Requirements for studying
In order to be allowed to study in Germany at all, you must – depending on the type of university – meet certain requirements.
– grammar school
– comprehensive school with senior classes
– vocational grammar school
– vocational colleges with senior classes/specialised grammar school
– vocational high school
– evening high school
– collegiate school
– at some adult education centres
– private school e.g. church and Waldorf school
– non-student examination
– distance learning school
Vocational Technical Diploma (Fachabitur)
With the Vocational Technical Diploma (Fachabitur) you may study in all fields of study at Universities of Applied Sciences, but at universities you may only study the direction indicated on your certificate (e.g. technology or economics). The difference between the Fachabitur and the Abitur is that the Vocational Technical Diploma only allows you to take an examination in one foreign language and not in two. With a final examination in a second foreign language, you can convert your Fachabitur into an Abitur. You can obtain the Fachabitur at the following schools:
– grammar school
– specialist academy
– at some vocational schools
– vocational colleges
– preparatory colleges
– vocational grammar schools/specialised grammar schools
– after completion of the 13th grade of a technical secondary school (only in some federal states)
– comprehensive schools for students with a Advanced Technical College Entrance Qualification after successful completion of certain bridging courses or study achievements of between 60 and 90 credit points in a Bachelor's study programme (federal state-specific recognition)
– University of Applied Sciences after the intermediate diploma (in some German states)
– by aptitude testing
Catch up on university entrance qualifications
There are various ways to obtain your university entrance qualification – i.e. your A-Levels (Abitur) or Vocational Technical Diploma (Fachabitur) – in order to study at a university. This takes two to three years, depending on your previous degree and your time flexibility. You can also make up your A-Levels in just one year if you have already obtained a Vocational Technical Diploma or your school leaving certificate abroad, but this is not recognised in Germany.
With Secondary School Certificate (either Hauptschulabschluss or Realschulabschluss)
If you have a secondary school leaving certificate, you can obtain your university entrance qualification at the following institutions:– distance learning course/distance university
– evening school (for this you must be at least 18 years old and have completed vocational training or have at least three years of work experience)
With foreign university admission that is not recognised in Germany
If you have obtained your school leaving certificate entitling you to study at an university abroad, it is often not easily recognised in Germany. You can therefore make up your university entrance qualification in one year at a so-called Studienkolleg (these are educational institutions that are assigned to different universities). To do this, you have to take the so-called „Feststellungsprüfung” (assessment test) after attending a Studienkolleg for one year. In order to be admitted to the Studienkolleg, you must first pass an entrance examination at a state-run Studienkolleg. The prerequisite for admission to the entrance examination is knowledge of German – at most universities at least level B1. If you have passed the assessment test, you can apply to a university as usual. But be careful: the completion of the Studienkolleg is no guarantee for a place at university!
Study without A-Levels (Abitur)
You do not have a high school diploma and you do not want to go back to school? No problem!
There is the possibility of being admitted to a study programme after several years of professional experience.
With vocational training or professional experience
If you have successfully completed your vocational training and have several years of professional experience, you can study as a so-called “professionally qualified person” without the need for a school leaving certificate. What many people do not know is that several years of work experience also include activities that are equivalent to professional employment, such as independently managing a family household. An important basic requirement is that the study programme must relate to your previous education or professional experience. Each university decides for itself whether the respective professional qualification is sufficient for the intended study programme or not. In addition, further requirements, such as an aptitude test or interview, may be required by the university.