Competence Profile of the Niedersächsische Studienkolleg

Competence Profile of the Niedersächsische Studienkolleg

The Niedersächsische Studienkolleg prepares international applicants for studies at a German university. Our work follows the guidelines of our competence profile and our self-image of education. In addition to imparting sound subject knowledge, the teaching specifically promotes the acquisition of general, linguistic and subject-related competencies that are fundamental to successful study. These competencies are aligned with the requirements of university studies in Germany in order to ensure a sustainable ability to study.


General competences for specialised studies

Students expand their social and intercultural competences through interaction in an internationally oriented teaching and learning environment. They respect each other's different religious, political and cultural ideas regardless of their origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability, in the spirit of the free democratic basic order. They develop a confident approach to the teaching and learning culture at German universities and acquire in particular key qualifications such as the ability to work in a team, time management, self-organised and independent learning and working.

Language skills for specialised studies

The subject-specific teaching at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg promotes the acquisition of general, subject-specific and academic language skills up to level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Students expand their communicative competences through active participation in all subjects and learning and working together in learner-centred lessons; they improve their ability to express themselves in writing by using subject-specific writing opportunities. The consolidation of linguistic structures and the development of an adequate subject vocabulary are the basis for further academic language acquisition:


Students understand and engage with scientific and scholarly texts.


Students understand and process orally presented information in both general and scientific language contexts such as lectures, talks, specialist discussions, debates.


Students master the basics of academic writing. They write logically structured and coherent texts and are able to present and discuss complex issues.


Students communicate confidently in typical academic contexts such as discussion, paper, presentation.


Subject-related competences

The students master the contents and methods relevant for a successful entry into a specialised study programme. They obtain an overview of subject-relevant topics and deepen individual subject topics and questions by way of example. They have a basic repertoire of common methods of scientific work and apply them confidently, such as analysing and interpreting facts, statistics and texts as well as experimenting. When solving problems independently, they master different areas of requirements:

  • Confident and functional handling of knowledge, e.g. in order to systematise, structure and hierarchise content, to set priorities and to distinguish between the important and the unimportant (operators such as name, describe, outline...).
  • Apply knowledge and skills, e.g. to process and solve tasks on the basis of laws, materials or the evaluation of experiments (operators such as calculate, analyse, explain...).
  • Transfer to new problems and reflect on methods used and knowledge gained, e.g. in order to reason and judge (operators such as prove, interpret, take a stand...).


Subject-related competences

Teaching at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg

German is the working language in the teaching of all subjects at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg. For successful subject-related studies, it is necessary for international students to have a command of the relevant academic and educational language. The teaching at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg specifically promotes the acquisition of these competences, which are necessary for entering university. Subject-specific teaching is therefore always foreign language teaching as well. The prerequisite for successful subject teaching is not only subject competence and subject didactics, but also the willingness and responsibility of the teachers of all subjects to deal with questions of foreign or subject language didactics and to promote oral and written language use in a language-sensitive manner.

Competence orientation at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg

Teaching at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg promotes the acquisition of competencies. The focus is on subject-specific and interdisciplinary competences such as the application of acquired knowledge and the ability to solve subject-specific problems independently on the basis of suitable methods in variable contexts. The lessons thus take into account principles of competence orientation such as problem solving and sustainability, relevance to the real world and clarity, exemplary learning and independence, action and product orientation as well as reflection on the learning process. Competences and contents are mutually dependent. As a basis for the acquisition of competences, the Niedersächsische Studienkolleg therefore imparts a basic stock of essential subject knowledge as well as a selection of relevant contents. The acquisition of competences takes place primarily through the processing and solving of tasks. The focus is therefore on an operator-supported task culture with learning, practice and examination tasks. All requirement areas are taken into account in performance assessments and in the assessment test. The assessment test is aligned with the competence profile of the Lower Saxony Studienkolleg (Level 1), the competence profiles of the respective subjects (Level 2) and the Studienkolleg-internal subject curricula (Level 3) and is oriented in its requirements to the level of the higher education entrance qualification in Germany.


Teachers and students as actors in the competence-oriented teaching and learning process

Teachers at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg are committed to creating a multi- and intercultural learning and working environment together with the students. They have a high level of intercultural competence and are willing to develop this further in their dealings with students and in further training. As subject lecturers, they also have a pronounced professional competence and pedagogical sovereignty in adult education with a view to the university. They teach, control and promote the independent acquisition of competences in all subjects. In methodology and didactics, the teachers take into account the special requirements that arise at the interface between the students' previous education and the higher education institution. In view of the pronounced heterogeneity of the students with regard to their cultural background and the respective educational traditions of the countries of origin, the teachers assume a special responsibility in the individual support of the learners through differentiation of the lessons. Conveying knowledge through instruction and enabling independent construction are therefore equally basic principles of teaching at the Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg.

Students at the Niedersächsische Studienkolleg

The international students at the Niedersächsische Studienkolleg are open to all the experiences and challenges that studying in Germany brings. They develop or expand their intercultural competence, i.e., for example, the ability and willingness to act openly and constructively in a multicultural learning environment. They learn with and from each other, being prepared to tolerate or, if necessary, endure what is foreign and contradictory. Through commitment, diligence and an appropriate attitude to work, students who are suitable for their study goal decisively control their learning success. They thus assume personal responsibility for their growth in competence and acquisition of knowledge. Therefore, they participate regularly and actively in lessons and prepare and follow up on them independently, e.g. by doing homework. They develop personal, social and communicative competences such as self-organisation, teamwork or presenting results. In class, the students not only receive, but also create products on the basis of acquired competences and knowledge and help to shape the lessons and life at the Studienkolleg.

Commentary on the project plan

The competence profile of the Studienkollegs in Germany in the present Leipzig version of 06.05.2019 so far only contains level 1 as the basis of a comprehensive multi-year project that is currently in progress. On the one hand, it will henceforth be a basis for teaching at all state Studienkollegs in Germany. On the other hand, it forms a binding basis for the successive development of the competence profiles of the subjects (level 2) and the Studienkolleg-internal subject curricula (level 3). According to current planning, Level 2 will be developed in mid-2020, Level 3 afterwards.