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Dual Study Programs

In Germany, employers, especially in the tech sector, highly appreciate vast experience and practice when looking for employees. But university graduates often lack this experience to their own detriment. Therefore, many German universities and colleges started to offer bachelor dual study programs.

A dual study program combines theoretical education at universities or polytechnics with vocational training, meaning you will study while working in the prospective occupation. As a benefit you will get paid by the company that offers the practical training for the whole duration of your studies. Often the payment is high enough to cover your entire expenses like rent, food and sundries.

What are the advantages? Does it have drawbacks?


The dual study program offers a lot of advantages like

  • getting paid for the training at the company, even up to covering the costs of living
  • getting experience on how to apply the knowledge learnt at the university
  • having work experiences after graduating
  • at best starting into your career at your future employer while studying
  • receiving both, a university degree and state approved vocational qualification certificate


But it also has drawbacks that you should take into considerations before deciding. Those are

  • prolonged duration of bachelor study, 8 or 9 semester (4 or 4.5 years) instead of 6 or 7 semesters (3 or 3.5 years) for conventional bachelor studies
  • less spare time during semester breaks
  • more effort in planning your studies


Dual study program students are highly sought after in Germany. The company where you made the practical training most likely will offer you permanent employment after finishing your studies. But even if not, you will have a lot of chances in your field of expertise and possibly a higher starting wage than without the practical training.

What subjects to choose for a dual study program?

There are more than 1,500 dual study programs in Germany. The majority of them are offered for STEM subjects. Most notably are

  • engineering
  • chemistry
  • architecture
  • computer science
  • software development
  • media design

But you can also find dual study programs in fields like

  • business management
  • nursing
  • pedagogy

How does it work?

What to do beforehand?

  • Watch out for dual study programs in your favourite subject.
  • Contact the university or polytechnic that offers the program. They set the conditions how to proceed.
  • Up to a year before beginning your studies start applying to companies to find a partner. The company will cover the training part of the program.
  • Then contact the university again. In most cases the university must approve the company as the partner for your program. Ideally the company will help you with handling this procedure.
  • Sign a contract or agreement that specifies the lengths of the instruction at the company, your responsibilities, payment and vacations during the training phases.
  • Enrol into your study program

Studying and training phases

Attending the dual study program, you will have phases of working at a company and studying at a university. You will begin the study program with a training phase at the company that precedes your first semester at the university. During the first, second and fourth year you will spend 8 months studying and four months at the company in two intervals respectively. The final semester consists of 4 months studying and two months of training. The third year is solely spent with training at the company.


During the second and third year you will have examinations while training that will lead to a vocational training certificate. At the end of the 9th semester in the program you will have the final examination at the university for your bachelor’s degree.

Dual study programs at the university Magdeburg:


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