Should I study at the open university

Uni, TU, FH and academy - where should I study? An overview of the differences and similarities

Our university landscape is diverse: the electrical engineering course, for example, is offered by universities, technical universities and technical colleges, and on top of that, you could opt for the dual format at a vocational academy. In all of this there are many things in common, such as: B. the standard period of study, but the design of the course can look very different. This results in advantages and disadvantages, which we would like to discuss here.

Universities: Scientific work

In order to study engineering at a university, you need the general university entrance qualification. For many, this is already an important decision-making criterion, as this variant is no longer required for the technical diploma. But it can be worth it, e.g. B. to add another school year in order to obtain the full high school diploma - at least for everyone who is aiming for a career in research. Because scientific work is clearly in the foreground at universities.

After a master’s degree, you also have the opportunity to do a doctorate there. You can then work within the university, for example as a lecturer. With the appropriate commitment, the path to habilitation / professorship is open.

But engineers with a university degree are also in demand in the private sector. B. helps to optimize processes in production. Because scientific work requires a lot of independence and methodology, these skills are strongly taught or required in the course of study.

The Technical University: pure technology

The Technical University (TU) is a special study option, especially in the field of engineering. As the name suggests, knowledge at university level is also conveyed here, exclusively in natural science and technical courses.

Due to this specialization, the reputation of the TU degrees is usually very high, so that this can be a plus in professional life. That does not mean that this educational path has to be the real deal for all budding engineers. In study forums, some graduates report e.g. B. from higher pressure to perform and thus more stressful studies at the technical universities. Of course, such evaluations also depend on your own abilities and goals, so that everyone should collect their own impression here.

University of Applied Sciences: High practical relevance

Due to the differences already mentioned, the FH degree was once considered a "second class degree". However, the picture has long since changed. As a result of the Bologna reform, academic achievements are uniformly assessed according to the European credit point system, and the standard study periods are also identical. While an engineer who studied at the technical college previously recognized this difference in the job title “Dipl-Ing. (FH) ”, the state-recognized bachelor's and master's degrees are uniformly structured (e.g.“ Bachelor of Engineering ”).

Depending on the area of ​​application, the FH degree is even seen as an advantage, as these educational institutions stand for applied research and high practical relevance. The universities of applied sciences often cooperate with partner companies and employ guest lecturers from the business world. Another advantage of this university variant are the mostly more manageable study groups, while at the university you can sit in a lecture with hundreds of fellow students.

By the way: today, universities of applied sciences often simply call themselves universities - but that doesn't change anything about the degree.

Dual university / vocational academy

The dual study format, which is already widespread in technical professions, is also characterized by practical relevance. In contrast to the FH degree, which "only" takes place at the university (apart from individual internships), there is a continuous dual track here. Practical phases in companies and theoretical phases change regularly.

In the case of the training-integrated model, it is even possible to complete a complete vocational training parallel to the Bachelor, for example as an electronics technician. Another plus is the financial security that is usually given with dual studies. And: The early connection of theory and practice prepares optimally for professional life. The Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Karlsruhe advertises that 90 percent of its own graduates find a permanent job immediately after completing their studies.

Depending on the federal state and orientation, there are also the vocational academies (BA) in addition to the dual universities, which also offer the dual format.

By the way, here you will find a good overview of this study opportunity:

Dual engineering courses

Academy: further education and more

It is sometimes misleading that there are also completely different “academies”. Here you have to take a closer look: In principle, every institution that offers an educational offer can call itself an academy, so there are also many private providers. This does not necessarily mean that the quality has to be worse, but the (possibly missing) state recognition of the courses and higher tuition fees can be an issue. However, this mostly affects more creative professions. In the technical field, on the other hand, academies often stand for qualified further and advanced training. There is the TÜV Academy, the Academy of Engineers, the Technical Academy Esslingen and many more.

Depending on the provider, the often diverse training program includes e.g. B. Seminars, certificate courses, colloquiums and in-house trainings. Civil engineers can take special courses on topics such as building technology and fire protection, or they can be certified as experts in certain areas. Many of these academies also offer part-time courses with a bachelor's or master's degree, e. B. Mechanical engineering or mechatronics.

An academy of a completely different kind is aimed specifically at young engineers: In the Junior Engineer Academy (JIA) of the Deutsche Telekom Foundation, schoolchildren gain an insight into the job profiles of engineers and scientists. If you are still about to graduate, this would be an interesting option for getting to know jobs in industry, science and research.