FAQ – Studying at the English Department

1. Beginning your studies:

What can you study at the English department?

The English department of the University of Vienna offers two bachelor’s programmes, one of them a teaching programme, as well as two master’s of arts programmes and a master’s of education programme. You can find more information here.

How do I apply to study at the English department?

All application has to be done at the Admissions Office. There ARE special entrance procedures for studying English (more info here). You will need to pre-register online (which you can do here). A thorough guideline, also for foreign students, can be found at the Student Point information page (information available in German, English and French) and also here on the department homepage.

Do I need to speak German to begin my studies? Even if everything will be taught in English?

Yes. In order to be admitted for any course of study at Vienna University, you need to be proficient in German (C1). If you speak German but do not have a certificate to prove it, you can take a German language test. If you do not speak German at all, there are a variety of options for obtaining language skills. Find more information on this page. On the page you will also find a list of certificates which are accepted as proof of your German skills.

Which language are lectures taught in?

All courses and lectures are taught in English.

Where can I find curricula and Course recommendations?

You can find everything, including fact sheets, course recommendations and graphic structures of the respective curricula, on the department homepage. For your convenience, we have some links for you:

BA English and American Studies

UF Englisch (Diplom ALT) (old teaching programme)

BEd Lehramt UF Englisch

MEd Lehramt UF Englisch

MA Anglophone Literatures and Cultures

MA English Language and Linguistics

PhD programme

We have also compiled our own suggestions for your study path, here for BA and here for BEd (open in PDF). Please keep in mind that these are only suggestions made by advanced students and your actual study path depends on such factors as time, availability of course places, passing of exams, overlap with your second subject or EC, etc.!

Is there an entrance exam?

Yes, in order to study both the BEd and BA, you need to first pass an entrance exam.

Information on the BA’s entrance exam you can find here.
As the first part of the BA entrance exam procedure, you have to complete an online-self assessment where you reflect on your interests concerning the field of studies. The second part of the procedure includes a written test that is composed of three parts: A cognitive part (which is university-wide), a part on text textual competence (similar to VELT, see below) and a part with questions on the areas of linguistics, literature and culture, which you have to prepare for by reading texts in advance.

Information on the BEd’s entrance exam you can find here.
As part of the entrance exam for the BEd, you have to take an online self-assessment that reflects on being a teacher, followed by written test that includes a cognitive part (which is university-wide), reading comprehension and questions on pedagogical theory, which you have to prepare for by reading texts in advance. In case your examination results are below 30%, you will be invited to an individual counselling interview, where your aptitude for a teacher accreditation will be discussed, test results will be analysed and strategies to overcome individual shortcomings will be planned.

The exams only take place once a year, usually in early July for the BA and at the end of August for the BEd, each costing 50 €. For signing up to and taking the entrance exam you need not provide your high school diploma, you can hand it at a later point during the registration of studies. The master’s programs don’t include an entrance exam, however in order to study the MEd, you have to have completed your BEd at an Austrian university.

What different types of classes are there?

VO: This is a lecture class. Attendance is not mandatory, however we do recommend attending your lectures, especially the StEOP ones since the books and materials alone won’t suffice to pass the exam. Some lectures may be streamed (the links to the live stream can be found on the Moodle e-learning platform). We recommend attending the first session of your lectures to find out whether or not they are being streamed. Exams take place in the last session of the lecture, as well as at the beginning, middle and end of the next semester, however, the dates vary. Here you will find the exact dates, please check this page regularly.

Please note that attendance is mandatory for every class except lectures (VO)! You may not have more than two unexplained absences! Exceptions may be made for reasons like illness or work, please check with your instructor.

Important: You have to be present during the first session of a class or you will lose your place!

UE: This kind of course deals with writing and analysis in a literary or linguistic context. The aim is to familiarize you with the academic working process and improve your practical skills. End term papers or portfolios may be required to pass.

PS: This is an introductory seminar course. The focus will be on holding a (group) presentation, the basics of academic research, as well as writing a short end-term paper, usually no longer than 10 pages.

SE: This is a seminar course. The focus is on research, a longer (group) presentation as well as a longer research paper. This type of class can also be taken as a bachelor’s seminar, meaning you will write a bachelor’s thesis.

AR: These courses focus on improving your presentation and discussion skills.

KO: Similar to UE, but more discussion-heavy and may focus more so than other courses on group projects.

TR: Tutorials are courses that take place weekly, parallel to lectures. They are offered by students that have advanced knowledge within the field of the lecture class who again explain the content already dealt with within the same week as part of the lecture held by a university professor. Attendance is not mandatory (except for the PPOCCS1 Sprachlabor tutorial) but highly recommended. You can find a list of the offered tutorials here.

What does ‘StEOP’ mean?

StEOP is an acronym for Studieneingangs- und Orientierungsphase, meaning your introductory lectures that you will have to complete in a BA or BEd programme in order to continue with your studies.

BA: The StEOP consists of four lectures and three exams (you will take Language Analysis and Introduction to the Study of Language 1 as one exam).

