85 per cent of all courses of study at German institutions of higher education (13,000 of a total of 15,300 courses) had been converted to two-cycle Bachelor/Master courses by the beginning of the 2011/2012 winter semester. The universities of applied sciences in particular have virtually completed the reform. The majority of the courses that have not been converted lead to state or ecclesiastical qualifications.
Most Bachelor courses have been designed with a standard period of study of six semesters. However, approximately 20 per cent of Bachelor courses are designed to have a standard period of seven semesters, and a further eight per cent a period of eight semesters. The Master courses are mainly designed to take four semesters; but there are also Master courses lasting three or two semesters.
60 per cent of all students were enrolled in the new Bachelor/Master courses in the winter semester 2010/2011. More than three quarters of first year students (79.3 per cent) enrolled in courses which had been converted. The share of students graduating in the new courses of study was almost 44 per cent in 2010. These figures mirror the dynamics of the introduction of the two-cycle system, which will be reflected in the number of graduates in the years to come.
The public debate on the implementation of the Bologna reforms deals with questions of organizing study courses and the general acceptance of Bachelor qualifications. The Conference of Länder Ministers of Education (KMK) has amended the Joint Länder Structural Targets for the Accreditation of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Courses in order to improve the studiability of the courses, reduce the number of exams to be taken within a short period, and facilitate mobility and the recognition of qualifications. More importance will also be attached to studiability within the framework of accreditation.
Institutions of higher education, policy-makers and employers are endeavouring to make the Bachelor an attractive professional qualification whilst at the same time creating interesting opportunities for academic continuing education and careers in the academic world through Master's and doctoral degree programmes.