A key aspect of TUM's measures for advancing excellence in teaching and learning involves tailoring standard degree programs to students' individual requirements. Among the projects currently being implemented as part of the Bologna – Zukunft der Lehre initiative is studium naturale, a program sponsored by two private endowments, the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagenstiftung, with funding on the order of €500,000 over a period of three years.
The studium naturale program, which was launched during the winter semester of 2009/2010, is an elective, one-year course of study designed to precede enrollment in a bachelor's program. Aimed at prospective students who are undecided regarding their choice of science major, this program offers a broad-based, preparatory university-level curriculum with an emphasis on mathematics and the natural sciences.
Geared towards a wide spectrum of applicants - and by no means limited to students with a strong affinity for science and high-tech subjects - the studium naturale curriculum also addresses secondary school graduates who have previously specialized in areas such as music, modern languages, or classical studies. A further target group includes experienced professionals who are interested in enrolling in a science degree program.
Based at the Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan (WZW), studium naturale takes an interdisciplinary approach featuring innovative, project-oriented teaching methods. In addition to conveying the basics of physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry and describing their interrelationships, this program offers training in key extradisciplinary competencies. Moreover, with the “Sigma" module, students have the option of attending additional courses of their choice at TUM.
Upon successful completion of the studium naturale program, participants can apply their certificate of attendance, in addition to any examinations passed, towards enrollment in a bachelor's program at TUM.