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Heading for new shores!

Changing your subject or transferring university ​​
Student standing in front of a wall
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Sometimes you might be considering a change of subject and/or university. This might be the case if you are sure that you want to study, but the current field of study or the university is not right for you.

Quick start guide: Doubts can arise, ...
... when the course content is not right for you.
... when the type of higher education institution is not for you.
... when you don’t feel comfortable at the university location.

When the course content is not right for you ...

Do you feel comfortable in the city and at the University, but you had different expectations of the content of your studies? Another field of study might be more suited to your interests and abilities.

1. I have doubts: What tells me that my study programme is the right one for me? Expand entry

When you are at the beginning of your studies, you need to grow into them. Studying is not always fun and there can be some failure. What is important, however, is that you have the right foundation, that you are still interested and that your studies are not too demanding for you.

Check how the subject is developing. Are any module topics that are difficult for you only part of the basic training or do they come up again and again in the course of the studies? Look at the module catalogues. Which modules and specialisations in the further course of the programme do you find particularly interesting? Attend one of these courses, talk to students in the higher subject-related semesters or the subject-specific academic advisory service and look forward to what is to come. This will strengthen your feeling for the subject and give you the motivation to get through difficult phases.

If none of this helps, you should think about changing your subject.

2. How can I find out if another subject would suit me better? Expand entry

If you want to change your subject, it is important to take stock beforehand. First of all, it helps to look back:

  • Why do I want to drop out of the programme/subject?
  • What aspects of the subject have I enjoyed?—If possible, these should also be part of the new programme!
  • What have I not enjoyed?—I have to avoid that in the new study programme!
  • Is university the right place for me or rather a university of applied sciences or a university of cooperative education?
  • Is Jena the right university location for me?
  • Do I have the right social environment?

All of these points will give you important clues for choosing a new study programme. As you look ahead, summarize these clues as the new general conditions. This is the proper context for your new subject. In the next step, think about your interests, skills and abilities. What new path is on the horizon for you here? What are your visions for the new subject and why is it better than your current programme?

Once you have found a new field of study, try it out. Sit in on courses that sound interesting, talk to students in the higher subject-related semesters or to the subject-specific academic advisory service and don't wait too long! This is easier during the lecture period than during the lecture-free period.

3. Are my abilities and interests sufficient for my subject? Expand entry

Many students ask themselves whether their own abilities are sufficient for their study programme, especially at the beginning of their studies. But such doubts can also increase or arise at a later stage.

One reason for these doubts may be that you actually lack the prior knowledge you need for your subject in order to be able to follow courses. Another reason may be a lack of self-confidence and self-assurance. In order to find out which of these reasons applies to you primarily, a conversation with fellow students is often a first starting point. You may also find it helpful to have a consultation with your subject-specific academic advisory service.

It is also worth taking a look at the future course of studies if your doubts revolve around a ‘problem module’. Check the module catalogue to see if this topic will recur in the course of your studies. You can find the module catalogue in our programme database (select the relevant subject and scroll to Downloads).

There are various ways to find out whether you are sufficiently interested in the subject. Check whether your doubts here relate primarily to one module or whether you are generally doubting that your interest in the subject is enough to continue studying it. Here, too, it is often helpful to talk to fellow students or the academic advisory service.

4. I have decided to change my subject. How can I find a new subject that suits me? Expand entry

When you change your study programme, the same applies as before your studies: First and foremost, it is important to reflect on yourself. This means looking at your own interests, skills, values, goals, etc.

If you are clear about this, the next step is to find out what you would like to study.

For comprehensive, more detailed information and (advisory) services on finding the right study programme, click here.

5. Where can I find information about changing my study programme? Expand entry

You can find general information on changing your study programme and the relevant application form here.

If you have any questions on this topic, the Student Service Centre or the Central Student Advisory Service will be happy to help you. Please also read the answers to other questions.

6. When and how can I change my study programme? Expand entry

As a rule, you can change your study programme with effect from the next semester. You should submit your application by the end of the enrolment period of the next semester at the latest. If the new subject is not subject to admission restrictions, simply submit an Application for change of subject [pdf, 150 kb] de.

