Winter semester 2015/16: national proportion of numerus clausus subjects declines , Hamburg and Bremen with the most numerus clausus restrictions
Before attempting to embark on an undergraduate programme in winter semester 2015/16, many school-leavers who have just received their Abitur certificate will first have to clear the hurdle of numerus clausus (NC), or restricted entry. A current evaluation by the CHE Centre for Higher Education reveals major differences in numerus clausus restrictions between the various federal states. Compared to winter semester 2013/14, however, the proportion of numerus clausus subjects fell in Germany.
The city-states of Hamburg (68.6 per cent) and Bremen (65 per cent) top the list concerning the proportion of degree programmes subject to restricted admission. In contrast, only around one quarter of all degree programmes are subject to NC in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate in winter semester 2015/16. Altogether, the average proportion of numerus clausus subjects in Germany is 42 per cent, i.e. 3.5 percentage points lower than two years back.
“The decline in the number of degree programmes subject to NC is a result of the efforts made by universities and policymakers to take account of the growing propensity to study,” is how CHE Executive Director Frank Ziegele assesses the development. The end of the dual intake of Abitur cohorts is also likely to have played a role. The determining factor for the national trend is, primarily, the drastically lower proportion of numerus clausus subjects in North Rhine-Westphalia, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Berlin over the past two years.
When degree types are compared, Bachelor programmes currently have a much higher proportion of numerus clausus subjects than Master’s programmes (47.7 per cent versus 36 per cent). The situation also differs from subject to subject: the group of subjects with the highest proportion of NC subjects is Law, Economics & Social Sciences, at 53.8 per cent; Languages & Cultural Sciences have the lowest proportion, namely 30.5 per cent.
Major differences in proportions of NC subjects: in Hamburg and Bremen, two-thirds of all degree programmes are subject to restricted admission, in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate this figure is less than a quarter.
The interplay between factors reveals enormous differences, also in terms of types of higher education institutions. At Bavarian universities, for instance, only one in three degree programmes in Law, Economics & Social Sciences are subject to NC; at Bavarian universities of applied sciences, however, the proportion in the same group of subjects is almost 90 per cent. The situation is reversed in the case of Languages & Cultural Sciences in Berlin. There, eight out of ten university degree programmes are subject to restricted admission, whereas less than one third of programmes offered at universities of applied sciences in the capital have NC restrictions.
“The major differences revealed by the current NC Check for the more than 17,000 degree programmes on offer are little understood by many prospective students. Rather than becoming demoralised by an NC at their preferred place of study, they should also check out alternatives elsewhere,” advises CHE Executive Director Frank Ziegele. “In view of the larger number of prospective students and their heterogeneity, it will become increasingly important in the future to create transparency concerning the degree programmes offered and their admission requirements,” says Ziegele.
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