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This article is written from the viewpoint of someone who is biased towards the "Fachhochschule"s. A german university and a Fachhochschule are two very different things. A german university student has more freedoms, but also more responsibility than a Fachhochschulstudent. Also university-programs are often much harder than their equivalent Fachhochschul-programs. University-dropouts often excel at Fachhochschuls. A Fachhochschule is basically a normal school but teaches specialized subjects. A university is organized differently, it places the burden of selecting what to learn on the student.

The most important difference is that Universities and University-Professors usually do original research, while Fachhochschul-Professors usually do not.

It is not even certain that a University will recognize a Fachhochschul-Bachelor as the prerequisite for a University-Master program. A Fachhochschul-Diploma (equivalent to a Master degree) is often only recognized as a Vordiplom (roughly equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree).

  • The comment above was written by someone clearly biased towards traditional universities.
  • The comment above mainly shows wrong (in part outdated) information. --Bartian (talk) 13:35, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

I think a FH-Master and a Uni-Master CAN be the same after the Bologna process is finished, depending on the accreditation.

  • After your changes this article seems to be very biased towads the classic universities. For example it is not true that univesities don't recognize an FH-Bachelor as prerequisite for a University-Master program. Even high quality universities like Cologne or Münster accept it.

  • Nonetheless: Most people will still look at where you got your degree. Grades, qualifications etc. from a applied sciences university will be regarded as for what they are.

  • This article is definitely biased by a pro FH person. Trying to be as objective as possible, I, too, do state, that a classical German university is much much harder! Truth is, as stated above, that many university dropouts succeed at the FH without problems. Even most intermediate course exams from the university are accepted at the FH - the other way around, this is not the case! At this point, I'd like to cite a former university professor of mine, who was asked by a graduate who hold a FH diploma in math and now wanted to graduate in computer science at a university, wanting to know, which courses he has to take. My professor said: "Well, actually at first you have to study math". Why does the whole studying take one or two years longer at a classical university than at a FH? And why do most university graduates earn up to 25% more money when starting into a new job?

Talking about bias, your statements seem to be biased as well. I think the difficulty highly depends on the state, degree programme, FH and teaching personell. Some university degree programmes are less difficult than their respective FH counterparts. But I agree on that statement:

″The most important difference is that Universities and University-Professors usually do original research, while Fachhochschul-Professors usually do not.″ I think this is caused by the focus on the application of theoretical sciences. For original research there is often no immediate application. Original research is also done at Fachhochschulen, but not the common case. -- (talk) 12:32, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

"Also university-programs are often much harder than their equivalent Fachhochschul-programs." Is there anything to back the claim up other than personal opinion?
"It is not even certain that a University will recognize a Fachhochschul-bachelor as the prerequisite for a University-Master program." It isn't certain that a University will accept students from a another University either. It depends on the how much the contents of the different classes and the Credits awarded for them match. It is possible that students from a different university/university of applied siecne who are admitted have to complete classes from the bachelors degree course at that university if the contents and credits awarded for certain classes do not match.
"At this point, I'd like to cite a former university professor of mine, who was asked by a graduate who hold a FH diploma in math and now wanted to graduate in computer science at a university, wanting to know, which courses he has to take. My professor said: "Well, actually at first you have to study math"." That is a display of arrogance.
"Why does the whole studying take one or two years longer at a classical university than at a FH?" A Fachhochschul Diplom-course was traditionally 7 semesters while a Univerity Diplom-course was 10 semesters. Fachhochschulen and Universities did not award the same degree. Fachhochschulen awarded the Diplom (FH) while Universities awarded the Diplom. This all changed after the the Bachelor and Master System was introduced. BA/MA degrees from Fachhochschulen and Universities know have the same legal status.
"Truth is, as stated above, that many university dropouts succeed at the FH without problems." Again is there any reliable data to back that claim up? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:30, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Admission to a Doctoral Program[edit]

I don't know how things are these days with all the changes brought by the Bologna process, but, the last time I checked, most if not all German universities still required Fachhochschule graduates to take a preliminary oral exam (a Promotionsvorprüfung or Promotionseignungsprüfung), normally in 2 or 3 subjects, before they could begin doctoral research work. Has that changed at all ? 18:58, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there are changes. Master graduates are all treatened equally (no matter what kind of university, Universität or Fachhochschule). So they all qualify directly to doctoral programs, as the former Diplom at Universität did. (The same way all master degrees directly qualify to Höherer Dienst, a higher civilian career in public service)
This was explicitly decided by all Ministers of Education (Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, Kultusministerkonferenz) and implemented by state law (Hochschulgesetze der Länder), including Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, which are known for a more conservative government.
One background is that master course of studies all have to meet the same requirements for accreditation. The former Diplom at Fachhochschule hat basically different requirements than those at Universität, e.g. basically different time of study. For those reasons, the Diplom was awarded with (FH) addendum, which is not the case at master degrees.
On the other hand, preliminary exams (Promotionsvorprüfung or Promotionseignungsprüfung) is necessary for the bachelor graduates from all universities.
--Bartian (talk) 12:46, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Literal translation[edit]

For interest (or further confusion), just what is the best way to literally translate the term? An online translation gives me "professional school" but that has the problem that "school" isn't always used for post 18 institutions.

