Study in Germany
German universities have a quite good network with universities all over the world. Every year thousands of students have the opportunity to go abroad and spend some time in a different country, studying and living. This should be the same way for international students. Because of this, German universities and technical colleges try to provide enough university places for international students and they also make efforts to support them in many other questions concerning the time abroad. But what is it that makes Germany that special and what can it offer to the students from all over the world? The Federal Republic of Germany proportionally is a quite small country but its history as well as its actual role in the world is something special. It is not only in Europe that Germany has an important position but it is also an important international trading partner and player, concerning political and economic questions. German employees from different fields and disciplines are in great demand all over the world and have realistic chances to get a job in an international company in many different countries. Germany itself is also a good and attractive country to work there later. These opportunities exist due to the good German educational system. The universities and the obtained graduate degree are well-known all over the world and show the future employer that the student had a firm basic education and also got further knowledge. At German universities the practical part of the studies has an important part to play. Internships have to be done in many programs of study and every professor recommends doing one. The big industry and especially the large cities provide many opportunities for these internships. One can absolve them in the most different kinds of disciplines and companies. Depending on which area in Germany one decides to study, there are numerous activities and journeys to do and go in the free time or on holidays. During this traveling one can see the different areas of the country and all its faces. With more time and a larger amount of money one can also start travelling Europe from Germany. The country gives the perfect start for this trip and one is able to see a lot of countries during the time abroad.
In Germany there are the sea and beaches of the Nord- and Ostsee, cultural and historic interesting towns or buildings and winter sports areas in the south. There will definitely be no boring time during the studies in Germany.
Studying in Germany has changed during the process of Bologna and the changes resulted in the Bachelor and Master system. The first graduate degree obtained is called Bachelor. After this there is the possibility to continue with a deepening or additional Master program. Both are independent and accepted graduates. The large focus on research projects is also a reason for the good reputation of German universities. The state provides money for the research projects and this enables the student to do their own projects and learn in an actual real-life situation. The study programs are furthermore considered as more difficult than the ones in other countries but this has a positive impact on the reputation. With a semester abroad or a German graduate degree one has a very good chance for the future and with some more own initiative one can work all over the world.
Document Checklist for Study Abroad
In the foreign students’ office (Akademischen Auslandsamt) at your university you will learn how the application process works and which documents you need to submit. Forms and information material, which will vary according to the application procedure for the university, are available on the uni-assist application portal or from the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (Foundation for Admission to Higher Education). You will normally need the following:
- A certified copy of the higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulreife)
- An overview of your subjects and grades (certified and including an official translation)
- Certified copies of your previous higher education certificates, if applicable
- A passport photograph
- A photocopy of your passport (name and photograph)
- Certified copies of language certificates
Only officially certified copies and translations are accepted as proof. You can have these issued by the German embassy in your home country, for example. Some higher education institutions also accept documents in English and French.
More REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
You can obtain a complete list of documents required for a visa application from your German diplomatic mission in your home country. Normally, you are asked to present:
- Certificate confirming health insurance coverage
- Proof of financial resources
- Certificates of past academic work and achievements
- Certificate of German language proficiency or proof that you intend on attending a language course in Germany
- For a student applicant visa: university entrance qualification recognized in Germany
- For a student visa: notification of admission from your German university (or a statement from the university confirming that your prospects of gaining admission are good).
HOW TO APPLY FOR A DEGREE PROGRAMME IN GERMANY
HOW MUCH DOES THE APPLICATION COST?
You should plan for the cost of any certifications and German language tests that you might have to take. There are often also fees for the application itself. If you apply through uni-assist, an assessment of your certificates and a preliminary review of your documents costs 75 EUR for the first higher education institution. Each additional application within a semester costs 15 EUR per university. Universities will charge an administration fee for examining the application documents. The application will be processed only when this is paid. Application to the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung is free of charge.
WHEN DO I NEED TO SUBMIT THE APPLICATION?
The application deadline is usually several months before the start of the semester. The university will only accept your application if it is completed in full and submitted to the university by the stipulated application deadline. The earlier you contact the foreign student’s office, the better. As you will then have plenty of time to obtain missing documents. These are the deadlines:
For courses starting in the winter semester (usually October):
Application deadline: usually from the end of May to the 15 July
- The letter of acceptance will be sent in August/September.
- Notification of rejection will be sent in September and October.
- For courses starting in the summer semester (March/April):
You have to apply for a residence permit if you
- Are not a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and
- Intend to study longer than 90 days
You have to apply for a residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your university town within your first three months in Germany.
