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Term paper

See our Term Paper Guidelines.
Make sure to sign the declaration of independence for term papers (English or German version)


Lectures are completed with a written exam (90 minutes) or test (<90 minutes). The lecturer decides about his/her specific exam conditions. S/he will explain it at the beginning of the course. The written exam normally consists of questions directly referring to the lecture’s topics. We recommend attending the lectures regularly and always reading the basic texts. If you have understood issues within their contexts, you don’t have to learn by rote at the end of the semester.


Some lectures prefer three essays instead of a seminar paper. An essay examines a scientific question in a precise and ambitious form (about 5-8 pages). In contrast to a seminar paper, the essay is not a systematic and comprehensive handling of a topic but more a “lax”, but critical reflection. A good essay needs to raise an interesting question that has to be answered plausibly (question, thesis and topic). It also needs an argumentative structure.

The Harvard College Writing Center provides valuable strategies for essay writing.

Oral Exam

An oral exam takes about 20-30 minutes. The lecturer will explain his/her conditions at the beginning of the seminar. You either choose two or three topics from the seminar or you prepare a lecture about a topic of your choice and the lecturer will ask some additional questions. A good preparation is to hold a speech about your topic on your own or to your friends.


Check here guidelines on how to prepare and conduct a power point presentation.

For information about how to write the master thesis, please see our Master Thesis Guidelines.

Make sure to sign the declaration of independence for the Master's thesis (English or German version)

This option is only possible if the professor teaches the same seminar in the following semester. If he is not offering it, you must wait until the seminar is offered again or choose another seminar to do from the beginning. It is important to consult the seminar professor about this possibility.

It is important to note that once a student has confirmed his/her topic with the lecturer and then decides to not submit it, it counts as a first attempt. This means you will be graded “insufficient (5,0)” or “fail” and the attempt will be counted against the maximum number of attempts!

If you have a good reason for not handing in your work before the deadline, please contact the examiner and/or the examination board immediately.

Please read all relevant information about plagiarism carefully.

Sample papers can be found on the Blackboard of the FU Berlin. The selection is meant to give students an orientation in writing their own seminar papers (semesters 1 & 2), research reports (semester 3), and master's thesis (semester 4). Access: Follow the link to Blackboard, login, go to "Community", search for the organization Master "Sociology - European Societies" (just search for "sociology"), and become a member. In this organization, there is a separate area "Sample Papers".

Typically, there may be no formal registration process in general, but you might encounter specific requirements. For certain written exams, some professors may request you to send an email with personal information and an expression of intent to take the exam; they will inform you beforehand.

If you do not pass one of the mandatory lectures, you will be required to retake the entire course and reattempt the exam in the following semester, often extending to the next academic year, as these lectures are typically conducted annually. 

The outcome varies based on whether the professors plan to offer the same course in the upcoming semesters. In such instances, you may have the option to submit an alternative paper instead of repeating the entire seminar. However, if the professor is not offering the course anymore, you may need to start a new seminar from the beginning.

Yes, students can opt to take exams of the lectures in the following year without providing a reason. However, it's recommended to re-register for the course through Campus Management to access updated materials. There's no separate evaluation for active participation apart from passing the exam.

Yes. You must sign a declaration of independence

- for term papers (English or German version)
- for the Master's thesis (English or German version)

No, students don't need to retake the entire course or participate again if they plan to take the exam in the following year. They can simply register for the course (and thus the exam) through Campus Management and appear for the exam during the designated period. Please note that content may change, so accessing updated materials is advisable.