Studying in Germany A Practical Guide for International Students - 7th Edition - DAAD
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The Most Important Questions at a Glance 9 Timeline What do I have to do and when? 16 Degree programmes How do I find a suitable degree programme? 22 German skills How much German do I have to know? 15 English-language degree programmes Where can I study in English? 30 Applications How do I apply for admission? 28 Scholarships What funding opportunities are available? 25 Living expenses How much does rent, food etc. cost? 68 Part-time jobs How can I earn money during my studies? 26 Health insurance How do I get health insurance? 36 Visa When do I need a visa? 40 Accommodation How do I find a room or flat? 42 Checklist What do I have to take care of and when?
Publisher DAAD Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst German Academic Exchange Service Kennedyallee 50, 53175 Bonn www.daad.de Section Information on Studying in Germany Project Coordination Esther Kirk, Julia Enke Publishing House Dr. Dagmar Giersberg, Bonn Translation Robert Brambeer, Titisee-Neustadt Layout and Typesetting DITHO Design GmbH, Cologne Printed by W. Kohlhammer Druckerei GmbH + Co. KG, Stuttgart Print run July 2019 – 25,000 © DAAD Photo Credits Thomas Bergmann (Cover), Norbert Hüttermann (p. 7, 67), Christian Lord Otto (p. 34), Peter Himsel/David Ausserhofer (p. 39), Ikhlas Abbis (pp. 46, 50, 74), Doerthe Hagenguth (p. 59), other pictures: private. This brochure is also available in German. This publication was funded by the Federal Foreign Office.
Studying in Germany 3 Contents Studying in Germany? A Good Idea! 6 1. Preparation 8 1.1 Degree programmes and universities 10 Types of universities | Public or private? | Programmes and degrees | International degree programmes | Information and advice | Map: Universities in Germany 1.2 Admission requirements 19 Higher education entrance qualification | Qualification assessment examination | Demands | German language proficiency 1.3 Financing 24 Costs | Proof of financial resources | Funding opportunities 1.4 Applying for admission 30 Subjects with centrally restricted admission | All other subjects | Application fees | Documents | Deadlines
4 Studying in Germany 1.5 Entry visas and residence permits 36 Visa requirements | Types of visas | Application 1.6 Looking for accommodation 40 Student hall of residence | Private accommodation | The first nights 1.7 Checklist 42 2. The first steps in Germany 44 2.1 Student advisory services 45 International Office | Support services | Student organisations | International student groups | Departmental student representatives 2.2 Finding accommodation 51 Assistance | Apartment listings 2.3 Enrolment 52 2.4 Registering with the authorities 53 Residents‘ Registration Office | Residence permit 2.5 Scheduling and organisation 55 Courses | Programme structure | Examinations | Timetable
A Practical Guide for International Students 5 3. Tips for a successful stay 60 3.1 Making contacts 61 3.2 Learning German 64 3.3 Gaining work experience 68 Part-time jobs | Restrictions | Internships | Payment 3.4 Career opportunities after graduation 72 Legal requirements | Job search | German skills Good luck! 76 Appendix 77 Facts and figures – International students in Germany 78 About the DAAD – Goals, tasks, programmes 80 Addresses and related links 82 Index 84
6 Studying in Germany Studying in Germany? A Good Idea! So, you’re interested in studying in Germany? That’s fantastic! We’re happy to hear that! Studying abroad – especially in a country any additional information, feel free to very different from your own – is an contact the DAAD staff in your country and exciting challenge. You will be influenced they will be happy to assist you. Or simply by the surge of new impressions and post your questions on points of view you encounter here. Study- www.facebook.com/Study.in.Germany. ing in Germany – in the heart of Europe – will certainly have a long-lasting impact We wish you success and a wonderful, on your life. unforgettable stay in Germany! There are diverse opportunities in Germany for learning and researching. German Who are we? universities have an outstanding reputa- The German Academic Exchange tion throughout the world. Each year Service (DAAD) is a joint organisation they produce significant, internationally of German institutions of higher recognised advances and innovations. education and student bodies. Our Here you will find ideal conditions for task is to support academic coopera- gaining a successful university education. tion around the world, especially by By the way, you are one of many talented, promoting the exchange of students young individuals who wish to study in and academics. You can find more information about Germany. There are almost 360,000 young studying and living in Germany in our people from around the world studying and info brochures and on our websites researching at German universities. www.daad.de and www.study-in.de. At present, they comprise 12.9 percent of all students in Germany. In fact, there are very few countries that can boast a higher percentage of international students. And you are not alone as you travel to Germany. This brochure will help you prepare for your studies here. If you need
8 Studying in Germany 1. Preparation This chapter tells you how to plan a successful study visit and what you should take care of before you leave home. Studying abroad is like turning over a new leaf in an unknown world. There are many things to consider, plan and organise. The following timeline will give you an over- view of each step you will take on your way to Germany. On the following pages you will find detailed information about each step on the timeline. Using the checklist at the end of this chapter, you can make sure that you have completed all of the important steps and obtained all the necessary documents for your trip to Germany (see pp. 42–43).
