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How to Apply for a Masters in Germany

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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. 

You can view the top universities in Germany in 2019 here, and you may like to view how German universities rank for your subject in the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject

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 (formally 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). If you do decide to study in English and it's not your first language, you'll need to prove your proficiency with an English language test such as IELTS or TOEFL

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, San Marino and Taiwan 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. 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.

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This article was originally published in October 2013. It was last updated in December 2018.

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Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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hi can i apply to any univ in europe i have 55 percent in graduation degree in 2011 and 4 years work experience

Hi Varun, Which country are you interested in studying in? Check out our guides for studying in various European study destinations here.

Hi Group, I am trying to gather as much information as possible for pursuing my Master degree in Germany. I have U.S.A Bachelor degree in Business Admin and would like to complete a Master of Business/ Applied Sciences related also in English. If anyone has being through the process any tips, advise or website links that can share would be super AWESOME.. Also kind of clueless which city in Germany would be ideal for this kind of Master.. To reciprocate if any of you need any tips on traveling to China would be happy to assist. Respectfully Bledi.

My son has a graduate diploma in electrical engineering, a 4year course. He is keen to pursue his masters in electrical eng. in Germany. could he find a tuition free uni. in Germany as i can provide only the accomodation expenses.

Hi I'm Abdelmajid from Tunisia, I would like to join a master engineering in Germany. I have IELTS band 6, but i have an master engineering diploma with low marks. Can i have a chance to join a master diploma in germany. thanks

I am Otedola from Nigeria I have bachelor degree in political science and I’ll love to study masters in Germany or any Europe Country hope I won’t have to speak German before I can apply please I need reply on this

Hi Otedola, you don't necessarily need to speak German but it would be very helpful to acquire the basics of the language to help with daily life in the country. You can find out how to study in Germany in English here, and read about other European study destinations where you can study in English here

Hi, I'm Shinto. I'm from India. I wish to pursue masters degree from Germany. I have applied to few public universities. I know there is no tuition fee. I just want to know if i can get help from a sponsor for my living expenses as my family can't afford it. Thanks in advance !

Hello i am Meredith from Nigeria and i am a Higher national Diploma graduate and i want to know if i can apply for masters program in Germany, and how to go about it? Thanks.

Hello,I'm ouahida from Algeria ,I have a bachelor's degree in English ,and I'd like to pursue my master's in English,what should I do?can I study in Germany without having a certificate of level in German?thank you in advance

Hi Ouahida, you can indeed study in English in Germany, as there's now a fairly good amount of programs available at master's level. You can find out more here

Hi I am Waris I would like to apply master geography and gis in Europe. Help me about preparation and scholarship to get

Hi Waris, you can find detailed info on studying in particular places in Europe with our study destination guides, and we've listed a range of scholarships to study in Europe here

hello everybod y :)
i just want to ask if it is possible to do master in germany or belgium after getting a bachelor degree from the UK

waiting for your answers , Thank you

Hi Riyad, I don't see why not! Your bachelor degree should be accepted among the entry requirements to study in Germany or Belgium. You can find out more about studying in Germany here, and our guide for Belgium is here

I am currently studying in class 12th having commerce with IP as my stream . May I know how I can study abroad just after 12th, all the necessary documents needed, tuition fees and cost of living in INR . Please help me out

Hello everybody!!!
my name is Jaggy .Living in Germany from about four years. i have done my bachelors of computer application in 2007 in India from Panjab university.I have permanent residence for stay in Germany. Now i want to do Masters degree in computer science or Masters in Wirtschaftsinformatik , i am living in Sachsen in Dresden. Can anybody help me please , that in which university can i apply for Masters degree program after a long gap in my studies? Is it really a problem to have so long gap in studiesfor a masters degree.?
I will be very thankful to all of you for your kind reply.
with regards,
Jaggy singh

Hii jaggy, my name is uvesh and i am from india. Can you help me how did you got permanent residence in Germany??

Hi Jaggy, I can't see any problem with you applying for a masters degree after a large gap in your studies, as long as you can explain the gap with some solid work experience.

Hello, I have done my M.D.S (Masters) in Orthodontics from India, could someone please suggest me if I have to do my masters again in Germany for me to practice over there as an Orthoodontist ; or do I have to undergo an Under-graduation degree again??? Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thank you in advance :)

Hello, I have done my M.D.S (Masters) in Orthodontics from India, could someone please suggest me if I have to do my masters again in Germany for me to practice over there as an Orthoodontist ; or do I have to undergo an Under-graduation degree again??? Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thank you in advance :)

That is so great that today you can apply to almost any university and Germany is one of the most interesting countries! You should be sure to write a really strong application essay.

how can I get student visa from Sri Lanka?

