Vocational Subject Education (G)

Prof. Dr. Sönke Knutzen,

Prof. Dr. Franz Ferdinand Mersch

Course Aims

The Vocational Subject Education prepares students to become practitioners of working process- and science-oriented teaching, training and further education in commercial and technical vocational fields. It is designed to enable students to design vocationally oriented educational processes and working processes leading to qualifications.

The courses aim to take account of developments of occupational fields and to enable personnel at different vocational education institutions and schools to acquire future-oriented professional skills. It relates to the practice of work organized by occupation and the technologies that shape it. The central focus is on individuals and groups who, while learning and working, consciously examine their environment and acquire the skills to participate in designing the world of work and society in a socially and ecologically responsible way. To this end, the teaching subject matter includes work and technology from an educational and work-related perspective. We consider how technology can be shaped in the interrelation between the design of work and working processes and the skills of those employed.

Course Contents

The contents of the courses in Vocational Subject Education are consistently geared to the professional profile of a vocational pedagogue or teacher of a commercial and technical science. Three central fields of competence can be identified, each of which relates to the occupational field and specific occupations. The interaction between them is considered.

Analysis, Design, and Evaluation

  • Of vocational learning, education and qualification processes,
  • Of work (in the form of occupations),
  • Of technology as a subject of working and learning processes whose emerging interrelationships establish a further field of competence:
  • The historical emergence of work organized by occupation, technology and occupational fields.

In this concept, “work organized by occupation” refers to the entire spectrum of skilled trades, craft, technician, and assistant occupations and includes semi-skilled and engineering work. Therefore, as a basic principle the learning, education and qualification processes factor in an extended range of responsibilities relating to pedagogical activity in vocational preparation, vocational schools, specialized vocational schools, specialized high schools, technical colleges and technical grammar schools, and in vocational training, further education and occupational rehabilitation.

The training of teachers in vocational schools and colleges is run jointly by the TUHH and the University of Hamburg. TUHH has been teaching vocational subject education since 1993/94. The offer comprises the following courses:

Some lectures and projects on teacher training courses are offered and conducted in close cooperation with the relevant vocational schools in order to make them practice-relevant at an early stage. There are 500 students on teacher training courses, a small enough number to permit personal contact between students, but also between students and professors or lecturers.

Components of the course: The course for upper-school teachers in vocational schools is broken down into three components.

  • Vocational specialization (TUHH), a total of 80 credit hours
  • Educational science (University of Hamburg), a total of 40 credit hours
  • One further subject (University of Hamburg), a total of 40 credit hours

The University of Hamburg Admissions Office can provide details about the subject to be taken in addition to the vocational specialization.


Course starts: Winter semester or summer semester.

For admission to the course, candidates must have general or subject-specific qualification for university entrance or a special qualification for university entrance ( Sections 31a and 32 of the Hamburg Higher Education Act [Hamburgisches Hochschulgesetz]) and have completed vocational training in an area appropriate to the field of study, or a one-year directed internship.

Recognition of previously gained credits: Students who switch courses and graduates of universities of applied sciences who have completed a relevant course may have previously earned credits recognized by the Examinations Office for Teachers (Lehrerprüfungsamt) in cooperation with the subject coordinator.

Applications and registering: All applications for a place on the course must be addressed to the University of Hamburg. Students cannot register at TUHH until they have been admitted by the University of Hamburg and have registered there. Application papers can be requested from the University of Hamburg Admissions Office, which will also specify the deadlines to be met.