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Catalyst - Institute for Creative Arts and Technology 

Catalyst (formerly known as dBs Berlin) is a creative arts and technology learning institute based at the extraordinary Funkhaus in Berlin. Their courses span electronic music production and performance, audio and music production, sound engineering, film production, filmmaking, visual effects, digital arts, animation and acting.

Based on the values and concepts of progressive education, Catalyst enables students to imagine, develop and build their career, portfolio and the best version of themselves. Through collaborative ground-breaking courses based around the concept of "learning by doing”,  music and film students learn essential techniques, and skills as they gain valuable hands-on experience.

Passionate and industry-expert facilitators provide the key knowledge and tools through practice, but most importantly, empower each student to feel confident in applying these essential techniques professionally as they dive into the industry.

Why wait to create? Learning through doing and collaboration are key to the Catalyst method. Students are given the space to fully immerse themselves in each subject area whilst developing the ‘hands on’ practical tools, creative techniques, industry knowledge, critical analysis and human attributes required to pursue a rewarding and successful career in film, screen acting, creative production, sound engineering, music production, performance, digital arts and visual FX.

All of their Higher Education and Masters courses are internationally accepted qualifications, validated and administered by the University of St Mark & St John in the UK. 


Scholarships & funding

Further opening up our institute to creatives of all backgrounds, eligible citizens of the European Union, migrants and refugees who live (or have the prospect of living) in Germany can now apply for student funding at Catalyst via BAföG. 

Funding options for residents of Sweden, Norway, Iceland and The Netherlands, via the nations’ respective funding organisations are also available. 

BAföG: Germany, the EU and Migrants/Refugees 

Residential Eligibility

You don't need a German passport to apply forBAföG, the Federal Training Promotion Act in Germany. Citizens of the European Union, migrants and refugees who live in Germany can also receive BAföG as financial support during their studies.

The basic rule is that if foreigners have the prospect of staying in Germany and if they are socially integrated, they are considered eligible for funding. These are, for example, persons with a right of permanent residence under the Freedom of Movement Act / EU, a permit for permanent residence in the EC or a settlement permit. 

You can also apply for BAföG as a recognized asylum seeker, a recognized refugee according to the Geneva Refugee Convention, or as a beneficiary of subsidiary protection. Refugees who are only tolerated must have been legally permitted or tolerated in Germany for 15 months before they are eligible for BAföG. Asylum seekers whose asylum procedure has not yet been completed cannot receive BAföG as it has not yet been sufficiently clarified whether they can stay in Germany.

Financial Eligibility

BAföG funding is delivered to eligible students monthly, half as a grant that does not have to be repaid and half as an interest-free loan from the German state, to applicants who meet the following requirements:

  • Your parents and/or partner earn comparatively little.
  • You have no or little income.
  • Your assets are less than €8,200
  • You are studying full-time
  • Age limit: 30 years; in the Master 35 years (exceptions are possible)

The maximum monthly BAföG rate for students is 853 euros. Half of the loan must be repaid, but no more than a total of 10,000 euros.

See a further breakdown of BAföG financial eligibility and potential funding options for studentshere.

Finding Your Desired Course 

During the BAföG application process, you will be prompted to search for your desired programme of study. As shown in the gallery below, do not search for “Catalyst.” You must instead search for one of the following Catalyst course names:


  • Electronic Music Production & Performance 
  • Creative Music Production & Sound Engineering 
  • Film Production
  • Screen Acting
  • Visual Effects


  • Creative Production (Music)
  • Creative Production (Film)

Scandinavia & The Netherlands

The following organisations can provide financial support for BA or MA study at Catalyst: CSN in Sweden, Línin Iceland, Lånekassenin Norway and DUO in The Netherlands. If you are from The Netherlands, you can also apply to BAföG.

For more information about scholarship details, application deadlines, and virtual open days, please check the university website.



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Why study at Catalyst - Institute for Creative Arts and Technology GmbH

At Catalyst, we’re constantly on the hunt to provide you with unique experiences within Berlin’s creative community. Running through the heart of all our programmes is the fostering of creative practitioners. That means supporting the development of your creative passions whilst focussing and positioning your professional trajectory.

Alongside your development, as a creative practitioner, we see it as important to support your development as a creative entrepreneur and to connect you with your peers and the wider industry.

Our student experience team provides you with an ever-changing list of extracurricular networking opportunities such as professional and self-development workshops, festival and event collaborations, running your own show on our student-run radio and plenty more.

Volunteering for events is another opportunity for growth. In the past, we’ve arranged for our students to volunteer at Lollapalooza Festival, Berlin Festival, Mira Festival, Ableton Loop, Music Tech Fest, Sacred Ground Festival, Torstraßenfestival, Ry X concert at the Funkhaus and Konzerthaus, Cine-East Film Festival, Superbooth, and CTM.

Catalyst - Institute for Creative Arts and Technology GmbH is in the Top 10 Countries to Study Abroad Top 10 Europe rankings 2021 Top 10 Europe rankings 2020 badge

Student services & facilities

Our facilities are built with one thing in mind: maximising "hands on" access to DOING what you love. Our facilities host 31 recording and production studios for music & film, friendly classrooms, a shared kitchen and communal spaces, plus a beautiful outdoor area to relax alongside the river. Our classrooms have fully loaded digital audio Mac workstations, and we also have 9 high powered VFX PC workstations, 1 large film studio with a green screen, and thousands of bookable items to support you in your creative endeavours.


Our creative campus is an 8-minutes tram ride away from Ostkreuz - or a pleasant 20-min bike ride. Past an industrial landscape of concrete factories and power stations, the extraordinary and internationally unique Funkhaus complex looms into view.

Adjacent to the Spree and overlooking the Plänterwald, Berlin's historic Funkhaus exudes creative magic which puts a smile on the face of every creative who walks through the door.


Finding a new 'home away from home takes time and a fair amount of preparation. Our recommendation is to start as soon as possible and aim for a long term solution.

Once you've made an application to Catalyst, you'll gain access to our student Facebook group where our community also posts about rooms on their radar or available spots in their own WG (shared apartment).

Catalyst students also receive special offers for student housing locations such as Student Hotel and Neon Woods.

You can find information about accommodation and more resources in our in-depth guide to moving to Berlin on our website.


Average rating 4.9

Based on 12 reviews.

You are surrounded by like-minded people all day every day. This is an opportunity to work on your music, and nothing else for three years.
I would say that it is a great opportunity to meet other people who have the same passion as you. You will learn and develop a lot more in this sort of creative environment, you might get valuable feedback, and you might start collaborations. And also, I would mention the amazing fact that you as a student are given access to really good studios.
The teachers were willing to help and spend time with us until we understood everything fully, they were genuinely empathetic and that's great..everything is made readily for students to obtain; It's a music school at the end of the day so it's up to the student to express their passion and work hard.


Catalyst - Institute for Creative Arts and Technology GmbH

Funkhaus, Nalepastraße 18-50
12459 Berlin

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School rating
Based on 12 reviews.