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The University system in Germany is different from that of the United States. There is not a central office that you go to and tell than what courses you want to take. For lectures you simply go the first one (as listed in the Vorlesungsverzeichnis). For smaller classes, such as seminars and labs go to the professor and ask if there is room or sign up on a list. Ask the professor is you have questions.
In the case of exchange students from Juniata you need to ask the professor how you can get a Schein (specifically a graded Schein, Section: 8.4). If you however do not want credit for a lecture, you can just sit in on it for interest. Many people are proud of the freedom the German system gives, so usually no one will complain.
A Schein is a document with a stamp and signature at says that you have completed the requirements of a course. You have to do some type of work to get a Schein. Talk to the professor in the beginning of the course and explain what type of Schein you need. Usually an examination like a final written test, an oral exam with the professor, a written assignment, an oral presentation, or a combination of these will be required. Most classes in Germany are not graded, again a different system. Different types of Scheine and how they transfer are explained in Section 8.4.
This transfer system can be a bit cumbersome but it can work in your favor if you play it right. Bad grades can be covered up with mit Erfolg Scheine. Just make sure that you have a minimum of 24 full credits by the end of the year to be considered a full-time student. This is most important for people with financial aid or scholarships. Also remember that you can only have only 6 credits of transfer classes in your POE (mit Erfolg counts as transfer credit).
|German Grade||JC Grade||German Grade||JC Grade|
|- 1 or 1 (Sehr Gut)||A||3 - or 4+||C+|
|2 (Gut)||B+||4 -||D|
|2 - or 3+||B||5 (Nicht Ausreichend)||F|
Aside from in class most professors will have office hours, usually only a few hours a week. The hours will usually be posted on the door of their office. If the times do not suit you, most professors will take appointments. Talk to them or their secretary.
Office listings are usually in each department. If you wish to phone them their number will be in the Personalteil of the Winter Vorlesungverzeichnis. Most professors are open and understanding, especially to foreign students.
For questions about credit transfer you should just contact Juniata directly. They can tell you how things will transfer and make sure that Herr Komm’s office does the same thing. General academic concerns can be directed to Frau Christmann. She is good at directing you to the right place to ask or can deal with it herself. Another good resource is the student instructor of your tutorial.
Questions in specific classes can be answered by the professor teaching them. Though if you have inquiries about many different courses in the same department or just don’t know what to do, get in touch with a member of the Studienberatung for the specific Fachbereich. If the Fachbereich has a Vertreter or someone for foreign students try there first. These are people that help German students with their schedules. They have a good knowledge about the course offerings in the department. You can find these people listed in the Personalteil of the Wintersemester Vorlesungsverzeichnis under the specific Fachbereich. Professors and Instructors will also be listed here.
Each department will also have a Fachschaft, a student union of sorts. This is an elected group of students that have a say in the running of the Fachbereich and will sometimes provide study aid and old tests. They are also a good resource for information. A student will give a different perspective then a professor (the truth is usually in-between the two opinions). The addresses for the Fachschafts are listed in the back of the Tips & Hinweise book. If you don’s have access to this just ask at the Fachbereich Sekretariat. These groups usually hold regular meetings, look for postings around the Fachbereich.
Many text books can be checked out from the Universitätsbibliothek (Section: 7.5.1) for 4 weeks. The problem is that when you return them you cannot simply extend the due date. You have to check another book out. If there are not anymore copies you’re out of luck. The Fachbereich libraries will usually have copies of books used in their courses. But you cannot check these out for extended periods. Photocopying important sections works.
The other option is to buy books. The University does not have a central book store like most universities in the States. Unlike in the States you usually not be required to buy the texts for the class. There are however enough book stores in Marburg that you should be able to find what you need. Orders for German books usually only take a few days. Foreign books can take as long as a month to arrive. As for prices: they are the same at all non-discount bookstores and subjects books are just like they are in the states, expensive. Michaels-Buchhandlung on Biegenstr. and Erwig on Reigasse have the best selection of subject related books for both the sciences and the humanities.