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Information for students

Information for students

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Dear students,

The upcoming winter semester will be the second semester conducted under coronavirus pandemic conditions. This poses an even greater challenge for all first-semester students who are still at the very beginning of their studies at the University of Bonn.

Applicable legal provisions currently allow us to return to “safe on-site operations”, which are however subject to strict limitations that allow only for some courses to be held on site. Numerous lecture halls have been equipped with technology enabling hybrid course formats (i.e. some students are present in the lecture hall, others online), which will facilitate the use of a more diverse range of teaching methods for our teaching staff. Online courses will, however, continue to play a significant role in the general outline of the winter semester 2020/2021.

Below we have compiled the most important information. The page will be updated on a regular basis, allowing us to react to new developments.

Wishing you all an exciting and diverse semester and, to our first-semester students, a successful start into this new chapter in your lives,

Karin Holm-Müller
Vice Rector for Teaching and Learning

Information on protected presence operation

(Updated 11/30) Regulations on entering the state of North Rhine-Westphalia suspended

The Higher Administrative Court of Münster has suspended the Ordinance on entering the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that there is currently no obligation to self-quarantine after entering the state from a risk area. Furthermore, however, you are required to register digitally. Please note that new regulations may reverse this decision and reinstate obligatory self-quarantine and digital registration on short notice. You will find relevant information on the MAGS NRW website.

Obligatory wearing of mouth and nose covers

Kekule mit Maske

Covering your mouth and nose is obligatory in all University of Bonn indoor areas. This includes lecture halls and seminar rooms. A new Ordinance by the MAGS NRW stipulates that mouth and nose must be covered throughout the entire course! Persons who are exempt from obligatory wearing of mouth and nose covers by medical certificate must not attend on-site courses. The Ordinance on overcoming coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 epidemic related challenges posed on university operations (Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung) of North Rhine-Westphalia stipulates that mouth and nose covers must be worn without exception.

Lecture period in the winter semester

The lecture period of winter semester 2020/2021 starts on October 26, 2020. Only for first-semester students of bachelor’s degree programs and church degree or state examination programs, the start of the lecture period has been postponed to November 02, 2020. The lecture period for all students ends on February 12, 2021.

Courses during “safe on-site operations”

Abstand bei Prüfungen

As things stand at the moment, on-site courses on University premises will be offered in winter semester 2020/2021. The University is bound to and guided by applicable legal provisions when making decisions with regard to on-site courses. Based on current provisions, the responsible University units have developed hygiene concepts that clearly indicate the extent to which on-site courses can be offered. The following rules apply until further notice:

Number of participants

The maximum number of participants per course generally depends on room size and airing conditions. This semester, the maximum number of persons allowed to be in a single room is 50 persons (including teaching staff). For smaller rooms, this number decreases respectively.

The faculties will take the size of available rooms into consideration when planning courses, making it the decisive factor in choosing of suitable teaching formats (e.g. hybrid course).



Courses in which the safety distance of 1.5m can be kept are subject to basic traceability (only seats with a green sticker are occupied = 1.5m distance is maintained -> basic traceability applies). The University will be providing documents for this purpose, which you will be asked to fill out and put into the designated box at the end of each course. These tracing documents will be kept on file in a secure location for a period of four weeks.

 To prevent further spreading of the coronavirus, we ask all University members to please use the Coronavirus Warning App provided by the German federal government. The app plays an important role in identifying risk encounters and stop chains of infection. Please find all information on the app on the German federal government website.

Airing during on-site courses

All course rooms allow for sufficient airing. This will be done either automatically via a ventilation system or by manually leaving windows ajar and additionally opening doors. You will find all necessary information on airing at the entrance of each course room. After 30 minutes, the room must be thoroughly aired during a break of approx. five minutes (ideally through cross-ventilation, i.e. opening opposite windows and doors; otherwise through impact ventilation, i.e. opening all windows). Impact ventilation time: 10 minutes in summer, 5 minutes in spring/fall, 3 minutes in winter (outside temperature < 6 °C). 

(Updated 11/02) Contact restrictions

Due to the rapidly increasing infection rates, the Corona Protection Ordinance currently only allows a maximum of 10 people from two households to meet in public. Please be sure to observe these regulations when visiting the university.

Hybrid teaching

To compensate for limitations regarding the number of participants in on-site courses, the University has equipped lecture halls with technology for hybrid teaching formats. In the winter semester, it will therefore be possible to livestream on-site courses and integrate whiteboard notes into the stream.

