There are different ways to apply to a German university. Which way is the best for you depends on your field of study, and where you are coming from. The requirements and deadlines vary from one higher education institution to another, and sometimes, even from field of study to another. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Jurisdiction, requirements and limitations

Where you send your application depends on two factors: where you graduated from high school, and which subject you want to study. There are three different institutions that are responsible for applications: the , (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung ), the (Arbeits- und Servicestelle für Internationale Studienbewerbungen (uni-assist) and the higher education institution itself.

The numerus clausus also plays a role. That’s why the first thing you should find out is whether your programme has admission restrictions.

Admissions restrictions

Even if meet the overall requirements for studying in Germany, it does not mean you will automatically be granted a place in your desired programme. For many programmes there are far more applications than places.

Admission restrictions (Zulassungsbeschränkung) set forth who is qualified to specific fields of study. They can be adjusted locally, and only apply to certain universities. However, restrictions can also be determined nationwide.

What are the requirements of your higher education institution?

Some courses are only restricted at certain universities. Here, the university decides which criteria (like your high school grade point average) qualify you for admission. Sometimes applicants also have to take entrance tests or attend interviews. The criteria vary depending on the university and degree programme. A service called the , or university compass, will tell you whether your desired programme has restricted admission.

Five tips to a successful application

Student in a consultation session
Student laughing© DAAD/Henning Ross Open fig caption

Documents, costs and deadlines

At the international office of your university or college, you can find out how the application process works, and which documents you need to submit. Depending on the application, forms and information material are available at the university, in the application portal or at the University Admissions Foundation, .

How to apply to study in Germany

What do applications cost?

Remember to plan costs for the certifications and German exams that you may still have to take. There are also often fees for the application itself. If you apply via uni-assist, the certificate evaluation and the first preliminary examination of the documents cost 75 euros. Each additional application in one semester costs 15 euros, per university.

At the school itself, a processing fee is also charged for checking and administering you application documents. Your application can only be processed after you have paid the fee. Applying to the University Admissions Foundation (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung) is free of charge.

When to apply

The application period usually ends several months before the start of the semester. A university will only accept your application if it is complete, and reaches the higher education institution before the application deadline. The sooner you get in touch with your school’s international department, the better. Then you can take care of missing documents in good time.

German course