Preparation for the university application

Here you will find information on how to prepare your university application.

The application process for German educational institutions is often very different from that of other countries. Although the application deadline is usually two to three months, it is advisable to send the documents as early as possible so that you still have enough time to submit any missing documents within the deadline. Also, preparing and gathering documents can take more time than it seems at the beginning.

In order for you to be able to assess for yourself whether your school-leaving certificate obtained abroad meets the requirements for direct application to study, or whether you first have to enroll in a preparatory course, databases from uni-assist and anabin are a good help. There, (almost) all countries of the world are listed. You can find detailed instructions on how to use anabin here.

No matter what result uni-assist or anabin have shown you: before applying, always contact the student advisory service of your desired university. Ultimately, it is always the university that decides whether it recognizes a degree as sufficient for a direct application!

What is a Studienkolleg?

The Studienkolleg is a one-year preparatory course at a university to acquire the university entrance qualification. The Studienkolleg usually lasts two semesters.

What is taught at the Studienkolleg?

The Studienkolleg prepares international applicants without a German university entrance qualification for studying at a German university. Full-day classes are held five days a week in the subjects of a specialisation course suitable for the desired study programme and in German.The final examination at the Studienkolleg is the so-called Feststellungsprüfung.

A Studienkolleg is divided into four focus courses:

- M-course (for medical and biological subjects),
- G-course (for humanities and language subjects),
- W-course (for subjects in economics),
- T-course (for technical and natural science subjects, except biology).

Attention: not all Studienkollegs offer all of the above courses!

Where are Studienkollegs offered?

In Berlin there is a joint Studienkolleg of the Humboldt University with the Free University as well as a Studienkolleg at the Technical University.

What are the particularities of the application process?

Find out about the application process on the website of the Studienkolleg you would like to enrol in. You apply for a place at the Studienkollegs in Berlin via the uni-assist portal in the same way as for a degree programme. There you select your desired degree programme at your desired university in the programme selection and enter the 1st semester. If the first semester cannot be selected when applying for the summer semester because the degree programme you have chosen only starts in the winter semester, select the second semester instead.

If you meet all the formal requirements, you will be invited to an entrance test after submitting your application via uni-assist, which usually takes place in August. Admission to the Studienkolleg is only granted on the basis of the results of this test. Here you will find a website with examples of previous entrance exams so that you can prepare well. In addition, you will also find FSP examples.

Many Studienkollegs have sample exams on their websites. It is worth taking a look at these as well, since the exams at Studienkollegs sometimes have different levels of difficulty depending on the educational institution.

Necessary documents for admission to the Studienkolleg

1. your university entrance qualification with a translation into German or English
2. passport or identity card
3. language certificate of at least level B2

Application deadlines

TU: The application for the winter semester 2024/25 is possible from March 15 to June 30, 2024 via uni-assist. 

FU/HU: The application for the winter semester 2024/25 is possible from June 1 to July 15, 2024 via uni-assist.

Applicants with refugee status also have the opportunity to apply for the FU Berlin's Welcome Program, so that if they are not admitted to the Studienkolleg, they have the chance to participate.

There is no charge for taking the entrance test, classes, or the assessment test.
Since you are enrolled as a participant in a preparatory course, you pay the semester fee in the same way as students.

Why does a Studienkolleg require a lower level of German?

At the end of their studies at the Studienkolleg, all students take the FSP - Feststellungsprüfung, which, if passed, is your university entrance qualification. These exams are free of charge for students at the Studienkolleg. Exactly which FSPs you write depends on your course of study. One exam is compulsory for everyone, namely the written exam in German (unless you already have a C1 certificate). If you have passed the FSP in German, this corresponds to the C1 level.

Studienkolleg vs. direct admission to the university

The Studienkolleg gives you time to adjust to Germany and the educational system and also time to think if you have not yet decided on your desired field of study. In addition, you can make friends there. The biggest advantage of a Studienkolleg, however, is the lower level of German required: for a university you need a C1-C2 level, for a Studienkolleg - B1-B2 (more rarely: C1).

Another advantage of the Studienkolleg is that universities often reserve study places for students of their Studienkolleg. For example, if you studied at a Studienkolleg at the Technical University of Berlin, a certain number of places are reserved for graduates of the T-course for admission to the technical fields of study at the same university.

Further Information

Further information on the Studienkolleg can be found here.

If your research on uni-assist and/or anabin and the counseling at the university of your choice has shown that you can apply directly to the university without first attending a preparatory course, you can now start preparing your application.

Which documents are important for your application depends on the country in which you obtained your degrees. Therefore, be sure to read the special country information provided by uni-assist.

As a rule, you will need

  1. your school leaving certificate
  2. If you have already studied in another country, you will need proof of your previous studies and the grading system of your previous university.
  3. a language certificate
  4. a copy of your passport
  5. If required by the university, possibly a letter of motivation, a letter of recommendation, a curriculum vitae, photo or similar documents

You can find more information about the required documents at uni-assist and on the website of your university of choice.

