With the ERASMUS program - EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students – the European Union supports inner-European mobility of students for more than 20 years. ERASMUS is based primarily on bilateral agreements between European partner institutions – ERASMUS coordinators at RWTH Aachen University resp. at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the colleagues at the respective partner university help you to plan your studies abroad so that nothing gets in the way of a smooth semester abroad (“learning agreement”). Furthermore, they are available as your contact persons for all questions and problems concerning your study abroad – do not hesitate to come to the Exchange Office during their office hours or to ask for contact information of ERASMUS coordinators of your future host university.
After your stay at one of our partner universities, you will receive a transcript of records which you submit to the Study Abroad Counseling at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering for accreditation of your grades at RWTH Aachen University.
Besides the intense mutual trust between ERASMUS partner universities, the omission of tuition fees, the mobility grant and the simplified accreditation of academic performances are major advantages if you wish to study abroad with ERASMUS. Within the Engineering Department numerous ERASMUS-cooperation agreements exist over all of Europe – you can find an overview in the download area!
Interested? Then in the following you can find information regarding the application process. For further information the Exchange Office of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering will be glad to assist you.
Requirements, Application, and Contact
Which requirements do I have to fulfill?
Please note the basic general information concerning study abroad and get yourself at least rudimentarily acquainted with the topic of Accreditation of Academic Performances.
An application thus only makes sense if you are already studying in your 5th semester or a higher semester (Diploma program: main course) at the beginning of your study abroad. The ideal time of application, therefore, is the 3rd semester. Irrespective of your semester, as a Bachelor's student you must have accumulated 60 CP (credit points) at the time of your application, or if you are a diploma student, you must have passed your preliminary studies. An application during your Master's studies is also possible (due to the maximum accreditation limit of 30 CP, we recommend one semester abroad only).
If, during your application semester, you are enrolled for exams which will only then add up to the 60 necessary CP, your application may still be considered – but under the condition that you pass these exams and that you have reached the minimum of 60 CP by the beginning of the next semester!
When do I apply?
To apply through the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering the documents mentioned under Application Portfolio must be submitted to the Exchange Office by the following deadlines:
- Jan 15th for applications for the next winter and summer semester, or exclusively for the next winter or second summer semester to follow
- April 15th for applications exclusively for the next summer semester
Incomplete or handwritten applications will not be considered.
Some bilateral agreements exist through cooperative agreements of individual chairs. In these cases, contact the responsible professor directly and ask whether they accept your application or whether they wish to delegate this task to the faculty assistant.
In the event they accept your application, please also inform the responsible faculty assistant. If a professor examines your application, the criteria might differ from those of the Faculty!
Where do I apply?
As mentioned earlier, the ERASMUS program is based on fixed exchange agreements defined in bilateral contracts between two partner institutions. Although the International Office as a central university institution is responsible for the program (e.g. with regards to the payment of mobility installments), it is the duty of the faculties to accept ERASMUS applications and to evaluate them according to their own criteria.
Those students nominated by the Faculty for an exchange with the partner universities during a selection process will finally be announced to the International Office.
Therefore, address your application documents to the Exchange Office of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. More information on this is avaiblable under Application Portfolio.
Which academic performances do I have to complete abroad?
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering has joint a university-wide regulation according to which only a minimum of 15 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) per study abroad semester within the ERASMUS program have to be completed. These are those ECTS which are noted on your Learning Agreement and, after the end of your study abroad at your host university, on your Transcript of Records (the certificate issued by the host university).
Please note that ECTS can exclusively be awarded for successfully completed exams. If you achieve less than 15 ECTS, you can expect the International Office will reclaim the ERASMUS mobility stipend! Also note that language acquisition is not the goal of the ERASMUS program – language difficulties will not be accepted as a reason for having achieved less than 15 ECTS abroad!
Certain partner universities (for example France, Switzerland) demand enrollment for classes corresponding to 30 ECTS, independent from regulations in Germany. You have to keep this in mind while preparing your study curriculum; your form "Mein Studienvorhaben" should always comprise 30 ECTS when you apply for programs.
What language level do I need?
Generally, language skills at at least the B1 level (in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages GeR) in the language of instruction are recommended, in order to successfully participate in courses abroad. If the list of ERASMUS partner universities (see downloads below) published by the Exchange Office does not indiciate a higher level, you should have at least a B1 level in the language indicated.
