Glossary for students

Short definitions of important terms
Image: Michael Schwarzenberger/Pixabay
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Academic Office for Student Affairs and Examinations (ASPA)
Short for German Akademisches Studien- und Prüfungsamt. It is responsible for all matters concerning your studies and examinations and the first point of contact for all students of the following faculties: Social and Behavioural Sciences Arts de, and Theology de. Other faculties have their own examinations offices.

Academic quarter

Most courses start 15 minutes later than stated in the time table. Usually, the Latin abbreviation c.t. (cum tempore) is used to indicate the actual beginning of the course. (Refer also to: »cum tempore« and »sine tempore«)

Admission requirement
In order to take up a study programme, you must meet certain prerequisites e.g. obtain a university entrance qualification, successfully pass an aptitude test, do an internship or submit proof of language skills.

Admission restriction
The most sought-after study programmes or study programmes with particular organizational requirements are equipped with additional hurdles in order to choose suitable applicants.

Advanced seminar
Depending on your study phase, i.e. undergraduate or graduate study programme, you must attend introductory seminars (Proseminar), graduate seminars or advanced seminars. Since the Bologna reform, these terms are used less frequently.

Alma mater
Originally, it is a Latin expression for »nourishing mother«, meaning that the university is a place where students are provided with knowledge like children by their mothers.

Former students of the university; individual students are called alumnus or alumna.

Not to be confused with enrolment. The most sought-after study programmes usually have admission restrictions. The general application deadline is 15 July for the summer semester and 15 March for the winter semester, respectively. Certain study programmes, e.g. medicine or pharmacy, may have different application requirements and deadlines.

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Bachelor’s degree
It is the first academic degree earned after having completed an undergraduate study programme which usually lasts three to four years.

BAföG student loan
Short for the Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz act. In colloquial use, it refers to the federal funding scheme for which students can apply when they are in need of financial support during their studies (more information).

The name of a transnational higher education reform. Its aim was to establish equality between the academic degrees at a European level and to enable and simplify student mobility.

Botanical Garden Jena
Free entry for all students who have a thoska card. Especially on a lousy weather day, paying a visit to the greenhouses can feel like a short trip to the tropics.

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Derived from the Latin word campus meaning an »open field«; nowadays, a place surrounded by university facilities where students meet, enjoy their break from the lectures, chat ... In Jena, this is Ernst-Abbe-Platz.

Campus radio
A radio project in which students of both our University and the  Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule are involved. Listen to the live stream from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 - 11:00 in the morning.

Canteen at a university where students and employees can eat at reduced prices.

A colloquium is a meeting for an academic debate which is more informal than a seminar or a lecture.

Compulsory attendance
Highly debated topic among students. There is no such thing. Hmm, actually there is. But it is not allowed. Sometimes, it is necessary. Confused? Ask the teaching staff or your examinations office to be sure.

Course application
Before the beginning of each semester, you should apply for modules/courses via the Friedolin course and examination management system. Mind the deadlines!

Course catalogue
In Friedolin, you can find a list of all types of courses, including lectures, seminars, practical courses as well as tutorials.

Cum tempore (c.t.)
Indication that a course is going to start 15 minutes after the full hour. In Friedolin, cum tempore is abbreviated as c.t.

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Head of a faculty.

Department student council
Elected students who represent the students’ interests of a particular subject/discipline among other department student councils.

After the end of your studies or when leaving the university for other reasons, the university will remove you from the register of students (more information).

Dies academicus
Dies academicus is a festive event where the first-semester students de (Erstis) are welcomed by the university or the university marks the anniversary of Schiller's inaugural lecture. On dies academicus, courses in the early afternoon are usually cancelled.

Diplom degree certificate
Formerly very frequent academic degree in Germany. Due to the Bologna reform, it was replaced by the bachelor's and master's programmes.

Unit within the University administration, e.g. Division for Student Affairs or Division for Human Resources.

Doctoral candidate
Persons who work on their doctoral thesis in order to obtain a doctoral degree.

Doctoral thesis (in German: »Dissertation«)
A scientific work to be produced in order to receive a doctoral degree. It can only be submitted to a university that is entitled to confer doctoral degrees.

If you want to achieve a doctoral degree, you have to apply for a doctoral programme. (more information)

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Short for European Credit Transfer System. ECTS was introduced in the framework of the Bologna reform in order to establish an equivalent and transparent degree system throughout the European institutions of higher education.

You may enrol for study programmes that have no admission restrictions shortly before the beginning of each semester without any selection process. Do not confuse it with application.

Equal opportunities
The mission of equal opportunities is to include everyone regardless of one's background or personal conditions and to ensure equality for all students during their studies.

Erasmus is an exchange programme promoting the exchange of students between the European institutions of higher education.

Examinations office
This office is responsible for systematizing and retaining of the assessed course work and examinations (more information).

Examination regulations
The official document in which you can find all the policies and provisions regarding examinations in your study programme (more information de).

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An institution within a university which comprises several study programmes and related disciplines. At our university, there are ten faculties, for example, the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Law.

