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Planning your programme

The Bachelor programme covers three years, with each year consisting of four quarters (two semesters). Courses are scheduled in a particular semester and quarter, and, in this prospectus, are also shown in the context of a given planning per year (first year, second year and third year). The content of the first year is more or less fixed, and has no room for electives; however, in the second and third year there is more flexibility in the programme than the strict distribution across years suggests. In particular, you can partly create your own planning in relation to the specialisation of your choice as well as the so-called "mobility window" in year 3. For this reason, we are adding a little further explanation below, where we discuss different views on this flexibility.

  • Mobility window and going abroad

The mobility window is the autumn semester of year 3. It has been created in order to allow students to spend a semester abroad if they want to do so. It should be no problem to find courses at other universities that can be used to fill the minor and free electives of the bachelor programme, and perhaps, also one other course. Therefore, if you are considering going abroad in your third year, we advise you to already take look into this and take this into account when looking at your second year programme and deciding which courses to take.

  • Mobility window but not going abroad

Of course, if you are not thinking of going abroad, the slot for the mobility window can also be used for courses of your regular programme. This means that you can decide to move some second-year courses to the third year, and choose some electives (or minor courses) in your second year. However, this is not possible for all courses: there are some precedence relations between courses in the second year, which means that some courses in the spring semester depend on prior knowledge that you acquire in the fall semester. You can check the poster overview of the curriculum (pdf, 337 kB) to see to which courses this applies. You need to take prior knowledge into account when deciding which courses to postpone to the third year, and which to take in the second year.

  • Placeholder courses and specialisation electives

Finally, there is some room for flexibility in relation to the specialisations of your choice, and the selection of the placeholder course(s) that should be taken either in the second or the third year. For this, too, the poster overview can be helpful in planning. If you are taking the Cyber Security specialisation, you will see that both placeholder courses (NWI-IBC019 Operating System Concepts and NWI-IPC025 Hacking in C) are prior knowledge to the spring semester course NWI-IBC034 Operating Systems Security. In practice, this means that you need to take both placeholder courses in the fall semester of the second year. In order to reduce your study load in that semester, you can move another course to the third year. This could be, for example, NWI-IBC041 New Devices Lab if you have decided to take Software Science as your second specialisation, or NWI-IBC04 Functional Programming if you have decided to take Data Science as your second specialisation. Thus, you see that there are far more scenarios than the programme on paper suggests. Again, you can check the poster overview of the curriculum (pdf, 337 kB) to see to which scenario you would like to create.

  • First year delay

Of course, it is possible that you develop some delay in your first year, for example because you did not pass a course or were unable to take the exam due to some circumstance. In such cases, the flexibility of the fall semester in the second and third year can also help you to find your best scenario for catching up. In general, it is not a good idea to do so by planning to take the full second year programme as well as the first year course(s) that you did not pass: this is likely to cause overload and could potentially result in more delay. Instead, it will be helpful again to look at the precedece relations between courses, and postpone some that do not contain prior knowledge for courses in the subsequent semester. Also, you can look at your personal preferences and learning style to combine some courses that you find more difficult with ones that might come more easily to you, to spread the study load more evenly.

In conclusion, all this shows that there is much more flexibility in planning your programme than the curriculum on paper suggests. What works for you is very personal and related to your circumstances, preferences, learning style etc.; therefore, we suggest that you always consult your study advisor to explore options and decide which scenario would be best for you.