If your skills are a maximum of one level belowe the level recquired (e.g. your Spanish skills are at the A2 level but B1 is needed) at the time of application, your application will be considered under the following conditions: If you are nominated, you must achieve the required level by the time your study abroad begins. If you do not fulfill this requirement, the host univeristy may not accept your nomination. Please remember that some universities require current proof of language skills (no older than 2 years) or even require proof of language skills at the required level at the time of registration, meaning months before you even begin your studies. You should make sure you clarify this in advance so that your study abroad doesn't fall through due to lacking language skills. The Exchange Office cannot issue a certificate of language skills higher than you can provide documentation of.
May I (Student of Business Administration and Engineering) simultaneously apply at the School of Business and Economics?
Students of Business Administration and Engineering (field of Mechanical Engineering) may apply either at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering or at the School of Business and Economics. A double application is impermissible; possible double applicants will be disqualified!
How do I apply and which documents do I have to submit?
How do I apply and which documents do I have to submit?
You have the possibility to apply for up to three universities with one application portfolio. We make an effort to nominate each student for her or his preferred university. However, due to the exchange ratio agreed upon in the bilateral agreements, this is oftentimes not possible – our Exchange Office can provide you with the rough ratio of applications at a partner university X to the number of available spaces.
Therefore, please prioritize your possible universities to allow us, in case of a non-nomination at your host university with the highest priority, to nominate you at your next prioritized university.
The following documents must be included in every application:
To fill out on the online platform:
- Registration with personal data
- Information about yourself and your general motivation for the stay abroad
- Three letters of application in German – one per desired destination –, addressed to the Faculty’s Study Abroad Counselor
- Academic goals – Studienvorhaben – one per desired location
To upload to the online platform:
- Tabular resume in German
- Proof of academic performance:
- From Bachelor's students with at least 60 CP:
- German transcript from the ZPA or from RWTHonline, with all grades provided up to one decimal point
- From Master's students:
- Copy of the Bachelor's certificate
- If you already have completed academic performances in your Master's course of study, you must also sumit an overview of your grades in German from the ZPA or RWTHonline, with all grades provided up to one decimal point
- From Bachelor's students with at least 60 CP:
- Proof of extracurriuclar involvement/volunteer work, for example the Buddy program, church work, et cetera
- Proof of language skills – one of the following:
- Aachen Foreign Language Certificate
- Placement test from the RWTH Aachen Language Center. Please make sure to make an appointment early on to take the language test.
- Language certificate for a stay abroad from the RWTH Aachen Language Center
- Language certificate from TOEFL, DELE, CAMBRIDGE, ...
- Abitur certificate as proof of English skills:
- Level A2 is explicitly written on your Abitur certificate or you have successfully completed at least four years of school English
- Level B1 is explicitly written on your Abitur certificate or you have successfully completed at least five years of school English at Gymnasium or six years at a Gesamtschule
- Level B2 is explicitly written on your Abitur certificate or you have successfully completed at least seven years of school English
- Abitur certificate as proof of other language skills, such as French, Spanisch, Italian, et cetera
- Level A2 is explicitly written on your Abitur certificate or you have successfully completed at least two years of the foreign language, having begun the foreign language in the 6th or 8th grade
- At least three successful years of the foreign language, having begun the foreign language in the 5th grade
- Level B1 is explicitly written on your Abitur certificate or you have successfully completed at least four years of the foreign language at Gymnasium or five years at a Gesamtschule
- Level B2 is explicitly written on your Abitur certificate or you have successfully completed at least five years of the foreign language at Gymnasium or six years at a Gesamtschule
- Note: The copy of your Abitur certificate does not need to be notarized.
- Other proof of language skills will only be accepted upon prior agreement from the Faculty's Study Abroad Counselling.
When submitting your application, be sure to read the general information about study abroad and getting credit for academic performance abroad. If you have questions about ERASMUS, don't hesitate to contact our Study Abroad Counselling.
Your application portfolio should be uploaded to our online registration platform. The platform will be available a month or so before the deadline.
Please read the general information about study abroad and accreditation of academic performances from abroad while compiling your application!
If you have any questions regarding your participation in ERASMUS you can contact our Exchange Office any time!
Frequently asked questions
According to which criteria will my application be examined?
While evaluating your application, points for several criteria will be awarded. Subsequently all applicants will be sorted according to their points. If there are more applicants for one university than available spaces, the best candidates according to the points awarded will be chosen. Furthermore, at least half of all possible points must be attained.
