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Change of Subject

What is considered a change of subject (Fachwechsel)?

The term “change of subject” (Fachwechsel) is used for changes that Freie Universität students or transfer students make to their programs at Freie Universität Berlin. This includes both changes in the subject studied and in the degree sought (such as changing from the Diplom to the bachelor’s degree).

These types of changes are permitted only after a student has successfully applied for the new program or the new portion of the program. Students are not required to withdraw (exmatriculate) in order to apply. Students of Freie Universität can submit an application to change programs to the Student Records and Registration Office after receiving their admissions notice, within the time limit stated in that notice. Transfer students can use the enrollment application (see forms).

For students considering changing subjects, personal advising regarding the available opportunities and alternatives can be beneficial. The Academic Advisory Service is happy to provide assistance.

Changing to a higher semester

Any student transferring to a higher semester in the new program is required to present a certificate granting credit for prior studies, including assignment to a specific semester, together with the admissions notice and the application for a change of programs. The body responsible for granting credit and assigning the student to a specific semester (in German) is the examinations office responsible for the specific subject or the responsible party within the program.

Changing to a combination bachelor’s degree program

Changing the core subject:
Applicants must apply on time for the new core subject.

Changing module(s):
As a basic principle, modules can only be applied for up until the beginning of the third subject-specific semester in the core subject. During this process, 80% of available placements for modules for the first subject-specific semester are currently assigned by average grade and 20% are assigned by wait time. Later or additional changes in modules are generally possible only if the student changes his or her core subject at the same time. Changes in core subject are not limited.

Subject-specific limitations on changes

Any student who has begun his or her studies with a subject-specific higher education entrance qualification (fachgebundene Hochschulreife) or special subject-specific higher education entrance authorization (fachgebundene Studienberechtigung) and is therefore permitted to study only in a certain subject or spectrum of subjects remains bound by those requirements even during the advanced stages of his or her studies. Even if the student passes the interim examination (Zwischenprüfung), that fact alone does not mean that the student has earned the certificate of general higher education entrance qualification (allgemeine Hochschulreife), nor does it entitle the student to change subjects outside of his or her specific spectrum. Students who enter the university with these types of qualifications are not considered to have earned the certificate of general higher education qualification until they successfully complete a degree.

No changes of subject before examination advising

If the Student Records and Registration Office has requested that a student attend examination advising or final advising in order to re-register, the student is obligated to do so, and neither an application to change study programs nor an application for leave relieves the student of that obligation.

Be aware of potential consequences of changes

Students who receive BAföG student aid or intend to apply for BAföG at a later time are required to notify the BAföG office of any and all changes. This also applies to earlier semesters for which aid has not yet been received, since the BAföG office retroactively counts these semesters (except for semesters spent on leave) toward the maximum duration for which students can receive aid. Students receiving BAföG for a bachelor’s degree program should therefore be sure to consult the BAföG office to find out about potential consequences before making the desired change.

Students with residency permits for study purposes who are required to notify the Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde) of any changes in their study programs should consult the international section of the Admissions Office of Freie Universität Berlin before making the change.