Fellow students
All students in the same study programme / at the same department / at the whole university as you.

First-semester students
Students who are at the very beginning of their studies. Advanced students usually nickname them Erstis. One or two weeks before the actual lecture period starts, there are many events and programmes organized for them (Study Orientation Days) in order to introduce them to the university, student life, and Jena.

A text at the bottom of the page, e.g. in scientific papers.

Online course and examination management system of the University where you can enrol for courses, create your time table, sign up for examinations, look up your marks, and download/print the certificate of student status.

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
The largest institution of higher education and the only university covering all disciplines in Thuringia, allowing a great diversity through its ten faculties. It offers over 200 study options de and has around 18,000 students.

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Graduate study programmes
Main study phase within Diplom study programmes following the undergraduate study programme. Students had to complete it by passing a final examination. Since the Bologna reform, this term is less frequent.

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Short for Johann Friedrich I. of Saxony who is the founder of the University. He is depicted on the University's seal and in a bronze statue at Marktplatz in Jena.

Head of Administration
The person in charge of the University’s administration. Do not confuse Kanzler with the rector who is responsible for the academic activities at the University.

If you are interested in a study programme with admission restrictions, the Hochschulstart website is the service portal where you usually apply.

Hours per week per semester
Their sum describes the time you have to be present, e.g. during lectures or seminars, as well as the amount of credits you can acquire.

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Information service point on the campus at Ernst-Abbe-Platz on the opposite side of the canteen entrance where you can find various information and services concerning your studies.

Academic facility which is subordinate to a faculty.

Part of the study where you have the opportunity to apply your obtained knowledge. In some cases, you have to do an internship before you take up your studies at the university, in other cases you have to complete it during the studies. For more information concerning the internship, refer to either the study regulations or the module catalogue.

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A university town and large city in Thuringia, which is next to the river Saale (more information).

Junior secondary school graduate (in German: Neuabiturient/in)
All prospective students who earned their university entrance qualification in the current year. (Refer also to: »application / enrolment«)

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Latin proficiency certificate (in German: Latinum)
For some study programmes you need proof of Latin skills (language requirements).

A type of course where the focus does not lie on a constructive discussion, but where the lecturer gives a talk to the students.

Lecture hall
This is the place where lectures are held. It is usually bigger than a seminar room and has a greater range of technical equipment.

A general expression referring to different groups of teaching staff.

Lecture series
Lectures which are held by lecturers of different faculties on the same topic so that attendees can gain an overview of the given topic.

Long-term study fees
If you happen to stay longer at the university than the standard length of your study programme, plus a certain transition period (Übergangsfrist), you must pay a fee for every extra semester of your studies (more information).

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Master’s degree
Second academic degree which follows the bachelor’s degree or another completed university degree (more information).

Matriculation number
This is your unique identification number within the University which is usually given in a chronological order. For your matriculation no. please also refer to your thoska card.

Person who supports younger students. (Refer also to: »tutor«.)

A learning unit consisting of a lecture, of a corresponding seminar and, sometimes, complementing tutorials or practice courses that is supposed to be completed within a semester.

Module catalogue
List of all modules within a study programme that you can sign up to (more information: Friedolin).

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Numerus clausus
Derived from Latin numerus (number), and claudere (to close), indicating that the number of applicants admissible to a given study programme is limited. Usually, this applies to the most sought-after study programmes. In colloquial use, shortened to NC in German.

Nomen nominandum (N.N.)
A dummy database entry when the lecturer is still to be announced or appointed.

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Mandatory and not on a voluntary basis.

Occasional student
Any persons interested in studying at the university who are not enrolled in a study programme and do not have to take examinations. Students enrolled at University may attend lectures of other study programmes as occasional student.

Office hours
A set time frame during which lecturers take their time for students and other interested persons. However, the office hours may change every semester and are usually different during the lecture-free period. We recommend you to write an e-mail to your lecturer in advance to make an appointment.

Not obligatory.

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Part-time studies
If you have to work regularly or if you are involved in private care activities next to your study, it is possible to take up part-time studies. Doing so, the number of courses in a lecture period is less and the overall standard length of study programme is expanded.

Postdoctoral lecturing qualification (in German: Habilitation)
This is the  highest examination within academia qualifying the candidate to teach at the institutions of higher education. 

Practical course
In a practical course you consolidate and apply the knowledge that you have gained in lectures and seminars. Unlike tutorials, practical courses are held by lecturers and not by tutors.

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Recommended study plan
A template that gives you an idea on how to create your schedule and in which semester to sign up for the modules of your study programme.

Head of the academic activities at the University, thus responsible for research and teaching. Not to be confused with the Head of Administration (Kanzler*in) who manages the University's administrative units.

Registration for examinations
To be able to complete a course, you are usually expected to pass an examination. To do so, you have to register first. Usually, you may register for and withdraw from examinations up to six weeks after the beginning of the lecture period. Once the registration window closes, the registration is binding. Mind the deadlines posted in Friedolin.

To be able to continue your studies at the University, you have to pay the semester contribution six weeks in advance of the next semester (more information).

