University entrance qualification

If you want to study at a German higher education institution, you need what is called a “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung” – or “university entrance qualification”. This is a school-leaving certificate which qualifies you for university study. If your secondary-school certificate is deemed insufficient for study in Germany, you will have to attend a foundation course (“Studienkolleg”) before you are allowed to enrol.

For People from non-EU Countries

The first thing to do is to find out whether your university entrance qualification is recognised in Germany. The can help you with this. Simply enter the country where you attained your secondary school-leaving certificate. You will then learn whether your certificate is

  • recognised as qualification for general university admission
  • recognised only for subject-restricted university admission (i. e. for study in a limited subject area)
  • recognised only in combination with one or two years of successful university study in your home country
  • not recognised as university entrance qualification

The DAAD entrance qualification database only provides a general overview. You can obtain more specific data about other countries and certificates at Anabin. This database includes information on how foreign secondary school-leaving certificates are evaluated. On the website, you can specify your country and certificate when searching the database. It provides all relevant information, e. g. whether your certificate will be recognised and whether you will need to fulfil further requirements. The website, however, is only available in German.

Students in front of the university entrance
Students in front of the university entrance© DAAD/Jan Zappner

Ask the University

The final decision on admission always rests with the higher education institution at which you are applying. For that reason, you should always ask in advance whether you meet the requirements. Almost all universities have an International Office, or Akademisches Auslandsamt. Here international students can get lots of useful advice about living and studying in Germany.

A formal university entrance qualification is sometimes not required from talented candidates applying for admission to artistic subjects. Depending on the university, you may have to submit samples of your work or pass an aptitude test instead.

If your School Qualifications don’t meet the Requirements

If your school qualifications are not recognized, then a foundation course, called „Studienkolleg“, is your potential gateway to a German higher education institution. You have to pass an entrance examination to be admitted to a . You need to have a good knowledge of German ().

You will be examined in several subjects that are important for your choice of study programme after completing your preparatory course at the Studienkolleg. This examination is called a Feststellungsprüfung, or assessment exam. A language test is a part of it.

Aptitude Test

Are you uncertain whether you will be able to cope with what is expected of you at a German university? You can check that with the aptitude test for international students (TestAS). It tests your language skills, subject knowledge and cognitive abilities. The test result can also help you make your mind up about a specific study programme. In any case you will be able to more realistically assess your chances of completing your studies successfully.

For EU Nationals

If you come from an EU country (or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland) and your school-leaving certificate is recognised in that country, it is often recognised in Germany, as well. This also applies if you received an “Abitur” from one of more than 140 German Schools abroad. In that case you have the same status as someone who has been educated to upper secondary level in Germany and you are thereby on an equal footing with German citizens.

Requirements for your Degree Programme

In principle, you must have school leaving qualifications that entitle you to study at university in your home country. Upper secondary school qualifications that are treated like the German Abitur include, for instance, the High School Diploma, Matura, A-Levels and Bachillerato.

If you come from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland you do not require a visa or other documentation to enter Germany and study here. However, if you plan to stay longer than three months in the country, you have to register with the local residents‘ registration office. You have to prove that you are able to self-fund your study programme and that you have health insurance. Note: citizens of the European Economic Area Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have the same entrance rights as EU citizens.

Aptitude test