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How to Apply for a Masters in Germany

Masters in Germany: International Student Guide main image

Considering a master’s in Germany? Read on for a quick guide to types of master’s degree in Germany, language requirements, how to apply, and how to get a student visa.

Types of master’s degrees in Germany

Master’s degrees in Germany are usually categorized as either “consecutive” or “non-consecutive”. Those in the first category are designed to build on the academic knowledge gained during a related bachelor’s degree. Non-consecutive programs tend to have a greater focus on professional development, often requiring applicants to have both an undergraduate degree and some relevant work experience. Most master’s in Germany take four semesters (two years) to complete, though some are shorter or longer.

Language requirements

Most courses are taught in German, requiring international applicants to submit proof of proficiency in the language. Two tests are available for this purpose: the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH, meaning “German language examination for university entrance”) and the TestDaF (formerly Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache, meaning “Test of German as a foreign language”). The DSH is offered only within Germany, at various universities, while the TestDaF can be taken at centers in more than 90 countries worldwide. As always, check the test you intend to take is accepted by the universities you want to apply to.

While German remains the main language of instruction overall, a growing selection of English-taught programs is available – particularly at master’s level and for students participating in short-term exchange programs. A searchable database of English-taught courses is provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Applying to study a master’s in Germany

To apply to study a master’s in Germany, the first word to get to grips with is hochschulzugangsberechtigung (abbreviated to HZB), meaning “higher education entrance qualification”. An undergraduate degree completed in another country is usually accepted as a suitable HZB for admission to a master’s in Germany, but specific requirements will vary depending on the course, institution and where you’ve previously studied. For some master’s degrees, applicants are required to have earned a minimum number of credits in specific fields of study. These conditions are set by the department offering the program.

Applications for master’s programs are either submitted directly to the university, or via the online portal Uni Assist. This is a centralized service, which screens applicants and passes on those which meet all the requirements to their chosen institutions, for further assessment. Not all German universities use this service, and those that do may require applicants to complete their own application process as well.

The specific documents required and application process will be set by each institution, but you’ll typically be asked to submit an official copy of your academic qualifications, a passport photo, a copy of your passport and a copy of language proficiency exam results (if applicable). An application fee may be charged.

When to submit your application

At many German universities it’s possible to apply for admission twice a year – to commence studies either in the winter or summer semester. The summer semester runs from March to August at Fachhochschulen and April to September at universities; the winter semester is from September to February and October to March respectively.

In general, applications for winter enrolments need to be made by 15 July, and applications for summer enrolments by 15 January. However, application deadlines vary between institutions, and the same institution may set different deadlines for each master’s program – be sure to carefully check the specific dates for your chosen course. It’s recommended to submit applications at least six weeks before the deadline, to ensure time for corrections or additions if any information is missing.

Student visas to study in Germany

Students from countries within the EU, EEA or Switzerland do not need a visa to study in Germany. These students simply need to register at the nearest registry office on arrival, to obtain a residence permit. This also applies to students coming from a number of other countries, including Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the US. Students from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino can also follow this path, as long as they don’t intend to work during their time in Germany.

Students from elsewhere will need to apply for a visa before arrival in Germany, via the nearest German embassy. Those already accepted onto a program can apply for a student visa, while those awaiting confirmation or sitting entrance exams will need an applicant visa. It can take several months for visas to be issued, so apply as early as possible. Visa applicants will be asked to submit a valid passport; confirmation from a German university that an application is in process or completed; health insurance; and proof of adequate funds to cover living expenses.

This article is adapted from the QS Top Grad School Guide 2015/16. For more information, including details of tuition fees, living costs and post-graduation employment opportunities, the full guide can be accessed online free of charge.

This article was originally published in October 2013. It was updated in November 2015.

Written by Laura Bridgestock

The editor of, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including Students Online: Global Trends.

