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How To Apply To Study in Germany

How To Apply To Study in Germany

Munich, Bavaria, Germany

As a prospective international student aspiring to study in Germany, you might be confused when it comes to how to apply to study in Germany and the steps you should take to get yourself at your preferred university. But, with the right instruction and great determination, you will be done with the process of applying to a German higher education institution in no time. Many international students go through the same process each year, so it is nothing to fret about. Just think of yourself studying your favorite degree program in Germany, and you are halfway there.

The German higher education system is quite comprehensive and outstanding. Still, there are a few rules you have to follow to apply to a degree program in Germany properly. Depending on the subject you aim to study, the higher education institution, or where you come from, there are some things you should keep in mind before starting with the process of application. You will find everything you need to know on how to apply to study in Germany in the following sections.

Let’s Begin With Admission Restrictions

Admission restrictions are a thing in German higher education as well. This is because particular university programs in Germany have more applicants than open spots. To decide who gains admission to these spots, in Germany, they have a Numerus Clausus, Latin for “closed number.” This Numerus Clausus (NC) determines admission and is practically made of your grade point average (GPA). The lowest GPA from the admitted applicants last semester set the NC for admission to the upcoming semester.

Understanding the admission restrictions and Numerus Clausus (NC) is important because they are part of what determines the further steps of your university application process.

The Two Types of Numerus Clausus (NC)

There are two types of NC in Germany, subject NC (central NC) and local NC. However, not all degree programs or higher education institutions in Germany have Numerus Clausus. The first type of Numerus Clausus applies nationwide, throughout Germany, while the second type of Numerus Clausus is determined locally and only applies to certain higher education institutions. You may also find degree programs with no Numerus Clausus/admission restrictions, where you can enroll directly.

The two types of Numerus Clausus in Germany are:

  • The subject (central) NC: This type of NC is correlated with a particular subject and applies across Germany. It applies to highly sought after degree programs such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, or architecture. Depending on the country of residence, applicants might have to go through a centralized admission process.
  • The local NC: This type of NC may only apply to degree programs at particular universities. Depending on the higher education institution, as part of the admission process, besides GPA, universities might also ask for letters of motivation or certain tests when admitting applicants.

Keep in mind: If the NC for a particular program does not match your GPA/average grade, it does not mean you should not apply for the program. It is still possible that you may gain admission, considering you do not know the other applicants’ average grades.

Where to Submit Your Application

As an international student asking how and where to apply to study in Germany, it is important to know that you might be required to apply through one of the three different means of application, including:

  • SfH Foundation for University Admissions (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung)
  • University Application Service for International Students (Uni-assist)
  • Directly to the Higher Education Institution

The means of university application depends on the country you come from, the degree program you are applying for, and your higher education entrance qualification.

Who can apply through the Foundation for University Admissions?

  • Subjects with a central NC:
    • Applicants from EU member countries, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway.
    • Applicants with university entrance qualifications from Germany/German institutions abroad.
  • Subjects with local NC:
    • Applicants from EU member countries, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway, whose institution is a member of the Dialogue-Oriented Service Procedure (DoSV).
    • Applicants with university entrance qualifications from Germany/German institutions abroad whose institution is a member of the Dialogue-Oriented Service Procedure (DoSV).

Who can apply through Uni-Assist?

  • Subjects with local NC:
    • Applicants from non-EU member states, nor Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway, whose university is a member of uni-assist.

Who can apply directly to the university?

  • Subjects with a central NC:
    • Applicants from non-EU member states, nor Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway.
  • Subjects with local NC:
    • Applicants from non-EU member states, nor Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway whose university is not a member of uni-assist.

What Documents to Submit

When it comes to how to apply to study in Germany and which documents to submit, university application documents differ slightly depending on the higher education institution, degree program, level of study, as well as the country you come from. Once you decide what university you want to apply to, you will find all the specific information and requirements on their website or by contacting the office for international students of the respective university.

Typically, the documents international students are required to submit, include:

  • Valid photocopy of your passport & passport photo.
  • Certified copy of Higher Education Entrance Qualification.
  • Certified copies of earlier academic certificates or qualifications.
  • Certified copies of language proficiency certificates.
  • Officially translated overview of your previous subjects and grades.

When you apply to study in Germany, make sure to submit officially certified copies of your documents/certificates/translations. You can get the official certification at the German embassy in your home country.

When to Apply

  • For the winter semester (September/October), it is expected that you submit an application a few months before, with the application process starting in May and ending somewhere mid-July.
  • For the summer semester (March/April), it is expected that you submit an application a few months before, with the application procedure starting in December and ending in mid-January.

The Application Processing Time

  • If you get accepted to your chosen university, you will typically receive your acceptance letter in August, latest in September, for the winter semester.
  • If you get accepted to your chosen university for the summer semester, you will typically receive your acceptance letter in February, latest March.
  • If you do not gain admission to your chosen university, you will receive your rejection letter later than the acceptance letter’s deadline.

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