The Bologna reform introduced both the bachelor’s degree and the subsequent master’s degree. Since this change of the study system and the degrees, the experiences of students are partly very positive, partly with great criticism for mass study courses, too much stress and time pressure. However, those who have not studied or studied do not always know exactly what a bachelor’s degree program looks like, how it is structured or how it works and which qualifications can be obtained. Especially high school graduates, who play with the idea of studying, should be thoroughly informed. Only in this way can a well-thought-out decision be made and expectations adjusted to reality. What you should know about a Bachelor’s degree …
The introduction of the bachelor’s program in the course of the Bologna reform pursued several major and international goals, which are cited as the main motives for the implementation and change of the study.
First and foremost, it was about the unification in the higher education system throughout Europe. Until then, there was the problem that national qualifications abroad were difficult to assess and evaluate. The Bachelor’s degree program aims to achieve comparability of the degree program in Europe.
In addition, the system enables students to spend more time abroad with integrated bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, as it is easier to count on their achievements. In addition, a bachelor’s degree program should enable a faster start to a career through shorter study periods. No more 15 semesters have to study, but much more likely to start with the right qualification in the job.
Furthermore, care should be taken to ensure that degrees are really aimed at promoting employability – a bachelor’s degree should therefore be oriented towards the labor market and the economy and ensure that graduates have a good chance of finding a job.
With these and other educational policy objectives in mind, a corresponding declaration was signed in Bologna in 1999,
The list of goals and changes brought about by the Bologna Reform is long. However, the introduction of the two-stage system is particularly outstanding and well-known: first a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree.
As a bachelor program, the first phase or the first cycle in the qualification at university level is called. The bachelor’s degree program is the basic course to which a master can be attached if a student wants to deepen his knowledge and skills further and expand in a specific direction.
There is a clear focus on which competences should be taught in the bachelor program. First of all, it’s about the foundation of scientific work. Closely related to this is the so-called methodological competence. What is meant is that undergraduate students learn to find, analyze and present knowledge and information on a topic.
An important point is also the practical orientation. In the bachelor program, the necessary qualifications are to be taught in order to enable a career entry and to prepare students for entry into the world of work.
But before it gets to the end and you get one of the above degrees – and possibly apply for a Masters position afterwards – there is a long way to go. The standard period of study for a bachelor’s degree is usually six semesters, ie a total of three years.
During this time you have to complete compulsory and elective modules. For several months, you will attend lectures, exercises and tutorials given by the professor or staff of his chair. Here, knowledge is conveyed, discussed, explained, asked and also practiced.
In addition, it takes a lot of independent learning, either alone or in learning groups, to catch up and prepare the content again. Only then can you really prepare yourself for the exams, which usually take place at the beginning of the semester break. For a successfully passed exam, you will receive credit points according to the so-called European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which was also introduced by the Bologna Reform.
For a completed bachelor program over six semesters, 180 credit points are usually required. A module will earn you 6 points. Per semester, you have to plan an average of five modules in order to meet your standard study time.
The workload should not be underestimated under any circumstances. For a single credit point about 30 hours of work are expected in the form of lectures, exercises and independent preparation and follow-up as well as learning expenses. Each semester, around 900 hours of work come to you.
In the last semester of the bachelor’s degree, the so-called bachelor thesis is added. This is an extensive scientific work. Alone or together with a supervisor of the chair, you are looking for a suitable topic that you will devote to the next months extensively.
You create a thesis or research question, look for sources and information in specialist literature, possibly organize a survey to collect your own data, and then create your own scientific text, in which you process the collected information and bring it together for analysis.
The scope can be specified by the chair on which you write your bachelor thesis or determined by the topic. 15 pages are usually the minimum, but the bachelor thesis can be much longer and more extensive and can cover 40 or 50 pages.
As for modules, you also receive credit points for the thesis. How many are depends on your study regulations and the expected workload. Often there are 12 credit points, so you have to complete three modules and the bachelor thesis in the last semester to get the desired 30 points.