En Following a Degree Course in Germany
What is a Vollzeitstudium?
Being a full-time student means being enrolled in a complete degree course at a Germany university with the intention to graduate with a degree. If you wish to graduate in Germany, please register for a complete degree course.
The choice for such a degree course initially entails a lot of bureaucracy and red tape, but why not consider the difficulties involved in applying for a degree course and the notification of admission as first steps in a series of inter-cultural experiences.
In order to fully prepare you for your application we have assorted all important information concerning requirements and forms.
Important Preconditions and Requirements for Studying
It is necessary for you to ascertain whether your school qualifications are on par with German university admission qualifications. Therefore, please use the website anabin.de or the database of the DAAD. The Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden (HTW Dresden) - University of Applied Sciences uses the system uni-assist. If you decide to study at the HTW, the application forms are sent directly to uni-assist. For a fee, uni-assist ascertains whether the forms and documents are complete and whether admission to the desired major subject is theoretically possible. If the result is positive, the application will be redirected to the university or college of your choice. This procedure aims at relieving the workload for the universities and colleges. In Dresden it is only used by the HTW.
All other colleges of higher education have their staff check the received application forms and documents. This procedure is free of charge. It stands to reason that you should check whether your application materials are complete before submitting them; it relieves the workload of the staff members involved and speeds up the process.
In case your qualification is not on par with German university admission qualifications, you may still be able to study in Germany. There are ways of obtaining the admission qualification later, namely in the so-called Studienkolleg (preparatory course for foreign students). Such a course takes two semesters and ends with the "Prüfung zur Feststellung der Eignung ausländischer Studienbewerber für die Aufnahme eines Studiums an Hochschulen und Universitäten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (Feststellungsprüfung - "test to ascertain the suitability of foreign students applying for admission at a university or college of higher education in the Federal Republic of Germany"). The training at the Studienkolleg is free of charge for prospective foreign students of the Saxon universities and takes place at the state preparatory course for foreign students in Leipzig. Applicants for a place at one of the Saxon universities of applied sciences may attend a preparatory course in Zittau.
Alternative preparation is offered at the Studienkolleg TUDIAS in Dresden. Please note that this program serves as a preparation course for mathematical, technical and natural sciences subjects only (except for biology). The training is not free of charge; a fee is due per semester.
An admission test examining your German language skills and (depending on the major subject) your knowledge of mathematics has to be taken to gain entry to a Studienkolleg.
Knowledge of the German Language
In order to take studies in Germany, an acknowledged language certificate (for instance DSH, Test DaF) is required. In case of insufficient German language skills it is possible to catch up by means of intensive language courses in your home country or in Germany. The benchmark test is the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH-Prüfung), the German language test for admission to colleges of higher education for foreign students. The universities themselves organise the DSH-test. Therefore, applications have to be submitted directly to the International Office of the university of your choice. This, however, does not apply to prospective students of the University of Applied Sciences in Dresden where registering for a language course is a procedure which has to be done together with the application for a place of study.
One way of getting ready for the DSH-test is to attend a preparatory semester in Dresden. Whilst participating in intensive language courses, a place of study is reserved for you. A limited number of places in the DSH preparatory courses is reserved for the prospective students with the best results in the admission tests and is free of charge. All other students will have to pay a fee to attend these courses.
Catching up on your German language skills is also possible at a Sprachkolleg in Zittau. Should you wish to increase your proficiency in the German language at another institute or in your home country, make sure you obtain an acknowledged language certificate.
After the successful conclusion of your admission procedures and subsequent enrolment your college of higher education often does not finance any additional language courses. In exceptional cases you will be informed by the responsible international office. At your own expense several language schools offer language courses tailored to your major subject. A major factor contributing to the improvement of your German language skills is of course the direct language contact in your everyday life.
Academic Preconditions and Prerequisites
In Germany, there is a distinction between so-called free major subjects and major subjects with numerus clausus (nc = limitation of admission). The numerus clausus refers to a limitation in the number of admissions to the study of certain major subjects. If the demand exceeds the number of available places for students, the colleges of higher education or the federal states can impose this admission limitation. The numerus clausus is related to the average grade of the pre-university diploma (secondary school). The time that passes between obtaining the right to admission and the application for a place of at the university is also taken into consideration. If you intend to apply for a nc-major subject, it is necessary to have the certificate of your graduation translated by a certified translator.
