Whether you are allowed to study in Germany depends on various factors:
- In principle, you need a university entrance qualification ("Hochschulzugangsberechtigung"). A university entrance qualification is a high school diploma that qualifies you to study at a university. If you have a university entrance qualification from your home country, you must first check whether it is recognised in Germany as such. The International Office or the Student Registration Office ("Studierendensekretariat") of your preferred university is the authority responsible for the recognition process. Furthermore, on the anabin database and the DAAD admission database, you can check whether and for what types of programme or subject your certificate is recognised in Germany. Even if the admission database does not accept your certificate, it is worthwhile to inquire directly from the university in which you wish to study. If you are not sure which university to opt for yet, you can have your certificate recognised by a State Recognition Office ("staatlichen Anerkennungsstelle"). For their service, however, you usually need to pay a fee. If your school-leaving certificate is not sufficient for entering university in Germany, you can attend a so-called "Studienkolleg" or take an assessment test ("Feststellungsprüfung"). At the Studienkolleg, i.e. preparatory college, you have the chance to prepare for university and can improve your German. Keep in mind that you have to decide (in advance) which subjects you would like to study at the university before enrolling in a preparatory college. Students usually attend preparatory college for one year and take the assessment test at the end. If you pass this exam, you may then study the subjects you have chosen. To attend preparatory college, you must take an entrance exam and speak German at (at least) B1 level. In some preparatory colleges, you can take the assessment test without attending courses. To find a preparatory college in your area, visit studienkollegs.de. For some preparatory colleges, you can apply directly; for others, you have to go through uni-assist.de. The preparatory college of your choice can tell you more about the application process.
Please note: If you have completed vocational training (recognised in Germany) and worked for some years in your profession, under certain conditions, you can study in Germany without a university entrance qualification. To learn more, seek advice from the International Office or the Student Registration Office ("Studierendensekretariat") of your chosen university. You can also contact the Central Office for Foreign Education ("Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen" or ZAB).
- You must have sufficient knowledge of the German language. Apart from some international courses of study, German proficiency (at C1 or higher) is a prerequisite for studying in Germany. In principle, you can prove your language skills with the "Zertifikat Telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule" or "Goethe-Zertifikat C2" or by passing the DSH exam or TestDaF. The International Office of your chosen university can tell you what certificate you need to present. The exams usually take place several times a year and cost between 40 to 175 €. You can search for a suitable German course in the DAAD database, at a Volkshochschule, on the Goethe-Institut's website or at private schools. For more information about learning German, visit our chapter "Language".
If you currently live abroad but would like to study in Germany, you need a residence permit for students. For more information about this type of residence permit, visit our chapter "Immigration to Germany". If you have come to Germany as an asylum seeker, you may apply to university, regardless of your residence status- which means those who are still in their asylum procedure and asylum seekers who hold a tolerated stay ("Duldung"), can also study in Germany.