How good does my German need to be to study in Germany?

Posted on 14 May, 2018

In Germany, as well as courses taught in German, there are also international courses. It’s important to think carefully about which route would be best for you.

International courses: mostly in English

If you opt for an international course, it’s likely it will be taught in English. As a result, in most cases, there aren’t German language requirements. Nonetheless, you’ll probably need to demonstrate your proficiency in the language the course is taught in – usually through a language test.
If you’re planning to stay in Germany in the long term, however, it’s definitely recommended to think about whether you want to improve your German language skills. If you speak German, it makes life and getting to know people easier.

Studying in German

At most German universities, courses are taught in German and the teaching materials are also mostly in German. Having a sufficient level of German is therefore indispensable. In most cases, you’ll need to demonstrate your language skills before the start of the course, often in the form of a test. However, if you only want to study in Germany for one or two semesters, you might not need to take a language test. For more information about this, you can contact the Akademisches Auslandsamt (International Office). The official language test, recognised by higher education institutes, is TestDaF (Test of German as a Foreign Language). It’s possible to take this test before coming to Germany in one of the approved centres in 100 countries worldwide. Another test, DSH (German language test for University entry), can only be taken in Germany. Both of them test your reading and listening skills and your ability to communicate. To be accepted onto a course, you’ll need to reach the pass mark for all three skills. There are however other language tests available: the Zertifikat C2 from the Goethe Institut, the Deutsch C1 test from Telc and the Deutsch Sprachdiplom (Level 2) are recognised and accepted by most higher education institutions. It’s important to check the exact requirements and rules for each institution.