FernUniversität in Hagen

FernUniversität in Hagen is the only state-funded distance education university in the German-speaking community that offers quality-assured, supervised distance teaching with Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, doctoral studies as well as numerous certificates and Open Access studies. Established in 1974 as a university of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it is today Germany’s largest university in terms of student numbers, offering German-language study programs and flexible study options that can be adapted to the life situations of its diverse student body. All academic fields pursue both theoretical and applied research in the academic fields of its five faculties: Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Economics and Business Administration as well as Law.

Students sitting on the Campus of the FernUniversität Foto: Torsten Silz

FernUniversität in Hagen is member of the European University Association (EUA), the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), the European University Continuing Education Network (EUCEN), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD; German Academic Exchange Service), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation) and the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK; German Rectors’ Conference).

  • The teaching concept developed at FernUniversität in Hagen is based on the Blended Learning method and combines printed study materials with multimedia and Internet-assisted forms of teaching and learning as well as optional face-to-face seminars. Studies at FernUniversität can thus be organized according to individual life situations with full flexibility concerning time and location. The multi-faceted gateway for virtual student support is complemented by personal counselling and mentoring, student study groups and seminars on-campus in Hagen or in regional centers in Germany and abroad. FernUniversität’s eTeaching Certificate offers extensive in-house training for staff focusing on instructional design in e-learning and distance teaching.

    The distance-learning program [German Site]

  • Research at FernUniversität ranges from theoretical research to application-oriented research projects. Research is embedded in the traditions of the respective subject areas; in addition to these subject-specific projects, the range also includes both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects.

    Research on distance education has, of course, been a major interdisciplinary field at FernUniversität since its founding. In 2017, the interdisciplinary focus “Digitalization, diversity, and lifelong learning” has been established. Other projects include Media Didactics and Research, Diversity Inclusion in Media-Assisted Distance Teaching, Cooperative Working and Learning in Virtual Organizations and Technologies for the Knowledge Society.

    To support its researchers, FernUniversität has an extensive portfolio of funding instruments at its disposal.

    Research [German Site]

  • Five faculties offer a wide range of subjects from humanities and social sciences, psychology, business administration and economics, mathematics and computer science, as well as legal studies. More than 20 German-language degree programs leading to internationally recognized Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees can be studied. In addition, numerous Certificates and Open Access Studies in continuing and professional education, some of which are offered in English, complement career planning or build on academic qualifications already acquired. Students enroll in full or part-time depending on their needs. Of course, opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral studies are also available at FernUniversität. On the labor market, graduates of FernUniversität are appreciated for their proactiveness, organizational skills, and strength of purpose.

    Course offerings [German Site]

  • FernUniversität values diversity and is committed to equal opportunities in education. Students come with a great variety of educational biographies, originate from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and pursue individual educational goals. FernUniversität provides people in regular employment and vocational training, with family responsibilities or physical handicap, individuals living abroad, top athletes and highly gifted secondary school students with an opportunity to acquire academic qualifications. About 80 % of our students are in regular employment. FernUniversität has been one of the first universities to admit professionals with non-academic vocational qualifications. The university offers support to students with disabilities or chronic illnesses, for example, by audio tactile processing of study materials. As a family-friendly distance education university, FernUniversität is committed to promoting the compatibility between family, employment, and studying.



  • This faculty investigates collective action and societal phenomena by looking at their emergence and development within specific historical, social, political or cultural contexts.

    Programs are offered in several disciplines, including educational and political sciences, literary studies, sociology, history and philosophy. Together, they cover a total of more than 20 subject areas.

    Here, scientists are engaged in analyzing and explaining from different perspectives society’s mechanisms of action, history and state of knowledge. In this context, society can be understood as a place of diversity in values and standards, life situations or cultural and social characteristics. The research findings are included in the teaching program and are used for further development of course contents.

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences [German site]

  • This faculty practices connectivity between its subject-related cultures of Mathematics, Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering. The common denominator of the faculty’s subjects consists of logical structures, formalisms, figures, formulae and algorithms, i.e. mathematical expressions and ways of logical thinking. Researchers engage in detecting underlying structures in various contexts, identifying their patterns and describing them in the form of abstract models. Inversely, computerized and technological systems are derived from abstract models and sequence descriptions.

