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U.S. and German Higher Education: The Differences March 2013 Presenter: Miriam Moeller, International Programs Specialist Northern Michigan University.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. and German Higher Education: The Differences March 2013 Presenter: Miriam Moeller, International Programs Specialist Northern Michigan University."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. and German Higher Education: The Differences March 2013 Presenter: Miriam Moeller, International Programs Specialist Northern Michigan University ( Skype: NorthernMichiganUniversityMiriam ooVoo: miriammoeller Web site:

2 4-year, public state university in northern part of Michigan, on the shores of Lake Superior – 6 hour drive from Chicago Medium-sized university (9,400 students) in a vibrant, safe city (Marquette – 23,000 residents) Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 180 programs Campus and community is wired with advanced technology and high speed Internet called WiMAX Full-time students receive IBM or Mac notebook computer as part of tuition and fees Northern Michigan University

3 Where is Northern Michigan University?

4 Born and raised in Germany Came to Northern Michigan University in 1997 as an international student Earned a bachelor’s degree in English, master’s and master of fine arts degree in creative writing Works now as an international student recruiter for NMU My International Story

5 U.S. and German Higher Education: What are the differences? 1.Education systems 1.Before University 2.Types of Degrees 3.Majors 4.Liberal Studies 5.In the Classroom 2.Tuition and Aid 3.Extracurricular 4.Campus Life 5.Sports

6 Education Systems: Before University High school in the U.S.: 12 years without Hauptschule, Realschule und Gymnasialzweig, no Abitur but SAT: College Admissions Test (Reading, Writing and Math + subject tests), taken in junior or senior years High School students apply to multiple universities with high school scores, SAT results, essay, “resume” with list of extracurricular activities. German universities can be more selective. There may be waiting lists to get in. Apply for federal aid (FAFSA=Bafög) and scholarships

7 Education Systems: Degrees and Majors After high school, most students choose to complete: – A bachelor’s degree: 4 years (bankers, business, arts, teachers, sociologists) – Or an associate’s degree: 2 years (applied sciences, culinary arts, electricians, hair dressers, hospitality management …) Generally, students choose 1 major and 2 minors – I chose an English major with a journalism and geography minor – A certain number of credits has to be completed before graduation (at NMU most classes count as 4 credits) – Undeclared – Multiple Majors – Pre-vet, Pre-med, Pre-law – Academic Advisor After the bachelor … – Master’s with thesis (2 years). Doctorate (3 years with dissertation). – Medical School (4 years of schooling, residency), Law School – State exams (teachers) – Work




11 Education Systems: Liberal Studies General classes to obtain “the skills necessary for becoming independent lifelong learners and effective citizens of a challenging and rapidly changing world.” “promotes the integration of knowledge derived from multiple perspectives and stresses the development of problem-solving skills and intellectual creativity through the exploration of a broad range of disciplines and fields.” Students can choose Liberal Studies subjects and gain “general knowledge” Gives time to decide what to study if undeclared Develops important skills in addition to becoming an expert in a specific major But it takes more time (at NMU between 2-3 semesters)



14 In Deutschland Students choose 1 major (Diplomstudium/Magister: Grundstudium, Vordiplom, Hauptstudium, Diplomprüfung oder Examen) Go to Vorlesung, complete 1 exam/paper/project at the end of the term. Some lectures are mandatory 1 semester about 6 months (in U.S. 4 months or shorter) Hochschulreform: Used to study 4-5 years to obtain both a bachelor and masters equivalent (nowadays 3- year bachelor’s are offered and 2-year masters) No liberal studies

15 Education Systems: In the Classroom Select your classes (at NMU 12-18 credits per semester) At NMU: 25 students in a classroom. Lecture classrooms common at large universities Classroom Setting: attendance often mandatory, professor- student interaction often graded, quizzes, tests, research papers, student workshops, internships, public service learning: more like a high school classroom, ABC grades: GPA Professors are much more accessible In Deutschland: anonymous, large class sizes, passive classroom setting, competition can be high among students, professor are hard to reach, students are more independent

16 Tuition Public U.S. universities are supported by the U.S. government, but not to the extend as German universities Tuition varies greatly from under $10,000 per academic year to $60,000 per academic year Most German universities don’t charge tuition: Big debate (See UK) Governmental Financial Aid (students pay it back) and Scholarships (free money) offered in U.S. Bafög available to Germans (some has to be paid back)

17 Extracurricular Activities Gaining skills outside of the classroom important: – Leadership Programs (Student Leader Fellowship Program) – Community Service (Superior Edge: diversity, citizenship, real world, leadership) – Career-building internships – Public Service learning Volunteer Abroad Student Clubs to supplement major (Model UN)

18 On most U.S. campuses, freshmen, sophomores or students 21 and younger must live on campus Dormitory Style, “Houses” within dorms Meal plans Laundry services On-campus transportation In Germany, most students live in WGs off campus (Studentenwohnheim) Mensa provides cheaper meals to students Semesterticket helps with public transportation Campus Life

19 U.S. universities often offer competitive athletic scholarships NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and university stipends (funding varies but often 100 percent) At NMU scholarships are available for the following sports: Students “try out” Coaches make the decisions Scholarships tied to academic performance University Sports and Athletic Scholarships

20 Questions? Miriam Moeller, MFA Northern Michigan University ( Web site: Facebook: Northern Michigan University International

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