Make sure to take the following documents with you when you apply:
- Confirmation of registration from the Residents’ Registration Office
- Confirmation of private or public health insurance coverage
- Student ID from your German university (certificate of enrolment)
- Proof of financial resources (if you didn’t present it earlier when you applied for a visa)
- Valid passport and current visa, if you have one
- Certificate of health(if applicable)
- Your tenancy agreement (if applicable)
- Biometric passport photos (if applicable)
- Money for the residence permit fee (inquire at the International Office about the current rate)
You initially receive a two-year residence permit which can be extended if necessary. The approval of an extension depends on whether your studies have proceeded “properly” (i.e. you are keeping within the standard period of study for your degree programme). You have to present a letter of confirmation to this effect from your university. And remember: You must apply for an extension before your residence permit expires!
UNIVERSITY ENTRANCE QUALIFICATION:
RECOGNITION OF YOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL-LEAVING CERTIFICATE
If you want to study at a German university, you will need a “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung” – or “university entrance qualification”. This is a school-leaving certificate which qualifies you for university study. If your secondary-school certificate is deemed insufficient for study in Germany, you will have to attend a foundation course (“Studienkolleg”) before you are allowed to enrol.
You will then learn whether your certificate is
- recognized as qualification for general university admission
- recognized only for subject-restricted university admission (i.e. for study in a limited subject area)
- recognized only in combination with one or two years of successful university study in your home country
- not recognized as university entrance qualification
If you come from an EU country or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and your school-leaving certificate is recognised in that country, it is often recognised in Germany, as well. This also applies if you received an “Abitur” from one of more than 140 German Schools abroad.
A formal university entrance qualification is sometimes not required from talented candidates applying for admission to artistic subjects. Depending on the university, you may have to submit samples of your work or pass an aptitude test instead.
INQUIRE AT YOUR UNIVERSITY
The DAAD entrance qualification database only provides a general overview. You can obtain more specific data about other countries and certificates at Anabin. This database includes information on how foreign secondary school-leaving certificates are evaluated. On the Anabin website, you can specify your country and certificate when searching the database. It provides all relevant information, e.g. whether your certificate will be recognised and whether you will need to fulfil further requirements. The website, however, is only available in German. In the end, the university itself is responsible for making the final decision on admissions. Therefore, we recommend inquiring in advance at the International Office at the university of your choice as to whether you meet all the necessary prerequisites.
Intake: Students may be able to start in spring (January – April), summer (May – August) or autumn (September – November)
You can demonstrate your German language level with two different tests.
One is called the “DSH” (German Language University Entrance Examination for Foreign Applicants) and the other is the “TestDaF” (Test of German as a Foreign Language). You don’t need to take these tests if one of the following descriptions applies to you:
You have earned an “Abitur” from a German-language secondary school
- You have passed the new Goethe Certificate C2 examination: major German Language Diploma or one of the former minor or major German Language Diploma or the Central Advanced Language Test of the Goethe-Institut (till 2011), or you have passed the "Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom" exam (since 2012)
- You have the German Language Diploma (stage II) from the German Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs
- You have passed the „telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule“ examination.
HOW TO APPLY TO STUDY AT A UNIVERSITY IN GERMANY
There are various ways in which you can apply for a place at a German university. The best option for you will depend on the subject you wish to study and your country of origin. The requirements and deadlines vary from university to university and also according to subject. You will find answers to the most important questions below.
- Where do I apply?
- What are admissions restrictions?
- Which courses are locally restricted and which ones nationwide?
- What does it mean for me if I come from a EU country, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Norway?
- What happens if I come from another country?
- Infographic: The application procedure at German higher education institutions
- What documents do I need?
- Film: How to apply for a degree programme in Germany
- How much does the application cost?
- When do I need to submit the application?
Entry Requirements: For the pre-Masters courses, typical entry requirements are at least 3 years of higher education and UK IELTS 5.5 (minimum of 5.0 in all skills).
If you do not meet the English language entry level but have at let UKVI IELTS 4.5 (minimum 4.0 in all skills) you can do a course that includes extended English and skills (EES).
Intake: Students may be able to start in spring (January – April), summer (May – August) or autumn (September – November.