Would "vocational college", "vocational university" or even "polytechnic" be the equivalent literal terms in English? Timrollpickering 13:14, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

In the eighties (when I finished my Fachhochschul degree) Fachhochschulen were generally referred to as technical colleges or polytechnics (in line with the British polytechnics which later became universities).

The official translation is University of Applied Sciences. The term school doesn't reflect the university (Hochschule)) status and regular offering of postgraduate studies. The term vocational is even complicated because this is no official translation for any university in germany and could be appropiate to the Berufsakademie too, which is offically translated University of Coorporate Education. --Bartian (talk) 13:35, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Some changes[edit]

I partially agree with the above-noted comment; this article is indeed slightly biased in favour of FHs. To avoid misunderstandings, I appreciate FHs as an important and valuable pillar of the German higher education system - especially in view of accessability of tertiary education and social upwards mobility. Nevertheless, one should try to avoid the impression that FHs and research universities are basically the same thing. I tried to add a more legal, i.e., neutral viewpoint to the article, but there's certainly still some work to do. For instance, there's no mention of differences in entry requirements, potential difficulties of FH graduates to be admitted to doctoral programmes, the very different research budgets of FHs and universities, etc. Fred Plotz (talk) 20:38, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Your view is clearly biased towards Universität and lacks NPOV. Referring to social upwards mobility as an emphasis disregards the academic value of studies at Fachhochschulen. Both types of universities have a research mandate by qualified state law (which might be missing in an outdated understanding). Research budgets itself is no adequate criteria. The impact on teaching varies and research budgets also differ between institutes and areas of study. Some institute can be much weaker equipped in a certain area than a leading one, beyond the type of university. This affects budgets for equipment, teaching and research, qualification of staff, number of students per lecture, number of students supervised per professor and so on.
The emphasis on research budget for rating courses of studies is only a point of view, commonly represented by those involved in traditional structures. But this disregards existing problems in studies, e.g. below doctoral programs. Insufficient status quo usually activates politics and politics has already gone further than some people like. But activity and competition in higher education will bring general advancement, even for us at Universität. --Bartian (talk) 13:35, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Referring to "social upwards mobility" as an advantage of having FHs in the German higher education system (not as an "emphasis" of FHs themselves, as you want to understand it) was not meant to be contemptuous in any way. Nevertheless, it is a characteristic feature of FHs since the overwhelming majority of professionally qualified persons accessing higher education enter FHs, and not Unis, as thresholds are significantly lower (FH-Reife or even trade school graduation plus some years of working experience). What's wrong with this? The research budgets reflect the standing of a Hochschule as a research institution, nothing more, nothing less. Searching the DFG page for some coodinated programmes at FHs, you'll hardly find any. I doubt you will find any FH institute, say, for mechanical engineering, that has a research budget comparable to the respective institute at a TU. Futhermore, I didn't try to make any connection between the quality of undergrad teaching and the research budget. I'm absolutely aware that teaching at some FHs outdoes teaching quality at some Unis, due to smaller class sizes as well as the FH professors' focus on teaching. However, none of these points directly relates to any edit, so why being so aggressive? Be assured, I don't have any stake in publicly degrading FHs. However, sentences like "The students’ up-to-date knowledge of the field enhances their preparation for their profession. Their practical orientation makes them very attractive for employers" are heavily POV, and you know that. Plus, you deliberately left out information on entry requirements and admission to faculty, which is NPOV violation as well. Fred Plotz (talk) 17:49, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree in most aspects and your last comment feels more balanced to me. But words like 'especially' suggest an emphasis. Moreover its just an assumption that I would left out some information deliberately. I never removed any correct facts from the article. On the other side, nobody requires me to add all possible informations by yesterday ;-) I've seen your biasing (in comments above) in focusing on research aspects rather than teaching aspects, because teaching is way more relevant to students below doctorate level and this is the largest group. --Bartian (talk) 11:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, but, you know, wiki should not be misunderstood as a guide of study for prospective foreign undergaduates, so research is a relevant aspect in describing differences beteween FHs and Unis. Anyway, phrases such as those mentioned afore are not sufficient for describing these differences (to say nothing about the advertising language). Also, research is an eminent factor for determining the perceived prestige of an institution, which may be relevant for international undergrads as well. Could it be, you lecture at a FH :-) ? Fred Plotz (talk) 11:55, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course it is no guide of study. But your understanding of what is important (and a legal objective) for an institution seems to be very shortened to research. Even your definition of prestige only relates to what is important inside the corresponding community. At corporate level (depending on requirements) there's often a smile about this. I guess you're on academic tracks at Uni ;-) I myself am not anyhow tied to FH.
I agree to you that the language is not appropriate, I wouldn't have formulated it that way. But in my experience it is not basically wrong (depending on requirements). --Bartian (talk) 14:41, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't want to display research as THE main aspect of higher learning institutions, nor as the pre-eminent legal objective. Nonetheless it is important, and it is not mentioned at all in this article yet. There's a statement that FHs also do research, and that FH grads are oh so highly employable, so the article in its current condition suggests that FHs are basically the better Unis. I just think that doesn't reflect reality adequately. First off, the employability depends not primarily on the type of institution, but rather on the course of study (e.g. engineering grads will be highly sought-after, regardless of institutional type, while graduates in social pedagogy will face some problems, regardless of institutional type); second, there are undoubtably some "glass ceilings" in view of career progress for FH grads in industry; the legal situation in line with Bologna didn't change these attitudes out there at all. (some of my closest friends are FH grads, and all of them consider proceeding to a Uni- MSc, or a MBA, as they already feel it will be difficult to make the career steps they are aiming at; dining with the HR-manager of a DAX company you will hear basically the same). Also, I think it makes a difference for an international student returning to his home country wheter the recruiters find his alma mater listed in global ranking schemes, which are mainly research-based, or not. That's what I meant referring to "perceived prestige". This doesn't affect my personal appreciation of FHs in any way (which made me, for instance, creating this article and putting its wikilink here), but it's a realistic view of prevalent views out there. To answer the more personal question, yes I am currently on academic tracks, but that's not my final destination. Fred Plotz (talk) 16:46, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Wrong information[edit]

