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Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin - Department of Biology

Introduction into the 'Fachkursvergabe'

General information on the 'Fachkursvergabe' and its process. Absolutely essential to read prior to a participation in it!


In order to understand the Fachkursvergabe, its function and how it works, it is essential to read the information provided on this page - for any questions not answered here please send an email to the Fachkursvergabe.
By the way: (almost) all of these information are also available in the PDF Infoblatt zur Fachkursvergabe.

ERASMUS students: Other than through this page you may inform yourself by reading the PDF Information for ERASMUS students (in English) or by contacting the ERASMUS coordinator of your correspondent faculty.


The basics: Fachkurse and the Fachkursvergabe:

What is a 'Fachkurs'? ↓

A module normally consists of a combination of a lecture, a seminar and a practical part, the so-called 'Fachkurs'. In contrast to lectures or seminars, 'Fachkurse' usually have a limitation of participants, which is why your participation in the 'Fachkursvergabe' or FKV (= course admission) is necessary. By taking a look at the 'Kursliste' on this website, you can find out which courses are accessed through the FKV. This list is published within the page of the respective semester shortly before each round, and is frequently updated.

When are these courses scheduled? ↓

Each semester is segmented into time periods of two weeks - the exact dates can be found in the file "Termine und Zeiträume", which is published a few weeks ahead of each semester within the page of the respective semester. One Fachkurs normally takes part in one of these 2-week-blocks, rarely in two blocks, covering 4 weeks. To avoid interferences with weekly lectures or seminars, within each week, Fachkurse are restricted to specific times: Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 AM to 6 PM. Weekly lectures or seminars are scheduled outside these times.

What's the main idea of the 'Fachkursvergabe'? ↓

The limited amount of places in courses are to be distributed to the students in a fair process, in order to allow all students to finish their study within their norm. This is being organized in three rounds, in each of which students have to apply for the courses they want. The order by which students are admitted to courses is set by the so-called priority.

What exactly is the priority? ↓

With the first participation in the Fachkursvergabe, for every student will receive a sort of account will be opened, containing an amount of points. The amount of points, the priority, is based on the current semester, the number of finished courses and another factor specific to the study (e.g. biophysics, evolution and so on). In the following table, these factors are shown:
Study Required amount of courses specific factor
Monobachelor Biology / Biophysics 2 2,25
Master OBE / MML / Biophysics 9 1,5
Diplom-biology 10 1,8
Diplom-biophysics 2 9
L4 teachers w/ biology as 1st subject (80 SWS) 4 4,5
Biology as a minor 2 9
ERASMUS-students depends 100

During the assignment of places in courses students with a higher priority are chosen first. The priority itself is decreased with every assigned course. Two examples:
  • Bachelor-students in the 'Vertiefungsstudium' receive enough priority for 2 courses. As soon as they have been assigned two courses, their priority is reduced to zero.
  • Master-students in biology normally require 3 courses per semester – as soon as they have been assigned three courses, their priority also is reduced to zero.
With the beginning of a new semester, the priority is restored - important to note, however, is that remaining points from the last semester are not deleted, but added to the new ones! Therefore, if someone didn't get assigned three, but only two courses in the last semester, he or she will have a higher priority and thus a higher chance of being assigned to courses in the next semester, in consequence being able to attend even 4 courses. This equals out imparities in the assignment process.

Additional information on the priority ↓

  • When a module requires two courses to be completed (e.g. module MB-A11), these two courses will be counted as just one for the calculation of the priority. However, please remind the bureau of the Fachkursvergabe of this exception yourself, by sending a short email, as soon as you have securely received a place in both courses (but not earlier than that!.)
  • The priority will be completely renewed when changing the study (e.g. from Bachelor to Master).
  • ERASMUS-students automatically receive a highly increased priority that allows them to be admitted to every course they need.
  • Remaining priority will only be kept in a new semester, if there has been an active participation in studying at some point within the last two semesters. This a securement against long time students, who'd otherwise be able to build up extremely high priorities.

