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Preparing your studies: Preparatory courses, German language classes and introductory courses

Many universities offer courses to prospective international students in order to prepare them for their studies – linguistically and academically. You can find out more about these courses here.


Preparatory course
Preparatory German language classes
Introductory  courses

The preparatory course


The preparatory course (“Studienkolleg”) prepares you academically and linguistically for your studies in Germany. Whether you need to pass an assessment test depends on your university entrance qualification (“HZB”, “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung”). Use the DAAD database on admission requirements to find out how your level of education is assessed.

The preparatory courses are offered for various academic fields and take one year (2 semesters). Each course culminates in an assessment test, the “Feststellungsprüfung” or “FSP” for short. (Full title: „Prüfung zur Feststellung der Eignung internationaler Studienbewerber für die Aufnahme eines Studiums an Hochschulen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“ – “Exam to assess the qualification of international student applicants for entering studies at universities in the Federal Republic of Germany”.) Once you have passed the assessment test, you may apply for a Bachelor course (or a comparable course) in your chosen academic field.

Some preparatory courses offer an “external assessment test” without the obligation to attend the preparatory course. These may be subject to other deadlines and requirements than an application for a preparatory course.



Preparatory courses (“Studienkollegs”) at universities and Fachhochschulen

Both universities and Fachhochschulen (Fachhochschule: a university which does not grant doctorate degrees) offer preparatory courses. An assessment test by a Fachhochschule only qualifies you to study at a Fachhochschule, not at a university. An assessment test by a university qualifies you to study at both types of schools: universities and Fachhochschulen.

Subject-centred preparatory courses

Preparatory courses by universities and Fachhochschulen offer different classes centred on specific subjects, which prepare you for the study of specific academic fields.

Preparatory courses at universities offer the following specializations:


Preparatory courses at Fachhochschulen offer the following specializations:



If you have passed an assessment test by a Fachhochschule, this only qualifies you to study at a Fachhochschule, not at a university. However, an assessment test by a university qualifies you to study at a Fachhochschule as well.

Not all universities categorize their courses as belonging to the same academic field.  


For example:
At some universities, psychology is considered to belong to the humanities. At others, it is part of medicine. Therefore, if you have attended a “G” preparatory course, you may only apply to study psychology at the universities which consider psychology part of the humanities.
Some subjects have components of different fields.
For example:
The subject of industrial engineering and management has both economic and technical components. Therefore, you need to find out from your university whether they categorize this subject as economic or technical.

Before the preparatory course:


Before being admitted to the preparatory course, you need to pass an admission test. This test assesses your command of German and your basic knowledge in your chosen field.

German language and the preparatory course

The language of instruction in preparatory courses is German. Therefore, in order to be admitted to a preparatory course, you need to show adequate proficiency in German.



This also applies if your chosen subject will be taught in English.

The following are accepted as proof of proficiency:


The assessment test as language certificate for students:


A successful assessment test is accepted all over Germany as proof of German language proficiency, sufficient for university studies and comparable to a DSH 2 certificate.

How to apply for your preparatory course or an external assessment test


Create an application request for the university of your choice using the uni-assist online portal.  
Under “chosen subject”, enter the subject you wish to study after completing the preparatory course. This subject determines the type of preparatory course you need to take. In addition, answer the question “Are you requesting admission to a preparatory course?” with “yes”.


If you name a subject centred preparatory course that is not actually offered, we cannot forward your application to the university. Please also note that the subject needs to fit the academic field of your preparatory course.  


Preparatory German language classes


Many universities offer preparatory German language classes for international students in order to equip them with the language skills needed for their studies.
These courses usually take one semester (6 months) and culminate in the DSH exam.

Requirements for German language classes at universities

You need to apply for the preparatory German language class.


Some universities require only low, others very high proficiency in German. Not every university offers language classes for every level of proficiency. Some universities do not offer any language classes at all.


Please make sure you have in-depth information about the language classes offered by your university. You will only be admitted to the preparatory German language class if you fulfil the university’s requirements.

How to apply for a preparatory German language class.

Using the uni-assist online portal, create a regular application to your university and the subject
you wish to study. Within the uni-assist application form, under
“Do you wish to attend a preparatory German language class?”, select “yes”.
Most universities require a proof of language proficiency (such as a certificate) which
 attests a specific level of proficiency. You need to submit a legally attested copy of this language
certificate. For some universities, a note of attendance at a specific number
of classes or hours is enough. For specific information on requirements, please contact your university.

DSH exam

The final exam of the preparatory German language class is called DSH. With a DSH 2 or DSH 3 certificate, you may apply for academic studies in Germany.


At some universities, you can apply directly for for the DSH exam without attending German language classes first.

Would you like to study at the university at which you passed your DSH exam?


Usually, the university will take care of the admissions process for students. This means that you do not need to re-apply using uni-assist.
However, this also means that you need to fulfil all other requirements for your chosen course prior to applying for preparatory German language classes.


Introductory courses

Many universities offer introductory courses (called “Propädeutikum”) especially for international students in order to prepare them for their studies. These courses usually take 1 semester.


Introductory courses have three core goals:

Requirements for attending an introductory course:


You need to submit your university entrance qualification as well as the required proof of language proficiency.

How to apply for an introductory course

First, find out whether your university offers an introductory course and whether uni-assist is responsible for handling your application. Within the uni-assist application form, under “Do you wish to attend the introductory course?”, select “yes”.