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Master’s degrees


Master’s degrees are divided into four categories: consecutive, non-consecutive, teaching-oriented and 'further learning' (Ger. weiterbildend). The vast majority of Master’s degrees are consecutive, i.e. they build upon the level of knowledge acquired during Bachelor’s degrees in a similar specialist field. A few Master’s degrees are non-consecutive, i.e. related to a Bachelor’s degree from a different specialist field, while teaching-oriented Master’s degrees tend to further the applicant’s education in the same combination of subjects.

Master’s degrees in 'further learning', however, are designed mainly for applicants with work experience who are looking to qualify themselves further. For these degrees, the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in question do not necessarily need to be academically related. Their relevance to the applicant’s vocational experience is more important. For this type of Master’s degree, tuition fees are usually charged.

In order to gain admission to study a Master’s degree, you will generally need to have done a Bachelor’s degree equivalent to that of a German Bachelor’s degree in a related subject at a recognised university . 'Recognised' means that the university must be accredited according to the laws and regulations of the country in which it is based. If these laws stipulate that the study programme needs to be accredited as well, then this condition must always be fulfilled too.

Even if you already have a Master’s degree, the following rule also explicitly applies: the requirement for admission to a Master’s degree programme is always a Bachelor’s degree, not another Master’s degree. Master’s degrees are generally irrelevant as to whether or not the applicant is entitled to study at university in Germany. There are exceptions to this rule, however: for example, if your time in school and at university has not enabled you to attain a level of education equivalent to that of a German Bachelor’s degree, you must complete further periods of study. In such cases, only a combination of a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree (or other postgraduate degree) will qualify you for your chosen study course. Further information here can be obtained from the anabin database maintained by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZaB, Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen).

Each university in Germany may have it's own rules in certain details - before applying gather information directly at the university: Some universities will ask you for proof that you have already completed a Bachelor’s when you apply for your Master’s. For other universties a proof that you will soon be graduating will be sufficient. Please make sure you always bear the university’s conditions in mind, since these can differ greatly: sometimes you will need to provide a transcript listing your periods of study in a certain number of semesters, other times you will need to have already completed a certain percentage of the total target period of study. For some universities, you can only apply without a degree certificate if you are studying at a German university and your periods of study are undertaken in accordance with the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System).

Another important notice for study applicants who have done a semester abroad: all periods of study need to be evaluated uniformly within the same grading system. This means that your home university has to convert your grades from your semester abroad via its own grading system and then issue you with a transcript listing all periods of study undertaken within this grading system. If your transcript contains grades from different grading systems, it will not be possible for your German average grade to be calculated.
If your home university does not recognise your periods of study from your semester abroad, please ask the university to issue you with a confirmation of this and submit it along with your other documents.

When you apply for a Master’s degree, some universities do not explicitly ask for a secondary school certificate. Normally a completed Bachelor’s degree is sufficient, however there are many cases where a secondary school certificate will still play an important role in the evaluation of your entitlement to study in Germany. Sadly, it is impossible to tell in advance if your secondary school certificate will be required, this can only be determined during our processing. If the certificate is needed and it is missing from your application, we will reject your application initially and inform you that you need to submit it (even if originally the university itself did not explicitly ask for it), since the stipulations of the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZaB, Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen) must be fulfilled. When you submit your certificate, the university’s application deadline will still apply! Even if your secondary school certificate is not needed in order for your entitlement to study in Germany to be evaluated, it can still be used to demonstrate e.g. language skills and so may fulfil a different requirement set out by the university.

Therefore, we highly recommend that all applicants for a Master’s degree in Germany ensure that they add their secondary school certificate to their application documents, as an officially authenticated copy and sworn translation.



Grading system


To ensure that grades are converted as accurately as possible, please observe the following:
If you have already completed periods of study and the grading system used by your university is not mentioned on your transcript, please always send us a copy of the grading system applied by the university to your study course. You can either send us a link from your university that we can use to examine the grading system, or a PDF document containing the university’s official grading system. Please send us these via our contact form and choose the category "My Application Documents" when doing this, or alternatively via uni-assist’s online portal for study applicants. Please note that this is very specific information relating to your university. Therefore, please do not send us any general information on your country’s grading system, e.g. links to anabin or even Wikipedia, since we already have this information!