Entitlement to study in Germany
If you are looking to study in Germany, you must have an entitlement to study here (Ger. Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, HZB). This means that your educational background must qualify you to study at a German university. In Germany, students acquire this entitlement by taking their Abitur. Applicants without a German Abitur must provide proof of previous education corresponding to German Abitur level. This could be a secondary school certificate, in some cases combined with a university entrance exam. In part, the applicant needs to have made certain course achievements, in some cases right the way through.
To lay the groundwork for comparing German and foreign leaving certificates with one another, the German Ministry of Education decided to found the Central Office for Foreign Education (abbr. ZaB, Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen). The ZaB compares foreign education systems with the German one and establishes for all countries in the world which type of previous education corresponds to which type of entitlement to study in Germany. In its anabin database (currently only available in German), the ZaB publishes information on how education certificates from more than 180 countries are evaluated.
Which types of entitlement are there?
Entitlement is either direct or indirect, and at the same time either general or subject-specific.
- direct: with direct entitlement, the applicant can start their degree straight away.
- indirect: before beginning their degree, the applicant must take the Studienkolleg course and pass the Feststellungsprüfung assessment. Once this is done, the applicant will have direct, subject-specific entitlement.
- general: with general entitlement, the applicant may study any subject.
- subject-specific: if the applicant has subject-specific entitlement, they may only study subjects in a specific field. This subject field is determined by the subject that the applicant has taken in their homeland or passed the relevant exams in. In Germany, subjects are divided into five categories: Humanities and languages (G and S, sometimes combined as G/S), Social and Economic Sciences (W), technical and scientific subjects (T), and Medicine and Biology or related subjects (M).
It is quite possible that more than one form of entitlement can be deduced from your previous education. In such a case, we will process each of your applications with the applicable form of entitlement in mind. Therefore, please always submit your proof of educational background in full – even certificates that you consider to be unimportant could be useful to your application under certain circumstances.