With a history dating back to 700 BC, Germany is a European nation quite famous for its beautiful cities, energetic nightlife, strong economy, and a plethora of popular top-ranked universities. Studying in these universities not only gets you a mere degree but also provides an enriching academic experience that’s closely connected to Germany’s professional industry.

However, as appealing as this opportunity may sound, the process of applying and gaining admission to these world-class universities can be complex, potentially causing confusion and lowering your chances of acceptance. But fear not! In the following sections of this guide, we will introduce you to all the requirements, necessary documents, and essential steps to successfully apply to German universities. Keep Reading!

University Application Process at German Universities

If you are well aware of the general requirements of what German universities ask for, now it’s time to look at the systematic steps of the application process. Continue reading to discover a step-by-step guide that will assist you in applying to your dream German university!

Step 1. Search for the Best German Universities

Start your search for the best German universities by figuring out the field of study that aligns with your interests, taking note of program reputation, faculty expertise, and the overall campus atmosphere. Notable universities worth exploring include Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), Technical University of Munich (TUM), and Heidelberg University, recognized for their diverse academic offerings and top institutional rankings.

Once you’ve identified potential universities, it’s advantageous to apply to multiple institutions to increase your chances of acceptance. However, it’s essential to note that while many German public universities generally offer tuition-free education, be aware of potential fees associated with the admission process. For instance, Humboldt University in Berlin charges approximately €291 for semester registration fees along with other charges.

Step 2. Clarify Admission Criteria and Specific Requirements

As you proceed to Step 2, it’s crucial to clarify the admission criteria and specific requirements for your selected universities. Thoroughly review each program’s details, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of prerequisites and any additional documentation, such as letters of recommendation or a statement of purpose.

Moreover, address the language proficiency requirements, as many German universities mandate proof of proficiency in either German or English, depending on the language of instruction for the chosen program. For example, Ludwig Maximilian University accepts TestDaf or the Goethe Certificate as proof of German proficiency, while the Technical University of Berlin accepts TOEFL or IELTS scores as proof of proficiency in the English language.

Step 3. Prepare and Gather the Required Documents

With a clear understanding of the admission criteria, proceed to Step 3 by preparing and gathering all the required documents. Compile academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, language proficiency certificates, and any other specified materials. Ensure that each document adheres to the formatting and content guidelines outlined by the universities you apply to.

Be vigilant about the importance of gathering all the required documents. Applying to a university with any essential document or requirement missing can lead to rejection and, in some cases, result in the loss of the fees you pay with your admission. So, pay immense attention to the guidelines provided by each university, and double-check that all necessary documents are included before submission.

Step 4. Monitor Deadlines and Submit the Application

As you advance in your application process, it is important to carefully manage and uphold awareness of all critical deadlines of your application process. While specific deadlines vary by university and program, it’s common for application periods for German universities to fall between December and February of the following academic year. In fact, many master’s programs, especially those taught in English, tend to have application deadlines in January or February.

While managing your timeline, ensure the successful submission of your final admission application along with the required documents. This can be accomplished by either physically sending them or utilizing the university’s online portals or email, which is a common practice. Nevertheless, double-check every requirement before the final submission of the documents to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Step 5. Prepare for Selection Processes and Interviews

Following the submission of your application, the next step is to prepare for potential selection processes and interviews. Certain universities, like RWTH Aachen University, may incorporate additional assessments or interviews into their admission process. Common questions in these interviews or tests may revolve around your academic background, motivation for the chosen program, and your future career goals.

General Admission Documents

1. Application Form

First and foremost, what you need for admission to any German university is the university’s application form. This essential document, provided by the university, gathers comprehensive details about you, including personal information, academic background, and the selected program of study. While most universities now offer online application forms and platforms such as uni-assist for convenience, some institutions may still require a printed form.

2. School Leaving and University Entrance Certificates

“Hochschulzugangsberechtigung” (HZB), commonly known as the university entrance qualification or school leaving certificate. This certificate is particularly significant for those seeking entry into higher education institutions and is recognized by every other German institution, such as Free University of Berlin. The certificate verifies successful completion of secondary education and serves as a key indicator of eligibility for bachelor’s-level studies.

3. Language Proficiency Tests

Like every other non-English speaking nation of the world, if you intend to pursue education with the medium of instruction being the local language, language proficiency tests become imperative. These tests, such as TestDaf or the Goethe Certificate for German proficiency, make up valid proof that you possess the necessary German language skills. For undergraduate studies, a minimum TDN 3 is often required. Meanwhile, for postgraduate programs, a higher proficiency level, typically TDN 4 or above, may be mandated.

Conversely, if you are comfortable with English, German universities consider an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, or TOEFL iBT 80 or higher for undergraduate studies. Postgraduates often need a higher proficiency level, such as IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL iBT 90.

4. Academic Transcripts

Submitting your academic transcript is important for you to prove that you are eligible for the field of study that you chose. These records offer a complete picture of your academic history, demonstrating your particular grades and scores and in which area your expertise and interest lie in.

