On the framework conditions of the #ismdistancelearningprogramme


Is there face-to-face teaching in the ISM distance learning programme?

  • No, the ISM distance learning programme is 100% online. All exams take place online too.
  • However, each module contains regular live sessions, where you can ask questions and have discussions.


How does an online exam work?

There are different types of assessment in the ISM distance learning programme: coursework, e-portfolio (here you perform various tasks over the course of a module, e.g. brief presentation, essay) and examinations. You can schedule your individual exam date at any time: you can start within 10 minutes! Of course, we offer you the chance to familiarise yourself with the technology in advance.


Do I have a “normal” student status as a student in the #ismdistancelearningprogramme?

If you are enrolled full-time in the distance learning programme, you are legally considered a regular student. This entails various benefits.


As a student in the #ismdistancelearningprogramme, can I also use the facilities at an ISM campus?

Yes, if you like, you’re welcome to come to one of our 7 sites. As well as using the library, you can also get advice at the career centre or international office, for example.


How time consuming is a distance learning programme? Will I still have time for my family or to work alongside my studies?

The ISM distance learning programme has been designed for precisely such circumstances. You can organise your studies entirely according to your time constraints (incl. desired examination dates). Depending on your experience, educational background, your personal learning style and the time you have available to study, you can choose between three time models:

  • Full-time (6 semesters)
  • Part-time 1 (9 semesters)
  • Part-time 2 (12 semesters)


It is possible to extend your studies by 12 months for free regardless of time model. You can also swap between time models.


How (often) can I swap my study model?

You can swap your study time model once a year by making an online request, which can be filled out and sent in the e-campus.


How does a semester of leave work?   

You can apply for a semester of leave at any time with three months' notice at the end of the month.


Can I also work as a working student?

It is possible to work parallel to the #ismdistancelearningprogramme if you are enrolled in the full-time model.


Is a distance learning programme recognised in the same way as a normal one?

The ISM is officially recognised for an unlimited period by the Ministry of Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (the ISM has its headquarters here). All degree programmes taught face-to-face are recognised by the Accreditation Council and meet the quality criteria of the FIBAA (Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation). The degrees are equivalent to those of state universities.


How do employers view distance leaning?   

A completed distance learning programme is a solid argument in your application or also for internal continuous development: you have demonstrated self-discipline and perseverance in particular (as well as your content-related development) over the course of the distance learning programme.


Does the distance learning programme at the ISM entitle me to a visa or residence permit in Germany?

Whether you’re from Austria, Switzerland or any other country in the world, you can complete your 100% digital ISM distance learning programme from anywhere. It is important to note that this does not entitle you to a visa or residence permit: According to Section 16.0.4 of the Residence Act, the programme must “constitute the main purpose of residence. These requirements are not met, for example, by an evening, weekend or distance learning course.”.

On the content of the #ismdistancelearningprogramme

Advantages of distance learning: what do I get out of a distance learning programme at the ISM?

There are six aspects that distinguish the distance learning programme at the ISM from other institutes:

  • You earn your degree through distance learning at a renowned business school, the International School of Management, which has been established in the market for 30 years.
  • Our lecturers are particularly practice-oriented and incorporate this in the distance learning programme: e.g. through case studies, workshops, presentations from guests.
  • The programme is 100% online and fits your lifestyle. As such, you can also obtain a German degree from abroad, for example.
  • Our multimedia learning activities have been completely newly created with current examples and lots of illustrations or videos. The teaching caters to different types of learning, allowing quick and varied self-learning.
  • The modular structure of the #ismdistancelearningprogramme offers you the greatest possible flexibility to focus on your interests and goals (e.g. variety of electives).
  • We believe in personal support from the beginning to end of your degree! Our Study Coaches will guide you throughout your studies.


What are the learning materials like?

Our multimedia learning materials have been completely newly created: current examples, elaborately illustrated textbooks, high-quality videos and different exercise materials for repetition. You can get a first look at selected learning materials in the taster course.



Who teaches the distance learning programme?

The teachers and lecturers in the distance learning programme all have a background in practice or work alongside teaching. They therefore bring a high level of practical experience to the study programme. What makes the teachers in the distance learning programme particularly special is their joy in developing and implementing a completely new, future-oriented degree with the distancing learning programme.


What device do I need for the programme?

