Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences


Frequently asked questions about studying at the Department of Social Sciences - for exchange students


1.    What is the course content of the Social Sciences at the HU?

Around half of the courses of Social Sciences BA and MA deal with topics from Sociology and Political Science. In the Bachelor course students additionally complete a comprehensive, structured training in the methods of social research. This training is required for admission to the Masters course.

2.    What are SWS?

SWS are Semesterwochenstunden, weekly hours of study during the semester. A course (seminar, lecture, tutorial) that lasts two hours and takes place once a week (always at the same time every week throughout the semester) corresponds to two SWS.

3. What is a VL?

VL is an acronym for Vorlesung, or lecture. In a lecture, the professor or lecturer alone presents topics, whilst students write notes, including the key points of the lecture, and ask comprehension questions.

4. What is a Tutorial?

A tutorial, Tutorium in German, is a course that is most often lead by students of a more advanced stage of study. They serve to deepen participants’ understanding of the material and are offered as additional opportunities to discuss topics that professors may not have discussed in lectures.

5. Do I need to register for courses?

In most cases, yes. Students only attend courses for which they have already registered in the electronic course catalogue (Agnes). Erasmus+ students must first receive an official Agnes account at enrolment by the International Office before they are able to register by email to the responsible lecturer or professor.

Warning: Registration for a course is completely independent of registration for an exam! The latter must always take place separately and only during the periods communicated. Incoming foreign students are not able to register for exams through Agnes, and must register directly with their professor or lecturer. Please keep deadlines and appointments in mind!

6. Where can I get help with academic writing?

In the first instance the book “wissenschaftliches Arbeiten” includes questions and answers around the topic of writing essays, term papers, theses etc. It is available from the Student Support Office (Studienbüro, Universitätsstraße 3b, Room 304). At the same office, students can also receive individual guidance and support with academic writing as well as answers to questions about all exams required by the Department of Social Sciences.