There were several wrong information added to the article, probably by POV or specific not neutral interests. Facts according to current state law are:

  • Diplom (BA) is not an academic degree
  • Bachelor degrees from Berufsakademien (according to the Baden-Württemberg model) are no academic degrees at this time, Berufsakademien in some other states even cannot award any Bachelor degrees.
Though no academic degrees as yet (from 2009 onwards they are), the degrees awarded by accredited BAs throughout Germany are de iure equivalent ("gleichgestellt", in the words of LHG BW and the according KMK Beschluss) to those of FH's and universities in line with the bologna process, i.e, entitle their holder to all kinds of advanced studies open to a university grad. Mentioning this in a dependent clause is no "wrong information". However, I'm well aware of the de facto situation being somewhat different.
There's no decision or law about this right now, so we can only guess BAs may become changed in the future. That is of no relevance for this article. We can't write here as if this already happened.
Furthermore there is no equivalence ("Gleichstellung") of instituations, neither in KMK publications nor LHG BW and you don't provide a citation. Studies are considered equal ("gleichwertig") in relation to "Berechtigungen". This refers to "Berufsrecht", "Ingenieurgesetze", "Steuerberater" etc. Academically (according to the LHG) there is the difference between "academic degrees" ("akademischer Grad", "Hochschulabschluss") and state graduation ("staatliche Abschlussbezeichnung"). Furthermore, BAs and BA graduates are in every case mentioned seperately (e.g. § 38), so no automatical equivalence can be interpreted.
This topic is at least not very clear, and in no way can we see an institutional equivalence. Consequently there's no relevance to mention that topic in this article. --Bartian (talk) 11:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Certainly, but neither my edit nor my contribs here suggested an institutional equivalence, but dealt solely with the degrees awarded, and, as you said, they are "gleichwertig" (§ 76 LHG BW), which refers not only to professional qualifications, but also to postgrad studies (See KMK Beschluss on " Einordung der Bachelorausbildungsgänge an Berufsakademie in die konsekutive Studienstruktur", October 15th, 2004) Mentioning this, or not, doesn't bother me at all. However, I feel it was more balanced to mention all three types of tertiary sector institutions when drawing comparisons.
Sorry, I associated "BAs" with Berufsakademie, not with Bachelor. (Using BA for all Bachelors interferes with Bachelor of Arts.) A KMK Beschluss has no legal consequences, only its implementation in state law. And there the ways of equivalance are even in BW not clear at all, in other states it is much more problematic. This problem is btw the key reason of BW's attempts to give Berufsakademien a university status ("Duale Hochschule"). KMK publications furthermore name studies at Berufsakademien "Ausbildungsgänge" instead of "Studiengänge" (e.g. you citation). This futher shows the political dimension. So in doubt, I tend to leave out the topic if unquestionable facts are difficult to identify. --Bartian (talk) 14:22, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Alright Fred Plotz (talk) 16:52, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
  • A specific term research university does not exist, and it does not suit to distinguish Universitäten from Fachhochschulen because the later do research too (anchored in state law).
The term research university was used to make the German tertiary-educational stucture more understandable to the American readers. It is absolutely common to distinquish between doctoral-granting "research universities" and those universities whose highest degree is a Master's degree. Indeed, these statements would apply for the differences between research universities and FHs just as well. Claiming that FHs do research to extents that approximates those of Unis is definitely a misleading statement. Even the larger FHs have not a decile of the research budget of an average Uni, which shows clearly the POV of state authorities regarding functions of FHs and Unis. Also, it is necessary to show the capability to do advanced research by having passed the process of habilitation to be admitted to the faculty of a Uni, as opposed to FHs, whose professors are only required to hold either a Master's-level degree, or even a first degree, depending on the respective state, and must have some practical working experience, which makes designations of Unis and FHs even clearer.
