Studying in Germany

Information for foreign students

Usually you can study in Germany without governmental permission. You have to send your documents directly to the university and then wait for approval. This applies especially to European students due to the academic reform of Bologna, which includes the comparability of credits. You can find an overview of all part-taking countries and courses of studies here:

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Studienkolleg: Preparation and assessment test (FSP)

Certainly you can also study in Germany if you have graduated from school in another country outside of Europe. Since every nation has different educational standards, you have to prove that your graduation level is similar to the German “Abitur” (A-levels). The data base “appreciation and evaluation of foreign educational certificates” shows you all international school degrees, which qualify to study at a German university. For further information please go to „Informationsportal zur Anerkennung ausländischer Bildungsabschlüsse“ and choose Schulabschlüsse mit Hochschulzugang.

If your school degree is not listed, it is obligatory that you have studied abroad before or you have to attend a “Studienkolleg”. A „Studienkolleg“ is a college that offers preparatory courses for academic study at university. The classes you have to attend at the Studienkolleg are depending on the subjects that you want to apply for at your favorite university. The Studienkolleg classes will take one year and end up with an exam. This exam is an assessment test and checks if you are qualified to study at a German University. This exam takes place twice a year. If you have passed, you can apply for a course of study in Germany.

Which courses of study are available, you can find on the website This “Hochschulkompass” is a project of the “Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK)” and is a university guide. It gives you an overview about all university courses in Germany, the different universities as well as different cooperations between German and foreign universities.

Find more information about preparation courses at the „Studienkollegs“ here:

Credit Transfer (and Accumulation) System

You have already finished a course of study outside Europe and want to extend your knowledge/course of study?

Because the education system is administrated by each German state itself, there are many different regulations and responsible organizations that decide if you are accredited to a course of study in Germany or not. Every university management can make their own decisions concerning average marks (numerous clausus: NC), assumed content of study that you must have learned in your previous studies, further work experience and so on.

It is even governed by the university if they evaluate applications themselves or if they hire an external organization ( to make choices of several applicant groups. If you want to study a degree course that completes with a state exam (for example medicine, food chemistry, or law studies) there are separate state examination offices that are responsible for the transfer of academic credits.

The International Office of your chosen university is able to tell you, what you need to get admitted to this university. Even an appointment with the local student advisory service can help you before you apply for a course of study in Germany. Most of the German Univesities also offer comprehensive information online.

Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB)

If there are further questions concerning your degree, it possibly will be the case that the university will bring in the Office for Foreign Education. This office evaluates foreign certificates and checks if the content of the education or exam is similar to the German Education. The Office for Foreign Education even edits requests of private persons. It gives you the chance to add the evaluation of the office to your documents when you apply for a job or course of study in Germany. If you want to prove to the Department of Foreigners that you have a university degree which corresponds to an exam from a German university, you can ask for help at the Office for Foreign Education. The organization itself does not decide about the university degree, it just makes the decision easier for universities and employers. There is no legal claim behind, saying: You cannot use the document of the Office for Foreign Education as foundation to claim your application at a university.
It depends on your home county, which documents you need to provide for your application study in Germany.

Further information can be found here:

Refugees in Germany

Here you find more information and tips about your possibilities in the employment market. Perhaps you can start with an internship:

>> Praktikum für Flüchtlinge / Internship possibilites