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What’s the difference between a participation certificate and a certificate of achievement?

In general, the required work for a certificate of achievement (“Leistungsschein”) is more complex than the one for a participation certificate (“Teilnahmeschein”). The latter is awarded with less ECTS for your general participation in the specific course, and, besides regular attendance, can include readings, a presentation, reviews or more. This kind of certificate is NOT graded. A certificate of achievement additionally requires the completion of an assignment (e.g. research paper or exam), which might be graded (it does not have to be graded). During the first week, teachers generally provide you with the specific requirements. Specifics of the different forms of certification may vary between departments and faculties as does the amount of ECTS for each course.