Germany is one of the most affordable countries for international study in Europe, with some universities even offering university courses for free. Yes that’s right, for free.

Germany is an excellent place to develop your employability and take advantage of career opportunities. The country is world-renowned for its rich history in Architecture, Engineering and Philosophy and known for advancing international students into respected world leaders in these fields. With the German Government recently investing a whopping £35bn into sustainable development and £8.5bn in future technology, you can expect to study amongst this country’s exciting transformation. Germany offers a wide range of both Batchelor’s and Master’s courses for international students. Batchelor’s courses generally last 3 years whilst Master’s Courses usually last 1-2 years.

Germany sounds brilliant right? But you may be thinking, ‘how can I study abroad in Germany?’ Our guide has this covered. In this article, we will show you everything you will need from the university admission requirements and procedure, to some amazing support you can get to finance your international studies.

Germany is one of the most affordable countries for international study in Europe, with some universities even offering university courses for free. Our guide will show you everything you will need to study abroad in Germany including some amazing support you can get to finance your international education.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS 

To study abroad in Germany, you will need a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung or in more simple terms, a university entrance qualification. For international students, if you have higher secondary school qualifications, it is likely that you already have this qualification.

Here are some useful tools you can use to find out if you qualify for university entry:

Database on admission requirements - DAAD

School leaving certificates with access to higher education: Anabin - Information System for the Recognition of Foreign Educational Qualifications (kmk.org)

German universities vary a lot on their language requirements; some universities will require you to be proficient in both German and English, whilst others may only require you to know one of these languages. This is often down to the language your course has been taught in or your university’s general admission policy.

Check your university course webpage to ensure that the language requirements are suitable class='table table-striped' for you. You will need to provide evidence of your language proficiency during your application. This evidence must include at least one of the following for each language required:

English Language Proficiency Test Results and Certificates.

German Language Proficiency Test Results and Certificates.

Secondary School Qualifications Taught in German.

Evidence of Citizenship in an English Speaking Country.

Batchelor’s Degree Taught in English.

Some universities offer courses which are more relaxed on their language requirements, such as, international degree programs. With this in mind, make sure to check your course requirements before booking your language tests.

Language Proficiency Tests.

The standard English language proficiency tests accepted by most universities include TOEFL and IELTS.

The German language proficiency tests which are most commonly accepted by universities include TestDaF and DSH.

Below is a list of the language proficiency test grades required by most German universities:

TOEFL: 90.

IELTS: 6.5

TestDaF: Level 2-4.

DSH: Level 1 or 2.

There are several other language proficiency tests accepted by different universities. Check your university requirements to find the best test needed to get on the course that is suited to you.

For postgraduate entry, some universities will require you to take an aptitude test. The GRE test is generally accepted by most universities. However, some universities may specify that you take particular tests, so ensure that you check your university requirements.

If you do not meet the academic qualification requirements for university entry, there are several preparatory courses and aptitude tests you can take.

The Feststellungsprüfung (FSP) and Test für Ausländische Studierende (TestAS) are popular aptitude tests accepted by universities which can boost your current qualifications.

A Statement of Purpose is often not compulsory for undergraduate study, however some universities may specify that you write one.

For postgraduate study, you will need to write a Statement of Purpose. Here are some tips for you to write a successful personal statement:

You want your personal statement to impress the reader and really make you stand out from the crowd. This could be the factor that gives you success over other candidates.

A Statement of Purpose is usually 500 – 1000 words, however, this will vary between different universities.

The ideal personal statement will include details about why you want to study the course in Germany and how this course will help you achieve your personal goals. It is also useful to mention any of your community-oriented goals; how will this course allow you to make an impact on your academic community and wider society? You must emphasise why you are the right candidate for the course, using your academic qualifications, achievements and experiences as proof of your expertise.

To gather inspiration to help you write your Statement of Purpose, gather knowledge about your favourite areas in your course industry. What are you passionate about? Watch videos, visit local or online lectures and read news on these topic areas. This will let you home in on your interests within the subject and write a brilliant Statement of Purpose. This will also help you find careers as it will make you more employable in your industry.

