How to Apply for a Degree Course in Germany Get accepted to university

Germany is the most popular non-English speaking international student destination in the world, well-known for its universities offering high-quality education. If you have decided to study abroad in Germany, here are the steps you need to consider to be admitted to a university in the country.

Tips before you apply
  1. Make sure you choose the right course and university for you. Check out all the information you need about degree courses in Germany on BachelorsPortal, and MastersPortal.
  2. Check if your qualifications match those accepted by your chosen university by contacting the university’s international office. You will need a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB) (higher education entrance qualification) or equivalent to be admitted. Check required qualifications for some countries outside the EU.
  3. Students with qualifications outside the EU zone may have to sit a university entrance examination (Feststellungsprufung), after attending a preparatory course (Studienkolleg).
  4. Even if you have met the admission requirements, you will often not be able to enrol directly. Most popular degree courses in Germany usually have certain restrictions called Numerus Clausus (NC). You will have to go through a selection process based on these restrictions.
  5. Admission in German universities is based on high school grade point average (GPA) - the higher your score, the greater the chances to be admitted to your dream university in Germany.
  6. To avoid not being admitted because of course restrictions it’s best to apply to more German universities at once.

Find and compare all Master's degrees in Germany here!

Where to apply?

Because some degree courses in certain disciplines in Germany are in very high demand, there may be certain restrictions set in place. These will influence the way in which you will apply for a university degree in Germany. The courses subject to this kind of admission procedure either have national or local admission restrictions. Current subjects with national NC restrictions include architecture, medicine, veterinary medicine, and dentistry.

Which one you will use depends on the discipline you are applying for and the location where you are coming from:

1. If you want to enrol in a course with a discipline subject to national NC:

  • If you have obtained your university entrance qualification in Germany or at a German school abroad, or you come from an EU member country, Lichtenstein, Iceland or Norway – You will be able to apply through the Trust for admission to higher education (Deutsche Hochschulreife)
  • If you don’t have a German higher education entrance qualification, you come from a non-EU country you will have to apply through Uni-assist. In the case of universities that are not connected with uni-assist, you will have to apply directly.

2. If you want to enrol in a course with a discipline subject to local NC or no NC:

All applicants (regardless of country of origin) can apply through uni-assist, or directly at their chosen university.

Here is more about application restrictions in Germany. You can also check with the international office of your chosen university for their application status.

Language requirements for German university application
Germany offers a very limited amount of undergraduate fully English-taught courses. However, there are some courses that are taught both in German and English – a great way to advance your German proficiency during your Bachelor’s studies. Graduate students will find an increasing variety of English-taught degrees in Germany.

Two main German tests are accepted by all universities in Germany:

  • DSH (German language exam for university entrance) – available only in Germany
  • TestDaF – available in 90 countries worldwide.

If your course you plan to attend is partially taught in English, you will have to also provide English test scores for IELTS or TOEFL.

Required application documents
Each university sets its own required documents but, generally, most of the following will be included:
  • Certified copy of high-school diploma or previously completed degree;
  • Other relevant qualifications in the native language of the student;
  • Translation of the course modules and grades;
  • Passport photo;
  • Copy of your passport;
  • Proof of language proficiency – German (and English);
  • Motivation letter;
  • Application fee.
All submitted documentation should be certified by an official authority.University application deadlines. Students planning to study abroad in Germany have the opportunity to start their studies in two enrolment sessions:
  • The application deadline for winter enrolment is 15 July.
  • The application deadline for summer enrolments is 15 January.

However, these deadlines vary between institutions and different degree courses at the same university may have different deadlines. You will receive an official answer from the university one or two months after the application deadline.

Find and compare all Master's degrees in Germany
After receiving your acceptance letter

Studying in Germany means a few extra steps after the application process:

  1. Settle your health insurance. If you are coming from an EU country than the health insurance in your country may also work in Germany. But you will need to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to make use of this. If health insurance not valid, you will have to pay 80 – 160 EUR per month to cover this.
  2. Apply for German student visa if you are coming from outside the EU.
  3. After arriving in Germany you will have to get a residence permit. You need to have health insurance to get your residence permit
  4. Students must officially enrol in the university after arriving in Germany before they can start their classes. They will have to do this at the start of every semester in Germany, paying around 150-250 EUR/semester enrolment tax.

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