Recognition of credits

Anerkennung von Prüfungsleistungen (Image: Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash)

If you earned credits at another university in Germany or abroad you can apply for recognition of these credits to count towards your degree at TH Köln. Skills and knowledge acquired through vocational training or professional experience are also eligible for recognition. The decision which credits are recognized lies with the Examination Board of the respective program.

Apply for recognition of previously earned credits

To have your credits recognized you need to submit an application to the responsible Examination Board

Please address your application to the Chairperson of the Examination Board responsible for your program. If your Examination Board has named a Recognition Officer ('Anerkennungsbeauftragte*r), please address your application to them.

Please include information and supporting documents regarding the examinations (credits) or competences acquired outside of university which you want to transfer to your current degree program (e.g. module descriptions, work samples). Please note that it is your responsibility to furnish these documents. Without supporting documents your application cannot be processed. Foreign language documents need to be translated into either German or English. The Examination Board or Recognition Officer may request additional information or supporting documents.

In the following two cases, credits are transferred automatically, i.e. you do not need to submit an application for recognition of credits:

You transfer within TH Köln and within the same program, for example to the same program offered on another campus (e.g. from the program General Mechanical Engineering offered in Gummersbach to Mechanical Engineering in Deutz) or from an older version of the examination regulations to a newer version. The results of comparable examinations or coursework will automatically be transferred to your new program, including failed or additional examination attempts (if applicable).

You transfer within TH Köln but to a different program. One or more examination(s) are part of your old as well as your new program, i.e. students of both programs take the same exam. The results of these examinations will automatically be transferred to your new program, including failed or additional examination attempts (if applicable).

Please note that it is not possible to use an additional examination attempt to improve the grade of a transferred credit.

Credit recognition and international mobility

In order to facilitate the recognition of credits earned abroad the “learning agreement” was established. It is mandatory for students participating in an ERASMUS exchange.

If you are planning a stay abroad during which you want to take exams or submit coursework, we recommend preparing your stay by discussing possible credit transfers with the responsible Examination Board before you leave.

TH Köln’s Department of International Affairs can also provide helpful information and guidance on the topic.

Decisions on credit transfers

The Examination Board as a whole, its Chairperson or the appointed Recognition Officer reviews and decides on all applications for recognition of credits. Once the Examination Board has received all required information and supporting documents it makes a decision within six weeks. If you do not receive a response during that time frame, please contact the Examination Board to ask for an explanation. Approved credit transfers will be displayed in PSSO.

The following options are considered when applications for recognition of credits are evaluated:

  • Can previously earned credits for courses and examinations be recognized in full with regard to comparable courses or examinations at TH Köln?
  • If not, can they be recognized in part (= partial recognition)?
  • Or is a recognition possible, if “gaps” are filled, e.g. by means of individual additional examinations or part of the usual examination at TH Köln (conditional recognition)?

Criteria for the recognition of credits are set down in the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Education Act as well as in the Lisbon Recognition Convention. Transferred credits will be marked as such in the examination certificate that is issued upon graduation. Grades from abroad will be transferred to TH Köln’s grading system.

An application for recognition of credits earned at another university may only be rejected on the grounds of a substantial difference in learning outcomes between the course for which credits were earned and the course at TH Köln. In case the Examination Board rejects a recognition request, it will provide an explanation detailing the differences and why they are considered substantial.

If the Examination Board comes to the conclusion that your request is to be rejected or can only be approved in part or with conditions, you will be notified and receive an explanation. The formal notice will follow two weeks later and will become final one month after you have received it.

Legal remedies against decisions of the Examination Board

If the Examination Board intends to reject your request or to recognize credits only partially or with conditions, you may ask TH Köln’s Executive Board to review the Examination Board’s decision. Please send your request for a review to TH Köln’s Legal Department which will present it to the Executive Board.

You also have the option to file an action with the administrative court within one month of the day that you received the formal notice of rejection. This notice will contain additional information on legal remedies.

Please note:

If you send your request for a review by the Executive Board within two weeks of the (informal) notification of the Examination Board, you will not receive a formal notice. The Legal Department notifies the Examination Board of the request for a review. The Examination Board will then wait for the recommendation of the Executive Board and will adjust its decision on your recognition request accordingly. Only then will you receive a formal notice (in case the rejection or partial/conditional recognition is confirmed) and the one-month period for filing an action starts.

However, if you ask the Executive Board to review the decision only after you have received the formal notice, the period for filing an action is not extended by the fact that the Executive Board is reviewing your request. Your request for a review does not affect the period for filing an action.