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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

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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 2018 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 (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). 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 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.

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

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Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, 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 How Do Students Use Rankings?

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202 Comments

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.

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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

Hi
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

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

where and how can I find training for german language

Hi
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?

Hi
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

Hi,
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) .

hello,
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 ?

Hello,
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! 

Hi,

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,

Dec

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.

Alvin

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!!

Hi, I'm from India and pursuing my BE in Mechanical engineering. I want to clear a doubt that can i get into German university as i got an year back in my academy, does that effect in my admission. And is GRE required for German or Just TOEFL is Fine? Thank you:)

Hii Laura. A friend of mine just completed a bachelor's degree in Botany from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. She graduated with a second class lower and wants to pursue a masters in public health in a German university. Please,I want to know what her chances of getting admitted are and the best universities she can apply to and also how to go about the application. Thanks

Hi Laura. I have bachelor's degree in criminology and justice which i obtained in 2012 from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. I want to pursue a masters in public health in a tuition free university that can offer the course in English in Germany. Which one can you suggest i apply to?

Will I still have to write IELTS for me to be given a letter of offer?

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

Hi, i have recently completed my biomedical engineering I've been looking for full bright scholarships for ms program in Germany and funding as well for higher studies as it is not affordable for me otherwise so kindly help..

Hello.
I would like to know if Germany has 4-year MD programme
(for graduate students with B.Sc diploma) ?
If so, what universities lead such programme ?
Thank you in advance!

I have a BSc in Architecture and want to do Master in the same course in any tuition free university in Germany please can help with relevant information.

Hi Gabriel, I'm afraid master's degrees in Germany aren't usually free unless you previously studied in the country - you may be able to find a scholarship, however. To help you to choose a university, you may like to view our rankings by subject for architecture, with the results narrowed down to show only German universities. Hope this helps! 

Hi. I am doing my final year B.E. mechanical engineering in India. Are there German universities offering postgraduate Aviation courses? What are the pre-requisites for them? I would be glad if I get an answer. Thanks.

Hi Praveen ballaji,
I am Praveen Kumar give me ur cell number to contact I am also final year mechanical engineering I need guide, which & how to get examz for entrance

Hi,
I just finished my Masters degree in computer and communication engineering from my country and I'm planning to continue my study in Germany, so if you can please help me in making a good choice to which university may I apply, and if there is any tuition free universities in Germany for international students>
Regards

Hi Hussein, here's a link to our rankings by faculty for engineering and technology, with the results narrowed down to show only German universities. I'm afraid most masters degrees in Germany are not free unless you've studied your bachelor's degree in the country, but you may be able to find a scholarship to help with costs. Hope this helps! 

Hi Laura,

This might have been better served as posted here, so I apologize for the double post.

I am from the USA and completed by undergraduate degree (double major in Film Studies and Media Studies from Queens College - CUNY) in 2011. My GPA was 3.5. Since graduating 5 years ago I have been working to save money. My plan is to go back for a graduate degree next year (Fall of 2017) and my desired destination is Germany (no specific city). 3 questions I am hoping you can answer that will help put my mind at ease.

1) Are my odds of getting accepted to a program fairly decent?
2) Will it likely be held against me that I will have taken 6 years in between studies?
3) When does the window usually open for applications for the Fall 2017 program?

Thanks!
Adam

Hi Adam, I'm not sure about your chances of being accepted - you will need to check the official websites of the German institution/s you're interested in for details on entry requirements. I wouldn't have thought the 6 year gap between studies would be a problem. You usually need to have your application in by the 15th of July for programs which start in Autumn. Hope this helps.

Hello,Laura! I am studying a Bachelor degree on Business but I want to pursue a master degree in other subjects like philosophy, politics or history. Will I have a chance to get admitted to a master degree program in these subjects in Germany?

Hello, i have a DDS Doctor of dental surgery degree from the UAE, to continue to studying Masters degree, what are the paper work that has to be done before being able to start studying Masters degree in Germany and also working there, in terms of accreditation and related systems.

I want to apply for master in electrical engineering so if i have to apply for university before 15 July then for applicant visa when I've to apply ?
let's assume it takes several month to be issued and winter semester already started then what's the solution?

Hello. I am from Pakistan I wish to continue my higher studies (Masters) in Electrical/Electronics Engineering, kindly recommend a good university & Germany & if they offer free of cost studies?

Hi Umar, please take a look at our rankings by subject for electrical engineering, with the results narrowed down to see only German universities. I'm afraid tuition at master's level is not usually free unless you've studied your undergraduate degree in Germany, but you may be able to find a scholarship. Hope this helps! 

hello my name candy from South Africa. I have degree in Social work and would like to study a Masters in public health. Please help me understand how i can find a University that offers the degree at no tuition or with a fully funded scholarship.

Please assist

Hi Candy, you may like to use this search tool from Study-in.de to find the right masters degree for you, and we have a list of scholarships to study in Germany here. Hope this helps!

 

Hi my name is candy. I have a degree in social work and i am interested in studying a masters in public health. May i ask about how true or possible it is to study in Germany for free or with a fully funded scholarship..
Please assist. Thank you

Hi
This is Kayum from Bangladesh.I want to do my masters degree from any reputed German University in Devolopment Studies/Social Science/Management.
Now suggest me some university and also let me know about the free tution,required IELTS score and job opportunities.

Hi Kayum. The newly updated QS World University Rankings by Subject should help you choose a few universities. For example, if you check the development studies ranking, you'll find there are two German universities ranked among the world's best in this subject area. For more general information, take a look at our guide to studying abroad in Germany.