Starting your degree
- New students have hundreds of questions to ask: What should I enrol for first, and how many classes can I enrol for per semester? How do I actually register for a course? – For most degrees, questions like these will be answered at information evenings for new students. Go along, ask your most pressing questions and start talking to lecturers and fellow students on your course.
- Obtain accurate information about the curriculum in your subject and follow it. In most subjects, there is little enthusiasm for "creative" scheduling.
- Do not take on too much at the start of your course. In your first term you are usually still busy getting to grips with university life, including the everyday practicalities. This is particularly applicable if you have moved to a new city. You would be well advised to attend only the compulsory classes, and perhaps one or two additional lectures that you are really interested in, so you have time to get used to your new way of life.
During your degree course
- It can happen that a degree course does not match the student's expectations, or they find it too demanding. In these circumstances, do not hesitate to ask the student advisory service or careers service for help. There is little point in forcing yourself to continue with a course that you know to be wrong for you. As Markus Diem says, changing subject within the BA/MA system is not usually very difficult these days. You lose a semester, but credits can often be transferred so that they count towards the new course.
- Be mobile and do a semester abroad. It broadens your horizons, both academically and personally. It also indicates to future employers that you are mobile and independent and able to cope with new situations.
Transition from BA to MA
- Since the introduction of the Bologna system with the BA/MA system, making the transition from BA to MA has become increasingly important. Take time out to think about this and ask yourself the following questions: Am I really studying for the right degree at the right university? Should I change subjects? Should I continue my studies at another university?
- For language and literature studies, the courses offered at Master's level are increasingly influenced by the research areas of the lecturers. If, when you start your Master's, you already have a marked interest in a specialist area within your subject, it is well worth changing to a different university where a professor specializes in that area. If you are aiming at an academic career, it is also important to have two different places of study on your CV. That shows your flexibility and willingness to relocate.
- Or should I try moving straight into a career? – Up to recently, a BA did not count for much in the world of work, and it was usual to obtain a Master's. However, things seem to be changing in this respect. There are now some students who move into a job straight after their BA. At present it is difficult to predict what the opportunities for graduates with a BA will be like on the jobs market.
- Studying can sometimes be rather lonely. It's a good idea to join study groups, serve on student bodies that represent students' interests, participate in a drama group or take advantage of the great variety of sports on offer at the university. Don't wait for someone to approach you – you have to make the first move.
- You will never in your life have so much time to acquire knowledge. Even in stressful phases, try not to lose your enjoyment of learning. Make use of the wide variety of extra-curricular activities offered by the university: foreign languages, writing courses, computer courses etc.
Julia Vögelin, BA Deutsche Philologie und Soziologie, Universität Basel
«Es lohnt sich, immer wieder einen Blick in den Leitfaden des Studienfaches zu werfen. So kann man es vermeiden, am Ende des Bachelorstudiums noch Pflichtveranstaltungen nachholen zu müssen, obwohl man das Diplom schon in den Händen halten könnte.»
Sofie Behluli, MA English Languages and Literatures und Deutsche Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft, Universität Bern
«Anglophone Literatur ist meine Leidenschaft. Bücher zu lesen, mich mit anderen über diese auszutauschen und mein Wissen in längeren Arbeiten zu vertiefen - ein Traum!»
Delia Imboden, MA in World Arts und Slavistik, Universität Bern
«Es lohnt sich während dem Studium nicht nur auf ECTS Punktejagd zu gehen, sondern auch Kurse zu belegen, die einem wirklich interessieren, auch wenns keine Punkte dafür gibt. So kann man vom Studium richtig profitieren und alles macht auch viel mehr Spass.»