The individual criteria are:
- Grade of preliminary studies resp. GPA of academic performances so far (Bachelor) resp. GPA of Bachelor Diploma (Master)
- Your application (above all motivation, completeness, optical impression, …)
- Your curriculum for your study abroad (a recognizable central theme, preparation, preoccupation with the university’s offers, …)
Curriculum does not mean a completed change of curriculum; this you have to apply for after getting accepted for an ERASMUS place.
- Extracurricular commitment (e.g. Buddy Program, scouts, church involvement, etc.)
- Language certificate (It will not be awarded any points to compare applicants, but it must be included in the application).
Which role does my GPA play?
First of all we would like to encourage you apply to apply to study abroad with ERASMUS irrespective of your GPA. Although we include your GPA in the evaluation of your application, the overall impression we have of you as a person after examining your documents is crucial. The letter of motivation therefore is significantly important – pay attention to formulate your claims to the semester abroad as precisely as possible and show us that you thought about integrating the academic performances from abroad into your local curriculum at RWTH Aachen University. Feel free to embellish your core message which you would like to communicate in your letter of motivation with short episodes about the country and people – the reflection of the respective academic system and the desired course of studies abroad do, however, form the core element of your letter of motivation!
Convince us about yourself through volunteer or extracurricular commitment. No matter whether you are active in a church group, show political commitment in a party, look after international students within BeBuddy, organize group camps for the scouts or work in a student organization – we reward your commitment with special points upon the appropriate confirmation.
Please note: In some cases, we are asked by the partner universities to pay special attention to grades. If, for instance, you wish to go to Imperial College or to a French University, your grades in mathematics and physics should be good to very good. You will not do yourself a favor by applying with “average” grades.
How binding are the elements listed in the form "Mein Studienvorhaben"?
Your statements reflect your planning status upon submission of your application. It should be thought out so well that it may be implemented for the most part. Due to, for example, changes in course offers this is not always possible. Therefore, you may modify your curriculum on site abroad – in this case, it is necessary to change your learning agreement.
Please view all the information about the partner universities regarding their course offers for guest students with great care. Sometimes e.g. economics classes may not be open to guest students. In this case you will not do yourself a favor by listing exclusively economics classes on your learning agreement. Although many things may be clarified with the coordinators on site (e.g. participation in classes of other departments), for the moment, please regard the facts on the homepages of your possible host university as binding!
Do I have to complete certain academic performances as an ERASMUS student abroad?
The DAAD plans to introduce the obligation to earn 30 ECTS credits per semester (ECTS = European Credit Transfer System). The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering has adopted a university-wide regulation according to which only at least 15 ECTS per semester abroad have to be earned within the framework of ERASMUS. These are ECTS, which are noted on your Learning Agreement and, after completing your study stay at the host university, on your Transcript of Records, or the CP, which is recognised by the RWTH for your study abroad (in the last case additional subjects are not counted).
Please note that ECTS can only be awarded if you have successfully passed the examination. If you achieve less than 15 ECTS, the International Office will initiate a (partial) reclaim of the ERASMUS mobility rate! Please also note that language acquisition is not the aim of the ERASMUS programe - language difficulties will therefore not be accepted as a reason for having earned less than 15 ECTS abroad!
Some partner universities (e.g. France, Switzerland) require you to take courses of e.g. 30 ECTS, regardless of the regulations at RWTH Aachen University. These regulations of the partner university are binding for you. You must take this into account when drawing up your study plan; your study plan should therefore always include 30 ECTS for application.
At the university I chose only very few credits are awarded for each course. This is different at other universities. Why is this so?
How classes are assigned ECTS credits is not unified throughout Europe, despite the name. The rule listed above, requiring you to attain 15 ECTS abroad, remains unchanged.
What are the next steps after nomination?
As mentioned earlier, you apply by January 15 or April 15 respectively each year in the Faculty. The faculty evaluates your applications on the basis of an internal ranking and tries to place you at the partner universities according to your preferences. As soon as the selection procedure is completed, you will be informed of the outcome in writing. You will receive feedback by the end of March at the latest.
The Faculty then nominates you at the partner universities. Nevertheless, every student is requested to register also at an early stage as an ERASMUS nominee at the partner university. In most cases, this is a pure formality – your actual application for participation in ERASMUS is already finished at this point. Only at certain partner universities (Imperial College, French universities), will your application again be strictly examined – therefore please pay attention to requests mentioned in the partner universities’ overviews!
We will inform you in detail about the procedures to follow as well as the modalities for the accreditation of academic performances after the nomination.
Do I have to submit a separate statement of motivation for each of my selected universities?
