Double Degree Programme
M.Sc. Gesundheits- und Fitnesssport, Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz
Master Pedagogika pohybové prevence, University of West Bohemia (UWB), Pilsen
The importance of regular physical activity for health is immense. Adequate physical activity is therefore one of the most important starting points for the long-term maintenance of health, for increasing general well-being and for the prevention and therapy of many non-communicable diseases (including cardiovascular, cancer and metabolic diseases as well as mental and musculoskeletal diseases). In addition to the direct effects on health, physical activity can also have positive effects on society, the economy and indirectly on other health-related behaviour (WHO, 2010). However, according to the nationwide survey study GEDA "Gesundheit in Deutschland aktuell" (Health in Germany at the moment), only 35% of the female and 44% of the male adult population meet the WHO's minimum exercise recommendations of 2.5 hours of moderately to very strenuous physical activity per week (Lange et al. 2015). A deficit was also found in children and adolescents between 3-17 years of age with regard to the exercise activity recommended by the WHO. According to the KiGGS study by the Robert Koch Institute, only 27.5% of children and adolescents meet the minimum recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity per day (Manz et al. 2014). According to the Eurobarometer Survey 412 "Sports and Physical Activity", the partner country also shows a corresponding need for action with regard to physical activity among Czech children and adolescents, as only 14% of them practice sports or other physical activity every day (European Commission 2014).
In the cross-national double degree program (M.Sc. Gesundheits- und Fitnesssport / Master Pedagogika pohybové prevence), students are taught evidence-based movement-related content and possibilities of prevention and health promotion for children, adolescents, adults and seniors in order to effectively counteract the frequently observed inactivity profiles in the various life worlds and the associated health risk potentials. The course is unique in the Free State of Saxony and the Czech Republic. At the Chemnitz University of Technology, this is a Y-model course of study in which not all students acquire a double degree, but some of them only strive for a national degree. However, the students have to decide at the beginning of their Master's studies whether they want to participate in the double degree program. In the Czech Republic, the Master's programme is a new independent programme without a Y structure.
In the dual study programme, in addition to general topics on the promotion of activity-related health behaviour from childhood to old age by means of health and fitness sport, specific topics on sport and exercise in the modern working world are also taught (e.g. the role of workplace health promotion, exercise measures at the workplace, possibilities of employee motivation through sport or exercise as part of work-life balance). Especially in the scenario of the modern working world and the immanent factors and circumstances (including time pressure, long sitting hours, few breaks, new tasks, high expectations, a lot of responsibility, demographic change) there are corresponding risk potentials which can result in negative individual health effects (including cardiovascular diseases, depression, burnout) as well as negative operational (including absenteeism due to illness, loss of motivation, occupational disability) and social effects. In this context, the double degree program shows students structural and process possibilities to effectively support the actors in the modern working world in protecting health resources in the long term by means of suitable forms and strategies of stress at the workplace and to strengthen them significantly for the long period of employment against the background of developments towards retirement age. Furthermore, the double degree programme is oriented towards significant developments within society, in which increasing medialisation and a lack of exercise are contrasted by a growing importance of fitness, sport and experience as well as a growing awareness of health-related issues.
On the basis of the above-mentioned points, there are many different career prospects for graduates in both countries in prevention and health promotion, especially where new trend sports, forms of exercise and training and exercise technologies are to be presented to different target groups.
In the double degree programme, students can exchange their experiences and gain new insights within the framework of the curricular events and beyond. The large number of university training events with joint tasks and a separate project event will encourage interaction between the mixed groups and thus lay the foundation for an intensive professional and personal exchange. In addition, joint workshops, cross-border projects, research projects as well as staff exchanges within the framework of the double degree programme are to be realised regularly in order to make university and student collaboration attractive and interesting. The programme-induced linguistic and intercultural experience should help to support the students in their personal development and to sustainably increase intercultural sensitivity and empathy for the partner country. In addition, participation in the double degree programme generally contributes to increasing the attractiveness of the graduates on the international labour market and thus opens up broad career prospects for them.
