Admission and langauge requirements for study in Germany
This post is prepared to help students wishing to enroll for study in Germany. Many students who can’t afford to pay tuition fees now choose to study in Germany, since their universities are operating tuition free. The cost of living in Germany is estimated at 500 to 600 Euros per month which covers the cost of accommodation, registration fees, food, travels etc
All students from abroad must apply for admission to a German university. This applies to freshmen, postgraduates and doctoral candidates alike. The admissions procedure ensures that applicants fulfil the necessary requirements to study at an institute of higher education.
If you wish to study at a German university, you need a so-called Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), or higher education entrance qualification. This is a secondary school-leaving certificate that corresponds to the German Abitur and entitles you to study.
Students from abroad must apply for admission from the university of their choice. For your application, you will require
for a Bachelor’s degree:
- a school-leaving certificate (also known as “university entrance qualification”, e.g. High School Diploma, Matura, A-Levels, Bachillerato, Atestat, baccalauréat) or
- proof that you have passed the university entrance examination (if required in your home country)
for a Master’s degree and PhD programmes:
- recognition of your university degree from your home country or another country.
Not all higher education entrance qualifications apply to all study programmes. There is a general qualification (“allgemeine HZB”) which entitles students to study all subjects at universities and universities of applied sciences, and a subject-specific qualification (“fachgebundene HZB”) which entitles students to study certain subjects only.
Since the language of instruction at German universities is usually German, you therefore need to be proficient in German to study here. But German is also useful for students taking international degree programmes because it helps them cope with everyday life.
To enrol for a German study programme you have to provide proof that you are proficient in German.
This is different for international study programmes where classes are usually held in English. If you are only studying in Germany for one or two semesters, it is also sometimes possible to enrol without a German language certificate. Ask the university where you wish to study. But whatever the case, it is always useful to be able to speak and understand German. You can make friends more easily, settle in more quickly and have a better chance on the job market.
There are two tests you can take to prove your knowledge of German:
- TestDaF – test of German as a foreign language
- the “Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber” (DSH)
Some German universities offer the TestDaF test, others the DSH test. Both are of equal rank and are recognised at all universities.