Germany is the most popular non-English speaking destination for international students worldwide. Well-known for its top universities offering high-quality and inexpensive education to students from inside or outside the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (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 at an international university in “the Land of Ideas”.
German universities to consider for your studies abroad
Here are some top German universities you should consider for your study abroad adventure:
- University of Cologne
- SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences
- CBS International Business School
- IU University of Applied Sciences
- University of Bonn
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
- GISMA Business School
- Hochschule Bremen – International Graduate Center
- University of Applied Sciences Europe – BiTS and BTK
Check out more universities with English-taught Masters in Germany.
How to apply to a university in Germany
Check if you meet the admission requirements of your chosen German university by contacting the university’s international office. You will need a higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung – HZB) or equivalent to be admitted.
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 meet the admission requirements, you will often not be able to enrol directly. The 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. To avoid not being admitted because of course restrictions, it’s best to apply to more German universities at once.
Admission at German universities is based on the high school grade point average (GPA). The higher your score, the greater the chances of being admitted at your dream university.
Where to apply?
In Germany, some study disciplines are in very high demand, which is why there may be certain restrictions in place. These will influence the way in which you will apply for a university degree in Germany. The courses that follow this kind of admission procedure either have national or local admission restrictions. Current subjects with national NC restrictions:
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 – Hochschulkompass).
Students without a German higher education entrance qualification, or from a non–EU/EEA country apply through Uni–assist or directly at the university.
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 courses entirely taught in English. However, there are some courses that are taught both in German and English – a great way to advance your German skills during your Bachelor’s studies. Graduate students will find an increasing variety of English–taught degrees in Germany.
Two main German language 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 provide an English language certificate. The most popular are:
Required university application documents
Each university sets its own admission criteria, but, generally, most of the following will be included:
- Certified copy of a high-school diploma or a previously completed degree
- Translation of the course modules and grades
- Passport photo(s)
- Copy of your passport
- Proof of language proficiency – German and/or English
- Motivation letter
- Application fee
An official authority should certify all the documents you submit.
University application deadlines in Germany
Students planning to enrol at German universities can start their studies either in winter or summer:
- The application deadline for the winter enrolment is 15th of July
- The application deadline for the summer enrolment is 15th of January
These application deadlines can vary from one higher education institution or study programme to another. Always check the dates and start your application process early on. It will give you an advantage if you need to resubmit some documents or something unexpected happens.