Prep & Foundation courses

If your school-leaving qualification is not recognised in Germany, you will need to attend a "Studienkolleg" (foundation course) in order to enter a German university. This ends with an exam - the "Feststellungsprüfung". There is also another way to prepare for your academic studies in terms of language and subject knowledge if you do not feel confident enough yet. This is an option for you if you do not have to attend a "Studienkolleg" or a preparatory course (Propädeutikum).

Short & Sweet

You can attend a „Studienkolleg“ (foundation course) in Germany to prepare for your „Feststellungsprüfung“.

If do not have to attend a „Studienkolleg“ or if you want to apply for a Master’s degree, you can take a preparatory course (Propädeutikum).

Checking qualifications

Using the , you can check how your existing qualifications are classified and whether you need to attend a „Studienkolleg“.


Foundation courses, called „Studienkolleg“ are offered at universities and universities of applied sciences. Not all higher education institutions offer these courses. The courses cover a variety of key topics to prepare students for specific subject areas.

If you take the „Feststellungsprüfung“ (university qualification exam) at a university of applied sciences, you will only be able to study at a university of applied sciences afterwards. If you take the exam at a university, you can study at both. The at your higher education institution will help you find the right „Studienkolleg“-course and prepare you for it properly.

The type of Studienkolleg you should attend depends on your target university. Below is an overview of the types.

Prepare yourself

For admission to a „Studienkolleg“-course you must meet at least these requirements:

As a rule, it is free of charge to attend a foundation course („Studienkolleg“) at a state higher education institution. However, course participants must pay the that all students have to pay.

A „Studienkolleg“-course usually lasts for two semesters. There are approximately 30 hours of lessons per week. Students who perform very well can take the „Feststellungsprüfung“ (university qualification exam) after one semester.


At the end of your „Studienkolleg“ (foundation course), you must take the „Feststellungsprüfung“ (university qualification exam). The test covers several subject areas that are important for the subject you want to study later on. There is also a language test. If you pass the test, you can apply for a Bachelor’s degree programme in your subject area.

In some „Studienkollegs“ you can take the „Feststellungsprüfung“ also as an „extern Feststellungsprüfung“. That means you don’t have to attend a „Studienkolleg“ before – but usually this is really though.

Contact Details

Unfortunately there is no complete list of all Studienkollegs in Germany. It may well be that a Studienkolleg is near you and would be a good choice. On the website you will find the contact details of many Studienkollegs in Germany.

A group of students smiling at the camera
A group of students smiling at the camera© DAAD/ Henning Ross


If you want to apply for a Master’s degree, you do not need to attend a „Studienkolleg“ – course at a university. But you can attend a (preparatory course, sometimes also introductory course). Also, if you want to study for your Bachelor’s degree in Germany but do not have to attend a „Studienkolleg“ – course, you can take an preparatory course.

In this type of introductory programme, you will prepare specifically for your degree programme in terms of language and subject knowledge. There is often also an introduction to the German academic system and academic working methods. This means that when you begin your degree programme later on, it will be much easier to settle in to everyday student life in Germany.

There are programmes for international students

  • who have already been admitted to to study at a higher education institution in Germany,
  • who have not yet been admitted, but have already met the formal requirements for studying in Germany
  • who still need to meet the formal requirements for a higher education entrance qualification.

These courses last for a few weeks or for one or two semesters.

You will find a selection of preparatory courses (Propädeutika) under the heading “Prep Course” in the .


There are different types of Studienkollegs – it is important to choose the right one.

A preparatory course can make it much easier for you to get used to everyday German studies.