Study in German or in English – in Germany?

If you want to study in Germany, you can choose between studying in German or English as your main language.

When you are in Germany, sooner or later you learn the German language. You don’t need to make this a legal obligation; for many simple reasons, foreigners in Germany like to learn the German language.

Depending on which language will be the main language of your course of study, you will have to provide the appropriate proof of your language proficiency.

Language Certificates

  • If you want to study in German, you need proof of your knowledge of the German language.
  • If you want to study in English, you need proof of your knowledge of the English language.

Below you will find an overview of the language requirements for studying in Germany.

German language certificate for study

Those who already have German language skills and are required to prove them, usually have to take an examination.

Language proof for the application

When applying for a course of study, students usually have to pass one of the following examinations:

  • DSH-3 or DSH-2 or DSH-1
  • TestDaF — Deutsch als Fremdsprache (at least 14 points)
  • DSD-II — Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz (at least: 1x grade 2)
  • Goethe-Certificate C2, C1 or B2

For dates see enrollment.

Language certificate for successful enrollment

The requirements for enrollment are higher:

  • DSH-3 or DSH-2 (Examination dates)
  • TestDaF (Examination dates) — Deutsch als Fremdsprache (4×4 or 1×4 and at least 16 Punkte)
  • DSD-II — Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz (at least: 4x C1)
  • Goethe-Zertifikat C2 (sometimes just C1) (Examination dates)
  • Feststellprüfung am Studienkolleg mit Note 4
  • telc Deutsch C1
  • Österreichisches Sprachdiplom C2 (sometimes just C1)

* The requirements of universities differ. These are just averages.

Those who have successfully passed German as a subject in school (e. g. European Baccaulauréat) often do not need a language certificate. Also those who graduated from a German school abroad are often exempt from taking an additional language examination.

Language certificate for studies in English

Many foreign students do not dare to study in German. The fear of German as a foreign language is too strong. That is why many people are unsure and do not apply for studies in Germany. But in Germany, you can study in English, too!

Language certificate for successful application and matriculation

To study in Germany in English, you must pass one of the following examinations. The required final grades for the respective test are in brackets:

  • TOEFL Paper-Based Test — (usually at least 500 points, sometimes more than 527 points)
  • TOEFL Computer-Based Test — (usually at least 197 points, sometimes more than 230 points)
  • CPE — Cambridge Certificate in Proficiency Englisch — (usually at least grade C)
  • CAE — Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English — (usually at least grade B)
  • Academic Test (IELTS — International English Language Testing System — (usually at least grade 6, sometimes 7 points)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English

Note: Please note that the list is not complete. Some universities also allow other tests and others even reject some of the listed tests. Please contact the respective university for further information!

As far as we know, TOEFL and IELTS are currently accepted at all German universities, but the minimum score in the language test is not the same among all universities!

German or English as the main language?

Many students from abroad speak English better than German. So what to do? What opportunities do foreign students have in Germany?

If you meet the required academic qualifications, you can test your linguistic qualification. Depending on whether you want to study in German or English, you will need to have different language skills. For example, if you want to study in English, you don’t need any knowledge of German.

In Germany, fortunately, the studies are offered in both German and English! This makes the selection much easier. If you are already a student and only want to spend one semester in Germany, you often don’t need any proof. Please contact the university staff for more information.

If you meet the academic and linguistic requirements, you can now proceed with the application for a study place.

Go to step 5: Application for a study place in Germany

Guide: Application

Finding a Study Programme
Prepare your Application
Apply to your Studies

Arrival to your Studies

Visa Organization
Prepare your Arrival
Arrive Successfully

Begin your Studies!

Goal: Enrollment
Support: Important Steps
|| Last change: 26-05-2018