Preparation 9 ! Timeline About 15 months before your planned trip to Germany ■ S tart gathering information about study opportunities in Germany either online or from a DAAD office (see pp. 10–18). ■ Find out whether you fulfil the requirements for studying in Germany (see pp. 19–23). – Is your school-leaving certificate sufficient? – Will you have to take a language test? ■ Determine how you will finance your study visit in Germany and whether you are eligible for a scholarship (see pp. 24–29). About nine months before your trip ■ D ecide on a degree programme and university (see pp. 10–18). ■ Contact the International Office at the university of your choice (see p. 16). About four to five months before your studies begin ■ P repare and submit your application of admission (see pp. 30–35). Note the submission deadlines! ■ Would you like to live in a student hall of residence? Then apply for a room now (see p. 40). When you receive your notification of acceptance ■ D o you need a visa? If so, then apply for one now (see pp. 36–38). ■ Do you have a health insurance policy which is recognised in Germany? Then request a statement confirming your coverage from your provider now. For more information on health insurance, see p. 26. About one month before your trip ■ M ake sure you have collected all the necessary documents (see p. 43). ■ Plan where you will spend your first nights in Germany (see p. 41). Your trip to Germany!
10 Studying in Germany 1.1 Degree programmes and universities This section provides you with an overview of the German university system and the degree programmes you can choose from. The more choices you have, the harder What kind of colleges and it is to choose. This especially applies universities are there? to your situation, as there are so many opportunities to study in Germany. Deciding on a college or university is somewhat easier as there are only three There are 430 officially recognised institu- types to choose from in Germany: tions of higher education in around 170 towns and cities throughout Germany. ■ Universities The map on page 18 shows the location of ■ Universities of applied sciences these institutions. In total, German uni- ■ Colleges of art, film and music versities and colleges offer around 20,000 degree programmes. And from all of these, Studying at a university is a good idea if you will have to choose one. We’ve put you are interested in a scientifically-oriented together some information to help with education. Universities offer a broad range your decision. of courses and subjects. Some schools specialise in certain disciplines, such as advanced technology, medicine and edu cation. If you would like to enter a doctoral The academic year in Germany The academic year is divided into Semester schedule at most universities: two semesters at German universities – winter and summer semester. Universities Winter semester: October to March A semester is comprised of the lecture Summer semester: April to September period, during which students attend seminars and lectures, and the lecture- Universities of applied sciences free period when the university is closed Winter semester: September to February for holidays. The semester schedule Summer semester: March to August varies depending on the type of univer- Important: Some degree programmes sity you attend. Therefore, enquire about only begin in the winter semester the exact dates at the university of your choice.
Degree programmes and universities 11 A perfect match! I was thrilled when I stumbled across a degree programme in cognitive science while looking for computer science programmes online. This bachelor‘s degree programme, offered in Osnabrück and Tübingen, offers a combination of computer science, psychology and biology. It was perfect for me! What I especially like is that they give you a lot of freedom to design your programme according to your interests. And the students are very, very motivated. Alona Sakhnenko comes from Ukraine where she studied applied mathematics. She is now complet- ing bachelor‘s programmes in cognitive science and computer science at the University of Osnabrück. programme in Germany, then a university technicians and producers for film and is the perfect place for you. television. Potential candidates must pos- sess a high degree of artistic talent which Universities of applied sciences are ideal they are asked to demonstrate in an apti- if you are looking for a more practice- tude test. Therefore, you can expect spe- oriented education. These institutions pro- cial admission requirements if you wish vide students with a scientifically based to apply to a college of art, film or music. education, tailored to the demands of professional life. The degree programmes generally include internships (see p. 71) and Facts and figures a practical module. This enables students to apply their knowledge on the job at compa- A total of more than 2.9 million students were enrolled around 430 nies and businesses. officially recognised universities and colleges in the winter semester If you wish to study an artistic or design 2018/2019. oriented subject, you may be the perfect ■ 1 ,778,737 students at candidate for a college of art, film or music. 128 universities, There you will find courses in the Fine ■ 1,003,402 students at 218 uni- Arts, Industrial and Fashion Design, versities of applied sciences Graphic Arts, Instrumental Music, Per ■ 36.834 students at 53 colleges forming Arts, Voice, etc. Colleges of of art, film and music modern media train students to become Source: Federal Statistical Office directors, camera operators, screenwriters,
12 Studying in Germany What is the difference What kind of degree programmes between public and private are there? universities? Each course prepares you for a particular Most universities and colleges in Ger- university degree. When you choose a many are public, i. e. they receive funding degree programme, you’re not only from the federal government. Some are choosing a subject, but also the degree also financed by the Protestant or Catholic you wish to ultimately attain. Church. In addition to these subsidised institutions, there are 120 private German universities offer a wide range universities and colleges which of degree programmes to suit your needs confer officially recognised degrees. The and educational level. majority of these are universities of applied sciences. ■ You can attend university in Germany as a beginner (undergraduate studies). Most students in Germany are enrolled ■ You can gain international experience at public universities. Only 7.4 percent of at a German university for a couple of all students attend a private institution, semesters to supplement your degree the reason being that private colleges often programme at home. charge high tuition fees while public ■ You can enter a postgraduate programme universities generally do not (see p. 27). in Germany, if you have already The quality of instruction at both types of completed your undergraduate studies. universities, however, is comparably high. ■ You can study as a doctoral candidate. Degrees conferred by Did you know … German universities University education in Germany is You can attain the following degrees at not centrally coordinated. Each of German universities: the 16 states (see p. 18) has its own higher education laws and guidelines. German universities are largely self Bachelor’s degree (B.A., B.Sc., Bachelor regulatory, which means that not of Engineering, etc.): This is the first- all rules apply to every university. level academic degree recognised on the Therefore, always enquire about international job market. Bachelor’s the particular regulations at the uni degree programmes teach students the versity of your choice. fundamentals of their subject of study in six to eight semesters. Once you have received your bachelor’s degree, you can enter professional life or continue studying for the second-level academic qualification – the master’s degree.