1. WHERE DO I APPLY?
This depends on two things: where you took your school-leaving qualification and what subject you wish to study. Three different institutions are responsible for applications: the Foundation for Admission to Higher Education (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung), the University Application Service for International Students (Arbeits- und Servicestelle für Internationale Studienbewerbungen, uni-assist) and the university itself. Where you need to submit your application will depend on the restrictions on admissions for your subject. Which is why you should first find out whether your subject has restrictions on admissions.
If you want to find out if you are generally in a position to cope with the demands of a German university, the TestAS (Test für Ausländische Studierende) is a useful guide. This test is a mixture of language test, specialist questions concerning your subject and testing your cognitive capability. The test result can help decide on a certain subject. In any case, you will be able to assess how successful your studies will be.
With good results, you can improve your chances of being admitted for studies at a German university. Just find out whether your university requires the TestAS and what advantages it has for you. You can take the TestAS several times a year at the TestAS testing centres around the world, possibly also in your country. The exam fee for the TestAS is 80 Euros. For more information on the testing centres and model questions please visit the TestAS website.
INFOGRAPHIC: THE APPLICATION PROCEDURE AT GERMAN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS.
Application procedure at German higher education institutions.© DAAD
8,700 EUROS FOR ONE YEAR
Before you begin your studies, you will have to prove that you have enough money to support yourself. The document you need is called a “Finanzierungsnachweis”, or proof of financial resources. You are asked for it when you apply for an entry visa. At the latest, you will need to present it when you apply for a residence permit in Germany. In most cases, applicants have to prove that they have around 8,700 euros at their disposal for one year.
There are a number of ways to show that you can finance your studies. The following forms of proof are possible:
- Your parents can submit documents certifying their income and financial assets.
- Someone with permanent residence in Germany can guarantee the Alien Registration Office to cover your expenses.
- A security payment can be deposited into a blocked account.
- You can present a bank guarantee.
- You can present a scholarship award notification from a recognised scholarship provider.
Make sure to inquire at the German embassy in your country as to which form of financial proof is required!
1. Apply Early Enough
You can open a blocked account at the “Deutsche Bank” or the "Fintiba", for example. It usually takes just a week for the paperwork to be processed. It can take much longer, however, when the semester begins. That’s why we recommend completing the application for a blocked account well in advance. To obtain an application, send an e-mail to the Deutsche Bank at email@example.com or open an online account on the Fintiba website or the x-patrio website.
1. Have the application and required documents certified. The next step is to have the completed forms and a copy of your passport certified by a German consulate general or the German embassy in your country. Only then should you send your documents to the Deutsche Bank. Please note: Do not send your documents as attached scans by e-mail or by fax; the bank only accepts originals.
- Deutsche Bank Privat und Geschäftskunden AG
- Service Center Hamburg / Ausländische Studenten
- Alter Wall 53
- 20457 Hamburg
Or you can open your account online on the Fintiba website or on the x-patrio website.
VISA AND RESIDENCE PERMIT: Applying for Visa
As an international student you may need an entry visa for Germany depending on where you come from and how long you plan to stay here. For more information about visa requirements, contact the German embassy or German consulate in your home country. You can find the address on the website of the German Federal
To enter the country, you will most likely need a visa, which you can apply for before your trip at a German diplomatic mission in your home country. There are exceptions for specific countries, depending on the duration and purpose of your trip.
Visit the website of the German Federal Foreign Office for the latest visa requirements for all countries. The German embassy or consulate in your home country will provide more information about all visa application matters. You can find the addresses of all German diplomatic missions on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office. Entry Requirements: ; For the pre-Masters courses, typical entry requirements are at least 3 years of higher education and UK IELTS 5.5 (minimum of 5.0 in all skills).
If you do not meet the English language entry level but have at let UKVI IELTS 4.5 (minimum 4.0 in all skills) you can do a course that includes extended English and skills (EES).
THE CORRECT VISA
The type of visa you need depends on whether you have already received your notification of admission from a German university. (Do not enter the country as a tourist! A tourist visa cannot be converted to a student visa or student applicant visa!). There are two types of visas:
1. Student applicant visa ("Visum zur Studienbewerbung“)
If you have not yet received notification of admission to a university or foundation course, you should apply for a student applicant visa.
This three-month visa allows you to meet the requirements for admission to a German university. If you find that three months is not long enough, you may extend your visa to a maximum of six months. If you are admitted to the university or foundation course within this period, you may apply for a student visa.
2. Student visa ("Visum zu Studienzwecken“)
If you have received your notification of admission to university or a foundation course, you should apply for a student visa. Student visas are usually valid for three months. Within these three months, you will have to apply for an extended residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your university town.