Studienkolleg - preparation for studies at a German universities

If your school certificate is not sufficient for direct entry to a German university, you will usually have to attend a Studienkolleg in Germany.

To whom is this article for: like most of my articles, this article is primarily aimed at international IT professionals. However, the basic information is valid for all other groups of international study applicants.

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      germany, studienkolleg in germany, studienkolleg deutschland, bachelor in germany,master in germany Screenshot 1 - International study applicants of the Studienkolleg in Paderborn (Source: Universität Paderborn)


Studienkolleg - what is that?
Who has to attend Studienkolleg?
The process
How to proceeed?
Application Deadlines
Processing Time

Studienkolleg - what is that

If you are allowed to study in your home country with your school certificate, but this certificate (called Sekundarabschluss (school leaving certificate)) is not recognized in Germany as a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB) (direct university entrance qualification), you usually have to attend a Studienkolleg in Germany.

In a Studienkolleg you will be prepared for studying at a German university. You will learn German teaching- and learning methods.

The preparatory year ends with the exam called Feststellungsprüfung. This passed exam together with the school leaving certificate from your home country entitles you to study in Germany.

Who has to attend Studienkolleg

The final decision is made by the certificate recognition office of the (federal) state where the university of your choice is located [1].

You can use the Anabin database to find out for yourself whether your school leaving certificate is recognized as a direct university entrance qualification in Germany.

The Process

Attending the Studienkolleg usually takes two semesters. After that, there is an exam called Feststellungsprüfung. It examines your professional and language skills with regard to your future field of study. After the Studienkolleg you can directly start your studies at a university.

You can however apply for the Feststellungsprüfung after the first semester.

How to proceed

In this section you will find out which steps you have to take to study an IT profession in Germany even though your previous education was insufficient.

Step #1 - Check if you can study in Germany

Check if your school leaving certificate allows you to study in Germany.
If your degree certificate allows you to study in your home country, then you may also study in Germany.

Step #2 - Check if you must attend a Studienkolleg

The Anabin-evaluation determines whether you are first required to complete a course at a Studienkolleg or whether you can apply directly to a university.

Step #3 - check the requirements and documents needed

Enquire at the Studienkolleg of your choice for information about the required requirements and application documents. The Studienkollegs have very different admission procedures and dates, therefore it is necessary to enquire directly at the Studienkolleg of your choice.

Here are some mandatory requirements:

Language skills

For admission to the Studienkolleg, you must already prove your knowledge at CEFR level B2 or C1.

You can prove your German proficiency with certain certificates when you apply. This is also the case if your university course is taken in English.

Additional Requirements

Further requirements can vary from college to college.

Step #4 - Check if you can apply directly or via uni-assist

A direct application to the Studienkolleg is not possible. You submit an Antrag auf Zulassung zum Studium (application for admission to study) at the University of your choice. The University will check your documents and you will receive a letter of admission to the entrance exam at the Studienkolleg.

However, some universities do not allow direct applications. In this case you apply via uni-assist.

If the university accepts the application (i.e. admits you to study), the university will send you an invitation to the entrance exam for the Studienkolleg. With this official invitation you can apply for the national visa.

Step #5 - Apply for a national visa

Apply for a Visum für Studienvorbereitung (visa for study preparation**) at the German Embassy in your country.

Step #6 - Prepare for the Aufnahmeprüfung (entrance exam)

The schedule for the entrance exam for the Studienkolleg will be provided to you individually with the letter of admission. The entrance exam in German and Mathematics (in the G-course only German) takes place in September and February. This can vary from Studienkolleg to Studienkolleg.

The entrance exams of the different Studienkollegs differ greatly; some Studienkollegs have a German test and a mathematics test, others only a German test. Enquire on the website of the particular Studienkolleg(s).

Required documents

Required documents (example University of Munich):

The following documents must be submitted by regular post to the International Office of the university of Munich:

  • Application form (please also fill in part 10 of the application form)
  • University entrance qualification (usually high school diploma or equivalent school leaving certificate, if necessary school leaving certificate in combination with university entrance examination or one-year study or university degree certificate)
    - in the national language - as officially certified copy
    - with officially certified translation.
  • Certificates do not have to be translated into English, French, Italian, Catalan, Latin, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish.

  • Current curriculum vitae
  • if applicable: marriage certificate / proof of change of name
  • for non-EU/EEA members: proof of current participation in an intensive German course
  • for non-EU citizens: proof of current participation in an intensive German course (with 20 hours per week), at least at level B2

Step #7 - Take an entrance exam

Normally you have to come to Germany in order to take the entrance exam in Studienkolleg.

Examples of the entrance exam of Uni München in German and mathematics you will find here.

Entrance examination passed?

Contact the ImmatrikulationsamtAdmissions Office or International Student Office (in some universities also called AAA) of the specific university to attend classes in the regular study program.

Entrance examination failed?

No worries! The exam can be repeated.

Application deadlines

The application deadlines for Studienkollegs often end earlier than application deadlines for study at universities. So send your documents as early as possible, preferably right at the beginning of the application. Also good if you send the documents at least 8 weeks before the deadline. This will give you the time in case additional documents need to be submitted.

Winter Semester

If the study program starts in the winter semester, the application deadline usually ends on 15.July.

Sommer Semester

If the study program starts in the summer semester, the application deadline usually ends on 15.January.

Processing time

For your time planning regarding the approval of your documents, assume 4-6 weeks. However, the processing time, especially after March 2020, may differ considerably.

Tip: find out the exact deadlines for your desired course of study directly at the Studienkolleg or university of your choice.

* - full name: secondary school leaving certificate. In Germany this certificate called Sekundarschulzeugnis or Abitur. This and more terms translated and abbreviations explained s. the GLOSSARY
** - § 16b Abs. 1 und 6 Studium bzw. Studienvorbereitung, Visumhandbuch.

Language proofs and language certificates


21.09.20 ©️ Jaroslav Plotnikov ( All articles )

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