Degree programmes and universities 13 Master’s degree (M.A., M.Sc., Master of Doctoral degree: A doctoral programme, Engineering, etc.): This is the second-level which involves the completion of a academic qualification you can receive research paper (dissertation), concludes from a German university. If you wish to with the conferral of a doctoral degree. enter a master’s degree programme, you The duration of doctoral programmes are required to have a bachelor’s degree depends on the candidate’s particular area (or equivalent academic qualification). of research. However, most programmes Master’s degree programmes last two to generally take two to five years to complete four semesters and allow you to deepen (see p. 14). and expand your knowledge in a certain subject. After you receive your master’s In recent decades the academic programmes degree, you can enter professional life or at German universities have undergone continue studying for the next academic major reform as mandated by the Bologna qualification – the doctoral degree. Process. Meanwhile, the bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes have State examination (Staatsexamen): The all but replaced the traditional German state examination is not an academic Diplom and Magister Artium programmes degree, but rather a state qualification. at most universities. This means that the examination regula- tions are stipulated by the German states, As you look into more universities and not by the university. Another difference their programmes, you may still encounter is that the examinations are administered these types of degrees. A Diplom is gener- by state invigilators. Those who wish to ally conferred to students who study the work as a medical doctor, lawyer, pharma- Natural Sciences, Engineering, Economics cist or teacher in Germany have to pass a and Social Sciences, while students in state examination. Students are permitted the humanities are awarded the Magister to take the first state examination after Artium (M.A.) degree. Both degrees are successfully completing their studies in comparable to a master’s degree. Medicine, Law, Pharmaceutics or Teacher Education. Afterwards, they can begin a professionally oriented, practical training phase to prepare themselves for the second state examination and/ or enter a doctoral programme. Passing the state examination, however, does not guarantee the candidate a job. If you wish to attain this qualifica- tion, you should enquire whether the German state examination is recognised in your home country.
14 Studying in Germany Doctoral degrees There are many opportunities for you Some states in Germany have es- to attain a doctorate from a German tablished English-language graduate university. schools which, in contrast to research Basically, you can take two routes – training groups, are permanently estab- either research independently and lished at their respective universities. write a dissertation under professorial This is where young, highly qualified supervision, or enter a doctoral pro- researchers can receive intensive and gramme that provides a fixed structure. individual advising. Option 1: You first have to find a univer- There are also a wide range of interna- sity professor (Doktorvater or Doktor tional doctoral programmes (see p. 15). mutter) to supervise your dissertation. For more information about these Since instructors are not obliged to international structured doctoral pro- take on every candidate, your research idea must be compelling. Find out in grammes, visit www.daad.de/interna- advance which university and professor tional-programmes. would be best suited for your research project. For more information, visit Please note: The information in this the HRK website www.higher-educa- brochure – especially pertaining to the tion-compass.de and the information admission requirements and the struc- portal GERiT (German Research Institu- ture of the academic programmes – tions) at www.gerit.org. primarily applies to the bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes. If you Option 2: You can enter a structured are interested in entering a doctoral doctoral degree programme in Germany. programme, you can find more relevant The most significant of these include: information at www.research-in- ■ Research training groups germany.de/phd. Our “PhDGermany” ■ Graduate schools database (www.phdgermany.de) con- ■ International doctoral programmes tains an extensive collection of doctoral positions especially suited to interna- Research training groups are university tional candidates. Once you have found programmes that promote young a position that interests you, you can scientists and researchers. These train- apply directly via the DAAD portal by ing groups allow doctoral candidates to clicking the link provided in the job offer. embed their dissertation in a compre hensive research programme. Such programmes are generally interdisci plinary and are supervised by several scientists. Visit the webpage of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a list of the research training groups which it is currently funding: www.dfg.de/gk.