Online teaching



Without online teaching formats, successful completion of the upcoming winter semester would not be possible. The University of Bonn is using the online teaching and learning platform eCampus to make teaching material (texts, tasks, etc.) available in digital format and to offer digital support for learning at home. Teaching staff can link courses registered in BASIS with an eCampus course. Students who have registered for a course in BASIS should be automatically granted access to the respective eCampus course. You will receive notification once this has been done. For subjects not involving assignment procedures, please contact your teachers.


To make sure your teachers can easily contact you via this channel, please check your University of Bonn email account regularly or set up automatic forwarding to a different email account of yours. Instructions for automatic forwarding are available here. Further information on specific courses is available in the electronic course catalogue BASIS and on the individual faculty websites.

Learning spaces

The past semester has shown that many students do not have access to suitable learning spaces in their private spheres. This is why the University has launched its “Learning Spaces 2020 – Study smarter with distance” campaign. Within this campaign, learning spaces that enable students to focus on their work have been created in the ULB, the MNL Branch Library, the CAMPO Mensa Poppelsdorf and the Mensazelt in Hofgarten. Please find information on how to book spaces on the ULB website. In addition, the General Students’ Committee (AStA) of the University of Bonn is providing learning spaces in the canteen in Nassestraße until further notice.

First-semester students at the University of Bonn

As many on-site offers will not be available in their usual format in this semester, the University is offering new students a range of online services:

Starting your Studies portal
In the Starting your Studies online portal first-semester students will find a broad range of information around the University and Bonn as a city as well as on important first steps in this new chapter of their lives. The University wants to support you in preparing for your transition into university life in a good and structured way as well as in taking the reins when it comes to shaping the start of your studies.

Welcome for first-semester students
The Welcome for first-semester students is a series of events for first-semester students. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Welcome events will be conducted online. For information on our program, please refer to the Welcome for first-semester students portal.


International students

The International Office of the University of Bonn offers international (doctoral) students extensive information on residence permits, financial support, contact persons and social activities on a designated wep page. Information is available in German and English.

Live online courses/ ZOOM video conferencing system

To facilitate live online courses, the University of Bonn has purchased a great number of Zoom licenses which will complement already established services (Adobe Connect and DFNconf). These allow for holding interactive courses also in bigger groups. If you need support in creating teaching formats using Zoom, please refer to the designated e-Campus web page or contact the University of Bonn ZOOM support via email.

Applying extensive data protection provisions when using ZOOM is a top priority for the University of Bonn. This includes adjusting numerous system features to our standards. In addition, our Data Protection Officer has issued recommendations for compliance with data protection provisions. These recommendations are continuously updated and adjusted to the current version of the application and service. By doing so, we aim at reducing the IT security and data protection risks associated with the use of Zoom as much as possible. At the same time, we are keeping up a close dialog with the federal and state governments as well as with other universities and higher education institutions in order to find alternative solutions for the future.

Frequently asked questions

(Updated on 10/29) Does compulsory attendance apply for courses held via Zoom and must I switch on my camera?

Upon agreement with the responsible teacher, the examination board may stipulate that, instead of compulsory attendance, certain course work must be completed in order to be admitted to the examination. Please contact the person responsible for your course to clarify which rules apply. Where the applicable examination regulations stipulate compulsory attendance for a course, compulsory attendance also applies for the online course held as a substitute for this course. To check compulsory attendance, the teacher in question may ask you to register for the course with your real name or at least with an alias known to her/him.

Please understand that teachers do not like to address black screens and will usually ask you to activate your camera. You are not obliged to do so, but we ask you to please consider to which extent you can make the exchange between students and teachers easier and contribute to a constructive atmosphere in the seminar. You may have the option to use pictures as virtual backgrounds on Zoom and in this way protect your privacy.

(New 10/19) Where can I find the results of the student survey on digital teaching?

The results of the student survey can be found on the website of the Center for Evaluation and Methods of the University of Bonn.

(Updated 10/12) How is the current situation affecting my BAföG grant?

Please find all important information on BAföG during the coronavirus pandemic on the designated web pages of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. BAföG recipients should not be experiencing disadvantages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Updated 10/12) Whom can I contact when I urgently need literature?

The University and State Library has been gradually extending its services for University members. With the start of the lecture period, reading rooms will be reopened as on-site work spaces. Please find detailed regulations and updated information on the ULB web pages on the coronavirus. The departmental branch libraries have also resumed many of their services. For more information, please refer to the respective websites.

(Updated 20/05) I have exams upcoming this semester. How will exams be conducted, in view of the present situation?

