Study in Germany - How to Apply as an International Student

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    Germany is a country renowned for its quality higher education institutions. Not only does it provide excellent training in various academic and professional fields, but the country also has a diverse student population. MS in Germany is quite popular, as are programs in Health and related sectors. Another popular course in MEng in Germany- with automotive engineering getting the most attention. International students looking to study in Germany can find all details regarding the admission process in this article.

    Admission Timeline for German Universities

    German institutions usually follow the two-semester system, that is, they have intakes in Summer and Winter.

    Date Details
    December Summer semester applications open
    15 January Summer semester applications close
    February / March Letter of acceptance is sent
    May Winter semester applications open
    15 July Winter semester applications close
    August / September Letter of acceptance is sent

    German University Application Process

    The first step of the application process is deciding what kind of university you want to study in. Higher education institutions in Germany are divided mainly into three types:

    • Universities
    • Universities of applied sciences
    • Colleges of art, film and music

    Other than these, there are also Studienkollegs, which are preparatory colleges. These institutions may be public-funded or private-funded, and the application process, fees, deadlines,etc. vary for different institutions.

    The second step is deciding what level of study you are planning to pursue. It could be:

    • Diploma
    • Bachelors
    • Masters
    • PhD

    The application deadlines in German universities for each type of program is different. Some international students also go to Germany as part of study abroad programs, which last for only a few months. The list of available levels of programs and areas of study, as well as the list of universities, can be found on the DAAD website.

    General university programs in Germany accept application via two methods - directly to the university or through the common platform uni-assist.

    Apply to German Universities via Uni-Assist

    The University Application Service for International Students (Arbeits und Servicestelle für Internationale Studienbewerbungen}, or uni-assist is an admission portal meant specifically for international students. You can use this platform in the following steps:

    1. Create a My Assist account.
    2. Fill in your personal information and educational history.
    3. Choose a university and program to apply to.
    4. Upload the required documents, which are:
      1. Standard 10 and 12 marksheets
      2. Previous university transcripts, if applying to a PG program
      3. English or German language proficiency certificate
    5. Pay the handling fees of EUR 75 for the first course selected, and an additional EUR 30 for each extra course selected in the same semester

    Uni-assist also manages Vorprüfungsdokumentation (VPD), if your chosen university requires it. The application deadline for Summer semester programs is 15 January and that for Winter semester programs is 15 July. It is advisable to apply 8 weeks before the university application deadline because it takes 4-6 weeks for uni-assist to process each application.

    Apply on German University Websites

    All programs are not available for application on uni-assist. Therefore you will have to check on the university website whether you must apply on the centralized portal or not. The procedure for application through the university portal is usually not that different from uni-assist. Non-EU students can find the application guidelines on the specific university’s international office page, and the details may vary from university to university.

    Apply to Restricted Programs in German Universities

    Several programs in Germany have admissions restrictions due to their high demand, like

    • Medicine
    • Pharmacy
    • Veterinary medicine
    • Dentistry
    • Geoinformation management

    You have to meet certain criteria other than the general requirements in order to be selected, whether it be in terms of academic qualifications, nationality, or time of application. The restrictions for a program may be local or national, and the application for these programs is done through the Foundation for Admission to Higher Education (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung). The application deadlines are slightly different from uni-assist.

    Application Deadlines for German Universities

    The general application deadlines to Bachelors and Masters courses at the top German universities are given below.

    University Application Deadlines
    LMU Munich 15 January, 15 July
    Technical University of Munich Varies for different programs
    Heidelberg University 15 January,15 June, 20 August
    Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin 15 July
    University of Tübingen 15 January, 15 July

    Admission Requirements in German Universities

    Language Tests Required to Study in Germany

    Depending on whether you are enrolling into a German-taught program or an English-taught one, you will need to take different tests to study in Germany. You can take any one of these tests as proof of German proficiency:

    • TestDaF, with a score of TDN 4
    • DSH
    • GDS, specifically the Goethe-Zertifikat C2
    • Telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule
    • DSD

    It is to be noted that most universities require a German proficiency of B2 or C1, as per CEFR standards. If you are joining an English-taught program, you can take either TOEFL iBT or IELTS. The IELTS score requirements at the top German universities are as follows:

    University IELTS Requirements
    LMU Munich 6.5
    Technical University of Munich 6.5
    Heidelberg University 6.5
    Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin 6.5
    University of Tübingen 6.0

    Study in Germany Without IELTS

    Unless you are enrolling into a German-taught program, you will most certainly be asked to present proof of being proficient in English. If you have not taken IELTS or any similar exams, your best option is to get a Medium of Instruction (MOI) certificate from your previous institution, given that you have completed that course in English medium. In rare cases, universities may conduct interviews to ascertain your English skills.

    Aptitude Tests Required to Study in Germany

    In order to apply to German universities, you may not only need to take language tests, but also some aptitude tests that are relevant to your course. If you are joining an undergraduate program, you have two test options:

    • If you don’t meet the subject requirements, complete a one-year preparatory course and then take the FSP exam.
    • If you meet the basic subject requirements but want to make your application attractive, take TestAS in your preferred subject.

    Neither of these exams are necessary for all students, and you will only have to take them in certain situations. However, when applying to specific postgraduate programs, there are some tests that you cannot miss. For example, if you are applying for MBA in Germany, you will need either a GRE General Test score of 300 or a GMAT score of 640.

    Documents Required for Admission to German Universities

    You may use this checklist of documents required during the application process to German universities:

    • Photocopy of your passport
    • Passport-size photograph
    • Copy of secondary school-leaving certificate (Hochschulreife)
    • Copies of previous university academic transcripts (if applicable)
    • Certified copy of subjects studied and grades
    • Language proficiency certificates like IELTS and TestDaF
    • Aptitude test scores, if applicable
    • Letter of Motivation
    • Proof of work experience, if applicable

    Please make sure that all documents are in either English or German, and if not you must provide translations.

    German Student Visa Requirements

    Once you have completed the application process and been accepted to a university, you can begin with procuring the Germany Study Visa. you will need the following documents while applying to the German embassy:

    • Filled application form
    • Passport
    • Passport-size photographs
    • Letter of acceptance from a German university
    • Academic transcripts
    • Proof of language proficiency
    • Proof of sufficient funds
    • Health insurance certificate in Germany

    Reasons for Rejection of Application

    Your visa application may be rejected if:

    • Your passport is not valid.
    • You have not filled accurate details in the application form.
    • You do not have a letter of acceptance from a German university.
    • You do not meet the academic requirements.
    • You do not meet language proficiency requirements.
    • Your financial statements prove you do not have the required funds.
    • You have any pending criminal cases.

    If you do not meet the university admission requirements, you may not be eligible for a German study visa, though you may get a Student Applicant Visa, using which you can stay in Germany until you receive a letter of acceptance from a university.

    Universities in Germany are much favoured by international students, hence there is fairly high competition to get into these institutions. Fortunately, if you follow the admission process correctly and meet all the requirements, it is not so difficult to obtain a seat in one of Germany’s leading universities. It is always recommended to start the application process on time, as applying earlier may give you the advantage of getting good scholarships to study in Germany.