Degree programmes and universities 15 International degree ! programmes Double degree programmes have an international or bilateral orientation. They are usually offered by a German university German universities currently offer around in cooperation with one or more partner 1,530 internationally-oriented degree pro- universities abroad. Students who partici- grammes. These well-structured, high- pate in such degree programmes usually level “International Bachelor, Master study at the partner university for several and Doctoral Programmes” feature inten- semesters. Students receive full credit for sive student counselling and academic completing pre-approved courses from advising. Most courses are taught in Eng- their university at home. Some of these lish, though German language courses degree programmes require students to often supplement the programmes. spend approximately half their time at the partner university. When completed, More information? students receive a double degree – one www.daad.de/international-programmes from each university. There are also a number of programmes Online degrees especially tailored to the needs of inter national doctoral candidates. The most You don’t have to live in Germany prominent of these include the Graduate to benefit from the degree pro- Schools in the Excellence Initiative and grammes at German universities. Both public and private universities the International Max Planck Research offer free and tuition-based online Schools (IMPRS). They offer especially and distance-learning programmes talented German and international gradu- in numerous subjects. You can ates the opportunity to pursue their doctor- find these bachelor’s and master’s ate at some of the most excellent scientific programmes at www.hochschulkom- centres in Germany. In addition to intensive pass.de (under the menu tab “Dis- expert advising, most of these programmes tance learning”) and internationally feature English-language courses and, in oriented programmes at www.daad. many cases, special funding opportunities. de/international-programmes (under the menu tab “Study online“). More information? www.mpg.de/de/imprs
16 Studying in Germany What is the right degree Where can I get academic advice? ! programme for me? Get as much advice as you can! There are Now you have a general idea of the oppor- also academic consulting and advising tunities offered by German universities. It’s services in your home country to help you up to you to find out which degree pro- plan your study visit in Germany. If you gramme best suits your needs. need advice, please contact the following people or agencies: As you look for a suitable degree pro- gramme, we recommend using the search ■ The DAAD-Information Centres (ICs) engine on www.study-in.de. It offers ex- and the DAAD branch offices (see p. 82) tensive information about all programmes ■ DAAD-affiliated instructors and currently offered at state-recognised lecturers at foreign universities universities in Germany. You will also find ■ Goethe-Institut or Goethe-Zentrum important information provided by the ■ T he German diplomatic missions – HRK database on admission requirements, i. e. embassies and consulates application deadlines and contactaddresses. We also recommend visiting www.univer- sityranking.de. This site ranks the degree Self-assessment tests programmes at 380 German universities in If you’re having a hard time deciding 37 popular subjects. on a major, you might want to take the “Study Interest Test”, or SIT, for For more on international bachelor’s, short. The test is free and only takes master’s and doctoral degree programmes, 15 minutes (www.hochschulkompass. see www.daad.de/international- de/studium-interessentest.html). For programmes. more links to other self-tests, visit www.studis-online.de/StudInfo/selb- If you need further assistance with choos- sttests.php and ing a programme, you can find extensive www.hochschulkompass.de/en/de- information on the DAAD website and at gree-programmes/choosing- www.studienwahl.de. a-programme/higher-education- orientation-tests.html If you’re interested in technical sub- jects, the consultation service “Self Assessment international” is right for you. Visit the service at www.self-assessment.tu9.de. If you’d like to find out whether you can meet the demands at German universities, the TestAS will help as- sess your ability (see p. 21).
Degree programmes and universities 17 You’re the focus ... in everything we do! At the University of Bremen you can design the programmes for international students. We at the Inter- national Office welcome your ideas and involvement. We are happy to help you integrate your strengths in developing a multifaceted programme for international students. In addition to orientation events at the beginning of the semester, we also provide concrete academic assistance, such as thesis-writing workshops and a learning tandem programme. We also invite students from around the world to get together and participate in recreational activities. Per- haps you have some other ideas about how we can network the numerous cultures on our campus! Dr. Annette Lang is the director of the Internation- al Office at the University of Bremen. Your most important contact in Germany And, of course, our staff at the DAAD is the International Office (Akademisches head office in Bonn are happy to answer Auslandsamt) at the university of your your questions regarding your study visit choice (for a list of addresses, visit in Germany (for contact info, see p. 82). www.daad.de/aaa). The International You can also post your questions on Office provides information about study www.facebook.com/Study.in.Germany. opportunities in specific disciplines and Remember, you are not alone. We’re here degree programmes, admission require- to help you! ments, study preparation, languages tests, internships, financial aid and assistance with planning your studies.
18 Studying in Germany Universities in Germany Flensburg Kiel Heide Stralsund Schleswig- Rostock Holstein Greifswald Elmshorn Lübeck Wismar Wedel Hamburg Mecklenburg- Neubrandenburg Willhelmshaven Bremerhaven Hamburg Emden Western Pomerania Buxtehude Ottersberg Lüneburg Oldenburg Bremen Bremen Brandenburg Neuruppin Hermannsburg Eberswalde Vechta Lower Saxony Wustermark Berlin Berlin Brandenburg Hannover Potsdam Osnabrück Frankfurt/O. Braunschweig Hameln Friedensau Wildau Herford Wolfenbüttel Bielefeld Hildesheim Magdeburg Münster Lemgo Detmold Wernigerode Kleve Cottbus Hamm Clausthal-Zellerfeld Saxony- Gelsenkirchen Köthen Anhalt Bochum Paderborn Mülheim Nordhausen Dortmund Halle Essen Witten Göttingen Krefeld Hagen Iserlohn Merseburg Kassel Leipzig Düsseldorf Wuppertal Moritzburg North Rhine- Bad Sooden- Thuringia Saxony Westphalia Allendorf Dresden Hesse Weimar Zittau Köln Siegen Mittweida Freiberg Erfurt AachenBrühl Dietzhölztal Jena Gera Chemnitz Alfter St. Augustin Marburg Bonn Gießen Schmalkalden Ilmenau Zwickau Bad Honnef Hachenburg Fulda Vallendar Koblenz Idstein Bad Homburg Rhineland Oberursel Frankfurt a. M. Palatinate Coburg Hof Wiesbaden Offenbach Bernkastel-Kues Geisenheim Aschaffenburg Bingen Darmstadt Bayreuth Trier Mainz Würzburg Bamberg Pfungstadt Worms Ludwigshafen Erlangen Kaiserslautern Mannheim Heidelberg Fürth Amberg Saarland Speyer Ansbach Nürnberg Saarbrücken Heilbronn Neuendettelsau Karlsruhe Pforzheim Eichstätt Regensburg Ludwigsburg Aalen Bad Liebenzell Stuttgart Ingolstadt Deggendorf EsslingenSchwäbisch Gmünd Offenburg Tübingen Nürtingen Passau Rottenburg Reutlingen Bavaria Landshut Ulm Neu-Ulm Riedlingen Freising Trossingen Augsburg Furtwangen Biberach Ismaning Sigmaringen München Freiburg Baden- Neubiberg Weingarten Württemberg Rosenheim Weilheim Isny Kempten Konstanz Friedrichshafen
Admission requirements 19 1.2 Admission requirements In this section we outline the requirements you must fulfil before you can be admitted to a German university. In particular, these requirements concern your school-leaving certificate, your prior knowledge of the subject you intend to study and your language skills. Those who wish to study at a German The database will then inform you whether university require a Hochschulzugangs your certificate: berechtigung or higher education entrance qualification. Although the term is daunt- ■ is recognised as a qualification for ing, the idea behind it is simple – it is a direct university admission, school-leaving certificate confirming that ■ is only recognised as a qualification for you are qualified to begin your university subject-restricted study (i. e. only for studies. In Germany, after students graduate admission to a certain range of subjects), from secondary school, they receive a ■ is only recognised in combination with general university entrance qualification proof you have successfully completed (Abitur) or qualification for a university of one or two academic years in your applied sciences (Fachhochschulreife). home country, or ■ is not recognised as a higher education Will they recognise my entrance qualification. higher education entrance qualification? Your school-leaving certificate is usually recognised as a university entrance qualifi How can you determine whether your cation in Germany if you come from an EU higher education entrance qualification will country, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or be recognised in Germany? A good place Switzerland and your certificate is also rec to start is the DAAD admission database at ognised as a university entrance qualification www.daad.de/admission. Simply enter the there. This also applies to those who country where you received your school- have received their Abitur from any of the leaving certificate. 140 German Schools abroad.