Structure of the double degree programme
Within the framework of the double degree programme, the concepts, methods and effects of health and fitness sports already developed in previous courses of study qualifying for a Master's degree should be deepened and specific specialist knowledge (e.g. neurobiology and movement, biomechanical and sports medicine performance diagnostics, effects of physical activity on the organism/organ systems in healthy and sick persons, trend sports in theory and practice) and occupational competencies (including technical and methodological competence, activity and action competence) in the relevant sports and movement science fields of knowledge. In particular, students from both countries will be enabled to plan, design and evaluate sports and exercise programmes for the primary target groups of the programme - senior citizens, children and adults in their working environment as well as in their leisure time - in a scientifically sound, evidence-based and appropriate manner. A main focus of the course of studies is especially on health management in the operational environment as well as the scientific consideration of age- and age-appropriate exercise offers for seniors. The curriculum includes courses and contents from different fields and sub-disciplines of sports and movement science (sports medicine, sports psychology, pedagogy, sociology, biomechanics), which are integratively linked with regard to health-related sports and movement activities. The knowledge, skills, competences and methods required in the occupational field of health and fitness sports are imparted in such a way that the students are enabled to act in a qualified and responsible manner, to use their knowledge in a goal-oriented manner and to solve tasks independently and creatively. As already described in the introduction, the M.Sc. "Gesundheits- und Fitnesssport" of the Chemnitz University of Technology is a Y-model course of study. Students have the possibility to participate in the double degree program or to obtain a national degree. A decision about the participation in the double degree program has to be made by the students enrolled in the program at the beginning of their master studies. The Czech partner university does not have a Y-model. Students enrolled in the double degree program at the UWB Pilsen do not have a choice of degree, but are bound by the curriculum of the program.
For those students enrolled at the Chemnitz University of Technology who have chosen the double degree program, the master program takes place in the first and second semester at the home university. These students complete the third semester at the Czech partner university. During this semester abroad at the partner university the students have the opportunity to gain a profound insight into the equipment technology (e.g. special motor lab) and collaborations (e.g. Uni-Klinikum Pilsen, Florida State University, Ruhr-University Bochum) within the scope of projects and courses and to develop new research areas and topics (e.g. kinanthropology) at the partner university, which can be worked on in their own final thesis if necessary.
Students enrolled at the Czech partner university who have chosen the double degree programme complete the first and second semester at their home university and the third semester at the German partner university. In the fourth semester, students can choose whether they complete the master's thesis and the colloquium on the master's thesis at Chemnitz University of Technology or at the UWB. For this purpose, the students are suggested working topics for the Master's thesis within the framework of the curricular courses and by individual arrangement.
The requirements for admission to the Master's programs "Gesundheits- und Fitnesssport" (Chemnitz University of Technology) and "Pedagogika pohybové prevence" (UWB) are regulated in the study and examination regulations of the respective universities. In order to be accepted into the double degree program, sufficient language skills at the beginning of the study section at the partner university (3rd semester) must be proven in addition to fulfilling the admission requirements for the two aforementioned courses. Students of Chemnitz University of Technology have to prove English language skills on level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; knowledge of Czech on level A2 is recommended, but is not a mandatory requirement. Students of the UWB have to prove knowledge of German on level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Students must choose the double degree program at the beginning of their Master's studies. The partner university UWB does not charge tuition fees to exchange students.
DAAD Double Degree Scholarship
On the basis of an above-average academic qualification within the framework of the previous course of study qualifying for the Master's degree (upper performance quarter), students can receive a DAAD double-degree scholarship (monthly grant of 885,- € and one-off travel allowance of 200,- €) for the period of the stay abroad.
In the case of receiving a full scholarship within the framework of the double degree programme, the DAAD must be notified of any secondary employment with earnings up to the flat-rate limit (currently 450,- € gross per month) for part-time employees, but this does not require approval.
The exercise of a secondary job with earnings above the flat-rate limit or above the personal contribution is only permitted with the prior written consent of the DAAD. The main criterion for approval is that the secondary employment does not endanger the purpose of the scholarship or contradict it.
A selection committee of the Chemnitz University of Technology decides on scholarship applications.
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