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News vom 29.02.2016

Only one in ten degree programmes can also be studied part-time

Those seeking an alternative to full-time study programmes in Germany are faced with a limited choice. At present, 10.6 per cent of all degree programme can be studied part-time. Most of the 170,000 or so part-time students are drawn towards private higher education institutions.

Only one in ten degree programmes in Germany can also be studied part-time. According to an analysis conducted by the CHE Centre for Higher Education, the programmes offered in the various federal states differ considerably: in the current winter semester 2015/16, the highest percentage of degree programmes that can be studied part-time was offered in Saarland (64 per cent). Second place comes Hamburg, at 42.6 per cent, followed by Brandenburg, where one in three degree programmes can be studied on a part-time basis.

In over half of the federal states (namely nine), this rate was less than 10 per cent. At the bottom of the list is Saxony-Anhalt, where not even one in a hundred degree programmes (0.9 per cent) are offered on a part-time basis as an alternative to full-time study.

The proportion of degree programmes that can be completed part-time while simultaneously performing professional or family duties is higher at universities (12 per cent) than at universities of applied sciences (9.5 per cent). The proportion of Master’s programmes that can be studied part-time (13.2 per cent) is 4 per cent higher than the figure for Bachelor programmes (9.3 per cent).

The range of programmes that can be studied on a part-time basis also depends to a great extent on the subjects involved. Three subjects groups, each at around 15 per cent, exhibit the highest part-time rates. These are the humanities and social sciences; medicine and health sciences; and linguistics and cultural studies. In contrast, less than four per cent of all degree programmes in agriculture and forestry, art, music and design are suitable for part-time study.

“Flexible part-time models are well established in the working environment. That is still a long way from being the case when it comes to part-time university education and continuing education,” stated CHE Executive Director Frank Ziegele, assessing the latest figures. Degree programmes geared towards students’ limited time resources should be seen more as an opportunity by HEIs. “There is a growing proportion of students whose centre of life is no longer the university, but their profession or family. For this reason, targeted degree programmes aimed at people wishing to study part-time offer a double benefit,” explained Ziegele. “They accommodate students’ time resources, and give HEIs the opportunity to secure demand outside the region when the number of qualified school-leavers declines.”

In fact, there is not only room for improvement with regard to the programmes on offer, but also concerning demand. According to figures published by the Federal Statistical Office, some 170,000 students pursued part-time study in winter semester 2013/14. The percentage of part-time students, which has been growing steadily for years, is currently 6.5 per cent. In this connection, the proportion of part-time students at private HEIs (11.7 per cent) is higher than at state institutions, where just 2.9 per cent of the student population are pursuing part-time programmes.

Whereas private providers on the market advertise their programmes tailored to the needs of part-time students, there continues to be a lack of transparency in the case of programmes offered by some state institutions. For this reason, the authors of the study “Das Teilzeit-Studium an deutschen Hochschulen” (Part-time study at German higher education institutions) call for improved sources of information for prospective students. In this connection, it is particularly important to describe the programme structures, formats and services that lie behind the term “part-time study”, which is often used to mean very different things.

They also call for an improvement of statutory framework conditions, which have an inhibiting effect. As CHE Executive Director Frank Ziegele substantiates: “One of the biggest obstacles to part-time study will be overcome as soon as the German federation enables part-time students to receive a grant (BAföG).”

About the study:
The CHE Centre for Higher Education commissioned CHE Consult to analyse the situation surrounding the range of part-time courses available in Germany. The analysis included the legal framework, courses offered by HEIs, and student demand. The rate of part-time programmes on offer is based on data contained in the Higher Education Compass of the German Rectors’ Conference for winter semester 2015/16. The percentages of part-time students are based on information provided by the Federal Statistical Office for winter semester 2013/14. Since supply and demand were ascertained for different periods in different arithmetic units, they are not directly comparable. The study “Das Teilzeit-Studium an deutschen Hochschulen – Wo stehen wir und was ist möglich?” (Part-time study at German higher education institutions – Where do we stand and what is possible?) was compiled by Wencke Lah, Ronny Röwert and Christian Berthold. The publication is part of the CHE priority theme “Higher education is becoming the norm”.


Further Information can be found in the publication stated below.

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