How to Apply for German Universities in 2024

Article reading time: 8 min. | 18. Jun 2024, written by Margherita Seppi
Tags StudyInGermany StudyAbroad ApplicationProcess OnlineApplication InternationalStudents

How to apply for Germany universities at a glance:

1. Choose the Right Programme and University: Begin by identifying German universities and degree programmes that align with your academic and career aspirations. Utilise resources like the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to explore options across Germany.

2. Understand Admission Requirements: Each university has its unique criteria, including possibly needing a higher education entrance qualification or attending a Studienkolleg for non-EU qualifications.

3. Meet Language Requirements: Demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction—German language for most courses, sometimes English—with relevant standardized test scores.

4. Prepare Application Materials: Collect all necessary documents such as a certified copy of your high school diploma, proof of language proficiency, and a motivation letter.

5. Submit Your Application: Choose the correct application route, whether directly to the university, through Uni-assist, or the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung, depending on your chosen program.

6. Adhere to Application Deadlines: Be mindful of critical deadlines—generally July 15th for winter and January 15th for summer enrollment—and confirm specific dates with your chosen university.

7. Accept Your Offer and Prepare for Your Move: Once accepted, confirming your spot and signing legally binding contracts, get a German student visa, secure health insurance, and find accommodation.

8. Enroll and Start Your Classes: Complete your enrollment in person, pay the semester fee typically inclusive of a transport ticket, and then embark on your studies in Germany.

Planning to pursue your studies in Germany, the heart of innovative education and cultural diversity? You're making a wise decision! As the preferred destination for ambitious students globally, Germany offers unparalleled academic and career prospects - it's truly a great study abroad destination. At IU, you have the added advantage of a flexible higher education institution that allows you to prioritise your studies along with work or travel or any other commitments you may have! 

1. Choose the Right University and Programme

Group of four students walking in the campus

Ready to start your university application in Germany? The first step is key: choosing the right university and university degree that fit your academic and career goals. Wondering where to start?

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is a helpful tool. It gives you a detailed database of programmes and schools across Germany. Whether you’re into engineering, business, arts, or sciences, you will find DAAD provides thorough descriptions to help you make your decision.

Are you also looking for programmes in English with an easy application process? When it comes to public universities in Germany, the options for English taught higher education programmes are quite limited. IU International University of Applied Sciences is your go-to option here. IU is a private university focused on providing quality higher education to international students, offering career-focused programmes in English. Our goal is to make German quality standard higher education accessible and available to foreign students. Our application process is more straightforward than many public universities, allowing you to get started with your studies quicker and more easily.

IU’s Quick Application Process in a nutshell

IU's application process is quick, easy and stress-free, in contrast to most German universities! Don't believe us? Here's the breakdown:

  1. Get to know us and our programmes.
  2. Choose your desired programme.
  3. Online application. Find out the application requirements based on whether you are choosing a bachelor, master or MBA programme.
  4. Submit your contract (you'll receive this once you complete the previous step and have sent in your application form).
  5. Start your studies!
  6. Upload your documents as you study.

We do not charge any processing fee and there are no extra hidden costs when you apply to IU!

IU offers a brilliant array of English-taught courses designed with global job markets in mind, setting you on a direct path to career success after graduation. Experience the ease of a flexible on-campus and online education

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2. Check Admission Requirements

Two future students checking the admission requirements in the laptop

Each university in Germany has its own set of admission requirements and application documents tailored to their programmes. Therefore, it’s critical to check what is specifically needed for the programme you're interested in. Usually, you need a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), or a higher education entrance qualification, like your high school diploma or its equivalent.

Dealing with International Qualifications

What if your academic background is from outside the EU? In that case, there may be admission restrictions and your qualifications might require additional assessment. Often, this involves undergoing an entrance examination after you complete a preparatory course, known as Studienkolleg. This step ensures that your previous education aligns with German higher education standards.

Preparing in advance for these requirements can greatly smooth your application process. Make sure to gather the correct documents and understand what’s expected. Are your qualifications ready and valid for studying in Germany? Ensuring you meet these criteria is your key to a successful application.

3. Navigating Language Requirements

Woman holding a dialogue bubble in her hand

When applying to a German university, demonstrating proficiency in the German language is crucial. For most undergraduate programmes taught in German, international students must pass language proficiency tests such as TestDaF or DSH. But what about programmes in English?

For English-taught programs, the common requirements include TOEFL or IELTS test scores to assess your English language proficiency. At IU, our programmes (bachelors, masters and MBAs) are English-taught, and all our student-facing communication is in English. 

Simplified Language Requirements at IU

At IU, we've streamlined our language requirements to make your transition as smooth as possible. Here, the emphasis isn’t just on meeting the criteria—we focus extensively on supporting your successful integration and academic success, whatever your native language.