I don't see a source for such an usage for describing the german system except your personal view. We can't do original research here for comparing different higher education systems in order to transfer terminology. "Research university" ("Forschungsuniversität") is literally translated a term used by some of the Unversitäten (e.g. Uni Karlsruhe) to distinguish them from other Universitäten. This make the use here even more complicated, so I don't see a proper reason.
No one claims that FHs and Unis do research to the same extent. But the detail of your statements lack a scientific base and the deeper relevance is unclear to me. For example, TU Berlin has only 18 % more total budget per student than TFH Berlin. Declaring state authorities as POV is averting the eyes on facts.
Your information about requirements for professors at FH is wrong in parts, which suggest further biased argumentation. E.g. LHG BW § 47 clearly states the reqular requirement of a doctorate for all professors. In the current salary system ("W-Besoldung") there is no differentiation between different types of Hochschulen. --Bartian (talk) 11:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
OK, I don't see the relevance of of the salary system. It's just a fact, and in no way biased, that habiliation is required for tenure track at Unis, and not at FHs, which directly relates to institutional research designation. Moreover, I was talking about research budgets, not about the total budget, and I guess your figures relate only to the basic budget, leaving aside governmental and third-party research grants, which are, at least at my Uni, the by far greatest part of institutional turnover. Fred Plotz (talk) 12:24, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
No doubt about habilitation, certainly a main difference worth to mention. But I did write total budget and not basic budget and that's what I refered to: total governmental grants + total third-party grants (as published by the institutions). Of course this varies from institution to institution. That's my point and of higher relevance in my opinion. --Bartian (talk) 14:22, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
That's astonishing, but I guess it's a rather regional phenomenon due to Berlin's household situation, isn't it? Fred Plotz (talk) 16:52, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
  • The term university properly translates to Hochschule because it deals with a higher education institution providing postgraduate education. So it can't be used easily for a Universität to distinguish from other Hochschulen. This is also supported by several offical names with university for different types of Hochschulen. Accordingly, highschool is not a correct translation for Hochschule. --Bartian (talk) 14:08, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Agreed, but I guess it was about a very literal translation.Fred Plotz (talk) 17:15, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Overlap with the Dutch "Hogeschool"[edit]

This article states that it is typically German to have "hochschule" or applied science universities, but almost everything in this article is also true for the Dutch applied science universities: "hogeschool" (Hogeschool, which redirects to List of universities in the Netherlands). I think it would be better to name this article after the more general *English* name for this phenomenon (e.g., "University for applied sciences in Europe") then using a German word to describe something that occurs in multiple European countries. anoko_moonlight (talk) 15:17, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

More examples that this article is too specific: Högskola and Korkeakoulu are respectively the Swedish and Finish terms for a European university for applied sciences. anoko_moonlight (talk) 15:37, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

community colleges[edit]

I really think the comparison drawn between German FHs and US community colleges is inapplicable. As one can read in the first line of the article on community colleges, those "are primarily two-year (...) institutions of higher education" whose highest degeree awarded is normally an Associates degree. As is well known, the Fachhochschulen have never awarded a two-year degree, but do award university-level Master's degrees. If drawing any comparisons is indicated in the context of this article, it is appropriate to compare FHs with U.S. Master's universities, as classified by Carnegie Foundation and U.S. News. I therefore replace the wikilink.-- Fred Plotz (talk) 14:45, 8 March 2009 (UTC)