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Open vs Restricted admission in Germany

The blog discusses the differences between open and restricted admission policies at universities

January 4, 2024

Universities in Germany have 2 types of admission policies:

Open Admission (NC-Frei)

Open admission means that there is no limit on the number of students the university takes into a Masters / Bachelors program. The college will accept all students who meet the basic eligibility requirements, such as having a high school diploma or equivalent.

What does this mean for you as a Bachelor / Masters applicant?

This means that if you meet the minimum criteria, you're most likely to be admitted to the program. It is a great strategy to keep an NC-Frei program as a safe option in your list of applications.

However, just because a program is open admission doesn't necessarily mean that it's less rigorous or less competitive. The GPA requirements could be high to prevent a large number of applications.

Restricted Admission

On the other hand, restricted admission policies limit the number of students who can be admitted to a program. This is often referred to as the Numerus Clausus (NC) system. For restricted programs, the admission process is typically more competitive and requires students to meet more stringent academic requirements. For example, a student may need to have a certain GPA or score a minimum on standardized tests to be considered for admission.

While restricted admission programs may seem more competitive, they also offer benefits such as smaller class sizes, more specialized coursework, and a greater chance of graduating on time. In contrast, open admission programs may offer more flexibility and accessibility for students who may not meet the requirements of a restricted program.

It's important to note that admission policies can vary greatly between universities and even between programs within the same university. It's important to research the specific requirements and expectations for your desired program to ensure that you are a good fit.

One caveat with open admission policies is that while they accept all eligible students, students must still meet certain academic standards to succeed in the program. ECTS and credit requirements must also be met to ensure successful completion of the program. (Learn more about ECTS)


In conclusion, the quality of education and standard of universities does not necessarily depend on Open vs Restricted policy. Both programs are good options for students. See the following links in you're planning on pursuing higher studies in Germany:

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