BEd: The StEOP for the new teaching programme consists of two lectures, as you can see here.

You will not be able to sign up for courses or sit other lecture exams before you complete the StEOP exams! Please consider this in your semester planning. We highly recommend you take the exams at the first possible date.

When you take a lecture exam for the 4th time (“4. Antritt”), it is what is called a “kommissionelle Wiederholungsprüfung”. You will have to register for this by writing to the SSC (not SSS) and submitting the form you can find on their website two weeks before you wish to take the exam. You will be graded by a committee consisting of three lecturers.

If you fail a StEOP exam on the fourth try, you will be barred from studying at the Vienna English department for two semesters, so please consider this before you take a fourth try!

Can you have exams from the BA StEOP approved for the BEd StEOP? More or less. If you did VO Introduction to the Study of Language 1, VO Language Analysis, Introduction to the Study of Literature, VO Introduction to the Study of Anglophone Cultures and Societies, AND VO Introduction to the Study of Language 2, then you can have all of those lectures approved for the BEd StEOP. However, this is a package deal, meaning you can’t get individual lectures approved. So if you are planning to register for the BEd program, please reconsider taking the BA StEOP exams unless you plan to switch programs, or you can pass the entire StEOP in one go!

What is the VELT test?

The VELT test is a language test for beginning students. You need to pass it in order to register for the course Integrated Language and Study Skills 1 (usually referred to as ILSS 1), which in itself is a prerequisite for a number of other courses. The test is held only at the beginning of each semester (late September and late February respectively). However, it is not a prerequisite for starting your studies! You don’t have to take it right away, although it is recommended, seeing as it is the prerequisite for some higher-level classes.

Registering for this test is usually possible from two weeks to up until four days before the sitting, but please check the department homepage for details. If you have failed the test you will have to retake it the following semester. There is no limit to the number of re-sits.

You can find more information on the department homepage, namely here. We encourage you to read the information carefully.

Do I have to take the VELT test even if my first language is English and/or I have a certificate of proficiency?

Yes! Everyone has to take it in order to get into ILSS 1.

What happens during the VELT test?

Candidates will be divided into groups with different starting times according to order of last names (examination time: 30 min.). Starting times will be published on the department homepage in the News section or on the department facebook page (NOT on U:Find) one or two days before the exam date.

You must bring proof of identity with you (student ID, passport, or driver’s license)

What are teacher accreditation programmes (Feststellung der Eignung für das Lehramtstudium)?

These are entrance exams for the teaching programme BEd. Keep in mind that this exam is only held once a year! For more information please consult this website (German and English versions available).

What are Erweiterungscurricula?

These are additional courses to do during a BA or UF (Unterrichtsfach English, old teaching programme).

BA: If you are studying BA English and American Studies you will have to earn 45 of your 180 ECTS credits as Erweiterungscurricula, which just means that you have to pick some curses from other degree programmes. For Erweiterungscurriula for the BA programme, you can find more information here.

BEd: You will need to earn 10 ECTS credits as Erweiterungscurricula (Electives) for your BEd. If you do them via your English studies, they have to be offered by our department.

Erweiterungscurriculum “The World of English”: If you are not a student of English and American studies but are studying something else and want to take English as your Erweiterungscurricula, you can find course descriptions here as well.

Please keep in mind that you have to finish an Erweiterungscurriculum (i.e. the whole module, which is worth either 15 or 30 ECTS) in order for it to count towards your studies! You cannot do two half-finished ECs and merge them in order to get points.

What is the Supplementary examination in Latin (Lateinergänzungsprüfung)?

If Latin has not been part of your curriculum after grade eight of your school education (at least 10 Wochenstunden), you will have to take supplementary examination before completing your degree. Find out more here (information available in English, German and French). There is also a support group on Facebook: Latein Ergänzungsprüfung.

For more information, please have a look at our section: https://sturepeastudies.wordpress.com/f-a-q-s/lateinerganzungsprufung/

What is Moodle?

Moodle is the e-learning platform of the university and will be your life from this point onward. Your log-in information is your student ID and your U.SPACE password. On this platform your instructors will post materials, power point slides, course schedules and homework instructions. Most Moodle sites also feature a forum to contact your classmates.

What is U:SPACE?

Uspace is the registration platform of the university (USPACE). It allows you to register for courses, lectures and exams; check your grades; update your personal information like your address; and check your payment status on your tuition/students’ union fee. It requires you to use your student ID and your password to log in.

Can I take a leave of absence from my studies?

You absolutely can for a number of reasons. Please read the page here for detailed information. During a leave of absence your programme is not continued, which also means you are not allowed to attend courses, hand in papers or sit exams. Please note that the deadlines for applying for a leave of absence are November 30th during the winter semester and April 30th during the summer semester.

2. Classes & Exams

How and when can I register for courses and exams?

Registration for both is done via U:Space. (Read up on registration here.)

Please note that you also have to register for lectures on U:SPACE, which unlike for courses you can register any time during the semester up until one week before the exam. Registration for courses are split into two phases, with the first registration phase usually three to two weeks before the start of the semester and the second phase during the first week of the semester. Before the start of a new semester, you can find the exact dates here.

