How should I create a curriculum

How do I create my first university timetable?

Finally - the study begins! But before the first events can be attended, the university timetable must first be drawn up. We'll explain how it's done step by step.

Everyone knows the schedule from school. At universities, however, as was previously the case at school, it is no longer prescribed when you have to attend which events. Instead, the students have to set up their timetable independently every semester and are largely free to do so. This task proves to be a major challenge, especially for courses that consist of subject combinations, such as a 2-subject bachelor's degree, and for freshmen. We have summarized the most important steps for you.

1st step: Which proof of performance do I need? What are compulsory courses?

Before creating the timetable, you should find out which certificates you will have to provide in the course of your studies and which events must be attended in any case. You can find the information on this in the study or examination regulations. This not only specifies which modules you have to attend and to what extent, but also the number of points you need in the individual events. Often the study or examination regulations also contain specific recommendations for the curriculum.

Step 2: The timing - How many events can I attend?

If you have all the necessary information and know which proof of performance must be provided in which semester, you can start planning the timetable. Now you should think about how many events you want and can attend at least and at most per week. Important: Also note all services that are required in addition to attending the events in order to receive the performance records (e.g. presentations, exams, term papers as well as preparation and follow-up).

A guideline is 20 to 22 hours per week. A weekly semester hour (SWS) describes the duration of an event at the university. If a course is specified with a length of 2 semester hours per week, it will take place 2 hours a week. The study regulations state how many hours per week you have to complete in the course of your studies. The number of recommended semester hours per week for your subject divided by 2 results in the number of courses you should attend.

How many hours you ultimately want to take per week is up to you. Finding the golden mean is difficult, especially at the beginning. Those who spend too many hours quickly feel overwhelmed, too few hours can stand in the way of completing their studies on time.

First-semester students are advised not to overcrowd the timetable. Because this could quickly make them feel overwhelmed and lose motivation to study. Especially as a freshman, it takes time to get used to the university and to be able to assess how much time an event takes. So take it a little more relaxed! After all, if you know your way around your university well in the next semester, you can still attend several events.

3rd step: Find the exact events

The next step is to find the courses from the course catalog that you need and that are of interest to you. The course catalog can usually be found on the homepage of your university, where all the courses offered in your department are listed. Many universities also publish annotated course catalogs in printed form. Now your own interests count: Which seminars do you find particularly appealing? Which seminars are the most instructive in terms of your professional intentions? And which seminars would also be considered if there is no more space in your favorites?

Step 4: Check whether events overlap

Of course, you cannot attend several events at the same time, so after looking for interesting events you have to check whether they overlap in time. In this case you have to choose one of the events. But: You should still register for all interesting events, because you don't yet know in which you will actually get a place. If particularly important courses overlap, e.g. compulsory courses, first check the course catalog to see whether these courses will be offered again in the next semester or the semester after that. If not, you should discuss this with the academic advisor.

5th step: Registration of the events

Once you have made up your mind, you have to register for the selected events. You can also find instructions on how to register in the course catalog. Registration often takes place online via a special system or via the online course directory.

Important: Note that you will not be admitted to every event. So you should register for more events than you really want to take. It is best to register for all events that sound interesting to you. For freshmen it is often the case that they can still register for the events after the orientation events.

Step 6: Draw up a timetable

The next step is to design a timetable as you know it from your school days. Instead of the 1st to 6th hours you can enter the lecture times in the leftmost column, e.g. 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., 4 to 6 p.m. 8 p.m. You can find a timetable template here.

7th step: note down events

So that you don't lose track and the events don't overlap, you should make a careful note of everything in the draft timetable. This way you can also see where you still have free hours. The online course catalogs often also offer the option of creating a timetable online and then printing it out.

You should note the following things:

  • name of the event
  • room
  • Time
  • Rhythm (some events do not take place on a weekly basis)
  • Lecturer
  • Type of event (e.g. lecture, seminar, compact seminar)
  • if there are prerequisites (e.g. necessary literature)

What you should also consider when planning the timetable is the preparation time and the follow-up time for an event. Some of these are more time-consuming than the lecture itself.

Another tip for all freshmen is to attend the introductory events that are offered at the beginning of their studies. In these introductory events, freshmen get all the information they need about the course and the course of study. Often the first timetable can also be created there under supervision.

Frequently used abbreviations in the course catalog

Finally, a few abbreviations that are often used in course catalogs:

  • V or VO: Lecture
  • PS: Introductory seminar
  • S or SE: seminar
  • HS: advanced seminar
  • T: exercise
  • GK: basic course
  • LK: Advanced course
  • Sü: language exercise
  • T: tutorial
  • HS: lecture hall
  • SR: seminar room
  • n.V .: by arrangement
  • s.A .: see appendix
  • CP: Credit Points
  • Sem .: semester
  • SWS: weekly semester hours

The timetable has been created - what now?

After the timetable has been drawn up, the course can begin. Our campus etiquette provides a guide for the university jungle. In the next semester, the next timetable will finally be drawn up - which, however, should be mastered without any problems with the experience already gained and our tips.