Thank you for sharing valuable information about " The process of how to apply masters in germany ". Now a days many people looking for study in abroad countries . But the don't know how apply.

If any body looking for study in germany visit @ http://www.therdinternational.com/german-language-classes-in-bangalore/

Hi. I am a 34 years old egyptian pharmacist with a bsc. In pharmacy. I have also more than 6 years of experience in hospital pharmacy.I want to know about the best options in germany to obtain a master in pharmacy (clinical, hospital , industrial or any field) and the best tuition fees as well as the living cost in germany. I don't know german language so I am asking about programs in english language and the requirements. Thank you for your help

I've just got my B.A. degree in English literature and I wanna be applied for master of TEFL in university of Germany.
Could you please tell me how can I be applied?

How can apply to garmany university

I have completed my Engineering in Electronics and Communication and now I am looking forward to pursue Masters from Germany. Please guide

here same situation

where and how can I find training for german language

I am a student of B.Sc 4th year on knitwear manufacturing technology.i am now on last semester.So now i want to do M.Sc on any Ready Made Garments (RMG) related course in Germany.Can you help me with giving a solution what i will do now?

I am a Mechanical Engineer having 4 years of experience in Automobile sector , I wanna to pursue in Masters degree program in Automobile engineering. Kindly guide me

Hi Sayed, to help get you started on choosing a university, you might like to view our latest rankings by subject (we don't currently rank automobile engineering, but we have a mechanical engineering ranking) and narrow the results down to show only German universities. You can read detailed advice on admissions, visas, costs, funding and more in our complete guide on how to study abroad in Germany

I have completed B.tech in Metallurgical & Materials Engineering and having almost 7 years of work experience in software industry as an IT CONSULTANT. I am interested for master in science in Renewable energy and Engineering. I prefer to study in Germany. Is it posible for me to do the same as I have done my B.Tech. from a different

Hi. It is nice to know about free master degrees in Germany. I am from India but I am doing bachelor degree in china. It is my last year here. In july 2017 . I will finish my bachelor degree then I want to do postgraduate MD from Germany. I have ability to spend for living or housing. Can you help me to give me some information about MD (doctor) .

i have completed my bachelors in english honours from delhi university with 59% and along with that i have done german till b2 level and currentely persuing post graduation diploma in business administration. am i eligible for doing msc in business or for mba in germany ? is there any university who take students with low academic marks ?

I want to find a scholarship for masters degree in Germany. I am wondering if you can help me. I am now on my last year of undergrad in International Studies. I am a dual citizen half Filipino and half German, so I wont need a visa to study in Germany. I am eager to find a scholarship for masters related to my major. I hope you can help me.

Hi Janin, please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in Germany. You might also like to read our guide on how to find scholarships to study abroad. Good luck with your search! 


I am currently in the final year of my undergraduate studies at a university in England. I would love to study a Mathematics Masters in Germany but am put of by the 2-year length of the course - do you know of any universities which offer Mathematics (taught in English) for one year?

Many thanks,


Hi Sabrina.

I would like to inquire necessary information regarding masters in Electrical Engineering for my younger brother. He holds a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from Pakistan. He is an average student hence CGPA is not that good. Can you recommend few mid tier German universities which offer the above mentioned course in English?.

Thanks in advance.

please I need ur advice .
i'm 53 years old from saudi arabia
I'd like to study a bachelor's degree in Germany for free tuition in
English language & literature department

I have the ability to spend for living and housing ,
Is it possible for me to do that?and what about german language ,Do I have study it though I'm going to study english literature.
thank you.

Hello, I've replied to your query here. :)

hello, i would like to inquire about studying for Masters in Engineering related to industrial and management studies,I am currently studying Industrial Engineering and i am in my last year.Please do assist me on which university in Germany will be most suitable to study in and how i can be enrolled for the masters program taught in English,

Hi Tino, we don't currently rank industrial engineering, but it might be helpful to view our latest rankings by subject for manufacturing engineering, with the results narrowed down to show only German universities. You can search for English-taught programs here and our complete guide on how to study abroad in Germany should help to get you started on applying. :) 

hi ;
i would like to ask about a scholarship to study deutch ,could you help ?

Hi there,
I wonder if German universities recognise professional qualifications such as ACCA and CFA for their Masters (Finance/ Management) admissions. Thank you.


Is there any difference between MSc and MS in Germany?

Hi Nikhil, as far I'm aware they both stand for Master of Science and therefore there shouldn't be any difference between the two, but you could always check this with the German universities you're interested in. 

what is the difference between Masters and Research.

Hi!! I am in my final mbbs from india!! I would like to know the procedure to get in for a postgraduation programme for germany in clincal subjects !! Please.
Thank you!!