What's better than studying

Uni vs. FH: Where is it better to study?

It used to be clearly separated. The FH was practice-oriented and tailored to the economy, the university was research-oriented and theory-heavy. If you want to go to university, you still need a high school diploma, at the university of applied sciences “only” the technical college entrance qualification or vocational training is sufficient. For a long time, the FHs held the prejudice of a second-class educational institution. But slowly this picture crumbles. There are also scientific courses at universities of applied sciences and universities offer more practical experience. Some federal states are now planning to grant the universities of applied sciences the right to award doctorates, thus making them more or less equal to the universities. This annoys some university rectors. But why actually? What is behind the battle between the FH and the university? We explain the background to the conflict and show which university suits you better.

Top 3 advantages of the university

  1. Doctorate possible
  2. Focus on research
  3. Theory and science in the foreground
The most popular universities

Top 3 advantages of the university of applied sciences

  1. Application-oriented study
  2. Smaller study groups
  3. Intensive care
The most popular universities of applied sciences

Doctorate for everyone?

Anyone who studied at a university of applied sciences a few years ago had to hang on to this uncomfortable "FH" after graduation. A mechanical engineering graduate from the FH was, for example, a "Diplom-Ingenieur (FH)". So it was neatly separated whether someone had studied at the technical college or at the university. However, due to the switch to the Bachelor-Master system, the degrees of both universities are on an equal footing. What is more, FH graduates can now even become a doctor, of course only in cooperation with a university. So far, only universities have the right to award doctorates.

According to the plans of some federal states, that should change. The universities are horrified and fear that the boundaries between the two types of university will increasingly disappear. This is also fueled by the trend that universities of applied sciences now like to call themselves “University of Applied Science”. Universities of applied sciences apparently want to shake off their image and catch up with universities, because these have more reputation in Germany. The right to award doctorates is a further step towards more prestige. Because the doctor in Germany has long been no longer just an academic certificate of independent research, but also a figurehead and door opener in the economy. And the more doctors a university produces, the better. At least that is the popular opinion. The universities of applied sciences also want to get involved in this quota in the future.

However, technical colleges and universities do not just differentiate between the right to award doctorates. The two types of university have quite different structures, each of which offers you its own advantages.

Research or apply - these are the differences between a university and a university of applied sciences

Universities and technical colleges have a different educational mandate. Universities are supposed to train the next generation of academics for research. That is why the study there is usually more theoretical. The students learn to work scientifically independently. At universities of applied sciences, on the other hand, studies are often more application-oriented and more school-based. The contents can be transferred more easily to the world of work, the course of studies is more strongly specified.

But the big difference: UASs do less research. The professors are more involved in teaching and hardly have time to devote themselves to their own research. At universities of applied sciences, professors have to teach 18 hours per week; at universities, the teaching obligation is around 9 hours, depending on the federal state. Professors at universities of applied sciences do not have as many academic staff as those at universities. If there are six academic employees for one professor at universities, the average at universities of applied sciences is one employee. Instead, the lecturers at universities of applied sciences supervise fewer students. On average, the supervisory ratio at universities of applied sciences is 45 students per professor, at universities there are 64 students per professor.

And which university is better now?

Universities of applied sciences shine with closer supervision and the students get to see their professors much more often. On the other hand, there is less time and money left for research at universities of applied sciences. At universities, on the other hand, students have to organize themselves more, deal more with theories and have easier access to research. Studying at the university is by no means a higher quality education. Each type of university has its own advantages and it all depends on what suits you better. If you want to do a doctorate later and are aiming for a scientific career, it will be easier for you to study at the university. If you prefer to deal with content that you can use in your job after your studies, the university of applied sciences - sorry! - the University of Applied Sciences the better choice.