Germany makes it relatively easy for international students to enroll in degree programs. With low (sometimes free) tuitions, a variety of courses taught in English, and many scholarships available, it’s not a big surprise that nearly 250,000 international students attended school in Germany last year. The British Council’s 2011 “Global Gauge” survey named Germany as the most supportive country of international students based on research done with support from the Economist Intelligence Unit. The United Kingdom and the United States came in third and sixth place, respectively.
Although Germany provides many opportunities to international students looking for a degree, the university application and enrollment process can be a bit confusing. Luckily, there are resources available. Here’s a short guide to navigating the process.
What are the requirements?
The first requirement to apply for a Bachelor’s degree program at a German university is a high school diploma, or Hochschulzugangsberechtigung. In Germany, this is the Abitur. To apply for a Master’s degree program, you must have a university diploma. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a very helpful database that describes what type of paperwork and school accreditations Germany accepts from your home country.
For those without a recognized degree, Germany offers an assessment test called the Feststellungsprüfung. Classes are available to prepare for this assessment exam at most universities. The studienkolleg website offers a list of different universities that offer the prep courses.
Universities often require proof of German language skills and a minimum grade point average in previous studies. More information on the possible requirements can be found on the Study in Germany website.
Where to apply?
According to the DAAD, where you can apply depends on three main factors: the subject you wish to study, where you received your school-leaving certificate and what type of degree you are interested in. DAAD uses a chart to demonstrate which path is best to take depending on your goals. For instance, some degree programs allow students to apply directly to universities, while medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and dentistry fields have a centrally regulated admissions policy that applies to all of Germany.
Is my application complete?
Because of the increasing number of foreign students applying to universities in Germany, the uni-assist system was developed. The uni-assist website helps students to ensure their applications are complete and provides a filter for universities to select and process the large number of applications from abroad. Not all universities use this system, but many do. It can be a helpful way to make sure you have included all of the information needed.
Apply early, at least six weeks before the deadline. That way if any information is missing, you have time to get it in before the final due date. The university selection process is very competitive in Germany. It’s best to have your application be first in line.