Theory and practical phases

The dual study models at the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences are characterized by a strong application orientation. The practical phases essentially take place during the lecture-free period. In relation to a calendar year, theory and practical phases are generally divided as follows:

  • 25 weeks of practical phases during the lecture-free period
  • 24 weeks of theory phases at the h_da with lectures, laboratory practicals, exercises and tutorials
  • 4 weeks of exams

How such an interlocking between theory and practical phases could look like is shown in the diagram for the dual study program model Bachelor Photonics and Machine Vision:

Alternation between theory and practical phases

The first semester

  • Before beginning their studies at the h_da, dual students ideally complete a two-month practical phase at the cooperating company. This gives the student the opportunity to familiarize him/herself with the company and to get to know the departments and contact persons on site.
  • In mid-October (if starting in the winter semester) or mid-April (if starting in the summer semester), courses then begin at the h_da in the form of lectures, laboratories, exercises and tutorials. The theory phase of the first semester closes around the end of February. This is followed by a two-week examination phase at the beginning of the lecture-free period.

The other semesters

  • The lecture-free periods from mid-February to mid-April and from late July to mid-October are always practical phases.
  • Depending on the course of study, further practical phases follow during the lecture period within the framework of projects, a professional practical phase (BPP at least 12 weeks) or a professional practical semester (BPS 18 weeks) and for the final thesis.

Examination phases

  • The two-week examination phases are always at the beginning of the lecture-free periods. Examination days are considered university days, so dual students do not have to take leave to take exams. Times for exam preparations are arranged by mutual agreement between the company and the student: Time off or vacation. If the contract refers to the legal minimum leave, we suggest a leave of absence in the interest of our students.


  • The student's vacation entitlement is determined by the practice partner and recorded in the contract. This vacation must be taken in the lecture-free period during the practice phases.