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Hello everyone! I have done certificate , diploma and pursuing final year advance diploma course in german language from st.Stephen college delhi, India. Moreover I have done B2 level from goethe institute . I want to go for my master studies from Germany in deutsch als fremdsprache ( german as a foreign language). may I know about list of some gud universities and their eligibility requirements. Thanks alot

Hi All, Prashant here, I have done my in Computer science Engineering with CGPA 8.2 out of 10 and working in an MNC now. I would like to pursue my masters in information security /cyber security/ information assurance in germany. And I am from India. Please guide me to find the best universities those provide courses said above. And what are the universities that provide free education for information security courses, for NON-EEU?

Hi Prashant! Here are the rankings by subject for Computer Science and Information Systems, narrowed down by country to see the results in Germany, and here's a blog post on how to choose a university. I'm afraid masters degrees in Germany are not free unless you previously studied your undergraduate degree in the country, but you may be able to find a scholarship - we have a list of scholarships for Indian students and a list of scholarships to study in Germany. I'd also advise you to check the official websites of the universities you're interested in, to find out about their funding opportunities. To find out more about studying in Germany, please take a look at our new complete guide. Hope this helps.

Hi this is bahareh from major is human public administration.I graduated from Azad university.master. I am 28. I want to study architecture field.can you guide me about this? And free university for this major?
Thanks alot

Hi Bahareh, to get you started, here's a link to the rankings by subject for Architecture, narrowed down by country to see the results in Germany. I'm afraid that masters degrees in Germany are not free unless you previously studied your undergraduate degree in the country. However, you may be able to find a scholarship - we have a list of scholarships to study in Germany, and I'd also advise you to check the official websites of the universities you're interested in. The university websites should provide detailed information on their Master of Architecture course and details of available funding opportunities, but contact their admissions office if you're unsure about anything. For more information on studying in Germany, check out our new complete guide. Hope this helps! 

Hi This is Taha here from Pakistan. I have done my Electrical Engineering (Specialization in Electronics) with a CGPA of 3.36 from Usman Institute of Technology which is a private institute. I want to pursue my postgraduate studies in the field of Business i.e. I want to do MBA.

Can you guide me the universities that offer MBA program in Germany? Can you also tell me that what is the ranking of German Universities when it comes to Business schools? Kindly tell me how can I study Business in Germany for free?

Hi Taha, I'm afraid MBA programs and other master's degrees in Germany are not free, and the tuition fees will vary as business schools set their own fees. However, you may be able to find a scholarship. For rankings, please take a look at our rankings by subject for Business & Management, narrowed down by country to see the results in Germany. To find the ideal MBA in Germany for you, please see our course finder. We also have a dedicated sister site all about MBAs Hope this helps!

Hi My name is Bharat Bhushan Negi from India. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology (B.Tech. Biotechnology) with a CGPA of 6.91/10 from Shoolini University, Solan (H.P.) India, which is a private university.I am looking for a Masters degree from Germany in the field of Biological Science/Biotechnology/Immunology/Biochemistry/Biomedical Science/Food and Nutritional Science. I am not getting the proper information about the application procedure in German University. Can you assist me and suggest me about the application procedure ? When is the next intake and what is the right time of application ? Is German language proficiency is necessary to get admission ? Please reply to all my queries.

I am looking for a MSc. in Business Analytics course in Germany. Can someone please inform me about the universities that offer the same?

Hello, I have replied to your query here :)

Hi self Nasar from Hyderabad. I had completed my B-tech in 2014 with 73% and i got IELTS 6 band. I would like to do my Ms computer science/Networking in summer 2016. Can you please any one suggest me best universities in Germany which have summer intake.

hlo miss sabrina collier..may i get message on my email address and other information regarding my further plans ..hope you help me to build my career

Hi Rabin, I have edited out your email address from your comment to protect you from receiving spam - however, feel free to ask any other questions you may have via the website - you might like to start a discussion on our student forum :)

how can i apply from nepal?which university is best for masters level in civil engineering..or is there any consultancy at nepal from where i can get more information?..

