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Applied Natural Sciences

Studying Applied Science in Germany

An article by Anant Garwala

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That is what it's about

They find chemical compounds that protect against sweat for 48 hours in deodorant, extract active ingredients from ivy leaves to relieve coughs, or work on lasers that shoot gigantic amounts of data from satellite to satellite through space. Graduates from the field of Applied Sciences have learned to think like scientists and at the same time like engineers and to derive practical benefits from this. Applied Sciences includes physical engineering, biotechnological and biomedical courses, and applied chemistry or chemical engineering. The courses are mainly offered at universities of applied sciences. Some have English names like Chemical Engineering or Biotechnology. In these cases, the courses are usually taught in English. But English is also important for much of the technical literature and sometimes for the final theses that are often written in cooperation with companies. Therefore, there are often extra English lessons. Benedikt Braun, 21, has chosen Applied Biology. He studies the discipline at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University. So much is possible in biology these days, he says, and he is determined to get involved. "We combine knowledge from biology, physics and chemistry, and in the process we come up with completely new things, for example plastic made from biodegradable material," he says. In fact, there is a lot of overlap between the disciplines, and even later in their careers, graduates often work together on new developments.

This is how the course runs

Depending on how long ago you had a mathematics or chemistry lesson, some may have to take a deep breath first. "But if you can make it through the first year, you can make it through the rest," Heilmann says. Before the start of the degree, students can voluntarily take preliminary courses in order to close gaps in their knowledge. The concentrated theory that often awaits students in the first semesters surprises some of those who have chosen to obtain a degree from a university of applied sciences because of its practical orientation. Also, the interdisciplinary curriculum doesn't appeal to everyone right away. "I didn't enjoy some of that at all," says Benedikt Braun. "I'm very interested in biology, and then I had to attend a computer science lecture. I had to really push through some events." In addition to a basic understanding of technology and science, you need creativity and skill when it comes to putting theoretical knowledge into practice in the laboratories. Prospective bioengineers in particular sometimes underestimate the technical relevance of their studies. "Some people are fooled by the prefix bio and think that science is the main focus. In biotechnology, the technical side is just as important," explain Professor Wolfram Meusel. The applied natural sciences courses are rarely subject to admission restrictions. Occasionally, there are admission restrictions for bioengineers. In Aachen they were was most recently at a 2.9 grade range. Otherwise, the entrance qualification for universities of applied sciences is almost always sufficient, all applicants get a spot. This differs for a Master's degree, you often need at least a good 2 grade range average from your Bachelor's degree to be admitted.

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