscik. (Ms Freede can only sign in her absence.) However, you cannot get overall approval for the learning agreement until you have approval from the relevant subject coordinators! (See the grey box). The easiest way to do this is to complete the departmental learning agreement. Follow the instructions above when choosing your courses.
- (**) There are university-specific guides to choosing courses in Cork and Stirling available, since many Oldenburg students have chosen to study at these universities as direct applicants.
(B) Learning Agreement - Erasmus students. Those studying abroad as part of the Erasmus programme need to submit a formal learning agreement, available from the ISO website. Final approval for Erasmus learning agreements comes from Ms Freede. However, before she can sign that form, you need to complete the departmental learning agreement so you can get approval from the relevant subject coordinators. (Alternatively, you can ask the subject coordinators to initial the relevant row of the official form.) Follow the instructions above when choosing your courses.
- When you arrive at your exchange university, you should attend the courses agreed on. If anything changes, write an e-mail to the appropriate student advisor and check if the new option is also suitable. Note: You need to collect written tests, term papers, essays and everything that was part of the course requirements so we can evaluate your results accurately. Ask for a copy of assignments that are not returned to you, and make sure you keep the electronic originals of typed assignments. There can be no credit transfer without this information!
- Make sure you bring keep copies of the course syllabus and assessment criteria as well as your graded work and overall results/transcript.
- Erasmus students will have to file any changes to their learning agreement officially, in the section "During the mobility".
- We do not recommend that students complete the introductory courses (Basismodule) abroad – it can be extremely hard to find an equivalent for the material covered in Oldenburg, and you will need the information from these courses during the rest of your studies.
- When choosing courses that are equivalent to our second-level courses (Aufbaumodule), you will generally need to select from the options available to second and third year students at the foreign university. These may be labelled as 200/2000/3rd semester courses or similar. 300/3000/5th semester courses are also fine.
- Students who study abroad during their Master degree programme are not always allowed to chose Masters-level courses. In this situation, you need to pick courses open to final-year undergraduate students instead. These are often labelled as 400/4000-level courses. 300/3000-level courses may be an option as well, but you must clarify this in advance, as workloads can vary quite a lot between countries.
- Many Oldenburg courses (for example in MEd Gym) are worth 9 ECTS. As the majority of North American courses are worth a maximum of 6 ECTS, you will need to complete two courses in order to get credit for an Oldenburg seminar. Where courses are combined, at least one course must be at the appropriate level (600/500/400 for MM; 300/200 for AM); the remaining credit points can come from a class at a slightly lower level (300/200 for MM; 100/introductory for AM). The grade will be based on the result in the advanced course only and is not cumulative.
- If a single course from abroad is worth the appropriate number of credit points, then it is still possible to get credit for a full Oldenburg module – even if the module normally consists of multiple classes. What counts is the total workload.
- Linguistics and didactics courses are not always found in English departments – sometimes you need to check under education, linguistics, TESOL, modern languages or psychology.
- Suitable courses for cultural studies can sometimes be found in history departments, or specialist American/British/Irish/Australian Studies etc programmes.
- In order to get credit for a Fachdidaktik module at any level, make sure the course you take abroad involves SECOND or FOREIGN language teaching and learning – neither general pedagogy and education nor L1 reading/writing are sufficient.)
- If you wish to complete some or all of the module English Language Teaching (ang701/ang702) in another country, you need to discuss this with Professor Wolfgang Gehring or Joanna Pfingsthorn in advance. These modules have specific content that needs to be covered, and it is not always possible to find an appropriate course abroad. You will frequently need to look in the Education Department. [Note that it is usually relatively straightforward to complete the Sprachpraxis part of ang702 abroad!]
- In order for the Sprachpraxis courses in Written and Spoken English (ang311) to be recognised in Oldenburg, you need to take a course where you complete at least two graded written assignments (Written English) or do an oral exam of at least 20 minutes or a formal graded presentation of a similar length (Spoken English). The topic of such courses can be flexible, as long as they relate to a general topic in British/American Studies or English linguistics/didactics – we will not recognise a biology, foreign language or practical sport course!
- We can also do credit transfer for part modules, but you need to have at least 3 ECTS available for each half to gain full credit in Oldenburg. (3KP Written English + 3KP Spoken English = 6KP ang311).
- For Spoken English, if you have completed enough credit points in an appropriate course but did not do an oral exam or assessed formal presentation as part of the class, you will need to complete the oral exam in Oldenburg!
- For the Sprachpraxis module Language Skills for Proficiency (ang900), you need to complete at least six credit points in at least one appropriate course. This cannot be at the introductory level – third year courses and higher are preferred. (200/2000-level courses may be an option as well, but you will need to clarify this in advance.) The topic(s) can be flexible within the general field of British/American Studies or English linguistics/didactics. For this module, it is not necessary to complete extra exams or tests in order to gain credit.
- We can also do credit transfer for part modules, but you need to have at least 3 ECTS available for each half to gain full credit in Oldenburg.