Hi Rabin, please see our list of scholarships to study in Germany. and the rankings by subject for civil engineering. If you'd like to know more about the universities, I recommend visiting their profiles on our website, which you can find from the rankings, and also their official websites, as there will be lots of information on entry requirements and how to apply. Our general guide to studying in Germany also provides information on applying to study in Germany.

i want to know about the universities and can i get scholarship to study at germany at masters level in civil engineering.?

hello this is rabin shrestha from nepal...i want to study master in civil engineering at germany..can anyone help me?

Hi Rabin, to get you started on choosing a university, you might like to take a look at our rankings by subject for civil engineering, narrowed down by country to see the highest ranking universities in Germany. We also have a blog post on 7 Steps to choosing a university abroad, a general guide to studying in Germany, and a frequently asked questions article. Hope this helps!

I would like to Study Msc in Construction Management I completed my Bachelor Degree in Civil engineering. Can any one suggest the Entry test for Germany universitites

This is Abrar i have done my BSc in Matallurgy and Materials Engineering and willing to do ms MS from germany. Please suggest me the names of universities where i have done my master in Matallurgy and Materials Engineering free of tuition fee.

This is Uyosue from Nigeria, I am a medical doctor(MBBS) holder had completed one year internship programme currently doing NYSC(national service) which will soon come to an end in few months.I have gained almost 2years of experience post graduation and serious minded. I want to know if its possible to do residency in Obstetric & Gynaecology or Family Medicine, and which assessment exam is available? If that is not possible please help me with schools that offer masters programme in physiology/anatomy. Looking forward to receiving a reply. Thanks in anticipation.

This is Mukul from India currently pursuing in civil engineering, 5th semester .
Willing to do my M.Eng from Germany in construction management .
Kindly suggest technical universities having low tuition fees and English medium of studies.
I have cleared A1 level of German language proficiency from Goethe institute.
I am supposed to take admission in 2017 October just after completing my bachelors

Hello everyone,My name is Hamza and I'mI'm from Morocco. Well I just earnt my Baccalaureate degree last summer and I'm planning to pursue my studies in Germany,especially in engineering (Mechatronics for ex) and I'm thinking because here in Morocco Mastee degree course lasts 5 years.and I'm wondering if I will have finished my two years of preparation in my country,how long will it take so I can have my Master degree?
Thank you so much,by the way your website have helped me a lot ♡

Hi, I need to know if German state universities offer Diplomas/Certifications (short courses of around 6 months (+/-) free of cost similar to an undergrad degree?

please my name is Ken from Ghana, and i will like to have a list of schools in Germany which offer tuition fro masters level in English. i already have a first degree and i will like to seize the opportunity to further my education in a country which offers free tuition to international applicants. Thank you.

Hi Ken, I'm afraid masters level courses in Germany are not free unless you have studied at undergraduate level in the country first. However, you could still study in Germany at a reduced cost with a scholarship - please have a look at our list of scholarships to study in Germany. If you'd like more information, we have a frequently asked questions article on studying in Germany and a general guide to the country. We also have a guide to studying in Germany in English. Hope this helps!

I belong from Pakistan, and after completing my A levels I'm looking forward to pursue study in Germany, though I want you to prefer me a field either (Medical or Engineering) in which there is no need of studying German language, As I'm not really fluent in German.And in which fields in Germany apparently have high scope?
Best Regard,
Kinza Fatima

Hi Kinza, we have a guide to studying in Germany in English which should help. We also have an article on the Frequently Asked Questions about studying in Germany. Hope this helps!

Hello I am Rajashree, from India. I have completed my MBBS in Republic of Georgia, Tbilisi. I would like to go my Post Graduate in Pediatrics in Germany could anyone guide me with the instructions how to get admission from a university in Germany, what are the requirements. If possible can I get some contact of any forigen students studying medics in Germany so I can contact them. Thank you.

Hi Rajashree. Visit guide to studying in Germany and our frequently asked questions about studying in Germany. In terms of contacting students, I'd suggest finding social media groups for the universities you're interested in, or contacting their international student representatives/societies.

My Name is Oladapo, I just finish my first degreed in Political Science in Nigeria, and I will like to do my Masters in either Political Science, Public Policy, Public Adminiatration. I will like to do the in the year 2016. How am I going to apply?

