Studying with a disability

Naturally, it is possible to study in Germany if you have a disability or chronic illness. Most higher education institutions even offer specific services for students who have special requirements. However, it is important to start planning in good time.

WHAT DOES EQUALITY AT HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS MEAN FOR YOU?

At your higher education institution, various measures can be put in place to compensate for any disadvantages. These will enable you to participate in lessons and exams on equal terms with other students.

Application and Admission

Compensation for disadvantages is available to you as early as the application stage or when you are admitted to a degree programme. If your disability or chronic illness means you cannot prove you meet particular requirements for the degree programme, other achievements may also count for meeting the requirements. The best thing to do is ask your degree course’s department at your higher education institution about these.

As you might need more preparation time for your stay in Germany, notification of whether you have been admitted to a degree programme will be sent to you by the higher education institution before it is sent to other students. This ensures you have enough time to prepare everything in an organised way, so that you will feel completely at ease during your study visit and have everything you need.

Academic studies and exams

Higher education institutions are always required to find alternative solutions if your disability or chronic illness places you at a disadvantage. This means that the examination regulations for degree programmes also need to demonstrate equality of opportunity for you. If you are blind, for example, alternatives to visual exam questions will need to be found.

A student is talking to university staff
Consultation © DAAD/Abbis

The study structure, which is often very clearly defined in the Bachelor’s and Master’s system, can be flexibly arranged for you with the higher education institution, depending on your needs. In most cases, the regulations for this are already set out in the study and examination regulations for your degree programme. The best thing to do is ask your higher education institution what the regulations are, as each higher education institution can define them differently.

Any compensation for disadvantages is not allowed to be recorded on your final degree certificates or completion reports for individual courses. This means that your certificate will look exactly the same as those of all other students.

So, you can pursue your academic studies normally like all other students, with structures flexibly adapted to you personally.

HELP AND GUIDANCE

If you want to study in Germany, you should ask for advice as early as possible. Below you will find helpful contact points.

FINANCING AND SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

If you come to Germany on a scholarship, you can often receive additional services, e.g. for special accommodation facilities etc. However, this depends on the particular individual scholarship, e.g. with Erasmus, you can apply for additional money for your stay.

There are also scholarships especially for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses. It is best to ask your higher education institution directly about these.

If you need specific medication, you should find out in advance whether this medication will continue to be paid for during your stay in Germany when you take out health insurance.

Student residence
Student residence© DAAD/contentküche

ACCOMMODATION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

You can apply for a place in and many higher education institutions will prioritise your application. In most cases, this means you have a very good chance of getting a room in a student residence. However, you should bear in mind whether you need special facilities or features. You should clarify these in advance or tell student services no later than the point at which you apply for a place in a student residence.

 

TECHNICAL TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Below we explain some terms that can help you organise your stay.

PLAN IN ADVANCE

It is important to start planning as early as possible. To ensure you are able to organise everything properly, you should start finding out information and preparing everything about two years before you go abroad. Obviously, it is also possible to do everything in a shorter period of time, depending on your disability or chronic illness.