German universities have a good network with universities all over the world. Every year thousands of students have the opportunity to go abroad and spend some time in a different country, studying and living. This should be the same way for international students. Because of this, German universities and technical colleges try to provide enough university places for international students and they also make efforts to support them in many other questions concerning the time abroad. But what is it that makes Germany that special and what can it offer to the students from all over the world? The Federal Republic of Germany proportionally is a quite small country but its history as well as its actual role in the world is something special. It is not only in Europe that Germany has an important position but it is also an important international trading partner and player, concerning political and economic questions. German employees from different fields and disciplines are in great demand all over the world and have realistic chances to get a job in an international company in many different countries. Germany itself is also a good and attractive country to work there later. These opportunities exist due to the good German educational system. The universities and the obtained graduate degree are well-known all over the world and show the future employer that the student had a firm basic education and also got further knowledge. At German universities the practical part of the studies has an important part to play. Internships have to be done in many programs of study and every professor recommends doing one. The big industry and especially the large cities provide many opportunities for these internships. One can absolve them in the most different kinds of disciplines and companies. Depending on which area in Germany one decides to study, there are numerous activities and journeys to do and go in the free time or on holidays. During this traveling one can see the different areas of the country and all its faces. With more time and a larger amount of money one can also start travelling Europe from Germany. The country gives the perfect start for this trip and one is able to see a lot of countries during the time abroad.
In Germany there are the sea and beaches of the north and east, cultural and historic interesting towns or buildings and winter sports areas in the south. There will definitely be no boring time during the studies in Germany.
Studying in Germany has changed during the process of Bologna and the changes resulted in the Bachelor and Master system. The first graduate degree obtained is called Bachelor. After this there is the possibility to continue with a deepening or additional Master program. Both are independent and accepted graduates. The large focus on research projects is also a reason for the good reputation of German universities. The state provides money for the research projects and this enables the student to do their own projects and learn in an actual real-life situation. The study programs are furthermore considered as more difficult than the ones in other countries but this has a positive impact on the reputation. With a semester abroad or a German graduate degree one has a very good chance for the future and with some more own initiative one can work all over the world.
Document Checklist for Study Abroad
In the foreign students’ office (Akademischen Auslandsamt) at your university you will learn how the application process works and which documents you need to submit. Forms and information material, which will vary according to the application procedure for the university, are available on the uni-assist application portal or from the StiftungfürHochschulzulassung (Foundation for Admission to Higher Education). You will normally need the following:
A certified copy of the higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulreife)
An overview of your subjects and grades (certified and including an official translation)
Certified copies of your previous higher education certificates, if applicable
A passport photograph
A photocopy of your passport (name and photograph)
Certified copies of language certificates
Only officially certified copies and translations are accepted as proof. You can have these issued by the German embassy in your home country, for example. Some higher education institutions also accept documents in English and French.
More REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
You can obtain a complete list of documents required for a visa application from your German diplomatic mission in your home country. Normally, you are asked to present:
Certificate confirming health insurance coverage
Proof of financial resources
Certificates of past academic work and achievements
Certificate of German language proficiency or proof that you intend on attending a language course in Germany
For a student applicant visa: university entrance qualification recognized in Germany
For a student visa: notification of admission from your German university (or a statement from the university confirming that your prospects of gaining admission are good).
HOW TO APPLY FOR A DEGREE PROGRAMME IN GERMANY
HOW MUCH DOES THE APPLICATION COST?
You should plan for the cost of any certifications and German language tests that you might have to take. There are often also fees for the application itself. If you apply through uni-assist, an assessment of your certificates and a preliminary review of your documents cost 75 EUR for the first higher education institution. Each additional application within a semester costs 15 EUR per university. Universities will charge an administration fee for examining the application documents. The application will be processed only when this is paid. Application to the StiftungfürHochschulzulassung is free of charge.
WHEN DO I NEED TO SUBMIT THE APPLICATION?
The application deadline is usually several months before the start of the semester. The university will only accept your application if it is completed in full and submitted to the university by the stipulated application deadline. The earlier you contact the foreign student’s office, the better. As you will then have plenty of time to obtain missing documents. These are the deadlines:
For courses starting in the winter semester (usually October):
Application deadline: usually from the end of May to the 15 July
The letter of acceptance will be sent in August/September.
Notification of rejection will be sent in September and October.
For courses starting in the summer semester (March/April):
You have to apply for a residence permit if you
Are not a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and
Intend to study longer than 90 days
You have to apply for a residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your university town within your first three months in Germany.
Make sure to take the following documents with you when you apply:
Confirmation of registration from the Residents’ Registration Office
Confirmation of private or public health insurance coverage
Student ID from your German university (certificate of enrolment)
Proof of financial resources (if you didn’t present it earlier when you applied for a visa)
Valid passport and current visa, if you have one
Certificate of health (if applicable)
Your tenancy agreement (if applicable)
Biometric passport photos (if applicable)
Money for the residence permit fee (inquire at the International Office about the current rate)
You initially receive a two-year residence permit which can be extended if necessary. The approval of an extension depends on whether your studies have proceeded “properly” (i.e. you are keeping within the standard period of study for your degree program). You have to present a letter of confirmation to this effect from your university. And remember: You must apply for an extension before your residence permit expires!
UNIVERSITY ENTRANCE QUALIFICATION:
RECOGNITION OF YOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL-LEAVING CERTIFICATE
If you want to study at a German university, you will need a “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung” – or “university entrance qualification”. This is a school-leaving certificate which qualifies you for university study. If your secondary-school certificate is deemed insufficient for study in Germany, you will have to attend a foundation course (“Studienkolleg”) before you are allowed to enroll.
You will then learn whether your certificate is
Recognized as qualification for general university admission
Recognized only for subject-restricted university admission (i.e. for study in a limited subject area)
Recognized only in combination with one or two years of successful university study in your home country
Not recognized as university entrance qualification
If you come from an EU country or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and your school-leaving certificate is recognized in that country, it is often recognized in Germany, as well. This also applies if you received an “Abitur” from one of more than 140 German Schools abroad.
A formal university entrance qualification is sometimes not required from talented candidates applying for admission to artistic subjects. Depending on the university, you may have to submit samples of your work or pass an aptitude test instead.
INQUIRE AT YOUR UNIVERSITY
The DAAD entrance qualification database only provides a general overview. You can obtain more specific data about other countries and certificates at Anabin. This database includes information on how foreign secondary school-leaving certificates are evaluated. On the Anabin website, you can specify your country and certificate when searching the database. It provides all relevant information, e.g. whether your certificate will be recognized and whether you will need to fulfill further requirements. The website, however, is only available in German. In the end, the university itself is responsible for making the final decision on admissions. Therefore, we recommend inquiring in advance at the International Office at the University of your Choice as to whether you meet all the necessary prerequisites.