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Study in Germany: Application Process

Interested in studying abroad in Germany? We’re here to help make the process a little simpler. The admission process may be different from what you’re used to, so make sure you consult the university at which you are applying if you have specific questions.

Mar 13, 2018
Rothenburg, Germany

Interested in studying abroad in Germany? We’re here to help make the process a little simpler. The admission process may be different from what you’re used to, so make sure you consult the university at which you are applying if you have specific questions. In the meantime, take the following steps to get started:

In Germany, you submit your application directly to your chosen school. Alternatively, international students can use the resource UniAssist. This is a centralized service managed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) which reviews applications before sending them on to universities. Not all universities use this service, however. It's important to check this before submitting. The specific admissions process is determined by individual institutions, however here are some requirements that you will need to meet to gain admission to a German university:

1. Choose a Program

Start by choosing a degree program that is right for you. Select the level of study you are looking for (Bachelor's, Master's, PhD), and your field of study. Keep in mind that you may be required to take a proficiency test or extra language lessons. Start by choosing the degree program that is right for you. Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, there are degrees in a multitude of fields across disciplines. 

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2. Prepare the Paperwork

Among the basic paperwork that is commonly required by all universities, is a letter of motivation, recommendation letter, and a portfolio of previous work if applicable. Universities will also require proof of completion of previous studies. To satisfy this requirement, send the university an official transcript from your secondary school if you’re beginning a Bachelor’s, or from your previous university if you’re pursuing a Master’s degree or higher. If you are not a native speaker, you may also need to successfully pass an English proficiency test, such as the TOEFL iBT® test.

Some courses also require a level of proficiency in German. Even if you plan on undertaking your degree in English, some universities require that you know the basics of German. You can show your German skills by taking either the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschlzugang (‘German Language Examination for University Entrance’) or the TestDaF (‘Test of German as a Foreign Language’).

3. Check Specific Admission Requirements

Once you find the study program you’re interested in, take a look at the admission criteria. Before anything else, you will have to meet the criteria set by the university in order to gain admission to that particular program. Depending on the university, specific documentation could be required. Always consult the university website for specific admission requirements and contact the appropriate university office if you have any questions.

4. Submit Your Application

After you have collected all the required documents it’s time to submit your application for a degree in Germany. Most applications to universities in Germany are done through an online application system. Most German universities use a mutual platform known as Notice that some universities run their own online application platform and only receive applications being submitted to it. You can gain access to this information at the university’s website.

5. Wait to Be Admitted

Admission results are often notified by e-mail or post. If you are a fee-paying student, meaning that you are not an EU/EEA citizen, you will usually be asked to pay the tuition fees for the first semester. Otherwise, the university where you will pursue your studies will send you an official letter of admission, admission confirmation for visa purposes, and other practical information about studying abroad in Germany.

6. Get Health Insurance 

Once you have received notice of admission, proof that you have purchased health insurance is usually a requirement for enrollment. Everyone living in Germany is obligated to have health insurance, including foreign students, regardless of their citizenship. If you’re an EU student, you must contact responsible authorities to see if your EHIC card covers you in Germany. On the other hand, if you’re a non-EU student, you must get health insurance regardless.

7. Apply for a Student Visa

The final step to a successful application for a master’s degree in Germany. If you are not from an EU/EEA country, upon acceptance into a German university, you'll need to begin the visa application process as soon as possible because the process can take between one and three months and requires several important documents. Don't wait! You must apply for a student visa at the German embassy before leaving your home country. For detailed guidance on how to get your student visa, please read our article "Student Visa in Germany".

8. Arrive in Germany

After you’ve been admitted to a university and have received the necessary visa, it’s time to begin your adventure in Germany! Think about the cost of living in Germany and what your budget will be. Once you have that, you can begin looking for accommodation. Finally, it’s time to get your flight to Germany sorted and arrive in your new home city! No matter where you’re staying, there are plenty of sights and attractions to be enjoyed.

Study in Germany - Overview

Over 400,000 international students choose Germany as their study abroad destination every year. Click here to learn why.

Education System

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in Germany? Germany is one of the popular destinations for a variety of students, given its diverse programs. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in Germany!

Student Visas

Do you need a visa to enter Germany to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizen status. You will also be required to bring certain documents with you to passport control at the airport, which we cover as well.

Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in Germany.

Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in Germany may vary. To cover the rest of the costs, there are some scholarship opportunities available.

Language & Culture

Germany is a country rich in history and culture. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more!

Meet the English Requirements

Make sure you're ready to start studying abroad in Germany. German schools will normally want to see evidence of your English-language abilities. The TOEFL® test is accepted by more than three-hundred leading schools right across Germany. Find out more about the TOEFL® test and how it can help you.

ETS, TOEFL and TOEFL iBT are registered trademarks of ETS.


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Keystone Team


The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.