20 Studying in Germany A wonderful time! I spent one year in a foundation course pre- paring for my bachelor’s degree programme – with students from all around the world who were also new to Germany. It was super exciting! My language skills were actually pretty good when I arrived in Germany. But during the foundation course, I was able to really im- prove my speaking ability - and acquire a lot of subject-related knowledge. After I completed the course, it was great for me to see that I had reached the same level as the native speakers in my degree programme. Ana Cristina Arango comes from Colombia. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Romance literature and cultural studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt. The DAAD online admission database only specific requirements and whether you provides a general overview. The database meet the prerequisites for admission. at www.anabin.de can give you detailed information with a more extensive list of What if my school-leaving countries and school-leaving certificates certificate is not sufficient? (select “Schulabschlüsse mit Hochschul- zugang” – “Suchen”, German only). If your school-leaving certificate is not sufficient for university admission, you In some cases, especially gifted applicants will have to take a qualification assess- may be admitted into artistic degree ment examination in Germany, called a programmes without a higher education Feststellungsprüfung. entrance qualification. Depending on the university, candidates must either submit You can prepare for this examination in a work portfolio or pass an aptitude test. a foundation course (Studienkolleg) in Germany. These are special programmes Ultimately, the university you apply to has offered at universities and universities of the final say concerning your admission. applied sciences. They include modules Therefore, before submitting your applica- with a focus on certain subjects. tion, be sure to enquire at the International Office at the university of your choice about
Admission requirements 21 The examination assesses a student’s is help available – the Test for Academic proficiency in several subjects that are Studies and/ or propaedeutic courses. crucial to the degree programme. One component of the qualification assessment With the Test for Academic Studies examination is a language test. However, (TestAS), you can assess your ability to students must have some basic German cope with the demands that German uni language skills to even participate in a versities place on their students. The foundation course – approximately the result could also help you narrow down B1 level based on the Common European your choices for a degree programme. Framework of Reference for Languages After taking the test, you will be able to (see infobox on p. 23). In the examination, more realistically assess the likelihood you must demonstrate that you possess of completing a degree programme at a the language skills necessary for your German university. Furthermore, passing intended course of study. the TestAS significantly increases your chances of gaining admission to the uni Subject-specific foundation courses usually versity of your choice. Please find out take two semesters to complete. Students whether your university requires the who demonstrate above-average achieve- TestAS and what advantages it has for you. ment may be permitted to take the qualifica- The TestAS is administered several times tion assessment examination after only a year at TestDaF testing centres around one semester. Foundation courses provide the world and possibly in your country as about 30 hours of instruction per week. well. For a list of testing centres and infor- mation about TestAS examination fees, Participation is usually free of charge at visit www.testas.de. public universities in Germany. However, like normal students, foundation course Propaedeutic courses are another way to participants are also required to pay the prepare for the demands of university semester contribution (see pp. 24–25). study. These university preparatory courses If you wish to attend a foundation course, are offered to international applicants by you must apply in advance. some universities. They provide students the language and academic skills they More information? www.studienkollegs.de Prerequisite: Internship For some degree programmes – What are the demands of primarily at universities of applied university study? sciences – internships are a pre- requisite for university admission. You might fulfil the formal prerequisites for Therefore, enquire at the university admission, but can you meet the demands of your choice whether an internship is obligatory for admission to your of university study in Germany? If this is degree programme. something you are concerned about, there
22 Studying in Germany require for studying in Germany. They often include an introduction to the Language certificate German university system and scientific At www.sprachnachweis.de, you can working methods. find out the German proficiency level required for your degree programme These courses are usually aimed at appli at the university of your choice. The cants who have a recognised higher educa- website also offers a helpful over- tion entrance qualification, but wish to view of the tests that you can take to prepare themselves for the degree pro- prove your German language skills. gramme. A preparatory semester can help them complete their degree programme The language proficiency required for uni- in a successful and timely manner. The versity admission can be certified by two International Office at the university of different tests – the DSH Test (“Deutsche your choice can tell you whether such pro- Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang”) paedeutic courses are available. For a gen- and the “TestDaF” (Test Deutsch als Fremd- eral overview, visit the DAAD database at sprache). www.daad.de/international-programmes (select “Prep Course” in the section You are not required to take either of “Degree / Level”). these tests, if one of the following cases applies to you: ! How good does my German have to be? ■ You have received an Abitur from a German-language school. For most degree programmes, the language ■ You have received the “Goethe of instruction at German universities is Zertifikat C2: Major German Language German. Therefore, you will have to prove Certificate” or the “telc Deutsch C1 Hoch- you have adequate knowledge of German schule” examination. to be admitted to the university. ■ You have received the German Language Diploma (Level II) from the German The exception to the rule applies to students Standing Conference of Ministers of who participate in international degree Education and Culture. programmes (see p. 15) and special postgrad- uate programmes. You can take the German as a Foreign Language Test (TestDaF) in your home Some universities do not require applicants country even before you arrive in Germany. to prove their German language skills, if The test is administered in Germany and they only intend to study there for one or almost 100 other countries around the two semesters. However, this rule does world six times a year, and in the People’s not apply everywhere. Therefore, enquire Republic of China, three times a year. Visit about the specific admission requirement www.testdaf.de for information about test- regarding language ability at the university ing centres, dates, application procedures of your choice. and much more.