Please inform yourself before applying if you need to have your documents translated or certified. You can find all information here.

If you are missing school and/or university certificates that are necessary for the application due to your flight, you can provide information about your educational background on a self-disclosure form. This will be sent to you by Uni-Assist after your application. In such cases, the universities also recommend that you come to them for counselling before applying via uni-assist and clarify what options there are to be admitted anyway.

Not every foreign degree entitles you to take up further studies in Germany. Before you apply, be sure to ask the student advisor at the university of your choice whether your bachelor's degree is recognized there, whether you have to take an assessment test for your desired degree program, or whether there are any other special requirements for your application.

Which documents are important for your application depends on the country in which you obtained your degree. Therefore, be sure to read the special country information provided by uni-assist.

Which documents are usually required for the application to a Master's program?

  1. Proof of your previous studies: the degree certificate and the overview of subjects and grades.
  2. Grading system of your university
  3. School leaving certificate and, if applicable, university entrance exam
  4. Language certificate
  5. Copy of your passport
  6. other documents, if required by your university (a letter of motivation, letter of recommendation, curriculum vitae, photo, certificate of enrolment or certificate of removal from the register of students, or similar)

You can find more information about the required documents at uni-assist and on the website of your university of choice.

Please inform yourself before applying if you need to have your documents translated or certified. You can find all information here.

If you are missing school and/or university certificates that are necessary for the application due to your flight, you can provide information about your educational background on a self-disclosure form. This will be sent to you by uni-assist after your application. In such cases, the universities also recommend that you come to them for counselling before applying via uni-assist and clarify what options there are to be admitted anyway.

The pre-study courses are a good opportunity to improve your German language skills and prepare for the entrance exam to the Studienkolleg or for university. 

PrePrep: Preparation for Studienkolleg at HTW 
You come from abroad and want to study in Germany, but you do not have a university entrance qualification recognised in Germany? PrePrep - Preparation for Studienkolleg (Preparatory School) is the perfect first step in your study preparation and efficiently guides you via the Studienkolleg to your Bachelor studies at HTW Berlin or in Germany.
Start: expected in April 2025.

ASH Pre-Study Programme for Refugees

The ASH Pre-Study Programme prepares people with refugee experience for regular studies in the fields of social work, childhood education, health and care management and physiotherapy/occupational therapy. As part of the ASH Pre-Study Programme, you will acquire all the necessary prerequisites for applying to a degree at ASH Berlin or other German universities. Among other things, language skills in German and the mandatory pre-study internship for some study programmes can be acquired as part of the two-semester pre-study programme at ASH. There is also the opportunity to take initial courses that will be credited towards your degree programme.
Application: 15.04.-15.05. (yearly)
Requirements: German B1
The programme is free of charge.

Enrolling at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in a simplified procedure
If you are a refugee from Ukraine, have been enrolled at a university there, have a corresponding residence permit in Berlin, have Ukrainian citizenship, and have sufficient knowledge of English or German, you may be able to enroll at HU for a special programme for refugees from the Ukraine. You will receive the status of an exchange student. This means that you will not be allowed to obtain a degree, but you will be able to orient yourself at our University and already collect ECTS points.

What do you need for it?

  • Copy of passport
  • Language certificate German B1 / B2 or English B2, if applicable. If you do not have a certificate, please use the following online test:
  • Residence permit or certificate of application for refugees from Ukraine for temporary protection acc. to § 24 Residence Act in connection with a distribution decision for Berlin from the State Office for Refugee Affairs or confirmation of registration from a Berlin citizens' office
  • Certificate of enrollment from the Ukrainian university or notification (dovidka) of which university in which course of study in which semester have you studied.

Unfortunately, the application deadline for the summer semester has already expired. Please check the HU website for the deadlines for the winter semester.

This offer is not valid for persons who are still in Ukraine or who are not registered in Berlin as refugees. More about this offer on the website of HU Berlin

A guest student programme makes it possible to get to know the university, attend lectures and, in rare cases, even pass examinations without officially being a student. Here is a selection of guest programmes at Berlin universities.

Guest student program for refugees at TU Berlin: In(2)TU
The guest study programme In(2)TU Berlin offers regular information events as well as courses from the Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes at TU Berlin. The ECTS from passed exams can be recognized towards a later degree programme.
Participation is free of charge. Knowledge of German is recommended, but will not be tested. Registration takes place through the Academic Advising Service at TU Berlin.

Guest study programme for refugees at UdK 
Refugees can participate in courses at the UdK Berlin as "GASTHÖRER*INNEN+" (Guest auditors), subject to the approval of the lecturers. This is also possible for art classes after approval by the faculty and the teachers. Furthermore, it is possible for "GASTHÖRER*INNEN+" to take part in examinations and have this certified by the lecturers.
The participation for refugees is free of charge. The language level depends on the degree programme of your choice.

