The main requirement for access to German university education is the Hochschulzugangsberechtigung. It is equivalent to our high school diploma. In addition, foreign students must certify an adequate level of German. Those who have completed their high school diploma at a South Tyrolean German-speaking high school meet these conditions.
If, on the other hand, you received your diploma from a South Tyrolean Italian-speaking high school, you must confirm individually that you have the level of German required by the university and that you are able to document it. Universities often have different language requirements. To be sure, it is advisable to obtain a certificate at the C2 level of the European Framework of Reference or a TestDaf level 4.
Further information on the language requirements for access to German universities can be found on the following pages:
Additional qualifications, such as professional experience or language skills (English, Latin), are required for enrolment in certain study courses. We therefore strongly advise that you inform yourself well in advance about the requirements and make up for any missing qualifications before the enrolment deadline.
The so-called Studienkollegs offer preparation courses for foreign students who do not have the qualifications to enrol at a German university.
Open access and restricted access
Generally, two types of admission can be differentiated: restricted access at the national level and restricted access at the local level. In Germany, this type of admission is called "closed number study course" (Studiengang mit N.C. (numerus clausus)).
More information is also available at: https://www.study-in.de/de/
Open access study courses
If there is neither national nor local restricted access for the desired course of study, interested students can enrol at the International Relations Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt). From time to time, individual universities require an entrance test (Studiengänge mit Eignungsfeststellungsverfahren) before enrolment in the study course. In some cases, the universities require an orientation internship before enrolment. Generally, after overcoming these obstacles (which are not present at all universities), enrolment in the study course should be guaranteed.
Before applying, you must check whether your application has been made directly at the university or through the platform at www.uni-assist.de. If it is possible to enrol directly at the university, please contact the International Relations Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) to find out more about deadlines and the necessary documents.
If the application is made through www.uni-assist.de, you must upload your application to the platform and fill in a form that uni-assist verifies. Uni-assist submits your application to the university, which in turn decides on admission. The advantage is that you can send your application to different universities, even if you have to make a new request for each application.
In addition, the platform is subject to a fee. The verification of documents costs 75€ per semester. For any other application you pay 15€. You can also apply for several courses of study at the same university because the costs for verification and application are paid only once per semester and university.
Attention! Often it is necessary to apply simultaneously to both uni-assist and the university portal.
On the site http://www.uni-assist.de/uni-assist-mitglieder.html there is a list with all the universities for which it is only possible to apply through uni-assist. Despite applying through the platform, the deadlines and requirements of the individual universities apply.
Access to closed number study courses (local restriction)
Admission to study courses with locally restricted access is much more complex and depends on individual universities. If a study course is open access at a university, the same study course is restricted access in the neighbouring city.
The admission criteria consist partly on the final grade of the high school diploma exam, and partly on the number of places reserved for those who have been waiting for a couple of semesters to enrol in the study course (in German: Wartesemester). It is therefore advisable to inquire first at the relevant offices of the university you wish to attend.
If you are admitted to the course of study, it is important to enrol by the deadline, otherwise admission expires!! Since it happens quite often there is the so-called Nachrückverfahren, which means that those who are almost not admitted can take one of the places that have been freed because other people have not enrolled or have refused the place.
Courses with restricted access on a national level
Access to some study courses such as medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy is regulated through a nationwide scheduled number and all interested candidates apply on the same portal. Twice a year you can apply on www.hochschulstart.de
The allocation system for available places is very complex: 20% of the places are reserved for the best new graduates, 20% for those with the highest number of "semesters" (Wartesemester), 60% are distributed through criteria established by the universities themselves.
The admission criteria influence each other, so it is virtually impossible to establish general assumptions. Nevertheless, there are two considerations to bear in mind:
Admission only takes place at the universities wanted and specified by the candidate. An applicant will not be admitted to a university that they have not chosen themselves.
A term often mentioned is "Auswahlgrenze", i.e. the final grade of the high school diploma exam and the number of people interested in enrolling at a certain university.
For this reason, it is advisable to inform yourself in advance and read the information on the portal carefully.
If someone applies directly to a university, the deadlines on the individual university websites are valid.
Generally, you can send your application even before you have received your high school diploma. The following deadlines apply for nationally restricted study courses:
Winter semester: The deadline for online applications is 31 May for those who graduated before 16 January; for those who graduated from 16 January to 15 July the deadline is 15 July.
Summer semester: the deadline for everyone is 15 January.
In Germany you do not have to pay tuition fees. In some Länder only students who do not finish their exams within a set time period pay tuition fees. In Saxony, also those who have enrolled in two study courses pay tuition if their university applies the relevant law.
Education policy in Germany is regulated by the individual Länder, so the legislation concerning tuition fees changes from Bundesland to Bundesland.
More information: https://www.studis-online.de/StudInfo/Gebuehren/
Attention! There should be no confusion between tuition fees and the semester fee which is determined by the individual universities. The semester fee consists of fees for the student committee, administration costs and often also includes a semester ticket for public transport (Semesterticket). The amount of the fee can be up to €250.
Private universities set fees independently of political decisions and are therefore much higher than state universities.