Change your field of study or university

New conditions for your studies

Which way do you want it to go?

Are you still sure that you want to study, but you haven’t yet found the direction you want to go in? Even if it is possible that there are deadlines for enrolment and you are under time pressure, it is still important to devote enough time and space to reorientation. The choice of the new subject should be carefully considered and based on your personal interests and strengths.

Typical questions you can ask yourself when choosing your type of degree programme are:

  • What are my interests?
  • What do I like to do in my spare time?
  • What are my hobbies?
  • Which topics do I read in magazines/newspapers or watch on YouTube?
  • If I take a step back and look at my answers with a little impartiality, what do they stand for? (For example: Ballet -> discipline, structure, working on subtleties; planning parties -> organisation, time management, imagination)

The answers to these questions can help you identify your own interests. A subsequent look at the job market can then also be helpful. You may find out about a number of (new) professional careers which you didn’t know about before. It is also helpful to reflect on the framework conditions of a profession: Do I want to be employed or work as a freelancer? Would I rather work in the office or in production/laboratory/shop etc.? Which working time models are typical in the industry and which of them suit me?

Orientation to existing occupational fields

If placed side by side, personal interests and a look at potential occupations often provide good search criteria for suitable degree programmes. With the right subject you can resume your studies, this time with renewed motivation and enthusiasm.

NEXT STEP niederrhein also offers neutral coaching at all four university campuses which can help you. With targeted questions and methods we help you identify your wishes and possibilities, to specify them in more detail and, in the best case, to make a decision. We can establish contacts to specialist offices and contact persons as

How can I find the right degree programme?

The Central Student Advice Service (ZSB) of your university will provide you with detailed information about its degree programmes and will also offer advice on how to make a decision.

Even if you have already decided which subject you want to switch to, you should still contact the ZSB to find out about the new degree programme. You often have to reapply if you switch to a new subject. The application deadlines must be observed. If your own university or a nearby university offers the new subject, it is often possible to attend a lecture as a guest to see what it’s like. Please contact the faculty and/or the lecturer if you are interested in taking a look at what lectures entail.

If you start a new degree programme, it usually means that you have to reapply!

As an alternative and/or in addition to the ZSB, you can also search online for the new degree programme:

  • At University Compass, the information portal of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), the universities provide up-to-date information on their degree programmes.
  • The Federal Employment Agency, the Agentur für Arbeit, has an overview website which leads you step by step to the right course of study.
  • The website provides detailed information on a number of degree programmes. The site is operated by the Agentur für Arbeit and the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (University Admissions Foundation).

Switching universities

Doubting the degree programme does not only mean doubting the subject, but can also mean the university itself. This can naturally have many causes. You may just feel uncomfortable after moving to where you are studying, feel alone in an unfamiliar place and miss family and friends. Alternatively, the environment may be familiar, but the focus of studying at this university isn’t really in line with your own interests. You may have decided to commute to university every day and that doesn’t feel right any more.

If you are sure that the subject is the right one, but the university isn’t a good match, then you have already achieved a great deal. You can then re-navigate your course to find your own subject and degree programme at a new university. You can search for a degree programme in the city of your choice here:

–       University panorama (only in German available) is an information portal of the Agentur Für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) and is aimed primarily at prospective students. The map of Germany provides an overview of all universities with state degree programmes.

–       At University Compass it is also possible to search for a university. The portal is operated by the German Rectors’ Conference.

–       With the finder at it is possible to search directly within a subject or subject area for the universities that offer this subject. The site is operated jointly by the Agentur für Arbeit and the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (University Admissions Foundation).


If you switch, either to a different degree programme or university, you should always check whether academic achievements that you already have under your belt can be credited in the new subject or at the new university.

For more information regarding the recognition of academic credits in Germany, please refer to the relevant Higher Education Act. For North Rhine-Westphalia, this is the Higher Education Act NRW (only in German available) and the relevant information can be found in § 63a (“Anerkennung von Prüfungsleistungen und Studienabschlüssen”). If you have been expelled from your degree programme at a German university, you may not be eligible to resume your studies in a similar programme at a different German university (see § 50, “Einschreibungshindernisse” of the Higher Education Act NRW (only in German available).

The relevant department of the university you are applying / have applied to has the final say regarding credit recognition decisions, in accordance with applicable academic regulations.

These regulations (Anerkennungsordnung) govern the recognition process and may contain provisions that are unique to the university in question. For example, in some cases you must file a credit recognition request BEFORE you sign up for a module at your new university. In other words, you cannot receive credit for an module that you completed at your previous university if you have already attempted an exam in that same module at the new university. (This is valid for Hochschule Niederrhein, University of Applied Sciences; refer to § 3 (3) Sent. 2 of its Anerkennungsordnung).

The examination for recognition of previous academic achievements may take some time.

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