Review course
A course where you can revise and apply study content you have dealt with in a seminar or a lecture so that you can prepare for examinations.

Robe (in German: Talar)
A long and wide cut overgarment worn by representatives of the university during academic festive events.

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Financial support enabling studies which may be granted by the university, the state or a foundation. Unlike a loan or BAföG, a scholarship does not have to be paid back.

Secondary school leaving certificate (in German: Hochschulreife)
To be allowed to study at an institution of higher education, you need a secondary school leaving certificate. Attending secondary schools is the most common way to achieve the certificate; however, there are other qualification opportunities, such as the Abendgymnasium evening courses.

Semester abroad
During your studies you can study abroad at a partner university. (Refer also to: »Erasmus«.)

Semester contribution
A certain amount of money that students must pay to the University for each semester (not to be confused with tuition fees). The money is then used for various services, e.g. the student service organization (Studierendenwerk), the Student Representative Council (Studierendenrat), and the public transport. As a result, for example, students can use public transport free of charge.

Semesters enrolled in a field of study
Specifies the number of semesters that a student has spent in a particular field of study.

During a seminar, you have the opportunity to either prepare for or reflect on a lecture in a group of max. 20 students. Compared to a lecture, the focus lies on the direct exchange between students.

The highest ranking decision-making body within the University. It consists of teaching staff as well as students.

Senior secondary school graduate (in German: Altabiturient/in)
All prospective students who earned their university entrance qualification in the previous year. (Refer also to: »Application«, »Enrolment«, »Junior secondary school graduate«.)
More information

Sine tempore (s.t.)
Indication that a course is going to start exactly at the full hour, as opposed to cum tempore. In Friedolin, abbreviated as s.t.

Standard length of study programme
A suggested time frame in which you should complete your studies. For bachelor’s programmes, this is 6-8 semesters (3-4 years) whereas for master’s programmes this amounts to 4-6 semesters (2-3 years). State examination study programmes last longer, usually 8-10 semesters (4-5 years). After a transitional period of one or two semesters, you will have to pay long-term study fees.

Startup Service
The K1-Startup Service is the central point of contact for all members of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena who are interested in the topic of starting a business or want to implement a concrete business idea.

State examination
Academic degree you have to achieve if you want to work in occupational fields supervised by the state such as medicine, law, or teacher training.

State examination final thesis
A colloquial expression for the final thesis that has to be produced as a part of the state examination study programmes, e.g. for future teachers.

Student assistant
Student who assists the regular staff in academic or non-academic areas; commonly referred to as Hiwi (short for German Hilfswissenschaftler*in).

Student dormitory
Popular form of accommodation for students and managed by the student services organization (Studierendenwerk).

Student ID
Your student ID card which contains your name, a photograph, your matriculation number, the study programme you are in as well as your semester ticket.

Student representative committee
All students within a particular subject or discipline.

Student Representative Council
The Student Representative Council is the highest decision-making committee within the student self-governing bodies carrying out legislative and executive tasks. It is newly elected on an annual basis.

Study Orientation Days (STET)
Before the actual lecture period begins, you can take part in many different events that will introduce you to the university and student life.

Summer semester
The summer semester represents the second half of the academic year. It lasts from 1 April to 30 September and consists of the lecture period until the end of June and the lecture-free period during which examinations and internships take place.

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Students, employees as well as guests of the university receive the thoska card which is short for German Thüringer Hochschul- und Studierendenwerkskarte. (Refer to: »Student ID«)

Thuringian State and University Library (Thulb)
Library in Jena comprised of many branch libraries and outposts.

Person in charge of teaching and guidance of students. Often carried out by advanced students.

Optional course where you can repeat and consolidate the subject matter of lectures and seminars. A tutorial is often run by an advanced student.

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Undergraduate study programmes
Before the Bologna reform, the undergraduate studies were the initial phase of the Diplom degree which had to be completed by passing an intermediate examination. After it, students were allowed to take up graduate studies. Due to the introduction of bachelor’s or master's programmes, this term has become less frequent.

University of Applied Sciences Jena (Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule)
This institution of higher education focuses on engineering sciences, business administration as well as on health and social services. There are 4,500 students currently enrolled at the university.

University Sports Centre
Do you sometimes need to balance out the stressful university life? If so, you can choose from 80 different kinds of sports divided into 450 courses that are offered by the University.

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After successful re-registration for the next semester, your thoska card also needs to be re-activated. If you do not validate the thoska card in time, you cannot use the electronic functions or use it as ticket for public transport.

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Winter semester
The winter semester represents the first half of the academic year. It lasts from 1 October to 31 March and consists of the lecture period until the middle of February and the lecture-free period during which examinations and internships take place.

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Central Student Advisory Service
Office hours:
We offer consultations and the handling of your concerns in person, via video chat or telephone. Appointments can be made by phone or via service desk.

Consultation hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 to 12:20, Tuesday 14:00 to 18:00 and on Wednesday and Thursday from 14:00 to 16:00.
Video chat:
Videochat Zeiten
Monday to Friday 12.30 to 13:00
Videochat Passwort