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A Detailed Look at the German Universities of Applied Sciences

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

International Research Experience, Quality Improvement, and Programs/Curriculum Around the Globe

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.40.1 - 25.40.8



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Paper Authors


Peter Wolfsteiner Munich University of Applied Sciences

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Peter Wolfsteiner is professor in mechanical engineering at the Munich University of Applied Sciences (HM) in Germany. He received his Ph.D. degree in M.E. from the Technical University Munich. Prior to joining the faculty at HM, he worked at Knorr-Bremse Group as a manager in the area of new technologies for rail vehicle braking systems. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in statics, strength of materials, dynamics, controls, numerics, and simulation of dynamical systems. Research interests include simulation, nonlinear dynamics, random vibrations, and fatigue. He is currently working as exchange professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

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Brian P. Self California Polytechnic State University

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Brian P. Self obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Utah. He worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. Self has taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, since 2006. During the 2011-2012 academic year, he participated in a professor exchange, teaching at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. His engineering education interests include collaborating on the Dynamics Concept Inventory, developing model-eliciting activities in mechanical engineering courses, inquiry-based learning in mechanics, and design projects to help promote adapted physical activities. Other professional interests include aviation physiology and biomechanics.

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A Detailed Look at the German Universities of Applied Sciences The XYZ University and the Munich University of Applied Science in Germany have developed a strong partnership for the past two decades, and conduct several activities based on this partnership for mutual advantage of both schools. These include exchange of students and professors, the organization of a common summer school, and working on common projects. The authors of this paper have a personal teaching experience in Germany and in the US.  Starting from that experience the paper describes the most notable differences by giving a detailed look on the German system (it is assumed that the reader is familiar with the US system). The differences are described form different perspectives. Students: – where do students come from (schools, professional background, age) and where do they go/what  do they do after the time at university, – how do the schedules of the students look like (jobs, holidays), – what is the workload, how much labs, how much home works/exams, – situation with textbooks/manuscripts, – obligatory internships, projects, thesis, – how are students involved in paid work at university and industry, – their relation to professors,  Studies: – curriculum, – semester and exam schedule, – internships and thesis in industry,  Universities: – historical development, – what studies do they offer, – where comes the money from, – staff/professors/administration, – cost of education,  Situation of professors: – workload,  – office hours, – scientific work, – income of professors, – where do they come from and how do they keep in contact with industry, – lecturers,  Learning process in detail: – the responsibility of the student, – the documents students get, what is the intention of the lectures, – freedom in learning (when/what/how) versus a detailed schedule leading from 0 to 100%, – how much is the professor involved, how much professor‐hours are needed to teach a student,  Based on these descriptions, the paper tries to asses these differences with regard to the situation of the students, of the professors and the cost for educating students in both systems.  In a second companion paper, the two exchange professors will discuss their personal experiences in teaching mechanics in a foreign country, as well as provide student feedback on their exchange experiences. 

Wolfsteiner, P., & Self, B. P. (2012, June), A Detailed Look at the German Universities of Applied Sciences Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20800

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