To take part in the #ismdistancelearningprogramme, you need a computer or laptop with an up-to-date operating system (at the moment, this can be Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.9+, Ubuntu 18.04+, Chrome 58+). Additional software may need to be installed (currently: Google Chrome Browser).


Is a compulsory internship part of the distance learning programme?

An internship is not a standard part of the #ismdistancelearningprogramme as many students are working alongside their studies. But you can of course do a voluntary internship during your distance learning programme. You can contact the career centre at one of the ISM sites for support.


How does a semester abroad work?  

A semester abroad is not part of the ISM distance learning programme because many students are employed. However, you are welcome to spend a semester abroad if you wish (the costs for this are incurred separately). The international office at an ISM campus will be happy to help you find a suitable university.  

On admission/recognition of prior achievements

A semester abroad is not part of the ISM distance learning programme because many students are employed. However, you are welcome to spend a semester abroad if you wish (the costs for this are incurred separately). The international office at an ISM campus will be happy to help you find a suitable university.  

On admission/recognition of prior achievements


How can I study without an Abitur (high school diploma)?

You can also be admitted directly to the Bachelor’s degree programme without an Abitur or high school diploma if you have an intermediate school-leaving certificate as well as at least two years of commercial training and at least three years of professional activity in a commercial environment. If you have completed an advanced training course (e.g. master craftsman), we can also admit you directly. But even if you do not meet these conditions, you can still start studying with us: in this case, we offer a trial study programme or an entrance exam.


Can I switch between face-to-face learning and distance learning at the ISM?

You can of course switch between both types of study. However, to switch to a different type of study, you will need a new contract and you will have to terminate the previous contract. For recognition of equivalent academic achievements, it is best to contact the Student Advisory Service.   


Can I have semesters credited?   

  • We recognise equivalent prior knowledge and credit you with the corresponding ECTS credits. This saves you time and money. You can request recognition as part of your application. We provide you with a form for this.
  • Due to legal framework conditions, we cannot officially recognise your prior achievements until you have enrolled. However, we are happy to check your documents in advance so you know what to expect.


Application deadlines: when does a distance learning programme begin?

You can apply to study with us at any time. There are no deadlines to meet. Your studies start on the date of your choice (possible from 01/09/2021). However, we need a bit of time to check your documents, especially prior achievements, as we check each application individually. Therefore, we recommend not putting off your application for too long!


On getting to know the distance learning programme and the contract

Can I try out the distance learning programme - free of charge and without obligation?

Yes, you have two options:

  1. the taster course: before you even apply and enrol, you can get access to a selected area of our learning materials for 4 weeks as part of the taster course. Access is completely free of charge, without obligation and expires automatically. This allows you to find out if this type of study suits you.
  2. the test month: the first four weeks after you enrol count as the test period. You have access to all the learning materials. You can cancel any day within these four weeks, without incurring any costs. If you continue your studies, the test month will be considered the first study month and will therefore be charged.






How can you discontinue your studies? 

  • The #ismdistancelearningprogramme stands for fair cooperation and transparency without bait and switch offers. Your study contract allows you to finish your studies at many points in time without risking a long contract commitment.
  • In the first four weeks (test month), you can withdraw from the contract at any time; written form (e.g. email) is enough. This incurs no costs! If you continue your studies beyond the first four weeks, the normal fees shall apply from then (including for the first month).
  • During the second and third month, you can terminate the contract at any time in written form (e.g. by email) with effect from the end of the next month. The fees for the respective months shall then apply.
  • The enrolment fee (€300) is due at the end of the third month.
  • From the fourth month onwards, you can terminate the contract at any time with a notice period of three months at the end of the month.




FAQ Master's


What are the admission restrictions to the Master’s degree programmes?

In order to be admitted to a Master’s degree programme, you need a Bachelor’s degree with 180 ECTS credits, of which 50 ECTS credits must be in the field of economics and 10 ECTS credits in the fields of maths and statistics.   If you do not have these credits, you have the following options:

  • If you are missing 20 ECTS credits out of these 50 ECTS credits, you can start your Master’s degree and earn the missing ECTS credits in the first semester via bridging courses.
  • If you need more than 20 ECTS credits, you can earn these via bridging courses prior to your studies.
  • You can have relevant work experience in the field of management recognised. We are happy to check whether this would be an option for you.


What are bridging courses?

