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Course Types

Several kinds of courses are offered by the University of Freiburg English Department:

  • Lectures
  • Undergraduate Seminars (Intermediate I + II)
  • Undergraduate Seminars (Advanced)
  • Tutorials
  • Conversation and Writing Skills
  • Symposia
  • Graduate Seminars (Proseminars)
  • (3-4 day Seminars)

General Remarks:

  • Language: a large majority of the courses offered are held in English.
  • Participation: engaging active participation is beneficial to both lecturers and students.
  • Course Requirements: in order to earn credit for the courses attended, students must fulfil certain course requirements depending on the type of course and the university lecturer. In the advanced undergraduate seminars in literary studies, for example, the following may be required: oral participation, a presentation, class notes and a term paper. The specific requirements are listed in the course catalogue, available in the department library (KG IV), the administrative office (R 4012) and online.
  • Registration: students are required to register for nearly all English Department courses. How students are expected to register may vary – students either enter their name on a sign-up sheet posted outside the lecturer’s office or register electronically by e-mail. For more advanced courses, students may first have to register in person during the lecturer’s office hours. Details as to which form of registration should be pursued are published in the English Department’s course catalogue. Please note that lectures are the only exception. Students need not register for lectures.
  • Prerequisites: In order to be qualified to enrol in some courses, students must fulfil the specified prerequisites. For example, only students who have passed their intermediate exams may participate in undergraduate seminars at the advanced level.

Types of Courses:

Lectures:

Generally 50-200 students attend lectures held by one or more professors. At the end of the semester students are required to take an exam (and in some cases, a mid-term exam as well). In addition to lectures covering new topics, the University of Freiburg English Department offers a number of lectures each semester in which the same material is covered as participation in these lectures is obligatory for students enrolled in a master’s or bachelor’s programme. For example, for a degree in literary studies, students must enrol in “Introduction to Literary Studies” and “Survey of English”, whereas students pursuing a degree in linguistics must attend “Introduction to Synchronic Linguistics”, “Introduction to Diachronic Linguistics” and “Linguistic Analysis”. For some of these courses, students may be required to participate in weekly tutorials. These tutorials provide students with the opportunity to engage in discussion of the material currently covered in the lecture. It is rarely necessary to register for a lecture prior to the beginning of the semester, although it usually is necessary to sign up for the tutorial within the first week of the semester. Upon successful completion of the lecture students receive 1-2 ECTS points as well as an additional 1-2 credit(s) for participation in the accompanying tutorial.

Undergraduate Seminars (Intermediate I & II):

There are two kinds of undergraduate seminars: intermediate I and intermediate II. Undergraduate seminars listed as intermediate I are usually required in order to attend seminars offered at the level intermediate II. Generally, students pursuing a teaching certificate are must first complete a specified number of intermediate I level courses in addition to successful completion of their intermediary exams before participating in intermediate II courses. Intermediate levels I and II differ in the following ways: (1) a fewer number of participants are permitted in advanced undergraduate seminars (between 20 and 40); (2) students are expected to actively engage in seminar discussions; (3) there is a bidirectional flow of communication. Students bring with them oral contributions, active participation in discussions and work groups as well as individual and/or group presentations. Students are also expected to produced quality written work in the form of several essays, summary of seminar proceedings, a final exam and/or term paper (as prescribed by the lecturer). Registration: generally students must register for these types of courses before the semester commences. Specifics regarding registration for individual courses can be found in the printed and online versions of the department course catalogue. Credit points: students are generally awarded 2 credit points for satisfactory completion of intermediate I and II undergraduate seminars.

Advanced Undergraduate Seminars:

The prerequisite for participation in an advanced undergraduate seminar is the successful completion of intermediate exams (Lehramt). Advanced seminars are structured similarly to the intermediate level seminars, but the course load is, in contrast, significantly more demanding. Term papers and presentations are generally longer. Registration: students must register for these courses prior to the beginning of the semester. Specific details regarding registration for individual courses can be found in the English Department course catalogue (available in the department library or online). This type of course meets once a week for two hours.

"Übungen":

“Übungen” offer English majors the opportunity to apply knowledge acquired in seminars and lectures via the completion of additional exercises/assignments. As is true in the case of the intermediate level I undergraduate seminars, the student-lecturer ratio is relatively low with the total number of participants ranges from 15 to 35. In literary studies, for example, these assignments may involve the analysis and interpretation of poems or essay writing. Linguistics assignments, on the contrary, may include work with the English phonetic inventory. Registration: students must register for these courses prior to the beginning of the semester. Specific details regarding registration for individual courses can be found in the English Department course catalogue (available in the department library or online). This type of course meets once a week for two hours.

Tutorials:

Tutorials are often offered in conjunction with lectures (usually 100 level lectures). In these tutorials students are able to develop practical skills in their majors/minors and apply previously acquired knowledge. Many are held by competent students in the latter stages of their studies (Master or Magister). The student-lecturer ratio is approximately 20:1. Registration: students must register for these courses prior to the beginning of the semester. Specific details regarding registration for individual courses can be found in the English Department course catalogue (available in the department library or online). This type of course meets once a week for two hours.

English Oral Language Skills:

Throughout the course of their studies, English majors (BA and Lehramt) are required to enrol in courses designed to develop and improve students’ oral and written communicative abilities in English. During the first academic semester, enrolment in both "Foundation Course: Speaking English" and "Foundation Course: Grammar and Writing" is compulsory. Thereafter students may attend other courses such as “Translation”, “Oral Formulation” or “British Newspapers”. All courses are taught by native speakers from a variety of English-speaking nations: Canada, the United States, the British Isles, South Africa and New Zealand. Registration: Students must register for these courses before the semester officially begins. Specific details regarding the registration process can be found in the course catalogue. Usually, students register for these courses by entering their name onto one of several lists hung in the stairwell outside the first floor entrance (KG IV). The lists are generally made available the week prior to the start of the semester.

Symposia:

Each semester a colloquium is scheduled for those preparing for final university examinations and for those interested in presenting the final results of their Bachelor’s or Master’s Thesis or the current status of an ongoing PhD project. A majority of students attending these colloquia are in the process of preparing for final exams. Usually these students participate in a colloquium taught by their examiner. This, however, does not exclude the possibility that students may attend a colloquium organised by another lecturer or professor. This may be the case if the examiner is on sabbatical. In Linguistics the equivalent of the colloquia offered in Literary Studies is the course “Essentials of English Linguistics” which is held by a different lecturer or professor each semester. Depending on the wishes of the student’s examiner, attendance may or may not be mandatory. Further details about the registration process can be found in the English Department course catalogue. Credit points: students can generally expect to invest 1-2 hours per week on this course (excluding preparatory work).

Graduate Seminars:

These seminars are open to undergraduate students in the final stages of their studies, graduate students (Master, PhD, etc.) as well as post-doctoral candidates. In order to attend these graduate seminars students generally must receive an invitation from the lecturer. Students, however, may also put in a personal request for registration in a particular graduate seminar. More information regarding registration is available in the English Department course catalogue.

Block Seminars:

Block seminars are intermediate or advanced level undergraduate courses that normally take place either at the end of the semester or the beginning of semester break. The course content is presented in compact form over a series of several longer meetings. Regardless as to whether the course is scheduled for the end of the semester or the beginning of semester break, students are generally required to attend an organisational meeting at the beginning of the semester. All block semester are clearly marked as such in the course catalogue. Registration: Students are required to sign up for block seminars prior to the start of the semester. More information is available in the English Department course catalogue.

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