Studienorientierung: Schülerin macht sich Notizen

Study orientation

Prepare well for the decision to study
Student takes notes
Image: Christoph Worsch

Choosing the suitable study programme is not an easy task and such a decision should not be made rashly. There is rarely a generally applicable answer to what the suitable study programme may be as this depends on many different factors. We would be glad to assist you in searching for that answer. In addition to specific information related to your study orientation and various courses, we also offer you individual advisory services.

Below, you can, for example, find an overview of key questions which you can help you reaching the final decision.

Who am I and what do I want? Show content

Before you can make such a far-reaching decision in favour of a particular study programme, you might want to discuss it with your friends, family, or acquaintances. Then put down your own thoughts and those of the others. Exchanging your views with others might help you find out which study programmes and professional fields, but perhaps also vocational training, correspond to your interests and skills. Try answering the questions below.

  • Interests
  • What are you interested in?
  • What problems in the world would you like to solve?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • What kind of books or magazines do you like to read?
  • What kind of films do you enjoy watching?
  • What kind of information do you look for on the Internet?
  • What were your favourite subjects at school?


  • Skills
  • What are you particularly good at?
  • What can you do easily?
  • What do you manage well?


  • Values and goals
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 or 20 years?
  • Which professional and private goals, and values play a role in your life?
  • How much would you like to earn one day?
  • What is important in your life?


  • Level of knowledge and knowledge gaps
  • What would be your dream job?
  • What do you know about the study and career paths as well as current opportunities on the labour market?
  • What does your dream job actually look like?

Another option for getting to grips with choosing your study programme is to use illustrations, e.g. mind maps or interest tests. Often it is rather useful to discuss the questions and ideas with experts, for example, with our advisers of the Central Academic Advisory Service. Our team would be glad to help you in a personal consultation.

We use different methods to help you find your final decision, for example:

Book of Life

Values and Motivations [pdf 719KB] [pdf 105KB]

Career Map [pdf 751KB] [pdf 159KB]


What should you study and where? Show content

After you have decided to study

Once you are a bit clearer about your interests and future goals, and would like to study, you should find a suitable field of study. The range of study programmes offered in Germany is more varied than the curriculum in schools, which usually provide you with general education. It is worthwhile looking around both in your home environment and abroad. At the beginning, the sheer number of opportunities and study options can be rather overwhelming. This is quite normal and you should not let this get you down.

From the general to the specific

It can be useful to limit your search from the general to the specific. Those who are open to any study programme, can try to specify suitable study programmes by going through various fields of study, for example, the Higher Education Compass or .

In addition to defining your study programme, you should also choose where you are going to study. Some study programmes, for example, are only available at a few institutions. Many undergraduate programmes, e.g. mathematics, psychology, or business administration, vary from university to university which offer different focal areas. Last but not least, every location has its unique atmosphere and own qualities which might be important to you.

Studying in Jena

If you are already determined to study in Jena, you can, for example, filter our study options by fields of study or faculties, and see whether there might still be subjects that you have never heard of before.


What is important except your studies? Show content

For many students, the beginning of their studies often means they leave their home for the first time. Usually, this life period can open up a whole new perspective on the world and you will probably not be aware of every facet of it. Do not be ashamed to ask if you do not understand it.


At university, you can take the following degrees:

  • Bachelor’s degree

The bachelor’s degree is an academic degree and usually the first of a multi-level course of study at an institution of higher education. Usually, the study programme in which you can earn a bachelor’s degree has a standard period of study of six semesters.

  • Master’s degree

The master’s degree usually lasts two to four semesters and supplements an undergraduate study programme already completed (usually a bachelor’s degree). Its purpose is to expand the knowledge acquired in the previous study programme, i.e. specialization.

  • State examination

The state examination gives you access to specific professions regulated by the German state (doctors, pharmacists, lawyers) or to the civil service itself (teachers, judges, public prosecutors). The final examinations are under the jurisdiction of a state authority (respective examinations office).

  • Teacher training (“Regelschule” or “Gymnasium”)

At our university, the teacher training comprises two subjects and educational science. Before the beginning of their studies, or at the latest by the fourth semester, the future teacher training students prepare for their career they are to take up later in a preparatory work placement (320 hours).

  • Doctoral studies

The doctorate is an academic doctoral degree based on a specialized, independent, and original academic achievement.

Admission requirements

If you want to study at university, you require a secondary school leaving certificate. For subjects with restricted admission, it is essential to reach the sufficient level of your secondary school leaving certificate “numerus clausus (NC)”. Further admission requirements can also include pre-study internships, aptitude tests, and specific language skills. For further information, please go to Study Programme Database.

