< Study in Germany guide

Bachelors in Germany

A guide for international students on undergraduate studies in Germany

December 20, 2023

Doing undergraduate studies in Germany is becoming very popular among international students. However, many people lack basic information about it. This article will explain everything you need to know about applying for Bachelors programs in Germany.

Introduction -

Let's start off with 2 most important things international students don't know about Bachelors in Germany:

A) You can't directly do UG studies in Germany after Class 12 (12th grade in India / Senior Year in US)

It is required to have 13 years of schooling before going to a university in Germany. I'll explain more about this later.

B) UG programs in Germany are predominantly in German language:

  • Undergrad programs: German - 11101, English - 351
  • Graduate programs: German - 8731, English - 1716

So if you do not have a strong student profile, consider learning the German language and applying for courses taught in German. You'll face far less competition for courses at top universities.

German Language -

For most Bachelor's programs in Germany, a B2 level of German is sufficient. However, some universities may require a C1 level for specific programs, such as German language and literature or engineering.

Here is a breakdown of the CEFR levels and what they mean in terms of German proficiency:

  • A1: Beginner
  • A2: Elementary
  • B1: Intermediate
  • B2: Upper-intermediate
  • C1: Advanced
  • C2: Proficiency

It takes roughly 1 - 2 years of intensive study to reach B2 level. There are several ways to prove your German proficiency level. The most common tests are:

  • TestDaF: The TestDaF is a comprehensive German language test that assesses your ability to read, listen, speak, and write in German. It is accepted by most universities in Germany.
  • DSH: The DSH is another German language test that is similar to the TestDaF. It is accepted by some universities in Germany.
  • TELC C1 Hochschule: The TELC C1 Hochschule is a German language test that is specifically designed for university students. It is accepted by many universities in Germany.

Due to If you are currently in class 11 or 12th, you still have ample time to learn the language. Since both German and English are 'Germanic Languages', they're pretty similar in a some aspects. German is one of the easiest European languages to learn for an English speaker.

Schooling in Germany & Studienkolleg -

Germany has 13 years of schooling as opposed to 12 years in India / US, which means that they do not consider a High School Graduate to be eligible for admission in universities in Germany. To become eligible to study in a German university, you can go down two routes:

  • Attend a Studienkolleg, which is essentially the 13th year of high school.
  • Or, do one year of university education in your country, and then apply and start from first year again.

Studienkolleg can be public (government funded and cheap) or private (costlier). Public studienkolleges are pretty scarce. That plus the high cost of living in Germany and lack of scholarships for these studies makes it an unattractive option. We do not recommend going down this route, even if money is not a problem.

More about Studienkolleg -

Most Studienkollegs teach in German, so you need to know B2 level German before you apply. A few private ones might take you in, even at A1 or A2, and they will teach you till B2/C1 by the time you finish the Studienkolleg.

At the end of your Studienkolleg, you will need to give an exam called FSP (Feststellungsprüfung). The language of the question paper will be German and the marks you get in this exam along with your class 12th marks will be the grade on which you will be assessed for you university entrance.

It is recommended to get atleast 90% in 12th so that even if you don't get very good marks in the FSP exam, the average is still decent.

Studienkolleg alternative -

If you decide to do one year of University in India / US, then the marks you get in your first year will be taken instead of FSP when you apply to universities in Germany. Make sure the university you do your first year in, has an H+ accreditation on Anabin (https://anabin.kmk.org/anabin.html).

Applying to universities -

After you've completed the extra year of schooling comes the time to apply to universities. The Study in Germany guide has all the steps laid out. Particularly go through these articles:

You can apply directly on the university website or from Uni-assist. On average it costs roughly 50 Euros to apply to a university.

VPD Procedure (optional) -

Rarely, a university might ask you for a VPD (Vorprüfungsdokumentation) which is a preliminary review of your documents. This might seem confusing, but it's not. Let us explain.

When a university says that it requires a VPD, just follow the steps below -

  1. Submit all your required documents to uni-assist (by post).
  2. Wait for them to evaluate how it compares to the German education system.
  3. Get your VPD.

You need to submit the VPD document  directly to the university when you apply there, generally before the application deadline expires.

The VPD contains information on which educational certificates you presented to uni-assist, which kind of university entrance is possible with these certificates, and how uni-assist rates your grade within the German system of grades.

Post application steps -

After applying to universities these are the next steps:

There can be a lot more questions when navigating through the education system in a new country. Bookmark the Study In Germany guide and join the student community on discord for help and support.

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