The aim of bridging courses is to expand skills in a specific subject area and to acquire basic knowledge. With each bridging course, missing ECTS credits can be gained after successfully passing the exam in order to be admitted to the Master’s degree programme. Before you take the course, we check on a case-by-case basis whether you meet the entry requirements with your prior knowledge and show you which bridging courses you need to complete. Our bridging courses are currently only offered in German and can be taken once you have enrolled in a Master’s degree programme.

You will be credited 50% of the costs of the bridging courses in the third semester of your Master's programme. We offer these modules as bridging courses:

  • Mathematics & Statistics (10 ECTS credits)
  • Introduction to Business Studies (10 ECTS credits)
  • Introduction to Economics (10 ECTS credits)
  • Financial Accounting, Balance Sheets, Cost & Activity Accounting (10 ECTS credits)
  • Theories & Methods of Business Administration (5 ECTS credits)
  • Innovation & Project Management (5 ECTS credits)

The course fee is €350 per 5 ECTS.


When do the live modules start?

Live modules always start anew at regular intervals. You can choose from a variety of fixed dates. The dates and times are scheduled in such a way that you can usually take part alongside your job: either in the evenings or, for example, as block events on Friday afternoons or at the weekend.


How does this fit with “start possible at any time”?

Thanks to the flexible timetable and the possibility of studying online, it is possible to start at any time. Some students start their first live module at the very beginning, whereas others only start after three months, for example. You can simply decide for yourself when you want to start. Students simply choose the course from the schedule of live modules that suits them best in terms of content and their timetable.


What if I miss a live module?

If you miss a session, you have access to various documents from the live session such as literature, recording of the presentation or notes.


How do live modules work?

The live modules have a seminar format and offer lots of space for discussion. Knowledge of the respective subject area is taught by one of the professors interactively within small groups, and theoretical aspects are considered comprehensively, in part experimentally. All participants work on the contents in a structured way, possibly in the preparation and follow-up. The focus is on acquiring expertise and skills.


How many sessions do live modules have?

The live modules either comprise 12 sessions lasting 90 minutes each or they take place as longer block events, which then reduces the number of sessions.


How can I prove that I have English B2?

  • If you have completed 30 ECTS credits in English in your Bachelor’s degree, this proof is valid for 5 years.
  • Relevant language certificates are valid for 2 years.
  • Proof in the form of professional experience in English-speaking environments or a degree in English is valid for 5 years.

You need to submit the relevant documents to us to demonstrate your English skills.


How much work can I expect to be involved in a full-time or part-time distance learning programme?

With us, you are in control of your study schedule and can be completely flexible in terms of time. Experience shows that at least 10 hours a week should be factored in for your studies. The 10 hours a week constitute the bare minimum of time needed to make any progress at all.  The time needed also depends on individual factors such as previous experience, ambition, performance requirements, motivation as well as your professional and personal circumstances. You have the option of making your full-time studies as comprehensive as a normal face-to-face programme or allowing yourself more time for the modules. You also have the option of studying all modules one after the other instead of in parallel. You can also set your own exam dates and avoid exam stress.


What types of assessment are there?

Our exams take place online. It is not necessary to be present on campus. Assessment takes the form of examinations, e-portfolio tasks (e.g. essays or brief presentations) and coursework. You can easily register for exam dates online via our e-campus.


When do the modules start?

We have no fixed dates when the semesters start or end, except for the live modules (see above). This means you can start at any time. It’s best to choose a time to start your studies when you can take your time to get into the swing of things. This is when your semester begins.


Can you study full-time and work full-time?

Yes, it’s possible to study and work full-time. However, you should be aware that this leaves very little time for leisure activities, friends and family. If you work full-time, we recommend studying part-time. If you feel that you can cope with the additional work, you can switch to studying full-time after the start of your part-time programme. It is possible to switch time model once a year.

If you study full-time, you can usually do a €450 job at the same time. If you’d like to work more, this is usually at the expense of your free time, meaning scheduling time for your distance learning programme at the weekend too, for example.

We offer you a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can combine your lifestyle ideally with the flexible distance learning programme. Our study coaches will also support you throughout your programme and help you choose the right study model.


What are the learning materials like?

We support your learning success with comprehensive learning materials and literature as well as smart formats such as instructional videos and live digital sessions.




Do you have any questions about your education? Then contact us!

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