Scientific continuing education of the highest calibre
Five-year anniversary “School of Advanced Professional Studies”

Ulm University

On Friday, 25 November, the SAPS celebrated its five-year anniversary at Schloss Reisensburg. The "School of Advanced Professional Studies" (SAPS) was founded at Ulm University in November of 2011 as an institution for university-level continuing education and is specifically designed to accommodate students who wish to further their education while continuing in full-time employment. "Our primary aim was to develop opportunities for continuing education at the master's degree level," explained Hermann Schumacher, director of the Institute of Electron Devices and Circuits and scientific director of the SAPS. Schumacher and University Chancellor Dieter Kaufmann are seen as pioneers in developing this institute for advanced studies that is renowned throughout Germany.

The SAPS now offers several master's degree programmes designed for students continuing in full-time employment, as well as numerous certificate, bridge and online courses. A significant part of the programme funding has been awarded from external sources. Three master's degree programmes are now being offered on a regular basis: Management for Innovation and Science, Sensor System Technology and Actuarial Science. A programme entitled "Business Analytics" is currently being developed with the aim of preparing employees in companies to face the challenges of "Industry 4.0". A further master's programme is also in the planning stage in the field of biopharmaceutical science and medical technology. Director Dr Gabriele Gröger explains the SAPS's recipe for success: "What these programmes all have in common is that they have been developed specifically for students who are working full time and they have a modular structure, which enables us to tailor the programmes to the respective participants in terms of previous knowledge and individual timeframes".

Not all students are interested in pursuing an entire degree. For these students, the SAPS also offers the option of taking certain modules individually. Special certificates are awarded to recognise participation in the individual modules. The SAPS programme design is primarily based on the innovative "blended learning" concept, both in terms of methodology and teaching, in which online phases alternate with on-campus lectures. These self-study programmes have the benefit of being flexible, and yet closely supervised. What makes these programmes unique is that as current findings emerge from the teaching and learning research at the University, they then flow directly into the development of new modules - in the area of didactic instructional design, for instance. All of the University's faculties are involved in developing programme contents.

The SAPS is a true story of success.

"For the University, the SAPS is a true story of success, setting an example for other institutions across the country", says University President Professor Michael Weber, who expressed his congratulations at the celebration at Schloss Reisensburg on 25 November. The SAPS has been able to raise more than 6 million euros in external funding from the state of Baden-Württemberg, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the European Union.