Breadcrumb

Application: How to apply for admission to a degree programme

There are different ways to apply for admission to a German university. The application procedure depends on which subject you would like to study and where you come from. Requirements and application deadlines can vary from university to university, and even from degree programme to degree programme.

by the Editors

International students in a lecture hall © Wiemer/TestDaF-Institut
International students in a lecture hall . © Wiemer/TestDaF-Institut

There are three places which accept applications for admission to university:

  1. The Trust for admission to higher education
  2. uni-assist
  3. The university of your choice

The right address for your application depends on:

  1. The subject you wish to study
  2. Your country of origin

More information

Subject

There are two types of subjects in Germany:

  1. Subjects, for which admission is centrally restricted („bundesweiter Numerus clausus“ or „zentraler NC“), when there are more applicants in Germany than spaces available at university. These currently include Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry.
  2. Subjects, for which admission is unrestricted or only locally restricted (“lokaler Numerus clausus”) imposed by the university.

Country of origin

Your country of origin also plays a role in the admission process.

Scenario A

  1. You apply for university admission in a subject with a central NC, and
  2. You received your university entrance qualification in Germany or at a German School abroad, or you come from an EU member state, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Norway.

You must submit your application to the Trust for admission to higher education.

Scenario B

  1. You apply for university admission in a subject with a central NC, and
  2. You do not come from an EU member state, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Norway, and you did not receive your university entrance qualification in Germany or at a German School abroad.

You have to inquire as to whether the university is a member of uni-assist.

Scenario C

  1. You apply for admission in a subject with a local NC or no restriction.

You have to inquire as to whether the university is a member of uni-assist.

Film: How to apply for a degree programme in Germany

Numerus Clausus (NC)

If a subject has a Numerus clausus (NC), there is only a restricted number of places of a subject at a university or in Germany. In other words, there are far more applicants than space available. In such cases, the application review process is more selective and special requirements for admission apply. “Numerus clausus” is a Latin term which means “restricted number”.

You can view a list of uni-assist member universities on the uni-assist website. Under the “Applicant’s Portal”, you will find instructions which take you step-by-step through the uni-assist application process. Bear in mind that uni-assist is not responsible for processing all applications to German universities! Before submitting your applications, check whether all of them actually have to be processed by uni-assist.

If the university of your choice is not a member of uni-assist and processes incoming applications itself, then you have to submit your application to that university directly.

To be on the safe side, inquire at the International Office at the university of your choice about how to submit your application for admission to your desired degree programme.

Expenses

Applicants usually have to pay a processing fee when they apply for admission to university. Additional documents and certificates are also required. You should expect to pay the following expenses:

  • Fees for certified copies and translations
  • Examination fee for the TestDaF or DSH
  • Application processing fee

The cost of the processing fee depends on where you apply.

  1. If you apply via uni-assist:

One or the first of several applications costs 75 euros. Every additional application costs 15 euros per university. This applies to all applications submitted in one semester.

  1. If you apply directly to the university:

Some universities charge applicants a processing fee. In such cases, your application will be reviewed only when the university has received your payment.

  1. If you apply directly to the Trust for admission to higher education:

Application processing is free of charge.

Forms and documents

Depending on where you apply, you can obtain an application form from the university of your choice, the Trust for admission to higher education or the DAAD website.

If you have to apply via uni-assist, you can obtain the form from the uni-assist Applicant’s Portal. You first have to create an application on the portal, generate a PDF version of the form, and then print it out.

You must submit several additional documents along with your application form, including:

  • certified copy of your university entrance qualification (e.g. high school diploma, A levels)
  • certified copies of all university certificates you have received thus far
  • passport photo
  • copy of your passport (page with your name and photo)
  • foreign language certificates

Link

Visit INOBIS for useful information and databases on university admissions and application procedures. The website provides application checklists which correspond to the university of your choice and your country of origin.

Copies of certificates are only recognised if they are officially certified. Not only do you need certified copies of your certificates in their original language, but also certified copies of their translations. These translations have to be done by certified translators. If you want to send a copy of a translation, even the copy has to be certified. Some universities accept English documents as well.

You can have your documents certified by the German diplomatic mission in your home country. It is also possible to have documents certified by the responsible department of the institution that issued the certificate.

The application period usually ends several months prior to the beginning of the upcoming semester. The university will only accept applications which are complete and received on time, i.e. before the application deadline. The sooner you contact the International Office, the better. That will give you enough time to obtain and submit any missing documents.

The university will only begin the application process once you have paid the processing fee.

Dates and deadlines

Student doing research on the computer © Ziegert/DAAD
Student doing research on the computer . © Ziegert/DAAD

Enquire early about application deadlines from the International Offices, uni-assist and the Trust for admission to higher education. You must submit your application and all required documents by this deadline.

Apply as early as possible! That will give you enough time to send in any documents you might have forgotten before the deadline. If you apply via uni-assist, it will take about four to six weeks for uni-assist to process your application materials. If you send in your application early enough, uni-assist will be able to notify you of any missing documents before the application period expires.

The following dates and deadlines are valid at most universities:

For winter semester enrolment:

  • Application period: from around the end of May to 15 July
  • Acceptance letters are sent out in August / September.
  • Rejection letters are sent out in September / October.

For summer semester enrolment:

  • Application period: from the beginning of December to 15 January
  • Acceptance letters are sent out in February / March.
  • Rejection letters are sent out in March / April.

Deadlines vary at some universities. And some degree programmes only commence in the winter semester, which means that the application period may end earlier than indicated above. Inquire at the university of your choice about application deadlines and when your desired degree programme will commence.