About the process of the three application rounds:

When do they start? When is the deadline for handing in the application form? ↓

The dates of each application round is set within the middle of the prior semester and then published on this website (Navigation: select correspondent semester). Each round lasts ~10 days.
  • The 1st round begins about 3 weeks prior to the start of the semester break.
  • The 2nd round begins about 1 week prior to the start of the semester break.
  • The 3rd round begins about 3 weeks prior to the end of the semester break.
  • Dates of all 2-week-blocks, in which Fachkurse take place, are published simultanously.
Application forms must be handed in no later than the last day of a round (more about this further down). If not announced otherwise, the FKV-mailbox will be emptied at noon (12 p.m.) for the last time! The sequence in which application forms have been handed in, is of no importance for the distribution of places, as long as the deadline has been obeyed.

How do I find out, which courses are being offered? ↓

When the first application round starts a list of all current courses (Kursliste) is being published on this website (Navigation: choose current semester). This list contains many important information on each course, e.g. course identification code, full title, assigned module, date, amount of places, requirements for participation and correspondent lecture and/or seminar. Before each further application round the list will be updated, since courses may be added or canceled - additionally the amount of remaining free places will be visible. The list of courses is not only available on this website, but will also be printed and published in the following places:
  • Chausseestraße 117 (Foyer)
  • West wing of the Invalidenstraße 43 (2nd floor, in front of Hörsaal 12)
Please note that the printed lists will only be updated once before each application round. Smaller changes (change of dates...) will only be visible in the list published on the website.

Round 1 has started! How do I apply for courses? ↓

You now need the application form (Einschreibeformular), which is available on this website (Navigation: choose current semester) - some printed forms will also always be available next to the printed course lists in the Chausseestraße and the Invalidenstraße. It is recommended to adhere the following guidelines when filling in the form:
  1. Fill in mandatory info (Name, matriculation number, number of current semester, study etc.)
  2. Fill in your email address – this is optional, but strongly recommendend, since a lot of information is spread by email, for example when you move up to a place that recently got available.
  3. Kurswahl: fill in the course code (= Kursnummer, e.g. BOT 1) into the correspondent time-block (e.g. A or B or C+D)
    1. you may only choose one Fachkurs per time block
    2. fill in courses into Zeitraum T, that are offered on a weekly basis (= wöchentlich) or when their date hasn't been set yet and will be discussed with the participants (n.V. = nach Vereinbarung) - here you may fill in more than one course, as long as they don't overlap.
    3. fill in courses into Zeitraum Z, that take place during semester break - again, here you may fill in more than one course, as long as they don't overlap.
    4. in total you may apply for as many courses as you wish (but still, only one course per time block)
    5. Please make sure that correspondent seminars and lectures of courses do not overlap! This is not cross-checked by the FKV!
    6. Please also note that some courses have specific requirements, that can be found within the Kursliste. It is also not cross-checked by the FKV, whether you fulfill such requirements. Yet, lecturers are authorized to suspend students from their course if they don't fulfill them.
    7. Should you apply for the same course in two different time blocks (some courses are offered twice) and you receive a place in one of these courses, your other application will be deleted automatically.
Dont't forget your signature and throw the form before the end of the application round into the FKV-mailbox (Invalidenstr. 42, Neubau, 1st floor). Also look further up: > Deadline for handing in the form.

A bit of advice for a successful vote ↓

  • Always apply for 1-2 more courses than you actually need
  • Don't rely fully on all too popular courses: apply for at least one course with a lower popularity or even without limitation of places.
  • Should you need very specific and popular courses, you might consider to limit your votes to these courses in the first round and you may get lucky. But if your application is not successful, immediately widen your scope in round 2!

What happens to my application / how are participants being determined? ↓

All applications will be entered into a database first. As soon as the deadline of each round had passed, time block by time block and course by course will be handled, in a sequence determined by chance. For each course, the list of applicants will be sorted by priority - those students with the highest priority will become actual participants of the course. If there are several students with the same priority, but not enough place for all of them, participants will be chosen by lot. If there are more applicants than place in a course, a list of follow-ups (Nachrücker) will be created. This list of follow-ups will be valid until the beginning of round 3 (see further down for more info on follow-ups).