    For students, this means that not one of these subjects can be studied without including content from the others. Computer Science requires a basic knowledge of mathematics, while for Mathematics some knowledge of computer science is also necessary. Due to the blurred borderlines between the disciplines, graduates may be found in a variety of occupational fields. Studies in Mathematics may quite easily lead to a position in the software industry, while graduates in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering may find their place in the automotive industry.

    Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science [German site]

  • Within this faculty 12 professorships do research and teaching combining non-clinical traditional as well as innovative basic and applied psychological disciplines.

    The faculty is the only one at a state university offering Bachelor and Master degree programs in psychology via distance learning. These programs are the largest ones in terms of student numbers in the German-speaking language community.

    Research activities and know-how are pooled in two innovative interdisciplinary research focuses: “Psychology of Digitalized Education” and “Psychology, Diversity and Social Cohesion”. Thanks to its research, which is excellent, internationally visible and publically taken up, the faculty contributes to answering research questions and future issues with high scientific and public relevance. It has unique expertise in quantitative online experimental and replication research.

  • The Faculty of Business Administration and Economics forms the nexus between science, industry, commerce, and society and qualifies students for a position in this complex decision-making environment.

    Thanks to the cooperation between the three subject areas of Business Administration, Economics and Business Informatics, the Faculty has an interdisciplinary program and offers a wide scientific portfolio in its Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. In terms of student numbers, it ranks among the largest faculties of economic sciences nation-wide.

    Thanks to the wide range of modules available, students are able to specialize at an early stage for their future fields of occupation: from accountancy, organization/human resources and logistics to marketing.

    Besides subject-related research, the faculty focuses on interdisciplinary and application-related research and research questions with social relevance. The portfolio of specialized research includes the analysis of computer-assisted corporate information processing, the investigation of behavior in service processes, as well as research on environmental economics, sports controlling, personnel management, investment theory, and fighting corruption. Jointly with the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, the scientists explore ways to optimize decision-making processes with the help of new software.

    Faculty of Business Administration and Economics [German site]

  • In addition to offering study programs with a high degree of occupational relevance, the Faculty of Law has also positioned itself as a place for excellent research. It enables students who do not wish to enroll at an on-campus university to study jurisprudence and acquire the degrees Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws, and the German national degree “Erstes Staatsexamen”. The Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws in particular attract those in regular employment who wish to acquire legal knowledge for their work in industry and commerce, in associations and in administrative positions.

    The Faculty of Law offers modules, certificates, and degree programs in contract design, negotiation techniques, argumentation, conflict resolution and mediation, thus responding to changing demands on the legal profession.

    From research projects in the various subject areas, these main areas of research have emerged: Basic Principles of Law and their economic relevance in the international context, Civil Law, Public Law and Criminal Law.

    Faculty of Law [German site]


International and Flexible

FernUniversität’s distance education model enables students to study wherever they are: Thanks to virtual as well as printed study material shipped worldwide and the possibility to take exams in any country, studying defies borders. FernUniversität is constantly extending its Internationalization at Home offerings: Students are able to take part in international collaborative modules, international summer schools, and virtual mobility programs. Thus, studying from abroad temporarily, or during the whole course of study – or staying at home with international components in one’s studies: everything is possible at FernUniversität. Both students and university staff have access to mobility programs, including Erasmus+, that support internships, trainings and studying abroad. The Internationalization Strategy outlines FernUniversität’s goals in further internationalizing research, teaching and administration of FernUniversität in Hagen.

International and cosmopolitan [German Site]


As a university dedicated to international cooperation in research and teaching, we are always happy to hear from our international colleagues and from potential new partners. Please do not hesitate to contact us:

Prof. Dr. Uwe Elsholz Foto: Hardy Welsch

Prof. Dr. Uwe Elsholz

Vice-President for Continuing Education, Transfer and International Affairs

E-Mail: prorektor.internationalisierung

International Office

E-Mail: international

For more information please contact the international office:

International Office

Student Registration

E-Mail: zulassung.ausland

Student Advisory for (prospective) students with international diplomas and certificates