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Higher education in Germany

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Are you looking to study in Germany? Thanks to the academic recognition system, Germany was one of the first European countries that allowed foreign students to find the equivalent of their curriculum studied in their home country.

In the case the recognition of your academic qualifications is partial, you will only have to take additional courses that will help you to obtain a final total academic recognition. 

Applying for an undergraduate course

You can access higher education at a German institution with a foreign university entrance qualification, for example a secondary school-leaving diploma. To be recognised, your validation degree must be compliant with the legal provisions in the country in which they were acquired. Other prerequisites for studying may be a minimum grade point average or an eligibility test.

If you are an applicant from a Member State of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) and if your course of study has been validated in your home country, you can benefit from direct access to a course of study in Germany. A minimum period of having studied for two to four semesters may apply.

If you come from other countries, the International student office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) or the registrar's office at the institution of higher education will have to assess your level of qualifications acquired to determine if they are enough to give you access to the German institution curriculum. If it is not the case, they will determine if your admission could be made possible thanks to additional courses or an assessment test.

Applying for a master's or doctorate program

The International Student office is also responsible for admission to Master's and doctorate degree courses. Admission usually depends on proof of a relevant qualification such an existing bachelor’s or master’s degree and the specific entry requirements of the study program. This may include certain language requirements, a minimum bachelor score or an assessment test.

 Attention:

You are not permitted to convert a foreign university degree into a German university degree. 

 Good to know: 

The German government follows a simplified procedure for European nationals concerning the examination of their academic recognition file. For more information in English or German, contact the service line Hotline Arbeiten und Leben in Deutschland by phone 49 (0)30-1815-1111 from Monday to Friday 9am until 3pm. Low income earners may be eligible to receive financial support for the recognition procedure. In this case you can enquire at the Forschungsinstitut Betriebliche Bildung (f-bb) gGmbH or by email at anerkennungszuschuss@f-bb.de.

Post-graduate scholarships in Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) – DAAD is the main organization that grants scholarships to young graduates in order to help them to finance a course of study for a specific degree in Germany. The Erasmus Programme, implemented by the European Commission, also provides scholarships for international higher education.

Besides this, there also are various non-government scholarships to study in Germany, for example Konrad Adenauer Stiftung or Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

 Important:

Take the time to learn about the scholarships and conditions of grant, as they vary depending on the availability or the area in which you are going to study. Find out about application closing days well in advance to avoid disappointment.

An asset for better employability

Studying for higher education in Germany can definitely be a advantage once you have arrived in the German labour market.

Double degree programs give you the opportunity to get a degree in two different universities from two different countries. 

The ERASMUS student exchange programme offers European students the chance to study abroad in a country of the EEA (European Economic Area) for two to 12 months. The students usually don’t pay entry fees at the exchange university. Combined study and traineeships are also covered, which could facilitate your access to a job once your period of study is over.

Education in Germany tends to focus on specialisation, so it is recommended you find out which universities have the best reputation in your field. For example, the university of Heidelberg is traditionally known for medicine while Bauhaus university in Weimar is known for its courses on architecture. Of course, current rankings will give you a much better picture, even though they may vary between different publishers.

Subjects that are proposed by German higher education institutions are very diverse and have a good reputation. German courses of study include communication sciences, domestic sciences, economic and social sciences, medicine courses, food-processing courses, music, theatre among many others.

 Good to know:

The majority of students study at public universities – you can still get high quality courses for much lower admission fees than in many other European countries.

 Useful links:

Recognition in Germany www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de
DAAD – The German Academic Exchange Service www.daad.de
Deutsches Studentenwerk www.internationale-studierende.de
List of undergraduate courses www.studienwahl.de
List of postgraduate courses and Higher Education Compass www.hochschulkompass.de
Auswärtiges Amt www.auswaertiges-amt.de/
Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (formerly ZVS) www.hochschulstart.de
Uni assist www.uni-assist.de
Goethe Institute www.goethe.de
Scholarships finder www.scholarshipportal.com/

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