Admission requirements 23 The DSH Test (“Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang”) is mainly offered The Common European by universities and foundation courses Framework of Reference for in Germany. Enquire at the International Languages (CEFR) Office at your university for the upcoming testing dates. Language skill levels in Germany correspond to the three level groups as defined by the CEFR: Basic User The TestDaF and DSH assess several (A), Independent User (B) and Pro- levels of language proficiency. Those who ficient User (C). These are divided pass all the sections of the tests at the into six subgroups which range from intermediate level (TDN 4 for the Test- absolute beginners (A1) to almost DaF, or the DSH-2 for the DSH) are native speakers (C2). eligible for unrestricted admission to university. Depending on the specific regulations at your university, a lower mark in one of the sections will not necessarily disqualify you from regular admission. You are required to pay an examination fee if you wish to take the DSH or TestDaF. The cost of the fee depends on the administering authority and the country in which you take the test. Of course, learning German is not only important for gaining admission to univer- sity. Keep in mind that your German language skills will significantly determine how comfortable you feel in Germany and how easily you make German friends (see pp. 64–66).
24 Studying in Germany 1.3 Financing In this section we outline the expenses you can expect during your study visit and the funding possibilities that are available to you. Your financial resources are an important cilities and administrative services. In some aspect of your plans. Before you leave your states students are charged an administra- home country, you must secure sufficient tive fee which can range from 50 to 75 euros funds to finance your stay. a semester. What expenses will I have? The semester contribution at many uni versities also includes the cost of a public Be prepared to pay for the following transportation ticket. This semester ticket expenses during your stay in Germany: allows you to use all modes of public transportation in and around your univer- ■ Semester contribution sity town for six months free of charge. ■ Basic living expenses (rent, food, Depending on the city and the range of the clothing, books, telephone, etc.) ■ Health insurance coverage ■ Tuition fees (if applicable) Example: Semester contribution at the Freie Universität Berlin Semester contribution Summer semester 2019 All university students are required to pay Enrolment fee € 50.00 a semester contribution, the amount of which can vary depending on the services Social contribution € 54.09 it includes. The amount can range between 130 and 390 euros. Most universities charge Student union contribution € 9.10 around 290 euros on average. Semester ticket € 198.80 One part of the semester contribution Total € 311.99 covers social services and fees. This helps finance, for example, the student dining halls, student halls of residence, athletic fa-
Financing 25 ticket, you can expect to pay between 25 and Students are eligible for numerous price 160 euros per semester for the ticket. concessions. Theatres, opera houses, cin emas, museums and other cultural venues ! Living expenses frequently offer concession rates to stu- dents who show their student ID at the Compared to other European countries, ticket counter. Germany is not overly expensive. The price for food, accommodation, clothing, cultural activities, etc. is slightly higher than the EU average. The approximate cost of living is relatively low compared to that of Switzer- land and the Scandinavian countries. How much does it cost? average It is difficult to say exactly how much money a student in Germany needs per Supermarket: month. The cost of living varies from 1 kg potatoes € 0.75 city to city. Generally students can live 1 kg rice € 2.70 on less money in smaller cities than in 500 g spaghetti € 0.75 large cities. Of course the amount of 1 loaf of bread (ca. 500 g) € 2.00 money you will need greatly depends 1 l of milk € 1.00 on how economically you live. 1 bottle of mineral water (1 l) € 0.60 Students in Germany require an average of 1 frozen pizza € 2.00 almost 920 euros per month to cover their living expenses. Those who have inexpen- Café or restaurant: sive accommodation and live modestly can 1 cup of coffee or tea € 2.80 probably get by on about 720 euros per 1 glass of cola (0.3 l) € 2.30 month. 1 glass of beer (0.3 l) € 2.70 1 glass of wine (0.2 l) € 4.50 Renting a flat comprises the largest 1 pizza / pasta dish€ 7.50 portion of one’s monthly expenditures. 1 small salad € 3.50 However, the rental prices in Germany vary greatly. Depending on the city, students Student dining hall: pay between 259 and 373 euros per month 1 lunch € 2.20 for accommodation. The rental prices are 100 g salad from buffet € 0.75 comparatively higher in cities like Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg and Admission prices: Berlin. If you are looking to live cheaply, Cinema € 8.00 it might be a good idea to take a room in Theatre € 15.00 a student hall of residence or a shared flat Art museum € 7.50 (see pp. 40–41). Swimming pool € 4.00
26 Studying in Germany ! Health insurance If your health insurance policy from home is not recognised in Germany, you are Everyone who studies in Germany must required to take out a policy in Germany. have health insurance. When you officially Public health insurance policies cost around enrol (see p. 52), you will be asked to show 90 euros per month. However, if you are proof of health insurance coverage. You older than 30 or haven’t completed your de- will also need confirmation of coverage to gree programme by your 14th semester, you obtain a residence permit (see p. 54). are no longer eligible for the inexpensive student rate. Some public health insurance It is possible that your health insurance providers offer a less expensive interim policy at home is also valid in Germany. rate for one semester (so-called “graduate This is usually the case for public health student rate”) before raising the premium insurance policies in EU member states, to about 180 euros per month. as well as Bosnia, Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Morocco, North Macedonia, For students who are 30 or older, it might Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, be less costly to take out a policy with a Tunisia and Turkey. Germany has signed private health insurance provider. The social insurance agreements with these Deutsches Studentenwerk has made an countries to ensure cross-border coverage. agreement with a provider for such cases. With your