How and when do I figure out, in which courses I have become a participant or a follow-up? ↓

Usually all applications have been processed within a few days after the deadline of a round. After the results (= Einschreibeergebnisse) have been overlooked by the department, they will be published on this website (Navigation: choose current semester) in a PDF-file. In this file all offered courses are listed separately, including the matriculation numbers of participants and follow-ups. Simply search the file for your own matriculation number and you will find out where you're a participant or a follow-up.
Please don't panic, should you have received significantly fewer places than expected in round 1. A great amount of participants regularly refuse their places, thus making way for follow-ups. Follow-ups who become participants will be notified by email!

The first round is over and I have become a follow-up in a course. What does that mean? ↓

Please read the following information on this matter:
  • Follow-ups may become participants, after a participant has refused his place, depending on the individual priority.
  • The list of follow-ups are sorted by matriculation number, not by priority. The reason is, that these lists are not updated regularly and would soon be out of date (e.g. because someone becomes a participant in another course, thereby reducing his or her priority). However, the current rank within the list of follow-ups may be inquired by writing an email to the FKV.
  • When a participant refuses his place, the succeeding follow-up will be the one with the currently highest priority.
  • Follow-ups who have become participants, will be notified by Email and must confirm their place within a given time.
  • You never have to notify the FKV when you step off the list of follow-ups! Overlapping applications will automatically be dealt with. For example: In round 2, you apply for a course in time block B, but you're already on the follow-up-list of a different course in time block B - then the older application in time block B will be deleted - remember, you may never apply for two courses within the same time block.
  • In round 2 and 3, follow-ups of a course that have been established in round 1, will be treated as if they applied for that course again. So there is no need to fill in the same course on the application form, when you're already on the list of follow-ups. Should you not want that, you need to write an email to the FKV to step off the list of follow-ups - or simply put in a different course in the same time block on your next application form.
Lists of follow-ups are valid only until the beginning of round 3. This is due to the mandatory status of pre-discussions, where new lists of follow-ups will be created by the lecturers - this means that only by attending its pre-discussion you may enter the list of follow-ups after round 3!

Round 2 has started! What's different from round 1? ↓

Basically nothing. As mentioned in the previous passage, you only need to remember that when you're on the follow-up list of a course in a specific time-block, you automatically will be taken off that list, should you apply for a different course in the same time-block. Follow-ups of a course that have been established in round 1, will be treated as if they applied for that course again. So there is no need to fill in the same course on the application form, since you're already on the list of follow-ups.

Round 3 has started! What's different now? ↓

There are some important changes in round 3, which mostly deal with recently admitted master students as well as how follow-ups are being handled. These are the details:
  • Up to this round, in all master courses 25 % of the places were held back. These places are now included and are preferentially given to newly admitted master students.
  • New master students are therefore handled with a higher priority than others - nevertheless, the free places are still available to all other students as well.
  • Just like in round 2, follow-ups will be treated as if they have applied for the same course again.
  • Since the pre-dicussion of each course is absolutely mandatory for participants AND follow-ups, after round 3 no follow-up-lists will be created - instead this will be done by the lecturer within the pre-discussion and sent back to the FKV. So should you care to be on the list of follow-ups of a course, you must attend the pre-discussion!

How can I enrol into more courses after round 3? ↓

There are two possibilities:
  1. Have you missed all three rounds, because you have just been admitted to the Humboldt university? Then contact the bureau of the FKV as quickly as possible! We will try to help you out!
  2. By attending any mandatory pre-discussion. Basically, every course will offer a pre-discussion (dates can be found in the 'Fachkursliste'), that all participants and follow-ups must attend. During this event, the lecturer will check first, whether all participants are present. Then he or she will create a list of all attendant follow-ups. If there is enough space for all follow-ups he may enrol them all right away. If there are more follow-ups than there is space in the course, the lecturer will send both lists back to the FKV. If needed, the FKV will then determine (by highest priority) who succeeds for absent participants. Thus, it makes no difference whether you have been a follow-up right from the start or you have just joined the list of follow-ups - you are all treated equally.
In certain situations, even after the pre-discussion you may be admitted to a course (e.g. for hardship cases), also depending on the will of the lecturer. This needs to be done in close collaboration with the FKV.

What else might be of importance?

