"Schnupperstudium" – What is a seminar?

What is actually a seminar or a university lecture and what is best for me?

There are a number of types of courses at the university. For pupils or non-students who would like to "get a taste" of one or more courses, lectures, courses (only in history studies), proseminars (only in history studies), seminars or project seminars (only in sociology studies) are ideal. Here we have compiled what is behind the individual types of courses.


Introductive lectures, overview lectures or special lectures can be attended by students of all semesters. They cover a longer period of time or a complex of subjects and are used to impart overview or special knowledge. In order to obtain a certificate, students usually write an exam at the end of the semester.


A course, like a lecture, provides overview or special knowledge on a complex of topics, but in smaller groups. In contrast to a lecture, the proof of achievement is to be provided by a paper and/or an essay, in individual cases also by a term paper or an exam.


Proseminars are addressed to students in the first stage of their studies or in their basic studies. They serve to familiarise students with a topic and introduce them to working techniques, questions, sources and methods of the subject. In proseminars, the material is usually worked on through joint discussions in small groups. Proof of achievement is usually provided by a presentation and a term paper.


Seminars or also main seminars are addressed to students in the advanced stage of their studies or in their main studies and serve the intensive introduction to a special topic. A great deal of time is devoted to joint discussion and the seminar size is also manageable for 10-20 participants. Proof of achievement is provided by a paper or a presentation of a topic in working groups and a term paper.

Project seminar (only sociology studies)

Project seminars are addressed to students in higher semesters. In these seminars, students must carry out small independent research projects - from the research concept (e.g. the development of a questionnaire or interview guidelines) to data collection and evaluation, presentation and research report.