What are typical features of a distance learning course

In contrast with a traditional full-time (attendance) course, a distance learning course independent of time and place and allows for a more flexible approach to learning speed and behaviour, thus making it an ideal form of continuing education particularly for those in employment. During self-study phases, students work independently with study letters and software. This allows you to adapt studying and learning times flexibly to your individual working hours and personal circumstances. In addition, courses include attendance phases at the respective university of applied sciences, with the particular aim of extending and applying the newly acquired knowledge.

What do these new qualifications bachelor and master mean?

Bachelor courses are undergraduate courses and lead to a first higher education degree qualifying for entry into a profession. Generally, Bachelor degrees provide the same entitlements as a Diplom from universities of applied sciences. Post-nominal letters used in Germany indicate the area of specialisation of this first degree: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B). During their studies, students acquire fundamental professional and methodological competences as well as an overview over context and interrelationships within their chosen subject. First degree courses are thus intended to be more practice-oriented and to have a greater international focus.

After the successful completion of a Bachelor degree, students have the option of continuing with a consecutive or an interdisciplinary Master programme. Master courses can be offered as consecutive courses, i.e. they built on content from a Bachelor degree and follow them immediately. Same as for Bachelor degrees, consecutive Master degrees also use addenda that indicate the respective specialisation: Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M. Sc.), Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.)

The purpose of non-consecutive Master's courses is to provide training for students in a subject that they have not yet studied in depth in their previous course. They follow any completed degree and require an initial level of practical professional experience. These postgraduate degrees, too, have different orientations, e.g. Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business and Engineering (MBE) or Master of Business Marketing (MBM).

Are there any criteria of the new study courses that I should take into account when choosing my study course?

As part of the Bologna process, a large number of courses leading to Bachelor or Master degrees were set up. The Accreditation Council was set up on 8 September 1998 in Germany for the quality assurance of study programmes. Its task consists of assessing the agencies that in turn accredit these new study programmes. Upon a successful assessment, the agencies and the study programmes accredited by them bear the quality mark awarded by the Accreditation Council and thus can hold their own in comparison with the rest of Europe.

Do I have to have a fist degree before enrolling in a postgraduate distance learning course?

As a general rule, a postgraduate distance learning course leading to a state-approved Master degree requires a first degree as an entry qualification. However, for some distance learning courses, applicants with particular practical qualifications and in current employment can embark on such a course after an aptitude test. A certificate course leading to a university certificate can generally be taken without the requirement of a first degree.

Can I study without university entrance qualification?

As far as formalities are concerned, this is no problem: all 16 federal states permit access to universities via what is known as the "third educational route". The legal specifications can differ though. Common requirements are the completion of state-approved vocational training plus three to five years of professional experience. Differences concern the length of the professional experience required, the admission policies of the different universities and for specific study programmes. However, this only applies to undergraduate courses.

What are undergraduate, consecutive or postgraduate distance learning courses?

Undergraduate study programmes lead towards a first academic degree. A Bachelor as the first degree qualifying for entry into a profession is the necessary prerequisite for admission to a Master course.

The term consecutive degree course is used for a study programme that consists of a Bachelor degree and a subsequent Master course that builts on the content of the Bachelor degree and follows on immediately.

Postgraduate courses, such as a second degree or a post-graduate degree, built on a first degree, but are not part of a consecutive programme; in contrast to a consecutive Master course, they also require some relevant professional experience after the first academic degree.

How can I get information about zfh distance learning courses?

Our homepage provides a brief overview about courses on offer by the zfh under "Studienfinder" (information is in German for courses only offered in German).
You can request free information on individual zfh distance learning courses by following the link to "Information material".

Where can I find more about other distance learning courses?

We provide further information about distance learning courses on our German home page on


Can people with physical impairment apply for a zfh distance learning course?

People with physical impairments who meet the entry requirements can be admitted to a zfh distance learning course.