ENTRANCE EXAM  

English Proficiency Tests.

Your university may require you to take an English proficiency exam. Each university will specify their preferred language tests, so you must check your course requirements before arranging your exam. Most universities will accept IELTs and TOEFL qualifications as proof of English language proficiency.

IELTs and TOEFL exams are designed to assess your English Reading, Writing and Listening skills.

TOEFL

Time Length – The test will take approximately 4 hours to complete.

Cost – The standard international price range of this test is £120-£169 GBP. However, fees vary depending on the country where you sit the exam.

Score Required – The general score required for German university admission is 80-100. Grade cut offs will vary between different university courses.

IELTS

Time Length – This exam will take you approximately 3 hours to complete.

Cost – The standard cost of this test ranges from £105-£223 GBP. Exam fees vary depending on the country in which you sit the exam.

Score Required – You will be required to score at lest 6.5 for admission into most universities. However, the grades required for this test vary amongst different university courses.

German Proficiency Tests. These tests examine your German listening comprehension, reading comprehension, writing ability and speaking proficiency. Here is some information about two commonly accepted German tests – the TestDaF and DSH.

TestDaF

Where – You can take this test at your local international test centre.

Time Length – This test takes approximately 3 hours and 10 minutes to complete.

Cost – The test will cost you £90 GBP.

Score Required – A score of at least 4 in each component is required for admission into most universities.

DSH

Where – This test can only be taken in German exam centres.

Time Length – The exam takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete.

Cost – It will cost you approximately £30-£120 GBP depending on the type of DSH exam you choose to sit.

Score Required – You may only be required to obtain a minimum score of DSH-2 for enrolment onto German university courses. However, some universities can be more stringent, requiring scores as high as DSH-4.

PREPARATION

To prepare for language exams, you will need a minimum of 2-3 months. However, it is strongly recommended that you begin your preparations 5-6 months prior to your university application deadline. This is essential, as it will give you enough time to prepare and resit exams, should you need to.

Good preparation involves plenty of revision and mock exam practice.

Here are some revision tips:

Take certified English Language courses that cover your exam content (such as courses in TOEFL and IELTs).

Take advantage of free apps for practicing your language skills, such as Duolingo.

To practice your English listening skills, watch videos and translate them.

To develop your reading skills, Read articles and books in English.

Practice your writing.

One brilliant idea is to read up on English grammar rules and make cue cards that you can use when you are writing.

Aptitude Tests:

FSP

The FSP is a written and oral subject-specific aptitude test.

You can study the FSP to prepare for this exam at German Studienkollegs which will be provided by your university.

Your university will recommend specific Studienkollegs and the type of FSP exam which you will need for admission onto your university course.

Contact your university for more information about these recommended courses.

You will need to apply for the FSP and Studienkollege through your university application. You can attend Studienkollegs in Germany or online.

Studienkollege courses usually last 1 year.

Here are some important details about your FSP Exam.

Time Length: Varies depending on your exam subject.

Test Cost: The exam will cost you approximately £80 - £330 GBP. Fees vary depending on your exam subject.

Score Required: Varies depending on you course. Check your university requirements.

TestAS

The TestAS consists of a language test, general academic proficiency test and subject-specific test. It is likely that your university will require you to take particular examined subjects within your subject-specific test. Contact your university to ensure that you arrange the right TestAS exam for your course.

Key Details for the TestAS Exam:

Where: At your local international TestAS test center.

Time Length: The test will take you approximately 5 hours (including breaks).

Test Cost: The standard test fees are approximately £70 GBP.

Score Required: This will vary depending on your course. Check your university requirements for more information.

GRE

GRE tests are not compulsory for most universities, but may be required for some Postgraduate course applications. This test may also be used to boost your application.

Where – You can take this test at local test centres or online from your home.

Time Length – The test is approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes long.

Cost – The test will cost you around £180 GBP.

Score Required – For General admission into most German universities, you will be required to score at least 300 on this test.