If you are currently in the winter semester and would like to change your subject for the coming summer semester, please contact us. This is only possible for a few subjects, since most study programmes only start in the winter semester. If you would like to start in the first subject-related semester of the new programme, first check the programme database to see whether the new programme also starts in the summer semester. If you can have previous achievements in the new subject recognized and be placed in a higher subject-related semester, you may also have the option of starting the new programme in the summer semester. When you apply for a change of study programme, the relevant examinations office will place you in the appropriate subject-related semester. Of course, you can also clarify this in advance.

If it is not possible to change your study programme for the summer semester, there are various ways in which you can use this semester to your advantage. When courses take place on site, it is easy to get a taste of various lectures. You can use this for orientation and to compare your experience with your expectations. If you already want to complete non-assessed coursework, you can do so in many subjects via additional modules de. You could also use this semester for internships and to acquire key qualifications. If you cannot stay enrolled in your current programme because you have definitely failed an exam, you can submit an informal application requesting special permission to stay enrolled at the Student Service Centre. If you receive BAföG funding, please note the time limits for changing subjects!

If you are currently in the summer semester and would like to change to a different programme in the coming winter semester, you can choose from the entire range of possible study programmes.

7. What do I have to consider if my desired study programme is subject to admission restrictions (NC)? Expand entry

If the new programme you want to study is subject to admission restrictions, it is not quite as easy to change as it is with programmes free from admission restrictions. You will have to apply for admission first. For the first subject-related semester, you have to apply at Hochschulstart and for the higher subject-related semesters (on the basis of a notice of placement in a higher subject-related semester) directly at the University of Jena.

Only after you have been admitted to the new programme is it possible to change your study programme. In the admission procedure, it makes no difference that you are already enrolled at the University of Jena. You apply for the available places like everyone else.

Once you have been accepted for a place, you can submit an application for change of subject [pdf, 150 kb] de.

8. How can I have previous academic achievements credited for my new study programme? Expand entry

If there are modules in your new study programme that are similar or the same as the ones you have already completed in your previous programme, these achievements will be transferred to the new subject. This applies to modules you have passed, but also to those you have failed. Take a look at the module catalogues of both subjects and compare them.

To have your previous achievements credited to the new study programme, contact the examinations office responsible for the new programme. If you are unsure, you should contact the academic advisor responsible for the new subject in advance. You can find the contact details in our study programme database.

9. I would like to change my study programme or transfer university. What do I have to consider if I receive BAföG? Expand entry

On the website of the student services organization Studierendenwerk Thüringen, you will find genderal regulations regarding BAföG and changing programmes in the FAQs (in German).

If you are receiving BAföG and would like to change your study programme, we recommend that you seek advice in advance at the Student Financing Service Office of the Studierendenwerk.

When the type of higher education institution is not right for you ...

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Students often like the subject, but the methods are too much for them and they don't enjoy it: In such cases, it is worth taking a look at other types of higher education institutions. In addition to universities, there are also universities of applied sciences and cooperative universities, among others. Many fields of study can be pursued at these institutions; the only difference is the way in which they are taught and studied. Here, the ratio of theory and practice, the practical orientation or even the integration into a specific company are to be mentioned. We all have very different needs for structure and freedom. This is why it helps to find out what one's own wishes are. Transferring universities often results in a successful degree, even in the same subject area.

If you apply for a programme subject to admission restrictions at another university, you are usually still enrolled at the ‘old university’. You will only have to submit a certificate of de-registration from the ‘old university’ when you accept your place of study and enrol at the new university. You will usually de-register at the end of the semester so that the transition is smooth.

When you don’t feel comfortable at the university location ...

Female student holding a plant and a removal box Female student holding a plant and a removal box Image: Designed by user18526052 /

Sometimes doubts are not actually linked to the study programme itself, but have more to do with the university location. It may be too big, too small or too far away from home. If you feel uncomfortable here, it often has a direct impact on your studies. That is why you should ask yourself these questions: Do you feel comfortable in Jena? If not, where would you rather be?  There are many university locations in Germany, including some that might be a better fit for you. You can find more information about this at You can change to a different university and continue the study programme you have already begun, or you can change your study programme at the same time.

Guidance and services
Then you might consider talking to an impartial person to explore further options and alternative paths. Many different institutions, both within and outside the University, are there to lend you a sympathetic ear and offer personal advice.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research provides more information on these possibilities.

Central Student Advisory Service
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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.

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