Some things may seem obvious to students who already study at Aalborg University, but not so to students coming from other universities and/or other countries. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.
- When does the semester start?
- When does the semester end?
- When do I have exams?
- How is the semester structured?
- A module of 15 ECTS? What am I going to study in this module?
- What is Problem Based Learning (PBL)?
The autumn semester starts in the beginning of September.
The spring semester starts in the beginning of February.
The autumn semester ends in January.
The spring semester ends in June.
Modules that do not require an oral presentation may have exams from November to January for the autumn semester and from April to June for the spring semester.
Exams that require an oral presentation are placed in the last two weeks of January (autumn semester) and June (spring semester). The hand-in date for the written reports for those exams is at least 10 days (including two weekends) before the oral exam.
Semesters 1-2 is structured in three course modules (5 ECTS) and one project module (15 ECTS). The 3rd semester is structured in two course modules (5 ECTS) and one project module (20 ECTS), and the 4th semester is structured in one master’s thesis module of all 30 ECTS.
The course modules give students technical and academic knowledge about relevant issues concerning service design. The course modules are examined via separate written or oral exams. In the project module, the students are given the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain via the courses in a semester project where they normally work with a large-scope problem, employing several of the tools which apply to the study programme and the profession.
A module of 15 ECTS may seem big, but it equals 12-13 weeks where the students work in groups on their semester project, developing technical, scientific and academic details in answering the project’s problem formulation. The project is often developed in collaboration with a company or an organisation, private or public, in order for the students to be able to work on a realistic case.
The project module is usually examined through a written report and an oral examination. The written report includes a product report in which the students present the content of the project. It also includes a process report where the students present the design process, including explanation of the methods used, theoretical reference and a critical discussion of the process.
Project exams are conducted individually even though the students have done the work together, so all students are equally examined.
Since its foundation, Aalborg University has adopted the Problem Based Learning (PBL) teaching model, which is highly respected both nationally and internationally. The study method is also known as problem based project work and, in brief, this means that in each semester, you work closely together with a group of fellow students on a large written assignment. The group work at AAU equips you well for the labour market where skills in cooperation are popular. And in turn, it gives you a realistic taste of “real life” in an industry workplace. At the same time, while entailing an important academic dimension, the social aspect of working together helps you thrive in your studies.
PBL provides students the opportunity for independent learning and achieving knowledge and skills at a high academic level. Many students also have the possibility of working with the business community to solve real-life problems. The learning model also helps the students learn how to analyse problems, how to work result-oriented and finally, how to work successfully as a team.