APTITUDE TEST PREPARATION

You will need to begin your preparation for your aptitude tests at least 3 months prior to your test.

Here are some tips on how you can prepare for aptitude tests:

Map out the areas of the exam which you feel less confident about. These are the areas you will need to focus on for your revision.

Make a good revision schedule -

Plan frequent time-slots throughout your week where you can study for the exam.

Make sure that these time slots are reasonable, so that you have enough time to rest, take breaks and study all of your content.

A good idea is to schedule your revision in the time slots where you are the most energised and least likely to be distracted.

Commit to your scheduled revision -

It can be daunting to get through all of your content, so make sure to break each day up into simple and easy revision tasks.

Everyone learns differently, so make sure to learn in a style that suits you. Visual learners may like to make diagrams and posters or watch educational videos on each topic. You may find that you learn well by simply reading and writing. Some people may even enjoy teaching others about their subject. When it comes to learning there is a diversity of approaches you can take. Just ensure that it covers your key exam areas.

With any exam preparation, the best advice is to start early! Starting early takes away so much pressure and is great for boosting your exam confidence.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE 

Most German university applications will require:

  • Secondary Education Transcripts and Certificates
  • Statement of Purpose (Postgraduate only)
  • Aptitude Test Certificates and Grades (if Required)
  • Language Proficiency Test Certificates and Grades
  • CV (if Required)
  • Letter of Recommendation (if Required)
  • A Valid Passport Copy
  • Passport-size Photograph

Here are some details for your international student application in Germany.

Where to Apply: You can apply to most German universities through the Uni-assist platform. Start | uni-assist e.V. However, some universities may not be on this platform. Check your chosen university’s website for their application requirements.

Interviews: In Germany, interviews for university are uncommon. However, some universities may contact you for an interview once your application has been received. Explore your university course requirements to see if you need to prepare for an interview.

Study Abroad Visa Application in Germany: You will need to apply for a Visa to study abroad. For more information on German Visa applications, follow the Government Exchange Service website Visas - DAAD .

Application Results: Following this, you will receive your long-awaited application results. It is likely that you have been given an offer to study abroad at your university! Congratulations, don’t forget to book your transport and accommodation for your international studies!

What if I didn’t get into university?

If your application was rejected, you are probably feeling very frustrated. Many of us have been there and we find ourselves questioning, ‘What did I do wrong?’ Lots of students are faced with this challenge. Importantly, you still have options to get into university.

The standard route onto your course is by taking the Test für Ausländische Studierende (TestAS), or by enrolling in a Studienkolleg at your university and taking the Feststellungsprüfung (FSP) exam.

This is the standard academic route for admission onto your international university course in Germany. However, you can also access advice about other ways to access your course by contacting your university. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE 

German universities have two international student intake periods - Summer and Winter. Decide when you wish to enrol to organise your study abroad application schedule.

For Summer intake, the application Deadline is usually on the 15th January.

For Winter intake, the application Deadline is usually on the 15th July.

The deadline by which you need to submit your application will vary between universities. You must check your university website to find your course application deadline.

APPLICATION TIMELINE 

In Germany, students can choose to enroll on courses in the Summer or Winter. Below are two timelines you can follow which will guide you through Summer or Winter enrollment.

Winter Enrolment.

Begin Visa Application & Aptitude Test Registration: 1st October. German aptitude tests are often only available at specific time points within the year. In Germany, it can also take approximately 3-12 months to apply for your visa. It is important that you register for your aptitude tests and Visa early in your application process.

Begin Language and Aptitude Test Preparation: 15th November. Now is the time to register for you language test and prepare for your language and aptitude exams.

Begin Application: 15th February. Begin your application now to ensure that you have sufficient time to gather and prepare your application documents. If you are applying for postgraduate study, now is the time to begin writing your Statement of Purpose.

Application Deadline: 15th May. The standard application deadline for most universities in Germany is the 15th July. However, it is strongly recommended that you apply at least 2 months in advance to allow time for Uni-assist to request any extra documents. Deadlines vary between universities, so ensure that you have checked your chosen course application deadline.