I have received a place in a course, but don't want to keep it. How can I reject it? ↓

Participants of a course may step back from their place up to one week before the pre-discussion and will regain the priority points that were taken away for receiving the place. If there is no pre-discussion, one must step back two weeks before the course starts. This enables the Fachkursvergabe to find a successor in time. To formally step back, an email or letter to the bureau of the Fachkursvergabe is sufficent.
Those who don't inform the bureau of their withdrawal, make it harder or even impossible to find a successor in time and are therefore punished by not regaining the priority points (exceptions are possible, e.g. sickness).

I have been admitted to the Humboldt University just recently. How can I receive places in courses? ↓

  • The third and last application takes place about 2 weeks before the new semester starts, so most new Master students should be able to hand in an application. The process is decribed explicitly on this page, dates are also published on this website (navigation: choose current semester > "Termine und Zeiträume"). Until before this round, 25 % of all places were reserved and are now included to make space for the new students. Additionally, new masters are prioritized in comparison to older students. Should you not have received a matriculation number yet, you may still apply for courses. Leave the correspondent field blank on your application form and hand in any sort of confirmation of your admittance together with your form. Later, hand in your matriculation number by email.
  • Or have you been admitted too late to participate in round 3? In that case contact the Fachkursvergabe as quickly as possible! There are still possibilities to receive places. Also read "How can I enrol into more courses after round 3?" further up on this page. Make sure you visit the "Einführungsveranstaltung für neue Master" that takes place within the first week of the semester - date and location are also published on this website (see FKV-Kalender).

I am a bachelor student, about to begin the "Vertiefungsstudium". What do I need to know? ↓

You need to have achieved 92 study points (SP). Since many exams take place by the end of the semester break, the following rules apply:
  • You may apply for courses in all application rounds.
  • Shortly after round 3 is over, all data will be discussed with the "Prüfungsbüro": students who have not reached 92 SP at this point, are excluded from any courses and have to apply again next semester. Should there be more exams scheduled soon, another comparison might be scheduled (authority of the Prüfungsbüro).
Please note: should you have exams, necessary to achieve 92 SP, scheduled AFTER round 3, you should avoid to apply for courses in time block A or B to avoid exclusion from these courses!

I am not a student of the Humboldt University, but would like to participate in courses (status as a "Nebenhörer"). What do I need to know? ↓

  • With a status of a "Nebenhörer", students of other universities in Berlin or Brandenburg may participate in events at the Humboldt university with a total of no more than 6 SWS (6 hrs/week) or one full module.
  • During the Fachkursvergabe, Nebenhörer have a lower priority than students of the Humboldt university.
  • Certificates of achievements will only be handed out by the lecturers after a Nebenhörer pass has been presented.
  • The following procedure is necessary to achieve a status as a Nebenhörer (participation in the FKV is possible without presenting a Nebenhörer pass):
    1. Fill out the Anmeldeformular als NebenhörerIn.
    2. Obtain approval of the lecturer of the event you would like to participate in (signature on previous form).
    3. Obtain approval of the exam council in the "Prüfungsamt".
    4. Make a request for your Nebenhörer pass in the "Clearingstelle" (HU main building UdL 6, room 1046) by handing in the completed and signed form. (possibly outdated!)

I would like to apply for a hardship case. How? When? What does that mean for the FKV? ↓

Even though the system of the FKV has been planned with the intention of treating everyone equally and fair, some problems might still occur, requiring a special handling. Thus, the bureau of the FKV has the authority to assume hardship cases for eligible students, in order to assure these students places in courses, independent from their actualy priority. In these cases, the priority is raised to level higher than that of all normal students.
Besides ERASMUS- and Sokrates-students, who are automatically treated as hardship cases, you may apply for a hardship case in the following circumstances:
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain exam requirements (e.g. specific course needed to finish your study)
  • "Aufbaustudiengänge" and/or repeating certain achievements
  • Requirements after changing from a different university
It is within the authority of the FKV-bureau and the department of "Lehre und Studium" to decide whether a hardship case is granted or not. Furthermore, there is no guarantee for certain courses: Depending on each condition, equivalent course places might be offered as well. Applications for hardship cases need to be handed in (FKV-bureau, written form) by the end of the 1st application round. Any application handed in later can't be considered.