It will be possible to take exams this semester as well, of course. Examination procedures may be changed, however, and/or exams may be held online in order to comply with applicable safety regulations imposed due to the situation. You will be notified promptly regarding examination procedures by your Degree Program Manager and the examination offices. Steps are currently being taken to allow examinations which cannot be held online for objective reasons to be held on-site at University facilities. These will commence after the Pentecost holiday (i.e. as of June 2, 2020). The first on-site exams to be held are to be rescheduled exams originally scheduled for the end of winter semester 2019/2020 The anti-infection and occupational health & safety requirements will continue to apply for any written examinations for the summer semester of 2020 which have to be conducted on-site. The Vice Rector for Teaching and Learning has issued an information sheet for exam takers on proper conduct in the examination setting.

(Updated 20/05) Who should I contact if I have urgent book needs?

Starting Monday, May 11, 2020, University of Bonn students, faculty and staff can resume book borrowing from the ULB. Required books can already be reserved online for pick-up at either the Main Library or the MNL Branch Library. This avoids users spending substantial periods of time in library facilities and the stacks. Until further notice, the ULB will be open for reserved book pickup Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 03:00 pm. In addition, the ULB is offering members of the University a digitization service for journals. External users who are not members of the University of Bonn will be able to use local ULB services again as soon as capacity and safety measures allow. To compensate for this reduced service, the ULB has waived the annual library usage fee until further notice. Further details are provided on the  ULB Bonn website. For information on other, peripheral libraries please inquire with your Institute or your advisor. Information on the opening of Institute libraries is posted on the general corona web page.

What does “digital teaching in the summer semester” mean?

To slow down the spread of the coronavirus and protect risk groups, universities all over Germany were forced to put on-site teaching on hold. As it is impossible to predict when on-site teaching can be resumed, the universities in North Rhine-Westphalia have decided to transition to online teaching in the summer semester 2020 – at least for the time being. This is to prevent students from having to prolong their studies and enable them to seamlessly continue their studies. The decision on whether to resume on-site teaching in the course of the semester will be based on the circumstances given at the time.

Where can I find online offers?

For many years, the University of Bonn has been working with the teaching and learning platform eCampus. All courses registered in BASIS have been linked to eCampus and are listed there accordingly. Students that were already admitted to a course have been automatically notified of their admission to the corresponding eCampus course. If you have not received such notification, please contact your module coordinator.

Where can I find information on what is expected of me in a course?

You will find all course information and materials on the respective course page on eCampus. This includes the requirements for successful participation.

Do I need to participate in an online examination?

No, you are not obliged to participate in such an examination. However, you are not entitled to an on-site examination either. We are offering online examinations so you can continue your studies without delay. The decision of whether examinations are held online is with the examiner or, respectively, the examination board. If you experience technical issues during an examination, you can withdraw from the examination.

I still need to complete examinations scheduled for the winter semester. How will I know when these are held?

You will be notified of the set examination date in your BASIS account at least one week before the examination. Examinations scheduled for later in the semester have a notification deadline of at least two weeks. Please make sure to regularly check your University of Bonn email account or to set up automatic forwarding of your messages to an external email account. (Instructions)

Where can I find information on changes in curricula or study schedules?

You will find degree program-specific information regarding your study schedules on your degree program website.

Due to my situation (childcare, no adequate internet access) or concerns regarding informal self-determination, I cannot or can only participate to a limited extent in digital courses. What shall I do?

Students who cannot participate in online courses can apply for a semester on leave (cf. Section 15 Enrollment Regulations). Applications stating reasons can be filed with the Student Registry. Please note that when on leave, you will not be able to participate in examinations (except when retaking a previously failed examination or when completing course assessments/participation requirements in connection with a semester abroad or internship for which the semester on leave was taken, cf. Section 15 Para. 2 Enrollment Regulations).

How can participants of a course get in touch with each other?

The University is offering different tools for this purpose. We want to particularly point out the possibility of creating a forum on eCampus, provided your teacher has activated this feature and granted you the necessary user rights.

I have just completed my studies abroad or am enrolled at another university in Germany, and now I urgently need to be granted credit for completed course work and examinations so that I can continue my studies in Bonn. Can I apply electronically and will my application be processed?

Yes, if you can provide legally enforceable proof of your completed course work or examination, e.g. by certificate from the partner institution. As long as this condition is met, credit will be granted as usual. When in doubt, please contact your degree program manager.

Where can I find information on my planned stay abroad?

In light of constantly changing circumstances, please contact your host university directly. Your host university will be able to best assess the local situation.

I urgently need credit points from vocational/practical elective modules to obtain my degree. Will I be granted credit for jobs or internships that I arrange for myself?

Please contact your module coordinator and degree program manager for advice on this matter. The examination board decides on whether credit is granted for individual activities.

I have extensive experience in digitally enhanced teaching. Whom can I contact if I wish to offer support as a digital tutor?

The Bonn Center for Higher Education coordinates the training and deployment of digital tutors. Please contact [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.] and briefly outline your previous experience with digital teaching.


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