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Preparatory courses

Preparatory course (Ger. Studienkolleg)

Studienkolleg courses prepare study applicants for the content and language aspects of their degree course in Germany.

In any case, study applicants do not have a free choice as to whether or not they want to take a Studienkolleg course. This is determined by whether or not the applicant is already entitled to study at university in Germany:

  • Applicants whose foreign certificates already correspond to German Abitur level can apply directly for a subject degree. They are not allowed to take a Studienkolleg course.
  • In some cases, however, applicants who are only entitled to study subjects from one particular domain may take a Studienkolleg course to broaden their scope of possibilities. The applicant will then be entitled to study subjects from a different domain.
  • Applicants who do not have any entitlement at all to study in Germany are not allowed to take a Studienkolleg course either. Such applicants must first qualify in their home country for admission to the Studienkolleg course.

Depending on your previous education, you may have a preparatory course entrance qualification for all subjects (= you can choose which main course you want to attend) or for the subject you have previously studied and related courses (= you can only choose a particular main course).

Depending on your previous education, you may have a preparatory course entrance qualification for universities of applied sciences only or for all types of institution. Preparatory courses are frequently directly affiliated to the institutions but this is not always the case. You either need to apply directly for the preparatory course, to the institution or to the responsible state authority. Information is available from the institution.

Before you can be admitted to a Studienkolleg course, you must complete an entrance exam at the same place as where the Studienkolleg will take place. This entrance exam will test your command of German and basic level of knowledge in your chosen subject field.

The preparatory course normally lasts two semesters (in exceptional cases this can be extended by two semesters or reduced by one semester). Written examinations must be taken in the relevant main course as well as in German and Mathematics. Oral examinations are generally taken in all subjects taught as part of the main course.

Preparatory course students are normally registered (enrolled) students of the institution to which the preparatory course is affiliated. However, the year on the preparatory course is not counted towards subsequent study time.

The preparatory course ends with the Feststellungsprüfung (FSP), an exam taken to determine how suited foreign study applicants are for starting a degree at a German university. Once you have passed the FSP exam, you may then apply for a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in your chosen subject field. Having passed the FSP exam means you have also shown sufficient German language proficiency for participating in a study programme in Germany.

It is also possible for you to apply for an external Feststellungsprüfung. If you do this, you will not take the Studienkolleg course but will prepare for the FSP exam yourself. External FSPs may involve different deadlines and requirements than if you apply for a Studienkolleg, and not all Studienkolleg courses will enable you to take an external FSP.

At most institutions, you need to apply for a place in the normal way after completing the preparatory course.

The website provides detailed information about preparatory courses in Germany.

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