For more information on admission requirements for prospective international students, go to International Office.

Of course, some other factors can play a role when you are thinking about WHAT you want to study:


Where can I find reliable pieces of information? Show content

Have you already tried to gather information about studying and noticed that usually there tends to be rather too much than too little information? Indeed, blindly googling words can go well, but this is rarely the most successful strategy. It is worthwhile to use a more structured approach and to gain a good overview of your field of study with the information on this website. 

Firstly, you should be clear about what you hope to achieve with your search. What questions do you have and what information do you need to answer them? Put down a couple of goals for your search and then use the Internet portals to find the specific information. 

Portals with general information

Abi ‒ The portal of the Federal Employment Agency for high school graduates
Higher Education Compass (a wide range of study programmes in Germany and very good filter options)

It can also be helpful to take a look beyond the end of your studies and examine what can happen after your graduation. You can find reliable information relating to careers and the German labour market here:

Fairs and advisory services

If a personal advice is more likely to help you reaching your decision, you should consider going to one of the many education fairs throughout Germany. There you can ask us or many other experts about the pressing matters relating to your choice of studies. You can also visit us in the Central Academic Advisory Service where we can give you answers to general or specific questions. We can advise you during the whole orientation process—either by telephone, by e-mail, or in a personal consultation. 

Have you already passed this stage and know where you would like to study? Then you should look for more specific information, for example, on the websites of preferred institutions.

If you need additional information on our study options, please use our Study Programme Database. There you can find:

  • the basic structure of study programmes (e.g. recommended study plan, module catalogue)
  • information on the application process (e.g. deadlines, aptitude tests, internships, language skills)
  • points of contact (e.g. students and teachers from the relevant department).

Do you need other Internet sources, databases, tests, and courses to help you reach your decision? Read our information [pdf 306KB] sheet [pdf 306KB].

Check-up: expectations and reality Show content

Self-assessment and competence test

When the first study programmes are in your sight and it is clear where your skills and interests lie, you should check whether both really match. For example, by usingself-assessment tests. These online tests are free of charge and support your self-reflection.

In addition to the test results regarding your interests, you might sometimes use a competence test (e.g. in mathematics or linguistics), too. The profiles determined by the test are then compared with the requirements of particular fields of study. Apparently, you may be surprised by your results. Perhaps your desired study programme was not identified as an option or the test might suggest you a study programme that you do not want to choose at all. Some German federal states and institutions of higher education developed their own tests which can help you if you want to study elsewhere. At the end, it is always you who decides what to do with the results.

The Federal Employment Agency offers subject-related tests which help you draw conclusions about your suitability for a particular subject.

Discussing options with your parents, friends, or teachers can, surely, clear up your thoughts, too. Perhaps a consultation with advisers from the Central Academic Advisory Service or with students or teachers from the specific subject area can give you additional information, too. If you want to consult them, you can also visit one of these events:

University Information Day
Discovery Days
Orientation Seminar

Decision Show content

While searching for the study programme, it often turns out that there is no perfect programme, but a whole range of good options with advantages and disadvantages. Do not let this conclusion drive you crazy. At some point, it is no longer about gathering and assessing information about yourself, study programmes, or career options. Ultimately, you should decide. Sometimes it is the facts that prevail and sway your final decision, but often it is just your instincts. Trust them and make a decision. It is almost always possible to change your direction later. For most students, this is what generally happens.

Starting your studies Show content

If, at the end, you decide in favour of a study programme at our university, everything goes well with your application, admission, and enrolment, the first semester starts on 1 October (winter semester) or on 1 April (summer semester). 

Schülerinnen im Chemielabor
Discovery Days
Experiencing everyday university life
Studieninteressierte vor dem Laptop
Orientation webinar
Usually it is difficult to decide in favour of a particular study
Deciding on the right study programme
Ways of choosing the right study programme
Interest tests and self-assessment
Just a couple of clicks to better information
Beratung Master
Heading for a master’s degree
The next milestone!
Beratung am Messestand
Education fairs
Meet the University of Jena at education fairs
Zwei Personen vor dem Infomobil
We will be glad to visit you!
Central Student Advisory Service
University Main Building / SSZ
Fürstengraben 1
07743 Jena
Opening hours:
The Central Student Advisory Service does not offer personal services at the moment.

Consultations can also take place via phone.

Please write us an e-mail and request a call back (German phone numbers only).
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