FAQ: Your first Semester

Welcome to the homepage of the General Students’ Committee of the University of Göttingen (AStA). We are, as you will soon be, students of the University. In order to provide you with information before you start your studies, we have collected answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here. Just click your way through.

What is the AStA and what is the student body?

All students at the university make up the student body or Studierendenschaft. As a student body, we have different committees, collectively known as the “student self-administration”. The AStA is one such body, a student federal government, so to speak. We have made it our task to be a mouthpiece for the students. To this end, we offer various services, which you can find out about on this page. We regularly inform the students about current affairs with publications and events.

When and where do I start my studies?

Your studies officially begin at the start of the semester on October 1st (winter semester) or April 1st (summer semester). The first lectures take place 2-3 weeks later, with the so-called “Erste Vorlesungswoche” (first week of lectures). In the winter semester, the orientation phase takes place one week before lectures begin. In addition, various preliminary courses and propaedeutics take place before the semester begins. You will be informed about these by your faculty

What is an O-Phase?

The so-called “O-Phase” (orientation phase) is intended to make it easier for you to start your studies. Here you will be supervised by students from your faculty and your degree programme, the “tutors”. You will receive information about your specific field of study and get to know your first professors and lecturers. To make sure you have fun, the tutors organise a colourful social programme


How do I find out which lectures need to be in my timetable?

During your orientation phase, your tutors will show you how to draw up your timetable and put the lectures on it. Your Fachgruppe or Fachschaftsrat can also help you with this process.

When do I get to know my fellow students?

During your studies, you have the opportunity to meet many new people. We have set ourselves the goal of connecting new students – also across disciplines – through our support services. During the orientation phase, you will also get to know a lot of people from your discipline.

I would like to get in touch with my Fachgruppe/Fachschaftsrat. Where can I find their contact details?

The easiest way is to go to the relevant section on the AStA website under “Student Self-Administration


Who can I turn to in case of discriminatory or sexist assaults?

You can write to the central Equal Opportunities Office or that of your faculty, inform the AStA Department for Gender and Diversity and contact the Psychosocial Counselling Centre for mental support.
In more urgent cases:
Campus security service: 0551 39 19888
University’s problem reporting centre: 0551 39 1171
Göttingen Women’s Emergency Hotline: 0551 44684

How and where do I get my matriculation certificate or other important university documents?

You will receive your first matriculation certificate after successfully enrolling at the university. Other important documents, such as your grades, can be obtained from the eCampus. This will be shown to you during the orientation phase.

Where will I be able to print documents?

The university provides you with a student account for the campus network. This allows you to log on to the computers in the library, for example, and use the printers from there. Many faculties provide students with a printing credit. You can usually find out about that during the orientation phase.

How do I raise my print credit?

First you need to raise your total credit on your student card. Then you can raise your print credit at the Central Library and the Departmental Libraries of the SUB. You can ask the counter staff to find out where the cash registers are. You can also raise your print credit at the chip card office in the ZHG. In addition, credit can be raised in some departmental libraries, computer centres and in the Learning and Study Building (LSG). Further information can be found here.

What is autoload?

With the AutoLoad procedure, you can raise your card balance directly at the registers in the mensas and cafeterias. All you have to do is have your student ID card linked to your bank account once and issue a direct debit authorisation. You can register either at the info box in the foyer of the Central Mensa or at the Service Office North. When you register, you specify a minimum amount and a raise amount. If the amount on your card is less than the minimum amount, you will be offered a raise directly at the register. If you accept, you will receive a receipt for the revalued amount; if you refuse, the payment process will continue as normal. It is still possible to raise the card manually at the raising machines. You can find more information on the page of the Studentenwerk.

What can I find on eCampus?

From left to right:

  • Start page: You can set this up individually. In the standard setting, you will find your currently borrowed books, your latest unread mails and the menus of the Mensas, among other things.
  • Calendar: The dates of the events you have registered for via Stud.IP are automatically displayed here. You can also note down your own dates here.
  • Email: Here you can manage the mails of your university account. Instructions on how to access them via a mail client can be found here: https://wiki.student.uni-goettingen.de/en/support/email/start
  • SB / UniVZ: The SB stands for Selbstbedienungsfunktionen (self-service functions). Here you can, for example, generate printable versions of your matriculation certificate and other certificates and change your account data. The UniVZ (Univerzeichnis) is the central list of all events offered at the university, including all information about locations, times, possible exams and the like.
  • Stud.IP: Here you can register for courses (not exams!), download files for these courses and receive notifications. You also have access to the various community functions.
  • IPS2: With this program you can visually display the modules you have already passed. However, it is specifically set up for the Faculty of Social Sciences, and while is available for the other faculties, its function is not necessarily always reliable.
  • FlexNow: You can use this program to register for exams. Always pay attention to both the registration and deregistration deadlines: if you do not register on time, you cannot take the exam; if you try to deregister too late, it is no longer possible, and in the worst case the course might get registered as failed.
  • LSG/SUB workrooms: Here you can book workrooms in the learning and study building (LSG) and in the library (SUB). This runs on a points system: the more rooms you book, the higher your point account will be and the less far in advance you can book rooms.

Where can I find exam regulations and module descriptions?

Generally on the website of your subject, under the heading ‘Studies’. There are also often sample timetables at the end of the exam regulations.

Where can I find out what exactly is required of me in a particular exam?