Become a guest listener at HTW 
As a guest listener at HTW Berlin, you can obtain a certificate of participation for guest listeners and guest students for the modules for which you are registered. You can then gain accreditation for the modules you participated in and any examinations, e.g. in order to apply for a study place.
Participation is free of charge for refugees.

ehb.welcome – Offer for refugee students at EHB
Since 2015, the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Berlin has made it possible for refugees to study at their university. The EHB offers all interested parties a guest auditor programme without special admission requirements. Interested parties who are not enrolled can also take part in all events.

In this section you will find an initial classification of your educational qualification from Ukraine.

One important piece of information in advance:

In order to make it easier for refugees from Ukraine to start studying in Germany, it was decided that

a) educational certificates acquired during the war in Ukraine will be assessed as normal for university admission via the database anabin, even if not all of the examinations required to obtain a university entrance qualification can be proven.

b) if studying at a private Ukrainian university, proof of accreditation for the application dates summer semester 2023, winter semester 2023/2024 and summer semester 2024 is waived.

These regulations apply to persons with a residence permit for temporary protection in accordance with Section 24 of the Residence Act. In individual cases, this regulation can also be transferred to persons in need of protection with other residence permits if they would be disadvantaged in terms of access to higher education in Germany due to the war in Ukraine.

These regulations also apply to prospective students with Ukrainian educational certificates who do not yet have a residence permit in Germany at the time of application.

These regulations apply to educational certificates that were acquired during the war in Ukraine in 2022 or will be acquired in 2023.


To which group do I belong?

A) I have just finished the 11th grade of school (also without a school-leaving certificate).

Since 2019, in Ukraine, after 11th grade and passing the exam, you get the school-leaving certificate "Svidoctvo pro zdobuttja povnoji zahal'noji serednoji osvity. ", the Abitur. Since the general higher education entrance qualification in Germany is only achieved after completing the 12th or 13th school year, you must make up for a "gap year", i.e. study at least one year at a Ukrainian higher education institution or attend a preparatory course in Germany, in order to apply to a German higher education institution.

 Please note: If you completed grade 11 this year but were unable to graduate (= you completed the 11th school year without a final exam), you can still apply to a German educational institution according to the decision of the Conference of Ministers of Education (KMK). With a degree after the 11th grade you can apply directly to a Studienkolleg (preparatory course) at a German university.


B) I will take my Abitur in Germany

If you have a German school leaving certificate, the admission procedure for you is the same as for German applicants.


C) I have finished the 9th grade of school and continued my education at college.

In this case, there are four possible degrees:

1. Диплом молодшого бакалавра (diploma of a junior bachelors).

With this diploma you can apply to all higher education institutions for the previous field of study and related subjects.

2. Диплом молодшого спеціаліста (diploma of a junior specialist, specialised secondary school).
3. Диплом фахового молодшого бакалавра (diploma of a junior specialist bachelor).
4. Диплом кваліфікованого робітника (diploma of a skilled worker, Intermediate Vocational-Technical Teaching College).

Degrees 2, 3 and 4 are neither bachelor's nor school degrees, but are more comparable to completed dual training in an apprenticeship.
With the degrees Диплом молодшого спеціаліста, Диплом фахового бакалавра, Диплом кваліфікованого робітника you cannot apply directly to a university. You have to study for 1 year at a recognised Ukrainian higher education institution in order to apply to the Studienkolleg, or study for 2 years at a recognised Ukrainian higher education institution in order to gain direct access to a German higher education institution. It is best to contact the university where you would like to study in order to clarify all application requirements.

You can find out whether your Ukrainian university is recognised at anabin.

You can find out here how the search at Anabin works.

If you have passed ZNO and have a school-leaving certificate (Свідоцтво про здобуття повної загальної середньої освіти or Атестат про повну загальну середню освіту), you can apply as if you had completed 11 grades.

Alternatively, you can also find out whether you are already sufficiently qualified with these degrees for a profession in Germany in which you can work here.


D) I have completed a Bachelor's degree and would like to enrol for a Master's degree.

Not every Ukrainian degree automatically entitles the holder to take up further studies in Germany. Please contact the university you would like to study at with your question about admission in order to receive an accurate assessment of your degree.

Further information on the recognition of university degrees and on planning your studies in Germany can be found here.


E) I am studying at a Ukrainian university and would like to transfer to a German educational institution

In the section "Direct University Admission" you will find information on university admission to a German university if you are already studying in Ukraine. Please note: Due to differences in academic teaching, it is possible that you will "lose" one or two years of study in Ukraine and have to enroll in a lower semester in Germany. However, if normal period of a Bachelor program in Ukraine is 4 years, in Germany it’s only 3.


F) I am a researcher and am interested in opportunities to do academic work in Germany.

Numerous universities, research institutions and research-based companies in the country offer opportunities for refugee doctoral candidates to take up or continue doctoral projects and research projects in Germany. If candidates are usually enrolled at a university, researchers and scientists are hired by the educational institution. 

The DAAD website contains the most important information and many offers for refugee researchers.