Prerequisites for a Degree Programme

Before one can begin a degree programme at a German university, all the necessary prerequisites have to be fulfilled. All of the following information, if not stated otherwise, is valid throughout Germany.

Which Prerequisites do I have to comply with?

There are two kinds of prerequisites: One the one side there are cardinal conditions, without which no one can enroll in a degree programme. Since Universities are integrated in the German education system as a means of higher education, only people with a certain educational background can apply. The German equivalent for this is the Abitur. Since migrants, and refugees especially, usually obtained their education (school, university, etc.) abroad, their degrees have to be acknowledged as an appropriate equivalent- more info will be provided later. Additionally, depending on the actual programme and university, other conditions can become relevant (so called “Zulassungsbeschränkungen” – admission restrictions). This is usually the case in programmes with more applicants than student places.  An applicant for a place in a medical programme is expected to have excellent grades in his or her Abitur or in the respective degree of the country in which they acquired their education. This procedure is called “Numerus Clausus” or NC – here an average of all the applicants’ grades is calculated. Some universities have proceedings to circumvent lower grades in a degree, such as internships, work experience or a personal interview. Within creative programmes a lot of the times special suitability tests will be held, which might for example test drawing skills or the likes. Since there are many different versions of these special proceedings we will only discuss the general conditions. More detailed information about the special proceedings can be found on the university compass, as well as the website of the university. In case you cannot find something or might come close to giving up the “Studienberatung“(study guidance) of the designated university will help you with any of your questions. If you are still out of luck and need further assistance you can surely ask many friends and supporters – e.g.: Netzwerk Welcome Weimar – for help.

How important are my resident status and my language skills?

The right to study at a university does not depend on the passport or the residence permit! Everyone who legally resides in Germany(no matter whether on a temporary residence permit, a permanent residence permit, a tolerated stay, etc.) is eligible for enrollment – if the conditions are fulfilled! Refugees have to wait until their application for asylum has been approved, before they can begin a degree programme.

An important prerequisite is the mastery of the language: Excellent language skills are required to study at a university. The situation varies in all the federal states[1]. Degree programmes that are held completely or partially in German often require a verification of the language level DSH-2 or similar (this corresponds to C1). Only courses held purely in English require very little knowledge of the German language , if at all. However, an English test(e.g.: TOEFL) will have to be taken – alternatively evidence of a previously completed bachelor’s programme held in English might suffice.

It is always worthwhile, to inquire the specifics at the specific university! The Bauhaus-Universität Weimar requires a DSH-2 or a C1 level for all of its courses held in the German language.

The third requirement for a degree programme in Germany is the so called “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung” – the university entrance qualification.