Elite sport and university degree

Furtwangen model: flexible study conditions for high performance athletes

Furtwangen University makes it possible to combine high-performance sport with studying for a university degree. Flexible conditions are set down in our Study and Examinations Regulations.

Here are some of our students and graduates who have been very successful in their chosen sports:

  • Dr. Georg Hettich, ​2006 Olympic Champion, Nordic Combination
  • Christoph Burkhard, 2004 Paralympics Champion, Swimming
  • Benedikt Doll, two-time Olympic Bronze Medal Winner in 2018 and 2017 World Biathlon Champion
  • Markus Bauer, 2018 German Mountain Bike Marathon Champion
  • Janina Lehmann, made the top 15 at the 2018 Motocross World Championship
  • Jan Rotter, 2016/17 German Team Wrestling Champion
  • Christiane Knittel, 2011 German Wrestling Champion
Georg Hettich: 2006 Olympic Nordic Combination Champion. Photo: Sammy Minkoff.
Bronze medal Benedikt Doll, Biathlon pursuit, 2018 Olympic Games. Photo: A. Kühn
Markus Bauer, 2018 German MTB Marathon Champion. Photo Michael Bührer

Study and high-performance sport

Olympic Support Centre Freiburg-Schwarzwald

Furtwangen University has a strong connection to sport, particularly high-performance sport. Thanks to its unique location in the middle of the Black Forest, many different types of outdoor sports, such as cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumping and mountain biking can be carried out literally "on our doorstep". The proximity to Freiburg and the Olympic Support Centre Freiburg-Schwarzwald offers optimal conditions to combine study and elite sport in a Dual career.


[Translate to English:] Dr. Georg Hettich: Olympia-Sieg 2006 in Turin in der Nordischen Kombination. Foto: Sammy Minkoff.
"HFU played a key role in my sporting success. They provided the conditions which allowed me to combine studying with high-performance sport. On top of that there were the personal efforts of the lecturers and professors who made it possible for me to carry out the intensive training necessary for the Nordic Combination while taking my Medical Engineering degree."
Dr. Georg Hettich – Olympic champion 2006 in the Nordic Combination and Medical Engineering graduate. Photo: Sammy Minkoff.
[Translate to English:] Benedikt Doll: Bronze-Medaillen-Gewinner bei den Olympischen Spielen 2018. Foto: NordicFocus.
"HFU gave me the best possible support and provided the perfect environment for me to combine my sport career with my degree in Business Administration and Engineering. Because I was given so much flexibility, I was able to complete assignments and exams just like the other students."
Benedikt Doll – two-time Bronze Medal Winner at the 2018 Olympic Games and 2017 World Biathlon Champion. Graduate of Business Administration and Engineering – Marketing and Sales bachelor's programme. Photo: NordicFocus.
[Translate to English:] Markus Bauer: Deutscher Meister 2018 im Mountainbike Marathon. Foto: Michael Bührer.
"At HFU special regulations for high-performance athletes are set down in the Study and Examinations Regulations. The assistance for athletes competing at a national and international level is unique. Flexibility and continual support are the byword of the University. Athletes couldn't ask for more."
Markus Bauer – 2018 German Mountain bike Marathon Champion and graduate of Business Administration and Engineering – Product Engineering (Bachelor) and Product Innovation (Master) programmes. Photo: Michael Bührer.
News on instagram.com/hfu.spitzensport

News about the HFU Elite Sports programme and, in particular, the top student-athletes can be found on Instagram: External link opens in a new window:instagram.com/hfu.spitzensport

Furtwangen Model– Dual career - university degree and high-performance sport

High-performance sport is enormously time-consuming and is usually carried out at a point in life when under normal circumstances the athlete would be preparing for a successful career in his or her working life. In the past, top athletes sooner or later had to decide: success in sport or a successful working career?

Furtwangen University recognized this dilemma early on and offers top athletes the opportunity to combine a sporting career with a university degree in a dual career programme.

Although this may not sound very unusual, for a long time the combination was not possible in this form. To improve the opportunity of a dual career at Furtwangen University still further, in the summer semester of 2012 a project group headed by Professor Robert Schäflein-Armbruster was formed. One of the aims of the project work entitled "High-performance sport at HFU" carried out by the two professional mountain bikers, Felix Euteneuer and Markus Bauer, was to develop a "Furtwangen model" which offered the best possible conditions for a dual career. Among other initiatives, this project developed the special regulations for HFU high-performance athletes.

