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On the way to becoming a bilingual university

HFU leads the rest of Germany in bilingual study programmes

Some study programmes will now be offering bilingual degrees as an option for HFU students, thus paving the way for Furtwangen University (HFU) to become a bilingual university in the future.

The first bilingual degrees are the International Business (IBW) programme at the HFU Business School, and the new English-speaking International Business Information Systems (IBS) programme offered by the Faculty of Business Information Systems. Further faculties, such as the Faculty of Mechanical and Medical Engineering, are also interested in introducing a bilingual degree option in some programmes. The necessary changes to the structure of the courses and in the credit recognition process are currently underway.

For bachelor's students in particular, this means that in the future they can decide whether they want to add the "bilingual" seal of approval to their regular degree. "With a bilingual degree, graduates of Furtwangen University are well-equipped to start working in the global job market," explains Prof. Dr. Michael Lederer, Vice President International and Executive Learning. "With a bilingual degree from Furtwangen University, students not only score highly in the areas of subject knowledge and work experience, they also have the language skills and intercultural competencies now expected companies of all sizes in the IT and healthcare sectors. For a bilingual degree, students must have achieved the C1 language level in both English and German by the end of their study programme. Skills which will stand them well in the international business world and in their career. At HFU we prepare our students well for the language tests at the end of the study programme. To do so the Language Center will be extending the range of languages offered and offering test preparation courses. In addition, students should take the opportunity to spend a study and internship semester abroad with the help of our International Center."

For a bilingual degree the students must take a majority of their courses – more than 60 credit points in the bachelor's degree – in the foreign language. German-speaking students choose whether to take English-taught lectures at HFU, or to do an internship, study semester or thesis abroad. By the end of their degree they must have achieved the C1 level in English. The bilingual degree provides international students with the ideal bridge between university and the German job market. German-taught lectures at HFU, as well as internship, exchange and thesis semesters within Germany, give them the chance to achieve the required credit points. An independent language test in German at C1 level is also required for the bilingual degree. With the International Business study programme, a tri-lingual degree is even possible. From the start, students choose a regional focus  – China, France, Spain/Latin America – and thus study in three languages: German, English and a second foreign language. This can, with the relevant experience abroad, lead to a tri-lingual degree.

The C1 level is one of the six levels in the Common European Framework for Languages, which range from A1 (beginner) to C2 (expert).

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