Bookshelves in a university library

What are Cooperative Study Programmes?

Cooperative Study Programmes (CSPs) combine academic studies at university with practical work in the chosen professional field, directly on site. One also speaks of two, possibly three learning locations, the learning location university (and possibly vocational school) and the learning location practice partner.

Practice partners can be larger or smaller companies, social organisations or institutions such as authorities or hospitals, depending on the professional field. You are involved as an employer in CSPs in order to recruit academically and practically trained graduates as professionals.

Practice and theory interlock in three ways: in terms of content, organisation and contract. This means that both the employer and the university are jointly responsible for the CSP as cooperation partners. 

In CSPs, the phases of learning at university and the employer alternate regularly. Theory and practice are closely linked via practice transfer modules and study projects. Through the combination of theory and practice, dual students receive extensive, subject-specific practical experience in addition to academic training and are therefore optimally qualified for starting a career.

CSPs are particularly suitable for prospective students who seek a high level of practical orientation during their studies and are characterised by their willingness to perform, and their independence and personal responsibility. In order to start a CSP, you usually need a higher education entrance qualification as well as a study/training contract with a practical partner of the CSP. To receive a study/training contract, prospective students must apply to employers approximately 1 year before the start of their studies. CSPs are in great demand because they not only offer good preparation for working life, but usually also offer a salary during your studies.

There are three different study models that vary from each other in the following points:
  • Integration of practice
  • Procedure and duration of the study programme
  • Contract structure
  • Degrees


Study Model

Integration of Practice


"ausbildungsintegrierend"vocational training + practical work experienceBachelor degree + professional qualification
"praxisintegrierend"practical work experienceBachelor degree
"berufsintegrierend"existing employmentMaster degree

Statistics on cooperative study programmes, 2022

Map of Germany with some figures of CSPs
Map of Berlin with some figures of CSPs

Source: Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, AusbildungPlus

"Duales Studium Berlin"

For Berlin, the Cooperative Study Programme is an important instrument for training and retaining professionals. To promote the study concept, the senate administration for science, together with the state and confessional universities with CSPs, decided in October 2021 to form an umbrella brand called “Duales Studium Berlin”.

To establish the umbrella brand, the accompanying commission “Duales Studium Berlin” was founded as an advisory body for content-strategic control and the agency Landesagentur Duales Studium Berlin” as a central service and contact point for those involved and interested parties.
The agency “Landesagentur Duales Studium Berlin” is responsible for the operational business of the umbrella brand “Duales Studium Berlin”.
In addition to providing information and publicising the Cooperative Study Programmes of the umbrella brand, its tasks include advising the universities on the improvement of the study format and on networking with the involved partners in the Cooperative Study Programmes. In addition, the agency supports the organisational and coordinating work of the members of the commission “Duales Studium Berlin”.

The commission “Duales Studium Berlin” has the task of promoting the increase and assurance of quality in the Cooperative Study Programmes and the strategic development of the CSPs in the state of Berlin. Among other things, this is achieved through regular exchanges on topics related to CSPs and by formulating fundamental positions and recommendations for action. The commission “Duales Studium Berlin” has 15 members. These are the state secretary for science and research, the presidents of the state and confessional universities offering CSPs, members of several senate administrations, trade union representatives, representatives of chambers and associations, and dual students.