How should I plan courses in college

Studying in Germany - Land of Ideas

If your school-leaving qualification is not recognized in Germany, your way to a German university is through the preparatory college. You end it with an exam, the assessment test. But there is also the possibility to prepare yourself linguistically and technically in other ways for your studies if you do not yet feel safe but do not have to attend a preparatory college. Then you can attend a language course or a preparatory course (propaedeutic course).

by: editorial team (as of May 2019)

If your school leaving certificate is not sufficient for you to start a bachelor's degree in Germany, you will have to take an exam. It's called the assessment test. You can prepare for this exam in a preparatory college in Germany. In the anabin database, you can check how your previous degrees are classified and whether you have to attend a preparatory college.


The preparatory colleges are institutions at universities and technical colleges. Not every university has a preparatory college. The colleges offer various specialty courses that prepare students for specific subjects.
If you take your exam in a preparatory college at a university of applied sciences, you are only allowed to study at one university of applied sciences afterwards. When taking an exam at a university, you can do both. The International Office at your university will help you find the right preparatory college and prepare you properly for it. There are various preparatory colleges

At universities

  • M course (for applicants for (dental) medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, biochemistry, bioinformatics, biology and other medical, biological or pharmaceutical degree programs)
  • W course (for applicants for business administration and economics = business administration and economics and other economic and social science courses)
  • G course (for applicants from all humanities and linguistic courses)
  • T course (for applicants from all natural science courses except biochemistry and biology and other mathematical, scientific or technical courses)
  • S course (for a language course)

At universities of applied sciences

  • TI course (for applicants for technical and engineering courses)
  • WW course (for applicants for economics courses)
  • GD course (for applicants for design and artistic courses)
  • SW course (for applicants for social sciences and social sciences courses)

More information on the application process and a list of preparatory courses >>

For admission to a preparatory college, you have to do this, among other things requirements fulfill:

  • good knowledge of German (level B1 of the European Framework of Reference)
  • enough money to live in Germany (proof of financing),
  • a valid visa

In an entrance examination you have to prove that your language skills are sufficient. If you haven't learned enough German in your home country, you can first attend a language course in Germany. At some universities, the course then serves as proof of application to a preparatory college.

Attending a preparatory college is usually free of charge at state universities. However, course participants have to pay the usual semester fee for students.

The course at a preparatory college usually lasts two semesters. The lessons last about 30 hours per week. However, students with very good grades can already take the assessment test after one semester.

Assessment test

After completing your preparatory college, you have to take the assessment test. It consists of several subjects that are important for your future subject. A language test is also included. If you have passed the exam, you can apply for a bachelor's degree in your field of study.

At some preparatory colleges, the assessment test can also be taken as an "external assessment test". That means you don't have to have attended a preparatory college beforehand - but this is usually very difficult.

Further information on the assessment test >>

Language courses

In preparation for your studies, it can be good to attend a language course to improve and consolidate your German skills. You can find a selection of language courses in Germany in the DAAD database. The International Office of your chosen university can also help you choose a German course. It is best, however, if you are looking for a course before you come to Germany. Then you won't miss any registration deadlines and you won't have to wait long for a vacancy.

There are countless language schools in Germany. Not all of them offer the same quality in their German courses. When making a decision, you should make sure that the language school has the right offer for your level. You can test your knowledge of German on the Goethe-Institut website. The Common European Framework of Reference distinguishes the various levels. It is also important to know whether a recognized German test can be taken at the language school.

Basically, you should find out exactly what the conditions are at language schools before you book a course. Reputable language schools can give you detailed information about their courses and the language levels they teach. If a language school is expensive, that doesn't mean it's good. There are adult education centers in all major cities. They offer language courses at many different levels that don't cost a lot.

Preparatory courses (propaedeutics)

If you want to do a master’s degree, you do not have to attend a preparatory college. But you can do a preparatory course. You can also take a preparatory course if you want to do your bachelor's degree in Germany but don't have to attend a preparatory college.

In such a preparatory program, you will be linguistically and professionally prepared for your course of study. There is often an introduction to the German study system and scientific work techniques. When you then start your studies, it is much easier to get used to everyday German university life.

There are programs for international students

  • who have already been admitted to study in Germany,
  • who have not yet been admitted but already meet the formal requirements for studying in Germany
  • who have yet to meet the formal requirements for a university entrance qualification.

These courses can last a few weeks or a semester or two.
You can find a selection of preparatory courses (= preparatory courses) under the heading "Prep Course" in the DAAD database.