Free Electives Tailored to Our Students' Interests

Since the winter semester of 2021/22, the University of Trier has provided its students the opportunity to take free electives as part of their bachelor's and master's programmes, enabling them to pursue individual concentrations that fit their personal interests and abilities and to enhance their education beyond the core curriculum. Besides a wide range of courses drawn from traditional subjects, the free electives offer students opportunities to think across disciplines and develop the interdisciplinary competencies and skillsets much needed in today's interdependent environment. In addition, the electives include a selection of language-training courses offered by the university's language center to accomodate the professional language-learning needs of students in a globalized world.

Numerous bachelor's and master's programmes have now built so-called "module windows" for free elective modules into their curricula. Depending on the programme, these windows comprise up to 30 ECTS credits and allow students to choose modules from some or all of the competence clusters that make up the free electives. As more and more faculties and employers have come to appreciate the value of individualized courses of study, the number of programmes that have integrated free electives has been growing steadily.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take free electives and get credit toward my degree?

You may take free electives and earn credit toward your degree if your program allows for it. To find out, refer to the program's documents, i.e. the modules overview, the study plan, and the subject examination regulations. All of these are available from the University of Trier's Policies page (in German only). If you are still unsure, please seek out your study advisor.

How do I register for a free elective module / course ?

To enroll for free elective modules and courses, you register through PORTA as you would for any other class. You may want to search for a module using the module abbreviation that you will find in the respective electives catalogue. Please note that some courses are limited-enrollment. This means these classes are open for registration as a free elective only if there are still spaces available. If you are unsure, please contact the lecturer of the course.

Which compentence clusters are available in my program?

Most programs allow you to freely choose modules from all competence clusters; in some, however, choice is limited to a few competence clusters or even subjects. Please see your program's documents or consult with your advisor to find out what applies to your particular program.

Which modules can I choose, and how can I combine them?

If a competence cluster is available to your program, you can freely select and combine its modules with others: you may build a personalised course by choosing modules from a range of subjects or, alternatively, decide to complete modules in one single area. When choosing your classes, please observe that some mandate or strongly recommend prior knowledge. If you earn at least 20 credit points in a subject, your focus area will show up as an elective on your transcript.

Can I combine English-taught modules and German-taught modules?

Yes, you may mix German and English modules. German modules do, however, require a certain language proficiency for you to be able to understand course content and to meet the objectives of the course. Also keep in mind that German classes typically lead to a German-language exam. To find out if an exam may, exceptionally, be done in English, please seek out the relevant module convenor whose name you will find in the module catalogue.

How many credits can I earn from the interdisciplinary competences cluster?

Regardless of the program they are enrolled in, all students may earn a maximum of 10 credits for their degree from the interdiscplinary competences cluster. If students enroll in an interdisciplinary elective past the credit maximum, additional credit will not count toward their degree programs.

If I take more modules than necessary, can I choose which module counts towards my degree?

Unfortunately not. If you take more modules than necessary, the first one passed will count towards your degree. The additional module will be saved to your so-called Global Overflow Account.

I am a bachelor's student. Can I take free electives from the master's catalogue?

Unfortunately no. If you are enrolled in a bachelor's pogram, you may only choose modules from the bachelor-level electives catalogue. This also applies vice-versa to master's students.

Who do I talk to if I have questions about a particular free elective module?

Like any other module, a free elective module is developped and organized by a so-called module convenor who is responsible for the delivery of a particular module. Module convenors are listed in the course catalogues.

How do I receive credit once I completed a free elective?

The credits you gain for each free elective you succesfully complete will be automatically awarded by PORTA. You register for the module exam(s) as usual and as soon as you have successfully completed them, the credits earned will show up. There is no need for you to take any action to receive credit.

Will the free electives show up on my transcript?

What is recorded on your transcript depends on how many credits your program allows you to earn in the free electives, and how many elective credits you earn in one single area. If you earn at least 20 credits in electives from a single area (and your program also allows you to use a total of 20 credits toward your degree), your focus will show up on your transcript. In any case, all elective modules will be listed on your transcript; however, your transcript will not give a focus area if you do not fulfil the 20-credit minimum needed for it to show up.