European Health Insurance For more information, enquire at the Stu- Card (EHIC), you are also insured in Ger- dentenwerk office at your university or visit many. In some circumstances, domestic www.vela.insure (“VELA Optimal” plan). and international health insurance policies from private foreign providers may also be Whatever the case, be sure to clarify your recognised in Germany. Enquire at your health insurance status before you come health insurance provider for more infor- to Germany. In order to enrol (see p. 52), mation before coming to Germany. If your you have to provide proof of health insur- insurance policy from your home country ance coverage to your university. Your is recognised (be it private or public), you health insurance provider at home and the will have to provide a statement at en- International Office at your German univer- rolment confirming that you are indeed sity will be happy to help you. At many exempt from mandatory German public universities, the Studentenwerk offers health insurance coverage. To do this, visit service packages for international students the branch office of a German insurance which include accommodation, meal provider before you enrol and request this vouchers and a health insurance policy statement confirming your present coverage. (see p. 45–47).
Financing 27 Tuition fees term study. Students enrolled in certain master’s and online degree programmes Most students in Germany attend public are also required to pay tuition – in some universities where tuition fees are rarely cases, up to 10,000 euros per semester or charged for undergraduate programmes more. The cost of study at private universi- and many master’s programmes. The only ties is relatively high as well. exception are the public universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg. There, inter- Tuition fees – no matter how high – say national students from non-EU countries very little about the quality of education in may be required to pay tuition to attend. For Germany. Tuition-free degree programmes more information, contact the International also offer very good quality. Office at the respective university. More information? In some states, universities charge fees www.studis-online.de/StudInfo/ for second degree programmes and long- Gebuehren Students’ monthly expenses (not including tuition fees) average Example: Rent and utilities Rent and utilities € 323.00 average Groceries € 168.00 Room in a student hall of residence € 271.00 Clothing € 42.00 Room in a shared flat € 310.00 Learning materials € 20.00 Own apartment € 389.00 Car and/ or public transportation € 94.00 Health insurance, medical costs, medicine € 80.00 Communication (Telephone, Internet, TV) € 31.00 Recreation, culture, sports € 61.00 Source: Deutsches Studentenwerk, Total € 819.00 21th Social Survey
28 Studying in Germany How can I prove that What kind of funding can I can pay for my studies? I apply for? Before you begin your studies, you will have You now have an idea of the costs you to show how you intend to finance your can expect. But you might not have to pay stay. You must provide what is called a for everything yourself. There are numer- Finanzierungsnachweis or “proof of finan- ous scholarships and funding possibilities cial resources”. In most cases, you are that can help students pay for their study required to include this document with your visit in Germany. visa application. At the latest, you will need it when you apply for a residence permit (see p. 54). At present, foreign students ! Scholarships must prove they have about 8,640 euros International students can apply for scholar- per year at their disposal. ships from numerous organisations, such as the DAAD, politically-affiliated founda- Proof of financial resources can be tions, religious institutions and businessre- provided in various ways. As a rule, the lated organisations. You should find out following forms are accepted: whether you are eligible for scholarships and financial aid from organisations in ■ Your parents submit documents your home country, as well. certifying their income and financial assets. The DAAD offers an extensive scholarship ■ A resident in Germany provides the programme for students, academics and Aliens’ Registration Office a guarantee researchers. to cover your expenses. Please note: Most funding organisations – ■ A security payment is deposited into including the DAAD – do not finance entire a blocked account. degree programmes from the first to last ■ You submit a bank guarantee. semester. ■ You receive a scholarship from a recognised funding organisation. Funding for European students Be sure to enquire at the German embassy in your country as to which form of finan- There are special exchange programmes for cial proof is required. students from EU countries and Iceland, Please note: International students are Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, only allowed to work in Germany under Serbia and Turkey. certain conditions. A part-time job may supplement your budget, but it almost For example, Erasmus+ promotes the ex- certainly won’t be able to cover all your change of European students in bachelor’s, living expenses (see pp. 68-71). master’s and doctoral programmes. Students receive grants to study abroad for a period of three to twelve months. The exchange is
Financing 29 arranged on the basis of bilateral university agreements. This means that if you would Scholarship Database like to study in Germany with Erasmus+, With the DAAD Scholarship Data- you enrol as a visiting student at the German base, it’s easy to research various university with which your home university types of scholarships online. The cooperates. Erasmus students usually don’t database includes scholarships of- have to pay tuition fees in the host country. fered by the DAAD and other funding organisations, as well. Internships are also funded during or even More information? after one’s degree programme for a period of www.funding-guide.de two to twelve months. Each student may receive funding multiple times during his/her studies. However, the total funding period may not exceed 36 months. In certain cases, students may apply for a low-interest loan to finance their master’s degree programme. You can obtain more information and advice concerning Erasmus+, the application process and submission deadlines at the In- ternational Office at your university, or at the National Agency in your home country. More information? eu.daad.de ec.europa.eu/programmes/ erasmus-plus