IB Diploma Results Day: June 1st. Your IB Diploma results will be declared on this day. Other pre-university qualifications may be announced on different days.

Interviews: July 15th – October 1st. If you are required to perform an interview, you can expect to be contacted by your university during this time period.

University Enrolment: October 1st.

The chances are that you have been offered a place at your university! Well done! But before you have some much-needed celebration, don’t forget to arrange your transport and accommodation!

If you did not qualify for your course, this can be incredibly frustrating. This happens to the best of us. Importantly, you still have options out there! A popular choice is to enrol in a Studienkollege so that you can study to sit the FSP exam which will qualify you to enrol into university. You may also wish to take the TestAS exam to boost your qualifications for admission into university.

SUMMER ENROLMENT

Begin Visa Application & Aptitude Test Registration: 1st April. Register for your visa and aptitude tests early in the year to provide sufficient time for your application preparation and processing.

Begin Language and Aptitude Test Preparation: 15th May. Now is the time to register for you language test and prepare for your language and aptitude exams.

IB Diploma Results Day: June 1st. Your IB Diploma results will be declared on this day. Other pre-university qualifications may be announced on different days.

Begin Application: 15th August. Begin your application now to ensure that you have sufficient time to gather and prepare your application documents. If you are applying for postgraduate study, now is the time to begin writing your Statement of Purpose.

Application Deadline: 15th November. The standard application deadline for most universities in Germany is the 15th January. However, it is strongly recommended that you apply at least 2 months in advance to allow time for Uni-assist to request any extra documents. Deadlines vary between universities, so ensure that you have checked your chosen course application deadline.

Interviews: 15th January– 1st April. If you are required to perform an interview, you can expect to be contacted by your university during this time period.

University Enrolment: 1st April.

The chances are that you have been offered a place at your university! Well done! But before you have some much-needed celebration, don’t forget to arrange your transport and accommodation!

If you did not qualify for your course, this can be incredibly frustrating. This happens to the best of us. Importantly, you still have options out there! A popular choice is to enrol in a Studienkollege so that you can study to sit the FSP exam which will qualify you to enrol into university. You may also wish to take the TestAS exam to boost your qualifications for admission into university.

You will also need to arrange your funding for the course. Begin this as soon as possible so that you can take advantage of the best funding opportunities.

This is the standard application route. However, there may be other ways to access your International education in Germany.

FEES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 

Germany is a perfect destination if you are looking for cheap universities for international students as the country provides free University courses. Universities do often charge on enrolment and administration fees, however, which usually cost around £170 - £420 GBP per semester.

The fees for studying Master’s courses as an international student in Germany varies depending on if you have previously studied in the country. If you are continuing your Master’s from your German Batchelor’s course, universities will usually charge very low enrolment and admission fees and you course is likely to be free. However, if your course is not continuing from a German Bachelor’s you could find yourself paying around £16,800 – £25,000 GPB.

Germany is a brilliant country for providing employment opportunities, scholarships and funding options for international students. So, studying abroad in Germany is often very affordable for students.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 

Despite Germany being one of the most affordable countries for international education, you may still find yourself asking how you can fund your study abroad course and living fees. This is a familiar struggle amongst many students. But do not worry! You have plenty of study abroad funding opportunities to take advantage of!

One brilliant way to get your funding is to apply for international student scholarships. There is a diversity of scholarships out there which are looking to fund international students from a range of different backgrounds. Your eligibility for these scholarships will depend on your grades, potential, income, country, situation and gender.

A useful platform to find international student scholarships, is the DAAD Database Find Scholarships - DAAD. If you are from an EU country, Erasmus+ offers several scholarship opportunities to fund your international education Scholarships (erasmusprogramme.com).

Our goal is to give you the best chance for a fulfilling university experience and successful application. We hope that with our guidance, you now feel confident in your university application. If Germany did not seem quite right for you, look out for our other articles that offer some great advice for your international studies. 

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