Special regulations for high-performance athletes at HFU

High-performance athletes of suitable ability will be added to an HFU elite sports list by the Elite Sports Officer of the University Board of Executives, Prof. Robert Schäflein-Armbruster. This place on the list guarantees the studying athlete special, more flexible study conditions: Special regulations for HFU high-performance athletes as download

Special regulations for high-performance athletes at Furtwangen University
The special conditions are based on the cooperation agreements between Furtwangen University, the Olympic Support Centre Freiburg-Schwarzwald and Student Services Freiburg of 10.10.2006 and 16.07.2013. The German University Sports Federation joined the cooperation agreement on 11.12.2015.

High-performance athletes are members of a German national olympic team, a reserve, scouting or team sport squad, or of a young hopefuls squad (1 and 2), of a federal association of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB).

In individual cases high-performance athletes and members of state squads can also be considered by the University for acceptance under the same special regulations.

1. Admission to studies
High-performance athletes receive a study place according to § 14a HVVO* if they have not been allocated a place on their desired study programme through standard application procedures.
* We strongly recommend contacting the Elite Sports Officer of the University Board of Executives prior to application.

2. Withdrawal from examinations
Athletes can withdraw from an exam several times and will always receive official permission to do so. See Bachelor's Study and Examinations Regulations § 11, paragraph 1 / Master's Study and Examinations Regulations § 10, paragraph 1.

3. Extension of deadlines
Athletes can take advantage of the maximum duration of studies. For a bachelor's degree this would be 16 semesters.

4. Special BAföG regulations
High-performance athletes can apply for an extension of funding  to the BAföG Advisory Office of Student Services Freiburg-Schwarzwald after the 4th semester. The application must be sent directly to Frau Meyer-Stephan, Head of the BAföG Advisory Office. The Student Administration/Examinations Office will provide contact details.

5. Leave of absence
High-performance athletes can request leave of absence from the Elite Sports Officer of the University Board of Executives as often as is necessary on account of their sport.

6. Tutoring
High-performance ahletes can, upon request and with the permission of the Olympic Support Centre, receive individual tutoring to support lectures.

Prof. Robert Schäflein-Armbruster, Elite Sports Officer of the University Board of Executives Furtwangen University
Thorsten Schelling, Coordinator for Elite Sports at Furtwangen University

spitzensport.hs-furtwangen.de | spitzensport(at)hs-furtwangen.de

Cooperation agreement with the Olympic Support Centre Freiburg-Schwarzwald
[Translate to English:] Logo Olympiastützpunkt Freiburg-Schwarzwald
[Translate to English:] Logo Olympiastützpunkt Freiburg-Schwarzwald

[Translate to English:] Logo Olympiastützpunkt Freiburg-Schwarzwald

A cooperation agreement was signed between the Olympic Support Centre Freiburg-Schwarzwald, Student Services Freiburg and Furtwangen University in 2006. The special regulations for high-performance athletes have been laid down since 2013 in the General Section of the Study and Examination Regulations for all bachelor's and master's study programmes at Furtwangen University.

The aim is to create framework conditions for elite athletes studying at Furtwangen University, which make it possible for them to combine studying for a degree and high performance sport in the sense of a dual career in an optimal way.

Cooperation agreement as download.

HFU Elite Sports FlyerCareer counselling at the Olympic Support Centre Freiburg-Schwarzwald
[Translate to English:] Jürgen Willrett, Laufbahnberatung am Olympiastützpunkt Freiburg-Schwarzwald

[Translate to English:] Jürgen Willrett, Laufbahnberatung am Olympiastützpunkt Freiburg-Schwarzwald

Career counselling at the Olympic Support Centre Freiburg-Schwarzwald:

Jürgen Willrett
Schwarzwaldstraße 177
79117 Freiburg
Tel. 0761 50367911
Fax: 0761 50367990
Email: juergen.willrett(at)osp-freiburg.de

adh Elite Sports Partner University
[Translate to English:] Logo adh – Partnerhochschule des Spitzensports

[Translate to English:] Logo adh – Partnerhochschule des Spitzensports

Furtwangen University has been a licenced by the External link opens in a new window:German University Sports Federation as an "External link opens in a new window:Elite Sports Partner University" since 2016.

University Elite Sports Officer