Allotting points: During the registration process, you will be asked to allot points. You start each semester with a total of 1000 points and you can set as many of these as you want for any course you can register for. The more points you set for a course, the more likely it is you are going to get in. If you take multiple courses in one semester you will need to prioritize.

De-registration: In case you want to de-register from a course, you can do so until the end of the first month of a semester without further repercussions. Any de-registering after this point will have to be discussed with the course instructor as well as the SSS, however you might still receive a negative grade.

Similarly, registering for lecture exams is also done on UNIVIS. You can register for or de-register from an exam from four weeks to up to two days before the exam is held. As a rule, you can repeat a lecture exams and courses three times (meaning you have four tries total). Your fourth try in a lecture exam will be an oral exam that you will need to register for in person. For this, you will have to contact Monica Dirnberger to schedule an exam date and register with the SSC.

What should I do if two or more classes overlap?

Some lectures, especially the StEOP ones, are being streamed. You can access the live stream and recorded streams via Moodle.  You can also ask your colleagues for notes, either in person or in our facebook group (see our contact details, or further down this page), or if someone would be willing to swap course places to a more convenient time slot. All other classes require your regular attendance, however, and are not streamed – you will need to prioritize.

I’m on the waiting list for a class – what now?

If you find yourself on a waiting list (as you can see on UNIVIS next to the respective course) you still have some options. Your best bet will be to show up for the first session; should someone who had a fixed place not come for the first session (unexcused), you might still have a chance. Failing that, you might want to ask around among your colleagues online and in person in case anyone drops out of a class. Additionally, check the NEWS section of the department homepage for news of openings or extra courses.

How can I register for tutorials?

Tutorials don’t require registration. We will of course keep you informed about tutorial dates and times.

How can I register for the PPOCS 1 lab?

A few days after you have been allotted a place in a PPOCS 1 course you will be asked to register for a lab. This registration is not done on USPACE, you will have to check with your supervisor. You do not have to set points for the lab.

What books or other materials do I need for classes?

Your instructors will provide a list of mandatory and extra reading in the first class of the semester. You may want to check the facebook group regularly, since more advanced students often sell their old books for a fraction of the price, you might get lucky!

Where can I find lecture notes?

If you could not attend a lecture of find you need more information, your best bet is to ask your colleagues in our facebook group, Anglistik Wien.

What is the CFT?

All students have to sit the Common Final Test (CFT) during the course “Integrated Language and Study Skills 2” (ILSS 2). This is a standardized test in which your academic reading and argumentative writing skills are being tested. Don’t hesitate to ask your ILSS 2 instructor.

I received a negative grade and I feel I was unfairly assessed. What do I do?

If the assessment of an exam was faulty, you can appeal by contacting the BiPol, they will advise you on your options. Please note that the English department cannot do appeals.

3.Thesis supervision

As of 2015, eight additional senior post-docs have agreed to take on supervision for diploma, MA, and PhD theses. You can find their name at the end of the complete list of supervisors. For contact information, please consult the staff page.

4.Studying Abroad

Yes, you can! A lot of information on the Erasmus programme can be found here. You will find details on the Erasmus exchange programme, coordinators and the recognition of courses you attended during your stay abroad. For questions please contact Mag. Monika Wittmann at monika.wittmann@univie.ac.at.

5. Recognition of exams and foreign degrees

General information and forms can be found here.

If you have questions concerning recognition of internal exams please contact Michaela Pasterk.

If you have questions concerning recognition of external exams, please contact Mag. Iris Vukovics.

If you have questions regarding recognition of exams from the old teaching degree to the new one, please contact Michaela Pasterk.

If you have questions regarding recognition of exams and credits acquired during an exchange programme (Erasmus or non-EU) please contact Mag. Monika Wittmann.

Application for recognition is not possible via U:Space, it needs to be done in person by handing in this form as well as your latest report card containing the exams you want to have recognized at the SSS.

If you are unsure whom to contact, contact the SSS directly at sss.anglistik@univie.ac.at or via phone +43 1 4277 45113.

6. Anything else?

Do we offer English tutoring for high schoolers or similar?

Unfortunately, the student representatives cannot offer tutoring lessons in English for students. If you are looking for English tutoring, feel free to post an offer/request in our Facebook group or put a notice on one of the advertisement boards at the English Department. There are plenty of English students who are willing to tutor.

What is the “Handbuch für Lehrende”?

This is the official manual for teaching staff of our university. It is freely available for everyone to read here (PDF; unfortunately only available in German). Some aspects of the manual, for example the information obligation of teachers, the difference between ECTS and semester hours (Semesterstunden), registration and de-registration, are also of interest for students, so we encourage you to take a look.

Where can I connect with my fellow students outside of classes?

The student representatives manage a facebook group for the English department: Anglistik Wien. Here you can find support, ask questions, exchange notes, compare experiences concerning professors and courses, and find information about upcoming events. We also offer a multitude of clubs and societies which you can find here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s