30 Studying in Germany 1.4 Applying for admission ! In this section we tell you the most important things you should know about applying for admission to a degree programme at a German university. There are different ways to apply for admission to a German university. The Numerus clausus … form of application depends on which subject you wish to study. … is Latin and means “limited number”. It indicates that there are only a limited number of spaces free We distinguish between two categories at the university or in Germany in the of subjects in Germany: respective course of study. In most cases, there are more applicants than ■ Subjects with a centrally restricted spaces available which means that admission policy (nationwide Numerus special selection criteria and condi- tions for admission apply to appli- clausus). These subjects are so popular cants in these courses of study. that there are far more applicants than available places at the university. At present, these subjects include Medicine, Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry. How do I apply for a subject ■ Subjects with no or a locally restricted with a centrally restricted admission policy (Numerus clausus admission policy? implemented by the university). A nationwide Numerus clausus (NC) The following information only serves as applies to those subjects for which there a general guideline and applies only to are more applicants in Germany than public universities. To be on the safe side, the university system can absorb. If you enquire about the application procedures wish to study one of these subjects, pertaining to your degree programme at there are special conditions that pertain the International Office at your German to your application. university.
ove On the m a ny – in Germ it wo rks: how e study-in.d ”Go on a voyage of discovery. Study in Germany.“ Thu from Vietnam and Harshvardhan from India are studying in Berlin and enjoying a trip in the snow-covered Harz region. www.study-in.de
32 Studying in Germany Where you submit your application choice or contact the university’s Interna- depends on: tional Office. ■ the country you come from, and A list of over 180 uni-assist member uni- ■ whether you have a German higher versities is available at www.uni-assist.de/ education entrance qualification tools/uni-assist-hochschulen. (see p. 19–20). But as mentioned above, please enquire The following applicants are required to about the application procedures at the submit their application for admission International Office at the university of to degree programmes with a local or your choice. national Numerus clausus to the Foundation for University Admission (Stiftung für What is uni-assist? Hochschulzulassung): The Working Service Point for Interna- ■ Applicants from EU member states, tional Student Applications, or uni-assist e.V., is an organisation responsible for as well as Liechtenstein, Iceland and previewing the documents submitted Norway by international applicants. Uni-assist is ■ Applicants who have received their commissioned by member universities secondary school-leaving certificate in to determine whether submitted certifi- Germany or at a German School abroad cates qualify the applicant for admission to university in Germany. Most uni- versities also commission uni-assist to More information? review additional documentation, such www.hochschulstart.de as language certificates. You can apply to several universities at All other applicants should submit their one time via uni-assist. You only have applications directly to the university of to submit your transcripts and language their choice, or apply through uni-assist. certificates once. Uni-assist quickly reviews your application materials and informs if you have forgotten any How do I apply for important documents. If everything ap- other subjects? pears to be in order, uni-assist forwards your applications electronically to the If you wish to study a subject with no universities of your choice. For selected universities, uni-assist will send you a centrally restricted admission policy, you certificate called the preliminary review should submit your application to uni- documentation (VPD). With this docu- assist (see info box). If the university of your ment, you may apply to the respective choice does not work together with uni-as- university directly. sist, then send your application directly to Important: The university (not uni-assist) the university’s International Office or the makes the final admission decision. Student Administration Office. For more More information? information about application procedures, www.uni-assist.de visit the website of the university of your
Applying for admission 33 How much does it cost What must I submit with to apply? my application? You are required to provide a number You can obtain an application form from of documents and certificates with your the university of your choice, uni-assist, application for admission to a German the DAAD website or the Foundation for university. In most cases, you will also University Admission (Stiftung für Hoch- be charged a processing fee. Be prepared schulzulassung). to pay the following charges and fees: Additional documents are also required, ■ Fees for notarising copies and such as: translations ■ Examination fee for the TestDaF ■ Notarised copy of your secondary or DSH school-leaving certificate ■ Processing fee for the application ■ Notarised copies of all previous (see below) university degree certificates ■ Passport photo The cost of the processing fee depends ■ Photocopy of your passport on where you apply. identification page (the page with photo and personal info) Through uni-assist: The evaluation of the ■ C ertificate of language proficiency certificates and preliminary review of the (see pp. 22–23) application documents costs 75 euros for the first university and 30 euros for each Please note: Copies of documents will additional university in the same semester. only be accepted if they have been Some universities cover the processing fees notarised and are accompanied with a for their applicants. You can find a current notarised translation in German. The list of these universities at German mission in your country, for www.uni-assist.de/ example, can notarise copies and trans kostenuebernahme.html. lations of your certificates. Some univer sities also accept copies of documents Directly to a university: Some universities in English or French. charge a processing fee for reviewing your application and supplementary Your application will only be processed if documents. you have submitted all the necessary docu- mentation and paid the processing fee. Please remember that your application will only be processed after you have paid the fee! Directly to the Foundation for University Admission: No application processing fee.
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