Please submit a separate statement of motivation for each university selected, since your motivation can be different for each university, for example for the courses you have selected.
I completed my Bachelor's degree but have not yet received my B.Sc. certificate. What should I submit instead with my ERASMUS application?
Please submit a current transcript of records from CampusOffice or the ZPA in German.
Do I already need a Learning Agreement for my ERASMUS application?
No, do not submit a Learning Agreement. Instead, submit the form "Mein Studienvorhaben.“ You only need the Learning Agreement once you have been nominated.
The International Office website has different information and documents for the ERASMUS application process than the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering website. Which should I use?
Please always follow the information and directions on our faculty website.
Can I submit my application via mail?
In an emergency, for example if you have problems uploading or registering in the online platform, you can print your application and submit it via mail. However, we prefer that you upload your application to our online platform.
Where can I find experience reports on the individual ERASMUS partner universities?
You can find numerous experience reports on the MoveOn platform of the International Office.
Can I also complete Master's courses early or additional subjects during my ERASMUS semester?
Yes. The choice is up to you, whether you complete a project or your Bachelor's or Master's thesis while abroad. If you choose the latter, you should directly apply for funding from ERASMUS Internship Funding through Birgit Thun in the International Office, regardless of when our application deadlines are.
In addition to the applications I submit through the faculty, I would like to apply through an institute, e.g. ITA.
Do the applications through the institute count towards my three selected universities that I submit when applying through the faculty?
No, the applications that are submitted directly to the institute through the institute partnerships and that aren't submitted through the online platform, do not count towards the three priority universities. This means you can apply to more than three universities. However, make sure you know all of the deadlines and application requirements for the respective institute since these may differ from the faculty's.
I would like to do an internship abroad in Europe. Can I also be supported by ERASMUS?
Yes, my internship abroad in Europe can also be supported by ERASMUS. The internship must last at least 60 days and must be a compulsory or voluntary part of the study program. The Erasmus+ program can also be used to receive support for theses that have a practical focus and are written at universities or companies in European countries. The monthly scholarship varies between 250 and 370 euros, depending on the cost of living in the target country. Further detailed information on application requirements, funding levels, the application procedure and much more can be found here.
The semester periods at the partner universities differ from those of RWTH Aachen University. Which semester at RWTH Aachen University corresponds to the fall term or spring term at the partner university?
Even if the semester periods are different, the fall or Autumn Term at a partner university corresponds to our winter semester. Accordingly, the Spring Term corresponds to our summer semester. Please note the semester periods of your chosen partner universities before applying for ERASMUS.
In the ERASMUS partner list, for my preferred university, there are two languages in the column "Language skills". Does this mean that I have to speak both languages?
No, in this case you will need to prove your language skills in only one of the two languages. Please pay attention to the indicated language level (if no explicit level is given, B1 is required).
Example: If you wish to study at a university in Italy and the following language skills are listed: "Italian (B1) / English": Even if you do not speak Italian at the time of application, or if you do not speak enough Italian at the time of application, you can still apply for this university if you can prove that you have a good command of the English language and if you can find sufficient English language courses. We strongly recommend that you refrain from applying if you find only a few English-language courses at the host university, as courses are occasionally not offered or overlap with other courses. Please bear in mind that you must earn at least 15 ECTS per semester. If you do not reach this target due to a lack of course choice, you will have to repay the ERASMUS scholarship in full or in part.
In my ERASMUS application, I have to choose a specific faculty/study program at the host university. What are the consequences of my choice for my later choice of modules abroad?
We will nominate you for the faculty/study program you chose in your application. In retrospect, a change is not possible, or only in very rare circumstances.
Please assume that you have to choose all courses from the chosen faculty/department only. Some universities allow exchange students to choose individual courses at other faculties, but you should not rely on this when applying.
I would like to have a stay abroad in Switzerland. Do the same rules apply as for ERASMUS?
The application formalities for a study stay at our Swiss partner universities (Swiss-European Mobility Programme) are the same as for the ERASMUS programme.
If, however, you are interested in a research stay at ETH Zurich, please take a look at our website on this topic and contact us.
I would like to do ERASMUS in the United Kingdom. How is this project Influenced by the Brexit?
The consequences of a (possibly no deal) Brexit on future stays abroad in the United Kingdom are difficult to forecast. At the moment, it appears that the exchange contracts with the British partner universities will continue after Brexit, but it remains to be seen whether, for example, a tuition fee reduction can still be guaranteed.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has set up a website that shows the latest developments.