Information on foundation courses

Foundation courses can be completed only for Bachelor degree programmes with open admission. They generally extend over two semesters. A set minimum of graded and non-graded work (examinations etc.) needs to be completed during the foundation course. Credits, also known as ECTS (European Credit Transfer Scheme) credits, are awarded for the work completed. If you successfully complete your foundation course, you will be eligible to continue to study on the degree programme in question.

A foundation course lasts 2 semesters. You may request an extension to your foundation course in the following cases:

  1. If you are a part-time student: to have the same standard study period as full-time students, rounded up to full semesters (Part-time study is currently not possible at Paderborn University.)
  2. If you have a disability or chronic illness: by a maximum of two semesters, taking into account the extent to which you are limited in your ability to study
  3. If you are an elected representative in bodies of the university, student community, faculty student councils or student unions: by a maximum of one semester
  4. If you hold the office of Equal Opportunities Officer: by a maximum of one semester
  5. If you are caring for and bringing up a minor within the meaning of § 25, Para. 5 of the current valid version of the German Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG): by a maximum of two semesters
  6. If you are caring for a relative within the meaning of § 16, Para. 5 of the German Social Code - Book X (SGB X): by a maximum of two semesters
  7. For other similar circumstances: by a maximum of two semesters

Requests for extensions to foundation courses must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office in writing using the relevant form. The request must be accompanied by all the relevant supporting documents and, if submitting a request under No. 7, a detailed written explanation. We recommend that you request an extension as soon as any of the circumstances listed under No. 1 to No. 7 occur, e.g., in the case of childcare, when you submit your application to the university. Your request must be submitted at the latest by the deadline for re-enrolment for the semester following the last foundation semester.

Your place on your foundation course will be suspended if you take a leave of absence.


You will deemed to have successfully completed your foundation course if

  • On Bachelor degree programmes: You achieve an average of at least 20 ECTS credits per foundation semester completed
  • On degree programmes that conclude with a state or church examination: You successfully complete at least two-thirds of the coursework and tests and examinations stipulated in the respective study and examination regulations for the foundation semesters completed
  • The extended foundation course will be deemed successfully completed once you have achieved the minimum number of credits and completed the minimum coursework and tests and examinations required of a two-semester foundation course.

Proof of a successfully completed foundation course is established in two steps:

Step 1: By the end of the last foundation semester (30 September/31 March), you must proactively provide the Registrar’s Office with proof that you expect to successfully complete your foundation course based on the graded and non-graded work already completed and pending. To this end, you will need to submit confirmation of this from the Central Examination Office, or, for teaching degree programmes, from the Paderborn Centre for Educational Research and Teacher Training (PLAZ). You will not be able to register for any modules for the following semester until this confirmation has been received, as you will not be able to re-enrol.

Step 2: You must then also proactively provide proof that you have successfully completed your foundation course by submitting confirmation of this from the Central Examination Office or PLAZ by no later than two weeks after the start of lectures in the semester following the foundation course.

If you fail to submit the relevant Step 1 or Step 2 confirmation, or fail to submit it on time, you will not be able to re-enrol in this degree programme/course and will be de-registered from it.

If you do not successfully complete your foundation course, it may be possible for you to transfer to another open-admission degree programme/course. Please contact the relevant persons responsible at the Registrar’s Office to enquire about this as soon as possible.

Failure to successfully complete a foundation course on an open-admission degree programme does not exclude you from applying to sit an admission examination.