Hi Olapado. Assuming you're interested in studying in Germany, take a look at our guide to studying in Germany and our frequently asked questions about studying in Germany.

hi everybody, I'm from Iran, i have my bachelors degree in English translation with 13 years of teaching experience in Iran+lots of translation projects (some even been published). where can i find a free of charge university to get my masters degree in english teaching. outskirt academies would be just as fine. thanks already.

Hi Paria. Take a look at our article on studying in Germany in English, and our guide to the costs of studying in Germany.

I am Luv from India. I have recently completed an MBA from United Kingdom and would like to pursue a specialized one/ two year master degree in Finance (english taught) in Germany. I do not have German language skills. Is it late to apply for the Winter term starting October? If I get an offer for the winter semester, will I be able to pursue German language classes in the university for free?

I m rajesh kumawat from india .i did .i would like to pursuepursue M.Pharmacy in pharmacology from germanyrmany.kindly let me knowknow about the University which charge less fee .and admission as soon possible ....thanks in advance

Hi, I'm Nikhitha from India. I have recently completed my btech in stream of computer science and engineering, Now i would like to pursue my MBA in Germany in stream of human resources and management , i have a gpa of 8.3. Kindly let me know about the universities which charge less fee. Thanks in advance!

Hi Nikhitha. For MBA information, please visit our sister site,

Hi, Laura,
i am undergoing my Electronics & Communication Engineering bachelors degree in Coimbatore, India. i will be completing it in 2016. i wish to do my Masters in Germany for either electronics or communication. I wish you could suggest me top Universities in Germany for the same. Also kindly give me guidance for the fees.

Hi there, we have an article called How Much Does it Cost to Study in Germany? which list average prices of master's study but for exact fees you should visit individual university websites. Check out our subject rankings to find the top universities for electrical & electronic engineering and communication & media studies and from there you can visit their websites. Good luck! Laura

I am from India and I will be completing my undergraduate studies in 2016. I tried to look around on the University websites but couldn't find the requirements for the Masters program. My undergraduate degree is of 3 years. I wanted to know that are there any universities in Germany which accept 3 year bachelor degree?


Hello, I am nikhil from india and i completed my graduation (BTECH) in Information Technology in 2013.I worked as a software developer for 1 year and now i want to do masters in computer science in germany and also looking for employment later.
but i want to know that can i apply for that universities as i completed my graduation in 2013 and now 2015 is running ? and also some best technical universities in germany.
Thanks for any help.

Hi Nikhil, see our subject ranking of the top universities in Germany for computer science and from there you can research each school through their own websites. For answers to more general questions about study in Germany, see our FAQ. Good luck, Laura

Hi Laura. I'm nayan from bangladesh. I just completed my graduation in telecommunication Engg.., and i want to do my master's in canada.But i don't have any journal, please give some information about funding.........

Hi Nayan. Our list of scholarships to study in Canada should help you get some ideas of the funding opportunities available.

Hi Laura, I am an under graduate Instrumentation student from India.I will be completing my course in 2017, I would love to do my Masters degree in that field in any German University that offers international scholarships.Can i please get more information on how to apply for that.

Hi there, scholarships are available and will most likely be found on the university's own website or privided by your home/host country's government. See our scholarships FAQ for more guidance on how to find and apply to scholarships, or, for a selection of current opportunities see our Scholarships to Study in Germany article. L

Hi Laura, I am a Geography Honours student from South Africa, majoring in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing, I would love to do my Masters degree next year in this field in any Germany University that offers the course for free or through international scholarships. Can I please get more information about the requirements.

Hi Anthony, I'm afraid tuition fees still exist for masters level study in Germany but scholarships are more widely available for graduates (see this article for a selection of opportunties, or check on university websites). You'll find more general information in our Study in Germany FAQ and you can also  use our subject rankings to find the top universities in Germany for geography. The majority of courses will be taught in German unless specified, but if you wish to study in English, take a look at our Study in Germany in English article. 

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