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Frequently asked questions and answers

In this section, we have compiled for you "General questions about distance learning courses", "Question about the course programme" and "Course-specific questions".
If you have any additional questions about distance learning courses or if you lack any information, please contact us by email on advice@zfh.de or by phone on +49 261 91538-0.

General questions about distance learning courses

In contrast to a traditional full-time (attendance) course, a distance learning course is 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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

Our homepage provides a brief overview about courses on offer by the zfh in our study guide.

You can request free information on individual zfh distance learning courses by following the link to infomation material.

We provide further information about distance learning courses on our German home page in the download area.

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

Questions regarding distance learning course procedure

Semester times run from:
01 March to 30 August: summer semester
01 September to 28 Feburary: winter semester
The start of introductory and attendance events varies from institution to institution.

The application period for the summer term is from 1 October / 1 November to 15 January of each year.
The application period for the winter term starts on 1 April / 1 May and ends on 15 June / 15 July of each year.

(Please note that application deadlines for individual courses may be different. Furthermore, the application deadline for interested applicants without a first degree may be earlier at some universities of applied sciences).

Applications for a zfh distance learning course are submitted online from our homepage.

On "Registration" you find the relevant information and access to the online application.

As a general rule, information events take place during the application period at the respective university of applied sciences or as online events. Dates are published on our German homepage at "Infotermine".

If you want to continue with your course of study, you need to re-register each semester. The annual re-registration periods for the winter semesters are from 1 May to 30 June at the latest, and for the summer semesters from 1 November to 31 December at the latest.

Foreign applicants can apply for a place provided their knowledge of German meets the requirements for a distance learning course. The universities (of applied sciences) usually require language skills on level C1.

In case of our international study programmes
"International Business Management (IBM)"
"Logistics - International Management & Consulting (LIMC)"
"Motorsport-Management En (MOT En)"
both German and foreign applicants must proof English language skills on level C1.

Usually, the language of instruction for zfh distance learning courses is German. In some study programmes English skills are required for single modules that are conducted in English.

The international MBA programmes
"International Business Management (IBM)"
"Logistics - International Management & Consulting (LIMC)"
"Motorsport-Management En (MOT En)"
are exclusively taught in English.



To some extent, credits from previous courses at recognised universities can be accepted. Regarding the recognition of earlier credits, interested applicants and students should contact the course coordinators for their specific course at the relvant university of applied sciences.

Federal and state governments provide financial support to those seeking to further their professional education. For information, please consult the following programmes:

  • Aufstiegsstipendium [Upgrade Scholarship Programme (BMBF)]
  • Bildungsscheck (only in NRW)
  • Qualischeck (Rheinland-Pfalz)
  • Weiterbildungsbonus (Hamburg)
  • We provide further information about support options on our homepage in German at "Fördermöglichkeiten".

Costs arising from continuing professional education are generally tax deductible on the income tax return as income-related expenses or special expenditure. For further information, please contact your tax office.

In hardship cases, students in need can apply for a reduction in fees. Fees can be reduced in case of unemployment, for social benefit claimants and those serving a custodial sentence. A fee reduction can only be granted to students who are already registered. More information on how to apply and on the procedure can be found under "Re-registration".

Term fees for students on distance learning courses do not include a contribution towards a student ticket, because such students are unlikely to use their ticket very much in the course of their studies. For that reason, you do not get a student ticket.

Depending on the actual distance learning course and your previous knowledge, you should generally allow for 10-18 hours of study time per week.

All zfh Bachelor- & Master distance learning courses are accredited.

A Master's degree acquired at a university of applied sciences, just like a university Master's degree, generally entitles the holder to take up doctoral studies. It does not matter whether the degree was obtained through attendance or distance learning. However, since the right to award doctorates still lies exclusively with the universities, they decide on the admission of doctoral candidates in accordance with their doctoral regulations. More and more universities of applied sciences are now entering into cooperation agreements with partner universities to support their graduates in their efforts to obtain a doctorate.

Course-specific questions

zfh staff are available for an initial telephone consultation on +49 (0) 261 91538-0.

If you are looking for comprehensive advice about courses offered by the zfh, please contact Annette Honsel on +49 (0) 261 91538-12 or by e-mail at advice@zfh.de.

In addition, you can get information about specific entry requirements. For these questions, please contact us on +49 (0) 261 91538-20 or by e-mail at admission@zfh.de.

For advice on the contents of a particular course, please get in touch with the relevant contact at the respective university of applied sciences. You find the name of the relevant contact under the details of each course.

Information about courses of study can be found on the respective registration page.
If you want to apply for a course, please register on our online portal.
After you have registered, a password will be generated and sent to you for your next login. Then you can apply for a course of studies of your choice. Please fill in the online application, print the form, sign it and send it to us together with (certified) copies of all certificates and other documents required for admission. Please read the programme-specific checklist to find out which documents are required for admission.

You can find information on the admission requirements for the individual distance learning courses offered by the zfh in the Study guide.
The requirements you have to meet for admission to a distance learning course are also listed in the application documents and the associated checklist. These can be found under Registration.

Information about the course content of individual zfh correspondence courses is provided under Study guide.
Please note the link under the section "study course details" on the information pages, which will take you to the programme's own homepage with more detailed information on the programme content (module descriptions, module handbook, examination regulations, study plan, etc.). If you have any questions regarding the content, the programme coordinators at the respective university will be happy to help you.

The course coordinators at the respective universities of applied sciences are happy to answer specific and content-related questions about the distance learning courses. The contact details of the contact persons can be found at the respective distance learning programme or in our (German) guidebook, which you can also download under Distance learning course guide.

The costs for an undergraduate Bachelor programme consist of the fee for the provision of course material and the social contribution to the respective university of applied sciences (contribution to the ASTA [Student Union] and the Studentenwerk [Student Services]).
In the case of a Master's distance learning programme, the continuing education fee is charged in addition to the above.
More information is available on our homepage if you click on the course in question.

Notifications of admission and study fees are generally sent out once the admission process is completed, i.e. for a winter semester from end of June to mid-July, for a summer semester from end of December to mid-January.
Fees must always be paid before the start of the semester.

Depending on the distance learning course and the length of study, qualifications range from university certificates to Master degrees. More information on the degrees you can obtain from the individual distance learning courses offered by the zfh can be found under Study guide.

Dates of attendance events for the current semester can be found on our German page under "Präsenztermine".
Written tests and exams are generally scheduled for the attendance dates at the end of a semester.

As a general rule, attendance events of zfh distance learning courses are recognised as qualifying for educational leave in Rhineland-Palatinate.We update the application forms every semester.
However, there are also federal states in which employees either do not have the corresponding legal possibility to apply for educational leave or in which our programmes are not recognised for various reasons.Information on educational
leave and the relevant application forms is only available in Germanbe found and can be found on our German page under "Bildungsfreistellung".

The application forms can be found on our homepage under "Bildungsfreistellung" (only available in German). Please print them out and submit the completed forms to your employer at the latest 6 weeks prior to the start of the event.

Prospective students without a first university degree have the option of applying for many of our Master/ MBA courses of study via an aptitude test, provided certain prerequisites are met.

More information can be found under the respective distance study courses.

We're happy to support you