What is a German Bachelor's Degree

Since the 1990s, German universities have offered Bachelor's degree studies. But what does Bachelor's degree mean to Germans, and how does it differ from the American version?

Most students who decide to study at a university in Germany today are likely to do so in a Bachelor's degree course. Almost three-quarters start their studies with a bachelor's degree, and almost 80 percent of all study programs in Germany now work according to the Bachelor/Master system, which replaced the older German system. Exceptions are found in art and music universities, some of which still use the old system, medicine and other professional degree, which award the government-sanctioned Staatsexamen, and education, which awards the Lehramt degree in some of the federal states.

Bachelor studies usually last six or seven semesters in Germany, although some degrees do take four years to complete. Upon graduation, students acquire either a Bachelor of Arts degree awarded for a course in human or social sciences, or a Bachelor of Science degree in natural or engineering sciences. In natural sciences, as a rule, a single subject is studied; In the humanities, social sciences and Lehramt, universities often offer bachelor's degrees from one main subject, one or two secondary subjects, or from two equal subjects.

Importantly, thanks to the Bologna Process reforms, bachelor's degree in Germany are now standardized according to requirements implemented throughout Europe. This means that credits are much easier to transfer from one country to another, using the European Credit Transfer System, and degrees are recognized internationally. It also makes it much easier to enroll in graduate programs and find work in the United States.