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Degree courses and higher education

In Germany, the number of people taking up university degree courses has grown significantly in past decades. As a result, the expectations placed on these courses and the framework conditions under which they operate have changed as well. The German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat, WR) has taken a stand on both the design of the courses and the significance of higher education for the professional careers of graduates.

Qualification of skilled personnel

In the four-part series on recommendations on the qualification of skilled personnel against the backdrop of demographic change

“Empfehlungen zur Qualifizierung von Fachkräften vor dem Hintergrund des demographischen Wandels”

the WR addressed the question of how higher education institutions, together with other education providers, can respond to social changes appropriately and ensure the continued qualification of skilled personnel. To this end, the WR has examined the relationship between vocational and academic education routes and recommended that an online portal be established: the “Education Navigator”. The purpose of this portal is to bring together all the relevant and sometimes confusing information available on the internet and put it in a systematic order. The WR has also investigated the relationship between higher education and the labour market and has emphasised that higher education studies degree courses serve to provide academic education, personal development and preparation for the labour market at the same time. While none of these goals should be neglected, universities are in a position to set priorities. In view of the large number of refugees taking up studies in Germany, the WR also gave recommendations on

  • the qualification of international students
  • and, in context of lifelong learning, on continuing education programmes at higher education institutions.

Medicine degree programme

The WR has issued several recommendations with regard to the design of Medicine degree programmes, proposing that such programmes be more strongly oriented towards the roles and competencies of doctors than towards the subjects involved. Many of those recommendations were taken up in the “Master Plan for Medicine Degree Courses 2020”. An independent expert commission appointed by the WR has drawn up recommendations for implementing the Master Plan.

For other healthcare professions, such as nursing, obstetrics and therapeutical professions, the WR has recommended that further developments be initiated, in particular greater academisation. The target set by the WR of 10 to 20 percent of academisation per year of study has been well received in public debates.

Recommendations on the “Degree courses and higher education” task area

Recommendations on the development of medical education in Germany based on a review of model medical degree programmes | Executive Summary (Drs. 4017-14_Executive-Summary), July 2014 (PDF, 107KB, File does not meet accessibility standards)

In German only:

Ausgestaltung der Promotion im deutschen Wissenschaftssystem | Positionspapier (Drs. 1196-23), April 2023

Empfehlungen zur Digitalisierung in Lehre und Studium (Drs. 9848-22), Juli 2022

Stellungnahme zum Promotionskolleg für angewandte Forschung der Fachhochschulen in Nordrhein-Westfalen (Drs. 9860-22), Juli 2022

Empfehlungen für eine zukunftsfähige Ausgestaltung von Studium und Lehre (Drs. 9699-22), Mai 2022

Empfehlungen zu hochschulischer Weiterbildung als Teil des lebenslangen Lernens - Vierter Teil der Empfehlungen zur Qualifizierung von Fachkräften vor dem Hintergrund des demographischen Wandels (Drs. 7515-19), Januar 2019

Empfehlungen zur Gewinnung, Integration und Qualifizierung internationaler Studierender - Dritter Teil der Empfehlungen zur Qualifizierung von Fachkräften vor dem Hintergrund des demographischen Wandels (Drs. 5437-16), Juli 2016

Empfehlungen zum Verhältnis von Hochschulbildung und Arbeitsmarkt - Zweiter Teil der Empfehlungen zur Qualifizierung von Fachkräften vor dem Hintergrund des demographischen Wandels (Drs. 4925-15), Oktober 2015

Empfehlungen zum Verhältnis von beruflicher und akademischer Bildung - Erster Teil der Empfehlungen zur Qualifizierung von Fachkräften vor dem Hintergrund des demographischen Wandels (Drs. 3818-14), April 2014

Empfehlungen zur Weiterentwicklung des Medizinstudiums in Deutschland auf Grundlage einer Bestandsaufnahme der humanmedizinischen Modellstudiengänge (Drs. 4017-14), Juli 2014

Empfehlungen zur Entwicklung des dualen Studiums | Positionspapier (Drs. 3479-13), Oktober 2013

Empfehlungen zur Akkreditierung als Instrument der Qualitätssicherung (Drs. 2259-12), Mai 2012

Empfehlungen zu forschungs- und lehrförderlichen Strukturen in der Universitätsmedizin (Drs. 5913-04), Januar 2004

Empfehlungen zur Reform der staatlichen Abschlüsse (Drs. 5460-02), November 2002

Empfehlungen zur künftigen Struktur der Lehrerbildung (Drs. 5065-01), November 2001