For IU's bachelor, master and MBA programmes, our skills would need to match the B2 level of the Common European Framework (CEF). To asses this, we accept the following English language skills certificates*: 

  • TOEFL (minimum 80 points)* or 
  • IELTS (minimum Level 6)* or 
  • Duolingo English Test (minimum 95 points)*
  • PTE Academics (minimum 59 points)* or
  • Cambridge Certificate (minimum Grade B)* 

Thinking of applying but worried about language tests? Let IU help you overcome those hurdles and guide you towards excelling in your chosen field.

4. Gathering Your Application Materials

Future student checking the application materials in her laptop

To ensure a smooth application process, it's essential to prepare and organise all the documents. Here's a checklist of the typical documents most universities require:

  • A certified copy of your high school diploma or any prior degrees.
  • A translated summary of course modules and grades.
  • Evidence of language proficiency such as language certificates —make sure to have your test results certified!
  • A motivation letter, where you'll express your reasons for choosing the programme and your future aspirations.
  • A clear copy of your passport along with a recent passport-sized photo.
  • An application fee, if required by the university.

5. Submit Your Application

Two person holding an application format

Where to Apply (German Universities):

  • Directly to the University: This is common for programmes without admission restrictions. Simply send your documents straight to the university’s admissions office.

  • Through Uni-assist: For a streamlined application process, many German universities utilise Uni-assist. This platform consolidates your application materials and forwards them to the universities of your choice.

  • Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (Foundation for University Admissions): This is especially relevant for nationally restricted courses, such as medicine or pharmacy, where admissions are highly competitive.

It's helpful to be aware that resources like DAAD, Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung are more useful to find German-taught, rather than English-taught programmes and to research about any local admission restrictions for your programme in Germany. You could also reach out to their international office for details.

Remember, universities like IU often have a different, more straightforward application process compared to public universities. This can ease the burden significantly for international applicants.

6. Keeping Track of Application Deadlines

Computer screen with a calendar

Staying on top of application deadlines is crucial for a successful university application. However, it's important to note that these deadlines may vary depending on the university and programme. Beginning your application process well in advance offers you plenty of time to gather all necessary documents and address any unexpected challenges or requests for additional information.

At IU, we have four main intake periods: October, January, April and July! Keep your calendars marked, and plan your application process accordingly. 

7. Accept Your Offer and Prepare for Your Move

Future student celebrating his admission to the universitie

Congratulations on your acceptance! Here are the key steps to take next:

1. Confirm Your Acceptance and Pay Tuition Fees: Promptly confirm your spot and complete any necessary fee payments to secure your enrolment.

2. Apply for a Student Visa: Depending on where you're from and how long you plan to stay, the requirements for a student visa can vary. Visit the German consulate or embassy website for the most accurate and detailed information.

3. Secure Health Insurance: In Germany, health insurance is compulsory for all students. Make sure to arrange this before your arrival to be covered from day one.

4. Find Accommodation: Housing in university towns can be scarce and tends to fill up quickly. Start your search early to find a suitable and convenient place to live. Consider both university dorms and private housing options.

8. Enrol and Start Your Classes

Students in the classroom

Once you've paid the fee, travelled to Germany and settled into your new home, your next step is to officially enrol at the university. Usually, this involves physically submitting your documents to the administration. After enrolment, you’re all set to start attending classes and embarking on your new academic journey! Remember, the early days are a perfect chance to explore the campus, meet peers, and acclimate yourself to the new academic environment.

How to Apply for German Universities: Closing Thoughts

Applying to a German university can be a detailed and stringent process, but it's manageable with the right information and preparation. For an easier transition and application process, consider options like IU International, where the focus is on equipping you with the skills needed for a global career landscape.

Why IU’s Application Process is Simple:

In brief, here's why applying to IU is considerably easier and more efficient:

  • Free and Online: Traditional universities often have application and processing fees that can drain your finances upfront. In contrast, IU’s entire admission process is free.
  • Minimal Documentation: While many public universities require certified physical copies of your documents, affecting your convenience and timeline, IU aims for minimal doc checks, favouring online uploads instead.
  • No Hidden Costs: Unlike the often-obscure fee structures of traditional systems, there are no extra hidden costs when you enrol with IU.
  • Quick Contract Processing: You can immediately focus on your studies post-contract with IU, unlike long notification times at some universities.

IU radically streamlines your transition from applicant to student. By trimming unnecessary red tape and shortening the timeline between application and nagging administrative tasks, we place our students at the forefront, right where they belong.

Embark on an educational journey with IU—it’s simple, swift, and student-centric. Experience first-hand why our process is all about enhancing, not encumbering, your academic ambitions!

Discover how IU can help you build the career you dream of

Leave your details to get more info about the university and our degree programmes 

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