Preparatory course (Studienkolleg)
The Studienkolleg is often also referred to as preparatory or foundation course. It is a one-year specialised course (two semesters) that prepares international students whose educational background does not qualify for direct admission to German universities.
The preparatory course ends with the university qualification exam (“Feststellungsprüfung”). Once you passed this exam, you are provided with a subject-restricted university entrance qualification (“fachgebundene Hochschulzugangsberechtigung”) based on the subject you chose in the Studienkolleg. This enables you to start an undergraduate study course (Bachelor, Staatsexamen, diploma—all courses of study leading to the first university degree).
Studienkollegs are offered at both universities (Universität) as well as at universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschule). While Studienkollegs at public universities are usually for free, the ones at private universities of applied sciences usually charge a fee.
It is important to know that if you are completing the university qualification exam (“Feststellungsprüfung”) at a Studienkolleg offered by a university of applied sciences, you are qualified to study at a university of applied sciences only. However, if you complete the university qualification exam at a university, you are qualified to study at both.
What courses am I taking at a Studienkolleg?
Depending on what undergraduate degree you are planning to start after the Studienkolleg, you can choose different courses. Keep in mind that universities and universites of applied sciences offer different subject areas:
Universities offer the following subject areas:G course: for subjects within the Humanities
S course: for linguistic subjects (some universities have combined G and S courses)
W course: for subjects within Social and Economic Sciences
T course: for technical, scientific, and mathematical subjects
M course: for medical and biological subjects
Universities of Applied Sciences offer the following subject areas:TI course: for technical and engineering subjects
WW course: for subjects within the Economic Sciences
GD course: for artistic subjects
SW course: for subjects within Social Sciences
How long do I need to attend a Studienkolleg?
The preparatory courses mostly either start in spring or autumn and typically last two semesters (one year). It is also possible to shorten that time in case of excellent achievement. On the other hand, if your performance is not satisfactory, each semester can be repeated once.
How much does a Studienkolleg cost?
How do I apply for a Studienkolleg?
Most of the times, you will have to apply to a university's undergraduate course in the same federal state (Bundesland) before being admitted to a Studienkolleg. However, there are also some Studienkollegs (especially the ones offered by private universities of applied sciences) where you can apply to directly.
Since each Studienkolleg has different application deadlines, it is important to check their respective websites.
On Compounder® you can see directly which universities have their own Studienkolleg to which you can apply with your profile directly.
What are the admission criteria and requirements for a Studienkolleg?
Is there a way of shortening or even skipping the time at a Studienkolleg?
Yes, there is! A Studienkolleg prepares you for the university entrance exam which you usually have to take after one year. However, sometimes you are allowed to take the exam after half a year (one semester) only. In case you completed the TestAS, it can serve as a university entrance qualification at some universities which means that you do not need to attend the Studienkolleg anymore.