You can generally find information on this in the exam regulations for your subject. If there are tutorials on exams in your subject, it is highly advisable to attend them, especially in the first semester, as this will give you a detailed introduction to what needs to be considered for the respective exam. Otherwise, it is always worth asking fellow students from higher semesters.

Can I repeat a failed exam?

Twice. Only if you do not pass the exam on the third attempt is it considered to have been definitively failed. In rare cases you can also repeat a passed exam in order to improve your grade. If this is the case, it will be explicitly mentioned in the corresponding course.

Under what circumstances will I be excluded from courses, and what about compulsory attendance?

In some courses there are prerequisite exam that are not only compulsory for taking the proper exam but also for attending the course. The attendance requirements were abolished with the new version of the Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (NHG), but in Göttingen this has not yet been implemented in the regulations. Therefore, the official regulation is still that you are only allowed to be absent from a maximum of two sessions for courses that take place once a week. If you have problems for this reason, feel free to contact the AStA; abolishing compulsory attendance is one of our political goals. It can also happen that people are excluded because the maximum number of participants has been exceeded. This is usually done by drawing lots or according to the order of registration in Stud.IP.

How do I register for language courses?

For the language courses of the Central Institution for Languages and Key Qualifications (ZESS) you first have to register for the exam of the respective course via FlexNow. This is the same as for any other exam. A question mark will then appear at the beginning of the exam. The courses have a limited number of participants, so it is possible that your registration will not be accepted; in this case, you will receive a corresponding notification and the question mark will be crossed out (if this happens, it does not mean that you have failed anything). If you don’t want to do the course, you can deregister by a certain date, which is stated in the course description.
In addition to the ZESS, some institutes at the Faculty of Humanities also offer language courses. You can find them in the Key competencies offered by the faculty, under Language competencies.

Where can I get a room?

Even before you start your studies, you can apply online for a place in a dormitory at the Studentenwerk. To do this, you do not have to be enrolled, but must submit your enrollment certificate when signing the contract. Please note that there are waiting periods and that rooms are not always available immediately. The private housing market probably has the largest supply. If you are looking for a shared apartment (usually called a WG or Wohngemeinschaft), you can use search engines and homepages. There are also privately-owned dormitories. When looking for private accommodation, you should check whether there are any brokerage fees. Before signing the tenancy agreement, find out what additional costs will be incurred and what your rights and obligations are. In addition, you should know your notice periods, any minimum rental periods and, if you are planning a stay abroad, regulations on subletting or interim renting.

Where can I re-register and do I even have to?

In Germany, you have to register your residence in the city you live in. If you move to Göttingen, for example to a dormitory or a shared apartment, you have to register at the Bürgeramt der Stadtverwaltung (Hiroshimaplatz 1-4). You can choose between main and secondary residence. If you do not register properly with the city, you may be fined.

What regulations apply for the so-called Rundfunkbeitrag (broadcasting contribution)?

Similar to the obligation to register, you are also obliged to pay the broadcasting contribution. Students are not automatically exempt from it. If you receive BAföG, you can apply to be exempted from paying this fee. Please note that city councils can pass on addresses to the broadcasting organisations and will do so in case of doubt.

What is BAföG?

BAföG is the abbreviation for the Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (Federal Training Assistance Act). It provides funding for your studies under certain conditions. If you live with your parents, you can receive up to €427 per month; if you live independently, you can receive up to €861 per month. If you have to pay for your own health and long-term care insurance, the amount increases by €109. There are also additional benefits in case of hardship and for students with children. As a rule, half of the funding is approved as a grant and half as a loan (up to a maximum of €10,000). You can get more information from the Social Services Department, and you can also get specific advice during the office hours of the BAföG Office of the Studentenwerk.

Where can I submit a BAföG application and pick up the relevant documents?

You can hand in your BAföG application at the BAföG office or send it by mail. You can also use the letterboxes in the Central Mensa (right side; intermediate storey above the dining hall) and the North Mensa (behind the ‘coffeebar ins grüne’). You can get applications at the BAföG office and at the info box in the foyer of the Central Mensa. You can also get them online.Or you can simply drop by during the office hours of the BAföG Office. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, you must book an appointment online.

How does the Studentenwerk help me in my everyday life?

The Studentenwerk Göttingen is the service partner for all aspects of everyday student life and offers help and support in seven areas. It advises on student financing (“BAföG advice”), rents out places in 39 dormitories, and runs four Mensas and nine cafeterias with a wide and inexpensive range of services. It also offers day-care centres and crèches for students, a psychosocial counselling centre and a social service. Last but not least, the cultural office of the Studentenwerk organises regular concerts, events, exhibitions, game afternoons, flea markets, workshops and courses. It also supports the student choir UniCante and the jazz band UniRoyal.

What is the semester fee?

The semester fee is a flat-rate fee that you pay once per semester. You do this whenever you register for a semester. Some of the money goes to the Studentenwerk, but it also includes an amount for student bodies such as the AStA and – most importantly – the semester tickets.

When can I start using the semester ticket?

You can use the Semesterticket from the beginning of your first semester until the end of it. The summer semester begins on April 1st and ends on September 30th. The winter semester begins on October 1st and ends on March 31th. With the Semesterticket, your student ID is actually your ticket, so you must have it with you to use the Semesterticket. After re-registering for a new semester (paying the semester fee), you can have your ID card extended for another semester at the chip card office.

Where can I find the nearest toilet?

For this we recommend the location map app (Android) or alternatively the online version of the location map