How to Apply to an International University in Germany in 2020

Germany is the most popular non-English speaking study destination for international students worldwide. Well-known for its top universities offering high-quality and inexpensive education to students from inside or outside the EU and EEA, there’s no wonder Germany is such a heaven for education. 

If you have decided to study abroad in Germany, here are the steps you need to take to be admitted to an international university in “the Land of Ideas”.

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Choose the right degree subject in Germany

There are plenty of disciplines you can pick from to study in English in Germany. Here are just of few of the most popular options to consider:

Choose the right German university

Here are some top German universities you should consider for your study abroad adventure:

Check out more universities with English-taught Masters in Germany.

How to apply to a university in Germany

  • Check if you meet your chosen German university's admission requirements 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.
  • Foreign students with qualifications outside the EU zone may have to sit a university entrance examination (Feststellungsprufung), after attending a preparatory course (Studienkolleg).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To avoid not being admitted because of course restrictions, it’s best to apply to more German universities at once.
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Where to apply?

Because some study programmes 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:

1. Where to apply for degrees with national restrictions

Students with university entrance qualification in Germany or at an EU/EEA member country – apply through the Trust for admission to higher education (Deutsche Hochschulreife)

Students without a German higher education entrance qualification, or from a non-EU/EEA country – apply through Uni-assist or directly at the university.

2. Where to apply for degrees with local restrictions or no restrictions

If you want to apply for a degree with local restriction or no restrictions, it's best to apply through Uni-assist or contact the local university.

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 the course you plan to attend is partially taught in English, you will have to also provide an English language certificate from 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
  • Translation of the course modules and grades
  • Passport photo
  • Copy of your passport
  • Proof of language proficiency – German (and / or English)
  • Motivation letter
  • Application fee

University application deadlines for Germany

All submitted documentation should be certified by an official authority. Students planning to study abroad in Germany can start their studies in two enrolment sessions:

  • The application deadline for winter enrolment is the end of May to the 15th of July
  • The application deadline for summer enrolments is the beginning of December to the 15th of 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.

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More about the German student visa, based on your nationality

Here is detailed information about the student visa application process for students coming from a non-EU country:

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