Universität Fribourg Université de Fribourg Suisse | Universität Freiburg Schweiz Course offerings

German as a Foreign Language


This study programme teaches the student, in theory and practice, how German as a foreign language is taught and learned. The basics of the description, planning, designing, analysis and evaluation of the language learning processes are thereby deepened. This programme also provides insights into intercultural communication, cultural studies and the use of literature in teaching foreign languages.
The bachelor programme for German as a Foreign Language at the University of Fribourg is unique in Switzerland. Students, who are enrolled in a main programme at another Swiss university, can therefore apply to enrol in the study programme as visiting students.
This study programme is also characterised by the close contact with the Institute of Multilingualism and with the Language Centre and profits from an ideal environment due to the multilingualism in Fribourg.

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Profile of the study programme

The study programme German as a Foreign Language (German acronym DaF) deals with the theory and practice of teaching and learning German as a foreign and second language. It prepares students to teach German as a foreign or second language both nationally and internationally, to be active as cultural mediators or to be able to analyse and evaluate teaching concepts with German as a foreign language.
It imparts the specialised basic knowledge for describing, planning, designing, analysing and evaluating language learning processes of German as a foreign or second language.
This includes linguistic fundamentals, such as knowledge of the basic concepts and methods used in linguistics, the acquisition of second or foreign languages and multilingual competences, dealing with mistakes and the evaluation of language competence, the knowledge of foreign language didactic approaches and methods and their curricular foundations, as well as insights into the concepts of intercultural communication, cultural studies and the use of literature in foreign language teaching.
During the course of the studies, the students collect and reflect on their own language learning experience: non-native speaking students continue to expand their language competence in German (introductory level: B2, target level C1+ and higher), native speaking students learn, among other things, a new language at the A1 level.

Fribourg profile
In addition to the bachelor programme, the University of Fribourg especially offers training courses in the field of foreign language didactics, or multilingualism, at master's level, among other things in German as a foreign language. Close contact is maintained with the Institute of Multilingualism, which in 2010 was designated as the Research Centre on Multilingualism of the Federal Government. The Ph.D. programme «Multilingualism: Acquisition, Education and Society» is organised by the Institute of Multilingualism and a documentation centre is operated. There is close cooperation with the university's Language Centre. Fribourg thus offers expertly qualified, research-based teaching, an excellent infrastructure and living bilingualism.
The University of Fribourg is the only university that offers German as a foreign language within the framework of a bachelor programme. In addition to pursuing a programme with 120 ECTS credits at a Swiss university, it is possible for students to absolve the programme with 60 ECTS credits as a minor programme visiting student upon application. This allows for interesting combinations, for example, with a bachelor in Sinology at the University of Zurich, in Linguistics at the University of Berne or in Psychology at the universities of Berne or Zurich.

Learning outcomes and career openings
Graduates have the basic scientific expertise to teach German as a foreign or second language, both nationally and internationally, and to understand and optimise teaching concepts with German as a foreign or second language.
They are aware of the linguistic, foreign language didactics and intercultural theories, concepts and methods that are the foundation of today's foreign language teaching. They are acquainted with the historical development of teaching and therefore have the foundation for evaluating new developments. They are able to analyse and evaluate teaching concepts for German as a foreign or second language and observe, plan and evaluate language learning processes. At the end of their studies, foreign language students are competent in German as a foreign language, at least at the C1+ level or higher.
Possible professional fields are assistance of migrants, language teaching in adult education, exchange programmes, occupation-specific or in-house language promotion, bilingual content-based teaching and language learning with multimedia programmes and conceptual activities in the field of foreign languages.
The programme can be combined with many other study programmes with 120 ECTS credits. It can, for example, be combined with sociology, social work and social policy, study of religions or social anthropology if students are interested in conceptual and practical work in the area of migration and bilingualism or intercultural mediation activity; with philology if they are interested in a broad-based foundation in teaching or if the focus is on foreign language teaching within adult education; or with educational sciences or education/psychology for activities in the field of educational planning or adult education.
Due to the strong demand for qualified teachers, it is possible to teach German as a foreign language, although the formal qualification in the form of a master's degree is still missing. In this way advanced students gather their first practical experience.
Those who wish to teach in public schools need pedagogic training at the master's level, whereas those who wish to teach German as a foreign language within adult education in private institutions should prepare to later acquire an SVEB (Swiss Association for Adult Education) certification (www.alice.ch).

Studies organisation

Structure of studies

60 ECTS credits as a minor study programme


http://studies.unifr.ch/go/IaFd2 (German only)


Language competence in German of at least B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is required.


The following Swiss school-leaving certificates grant admission to bachelor programmes at the University of Fribourg:

  • Swiss academic Maturity Certificate
  • Federal vocational or specialised Baccalaureate + supplementary examination of the Swiss Maturity Commission (passerelle)
  • Bachelor Degree from a Swiss university, from an accredited Swiss university of applied sciences (HES/FH) or from a Swiss university of teacher education (HEP/PH)

A complete list of all further recognised Swiss school-leaving certificates is to be found on the webpages of swissuniversities (in French and German only): http://studies.unifr.ch/go/en-admission-swiss-certificates

Foreign upper secondary school-leaving certificates are recognised only if they correspond substantially to the Swiss Maturity Certificate. They must qualify as general education. Foreign school-leaving certificates are considered to be general education if the last three years of schooling include at least six general education subjects, independent from each other, in accordance with the following list:

  1. First language (native language)
  2. Second language
  3. Mathematics
  4. Natural sciences (biology or chemistry or physics)
  5. Humanities and social sciences (geography or history or economics/law)
  6. Elective (computer sciences or philosophy or an additional language or an additional subject from category 4 or 5)

The general admission requirements to the bachelor programmes at the University of Fribourg for holders of foreign school-leaving certificates as well as the admission requirements for individual countries are to be found on the webpages of swissuniversities: http://studies.unifr.ch/go/en-admission-countrylist
In addition, foreign candidates must present proof of sufficient language skills in French or German.

The assessment of foreign school-leaving certificates is based on the «CRUS Recommendations for the Assessment of Foreign Upper Secondary School-Leaving Certificates, 7 September 2007» (http://studies.unifr.ch/go/crus07en). The admission requirements are valid for the respective academic year. The Rectorat of the University of Fribourg reserves the right to change these requirements at any time.