FAQs

Are language courses mandatory?

Yes, 10 ECTS credits in language courses are mandatory for all undergraduate students. In graduate programs, they are often an integral part of the curriculum. Check you study handbook for further information. Each language course grants 2.5 ECTS credits and courses follow a fixed design according to the progression of proficiency levels.

I need/want to take a language course. What do I do?

Students without any prior knowledge of a language can register for A1.1 without taking a placement test. Please note that it is an infraction of the Code of Academic Integrity if students with pre-existing knowledge of a language attend the beginners’ level(s). Students who need/wish to take a language course and have some prior knowledge of a language must take a placement test first. Placement tests are offered every semester and help instructors place students in the appropriate proficiency level.

What does A1.1 or B2.2 (2) mean?

Language courses are structured according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), defined by the Council of Europe. The learning outcomes represent beginner level (A1, A2), intermediate level (B1, B2) and advanced level (C1, C2).

See also: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Cadre1_en.asp

When and where do language courses take place?

Language courses usually take place Mondays and Wednesdays in the afternoon in fixed time slots. Each language course consists of two slots per week. Courses are taught on campus.

Can I fail a language course?

Not really. Depending on your performance, you will receive a grade between 1 and 100 (%) for the course. Requirements and grading schemes are published on CampusNet for each language course. Generally, attendance is mandatory and students who miss more than 3 classes (class of 75 min) without a valid excuse will receive 0% for the Active Participation component of the final grade.

I want to do a Study Abroad and take a language course at my study abroad destination. Can I transfer credits?

Courses in languages taught at Jacobs University will be accepted if taken at other universities or at Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes, Institut Français and Konfuzius-Institut; credits acquired in languages other than those offered at Jacobs University will only be transferred if issued by a partner university of Jacobs University.

What does it mean to audit a language course?

Auditing a course means that students do not receive credits but attend the course regularly in order to reach a higher proficiency level. Registration and regular attendance (not more than 5 unexcused sessions) is mandatory. Participation in the course will be indicated on the transcript with “A” for audit. Only very few places are available for auditors, and only once students who need to take language courses for credits have received a spot.

The placement test in the first week of the semester takes place during class hours, which means I will miss the first session of the course. Is that OK?

Yes. Due to administrative issues, Jacobs University has to offer the placement test usually on the first day of teaching (exception: placement tests during O-week). Language instructors are aware of this situation and know that students who took the placement test will be attending from the second session onwards.

I received my placement test results. What do I do now?

The Student Records Office will enter the respective level for each student in CampusNet. Afterwards, participants will be able to register for the appropriate level via CampusNet themselves.

I cannot register for a course. The system tells me that I do not fulfill the requirements. What does this mean?

Requirements for a language course are either the successful participation in the previous language course or a valid placement test result. If students have not attended the placement test and/or have not passed the previous proficiency level, they cannot register for the next level of the course. If students have mastered a level in an intensive course offered by one of the partner institutes, they need to contact the Student Records Office.

I feel that my proficiency level is higher/lower than indicated by my placement test result. What options do I have?

Students have two options: take a course one level lower – but only as auditor; or take a course one level higher – but only for credits (see the policies for further information).

The course level I was placed in is not offered this particular semester. How can I attend courses nevertheless?

According to our policies, students can register for a language course one level higher than the level they were placed in. However, this is only possible for credits, not as an auditor.

I audited a course last semester. Can I directly register for the next level?

Yes. If students have attended regularly as auditors, they can register for the next level without a placement test.

Do I have to register for language classes as a graduate student or staff member as well, even though I may not need credits?

Yes. Registration is necessary and can be carried out by the Student Records Office. Registration is important in case teachers need to contact the participants or share learning material on CampusNet. Furthermore, participation numbers have to be exact in order to provide the basis for future planning of language courses. Only very few places are available for graduate students and/or staff members, and only once students who need to take language courses for credits have received a spot.

My registration has been rejected. What happened?

Language courses only allow a maximum number of 20 participants. Rejected students can usually register during drop/add for a parallel group with fewer participants. Sometimes, the Student Records Office reassigns students to other small groups of the same course, so please check carefully before registering again.

I am a member of faculty/staff and would like to attend language courses. What do I have to do?

Language courses are open to faculty and staff of Jacobs University, who are asked to attend a placement test – just like all other participants in language courses. Based on the placement test result, staff and faculty members need to register with the Student Records Office for a specific language course. Only very few places are available for faculty/staff members, and only once students who need to take language courses for credits have received a spot.

How long are placement test results valid?

Placement test results are valid for two semesters, i.e., for one academic year. In order words, if students attend the placement test in Fall, they can join the language program either in the same semester or in the Spring semester.

I improved my language skills during Intersession/summer break. Can I skip a class?

Students have to take another placement test which will reflect the improved language skills and allow students to attend the respective higher level course.

I received a certificate by one of Jacobs’ partner institutes Instituto Cervantes, Institut Français and Konfuzius-Institut, or from Goethe Institut. How does this certificate help me?

If the certificate clearly states the workload and the proficiency level, Jacobs University will acknowledge the language course and students can be placed in the respective higher level without a placement test. The certificate needs to be submitted to the Student Records Office.