As far as free major subjects are concerned satisfactory or good results at school or, in some cases, a previous study course are prerequisites. In most cases all applicants will be allocated a place at university.
On the other hand, major subjects with a numerus clausus have a limited contingent of places, which are therefore allocated according to a specific selection procedure. Of course the same minimal prerequisites for admission as for free subjects apply. A further specific feature of numerus clausus major subjects is the fact that places may be allocated either by a national or central agency or by the individual university or college. That means that some major subjects are generally allocated by the Zentralstelle für die Vergabe von Studienplätzen (ZVS), the central office for the allocation of places. In this case, prospective students can state their preference for a specific university or college but cannot be given any guarantee that their wish will be taken into consideration.
Foreign students who are not citizens of the EU
As a rule, foreign students who are not citizens of EU member states always apply at the university or college of higher education of their choice irrespective of the fact that their major subject of choice is allocated freely or centrally through the ZVS, as admission requirements are checked by the university or college. For further information please have a look at the TU-Dresden homepage.
Foreign students who are citizens of the EU
Foreign students who are citizens of member states of the European Union find themselves on the same footage admission-wise as German prospective students, and have to refer directly to the ZVS if it concerns major subjects allocated by the ZVS. Non-German students from European Community member states who apply for a place that is not allocated by the ZVS should send their application to the International Office of their university or college of preference.
Sometimes individual universities or colleges fix their own numerus clausus, since they cannot accommodate all applicants. In those cases, the universities or colleges themselves decide which applicants will be enrolled. Application takes place via the Academic International Office of the university or college in question.
You will now of course want to know whether or not the major of your choice is subject to numerus clausus stipulations. Whether the major of your choice is free or allocated through the ZVS can be checked on the websites of the universities and colleges under the heading Studienmöglichkeiten (colleges, programmes, degrees) or on the website of the ZVS. An additional ZVS-nc following your major subject means that allocation takes place through the ZVS.
A Certification of Finances or Affidavit of Financial Support stating that you are able to finance your studies in Germany yourself is obligatory. In most cases it takes a deposit of at least 7020 EUR for two semesters on an account in Germany. Monthly withdrawals from that account should not exceed 585 EUR. Such an account can also be opened in your home country at a German bank. Further financing must be made credible or plausible by producing appropriate documents. Further information is available at the responsible International Office.
Application materials send to the Academic International Office of the university or college in question should be complete and legible.
Applications for the Dresden University of Applied Sciences (HTW) have to be send directly to uni-assist. For a fee your documents will be checked for completeness and whether or not admission is theoretically possible. In case of a positive result your application materials will be forwarded to the HTW.
The following documents should always be included in your application:
- an application for admission to university or college study, completely filled out, with a personal signature, incl. a passport photograph
- officially authenticated copies of graduation diplomas incl. a grade survey of the secondary school graduation
- if existent: officially authenticated copies of the admission test certificates and officially authenticated copies of certificates of previous studies in your home country or other universities or colleges, including major subject, course and grade surveys
- officially authenticated proof of sufficient proficiency in the German language/acknowledged language certificates
Depending on the major and university or college in question, additional specific application materials are often required.
For instance, the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) (The Dresden University of Technology) requires that international applicants include a written and personally signed explanation why the major subject and Dresden as place of study were chosen. In part, certificates should be translated and/or authenticated. Often the inclusion of international reply coupons is required for postal correspondence.
Again it is advisable to contact the university or college in question and to ask whether additional documents or materials are required. Many institutes now also offer online applications. As a rule, all relevant information concerning application is available on the websites of the universities or colleges in question.
Applicants from some countries have to submit additional specific forms and information. Please inquire at the responsible Academic International Office!
It is advisable to collect all necessary application materials in their entirety before sending them to the Academic International Office in question.
A comprehensive application can be checked faster and you will find out sooner whether your application has been successful. You will also avoid the stress involved in having to send additional documents to Germany at short notice.
Last but not least: it is of advantage to post the application materials as soon as possible in order to make sure there is sufficient time for yourself and the university or college staff members if it becomes necessary to rectify any mistakes and/or deficiencies in the application documents.
If you intend to apply at a German institute of higher education please inform yourself early enough about application deadlines. As application deadlines vary from institute to institute (even among the universities in Dresden) it is essential to contact the institute of your choice. Information concerning application deadlines are also always available at the homepages of the colleges and universities.