Yes. In general, undergraduates are required to complete a minimum of two internships during their studies:
Preparatory internship (or pre-study internship): This is a short internship of at least 8-weeks, usually undertaken at a company, public authority or other for-profit/non-profit organisation. The goal of the preparatory internship is to help prepare you for your future career by giving you a first look at what it’s like to work in a job related to your studies.
Please see your programme’s examination regulations for more information, as well as Section 4 (3) of the General Examination Regulations.
Work placement (or practical semester): This is a much longer period of practical training – usually a minimum of 20 weeks full-time – and is also completed outside of the university, usually at a company, public authority or other for-profit/non-profit organisation. The work placement is usually completed in the sixth semester of study, and provides you with an opportunity to gather valuable work experience in your field and to apply your advanced theoretical knowledge in real-world situations. For many students, the work placement serves as a basis for the bachelor’s thesis, which is written in the following semester.
Please see your programme’s examination regulations for more information, as well as Section 20 of the General Examination Regulations.
As master’s programmes are only three semesters in length, they normally do not include an internship or a practical semester. Postgraduate students often decide to write their thesis in cooperation with an external organisation, however.
No, but for international applicants we strongly recommend that you complete the 8-week preparatory internship before submitting an application to us. This is not a mandatory requirement, but we recommend it because you are less likely to encounter unfamiliar language or cultural barriers in your home country.
Since the preparatory internship can be broken up into parts, you can also complete it here in Germany during your studies (usually in the semester breaks). If you can’t communicate in German, however, you will most likely have more difficulty finding an internship.
The final deadline for completing the preparatory internship is the start of the fourth semester: if you haven’t completed it by this point, then you won’t be able to re-register for the semester and will lose your student status!
While the exact requirements vary by programme (please refer to your examination regulations for details), generally the preparatory internship must have a clearly identifiable connection to your subject of study. That means you can complete the internship in many different companies, agencies and organisations as long as your tasks and responsibilities are somehow connected to your course curriculum.
If you have already completed an internship in a related field, you can apply for official recognition of this internship. The application includes an official form and all certificates or other proof of your internship that clearly show your work during that time.
If your application is accepted, you do not have to do a second preparatory internship. This does not affect the sixth semester work placement requirement
For specific questions about recognition of prior internships, please speak with the director of your study programme or the chair of your Faculty Examination Board.