To provide a good overview of your accomplishments, make sure to include all transcripts from past schools. These documents are used by universities to assess whether you’re eligible and academically ready for the subjects of your choice.

5. Personal Statement (Letter of Motivation)

A Letter of motivation, or a personal statement, is a personalized document outlining your reasons for choosing a particular program, your career goals, and how the specific university completes your checklist for your dream university. The basic format of this statement might differ, as some universities may provide you with some short questions to answer, while others might require you to write a complete essay by yourself.

6. German Health Insurance

German universities, including institutions like the Technical University of Berlin and the Technical University of Munich, often require students to have health insurance. German Health Insurance is mandatory for international students, ensuring access to medical services during their studies. So, it’s essential to secure valid health coverage before arriving in Germany, and universities may request proof of this insurance as part of the enrollment process.

7. Passport Copy

A clear and valid copy of your passport is a fundamental requirement for the application process at any German university. This important document serves as proof of your identity and citizenship, primarily for administrative purposes. Ensure your passport is valid, and the copy you provide meets the criteria set by your university, as it’s common for some universities to require a notarized copy.

Optional Materials / Documents to Consider

1. Work Portfolio

While not universally required, a work portfolio can be a valuable addition to your application, especially if you’re entering a field that values practical experience such as business, art, or technology. This portfolio allows you to showcase samples of your work, projects, or achievements in your professional career.

For a business portfolio, you can include reports, strategic plans, or successful project outcomes. For those in creative fields, exhibit design projects, art pieces, or creative campaigns. Else, in the technology sector, present coding projects, applications developed, or systems improved.

2. Job Experience

If you are planning to pursue postgraduate studies in Germany, integrating your job experience can significantly enhance your application. Although not generally required for bachelor’s applications, emphasizing your professional background becomes particularly advantageous at the postgraduate level.

Take the opportunity to write down key roles, responsibilities, and notable achievements, showcasing the real-world application of your academic knowledge and making your application stand out. This tailored approach helps demonstrate a well-rounded skill set and contributes to a more appealing profile for the admissions committee to consider.

Key Facts for Applying to Universities in Germany

1. Strategic Industry Partnerships Fuel Passion at German Universities

German universities’ impactful collaborations with modern-day industry leaders make them stand out among global educational institutions. Ludwig Maximilian University’s partnership with Alibaba and Technical University of Munich’s collaboration with industry giant Amazon exemplifies this extraordinary factor. These strategic industry partnerships truly elevate the educational experience at German universities, making them more sought after among international students

2. German Universities are Cost-Friendly

International students coming from EU countries have no need for concern, as the cost of higher education in any German public institution is zero for them, as stated by German law and under certain terms. However, for non-EU country residents, studying in Germany remains cost-friendly due to a wide range of exemptions available from tuition fees and a variety of scholarships offered at each university and national level.

3. Universities in Smaller Cities Also Offer Exceptional Educational Institutions

Though Berlin and Munich garner much attention, smaller cities like Freiburg, Heidelberg, and Göttingen also host excellent universities notably including the University of Göttingen, University of Freiburg, and the famous Heidelberg University with welcoming student communities and lower living costs. These can be hidden gems for students seeking an enriching study experience on a budget.

FAQs: University Applications in Germany

Can International Students Apply to a University in Germany?

Yes, indeed! German universities warmly welcome international students, treating them with the same openness and enthusiasm as local students. In fact, to encourage inclusivity and diversity, many German universities offer a wide range of programs in English, alongside German, which is the national language and the primary medium of instruction. This step in providing education in English significantly facilitates international students’ integration into the academic community, eliminating any language barriers.

Among the prestigious German universities that exemplify this commitment to offering programs in English are: the Technical University of Munich and Heidelberg University. These universities, among others, underscore the German education system’s adaptability and recognition of the globalized student body.

What are the Entry Requirements to Study in Germany?

Figuring out what the entry requirements are can be a bit different for everyone since it depends on the type of studies and the university you specifically choose. Usually, students need to show that they are good in the language used for teaching, which is often either German or English, and provide proof of their previous academic achievements or qualifications.

For bachelor’s programs, you typically need a recognized school certificate, and for master’s programs, having a relevant bachelor’s degree is usually required. Take the Technical University of Munich (TUM), for example, they explain their entry requirements clearly on their official website. TUM usually asks for proof of language skills, academic grades, and valid German Health Insurance. However, as mentioned earlier, this may not be the case with every German university, so it’s advisable to visit their specific requirements on their official websites.


With all the facts, the required admission documents, and step by step guide on how to proceed with your admission in Germany, we hope you are out of any necessary confusion and able to handle this gruesome task of applying to a German University easily. So, don’t hesitate any longer; start searching for your favorite German institute and give this guide a read once again if needed!


We hope this guide will help ease the burden of applying to German universities. For more articles about Germany, head on over to the Study in Germany page! Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Germany for study opportunities!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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