International students applying for admission to a bachelor’s programme in Germany need to have the equivalent of the German university entrance qualification, commonly known as the Abitur.
If you went to school in an EU country, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, and your school-leaving certificate is recognised as a university entrance qualification there, it will also be recognised in Germany.
If you have graduated from high school in a country other than the ones listed above, you may or may not be eligible for direct admission to university study in Germany. That’s why we require non-EU citizens to submit their application through uni-assist, a non-profit credential evaluation service. uni-assist will determine whether your school-leaving certificate meets the requirements of the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZaB).
You can also find out yourself by consulting the DAAD Online Admissions Database. Simply choose the country where you received your school-leaving certificate. The database will then inform you whether your certificate
is recognised as a qualification for direct university admission in Germany
is only recognised as a qualification for subject-restricted study (i.e. only for admission to a certain range of subjects)
is only recognised in combination with proof you have successfully completed one or two academic years in your home country
is not recognised as a higher education entrance qualification
If your school-leaving certificate is not sufficient for university admission, you will have to take a qualification assessment examination in Germany, called Feststellungsprüfung. This exam has been designed to assess students' proficiency in subjects that are crucial to their chosen programme of study. One component of the qualification assessment examination is a language test. You can prepare for this exam by enrolling in a one-year preparatory course (Studienkolleg) in Germany.
Special requirement for civil engineering: Applicants for the bachelor’s programme in ‘Civil Engineering’ must have completed a relevant internship before being able to enrol in the programme. Please contact the International Office for more information.
Postgraduate admission:To enrol in one of our master’s degree programmes, a bachelor’s degree from a recognised college or university is generally required. Additional requirements may apply, depending on the specific programme. Please contact the International Office for more information.
Preparatory courses (Studienkollegs) are designed for international first-year applicants whose school-leaving certificates from their home countries do not qualify them for direct university admission in Germany. They are called preparatory courses because they prepare candidates for taking the assessment examination, or Feststellungsprüfung. Preparatory courses are offered by various German universities and universities of applied sciences but also by private providers.
Preparatory courses consist of various modules that focus on specific subject areas, including German language instruction. To participate in a preparatory course, however, some basic German language skills are required – at least level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Aside from taking the Feststellungsprüfung at the end of the course, students may also take the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) to demonstrate their German skills.
Subject-specific preparatory courses usually take two semesters to complete. Students who demonstrate above-average achievement may be permitted to take the Feststellungsprüfung after only one semester. Preparatory courses feature about 32 hours of instruction per week. Before enrolling in a preparatory course, students have to pass a placement test.
Preparatory courses for international students seeking admission to universities of applied sciences in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are offered by two private non-profit institutions: Studienkolleg Bochum and Studienkolleg Mettmann. No tuition is charged for the course. If you have to complete a preparatory course before being able to attend Ruhr West, we will automatically sign you up for a placement test there. However, you are free to take your preparatory course at any German institution that offers this kind of foundation programme. For a list of institutions and further information, see here.
German language requirements
With the exception of the International Exchange Semester, the language of instruction at Ruhr West is German. That means German language skills are essential for academic success. Therefore, before being able to enrol at Ruhr West, international students have to submit evidence of their oral and written command of German.
Ruhr West accepts the following two German proficiency exams: Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (German Language University Entrance Examination, DSH) and Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Test of German as a Foreign Language, TestDaF). The TestDaF is offered by testing centres around the world, whereas the DSH is only administered at German universities. Both exams are offered several times a year. Check this or ask your International Office about upcoming test dates and registration deadlines. Both tests involve a fee.
Minimum test scores:
DSH: The minimum acceptable DSH score is DSH 2.
TestDaF: An acceptable TestDaF score is 16 points or higher, with TDN 4 in all four subtests.
If you do not have any of the necessary language certificates above and have a German language proficiency below C1, you are invited to look at the Study Integration Program. The Study Integration Program at the Ruhr West University offers study preparation courses (B1+ till C1) for interested people, with current residency in Germany and a German language proficiency of currently B1/B2. Please contact Clarissa Walkerling (siphs-ruhrwest "«@&.de) if you are interested. Further information you find here: Study Integration Program | Study | Hochschule Ruhr West
Exchange (non-degree) students from one of Ruhr West’s international partner universities are not required to take any of these tests.
Immigration and visas
Whether or not you need a visa to enter Germany and study here depends on your country of origin. Special regulations apply to citizens of the following countries:
Students from the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not need a visa or residence permit to enter Germany. They simply need to register with a local Bürgeramt (Citizens’ Office) within the first two weeks after their arrival and will automatically receive a 'Residence Permit for Study', provided they can show proof of sufficient funding and health insurance coverage.
Students from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of South Korea, and the United States of America as well as Brazil, El Salvador, Andorra, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino do not need a visa to enter Germany. In addition to registering with a local Bürgeramt (Citizens’ Office) within the first two weeks after their arrival, students from these countries need to apply within three months to the local Ausländerbehörde (Aliens’ Registration Office) for the 'Residence Permit for Study'.
All other students require a German student visa (issued by a German Embassy) before entering Germany. Please note that even if you come from a country (other than those mentioned above) whose citizens can enter Germany with a simple tourist visa, you must possess a German student visa in order to apply for the residence permit. Tourist visas cannot be converted into residence permits under any circumstances. So if you don’t have a student visa at the Citizens’ Office, you will be required to return to your home country. This regulation applies both to holders of a residence permit from another EU country and to persons who entered Germany with a tourist visa. There is absolutely no exception to this regulation and Ruhr West will not be able to assist you.
Applying for a student visa
Apply for your student visa at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country, and do so well in advance, as processing may take several weeks. Your visa will be valid for up to 90 days. You will normally be required to submit the documents listed below. The Embassy, however, can ask for additional documents or further clarifications. The information provided by them takes priority.
Visa application form (available at the Embassy)
A valid passport
Zulassungsbescheid (Letter of Admission) from Ruhr West (issued upon admission)
Finanzierungsnachweis (proof of sufficient financial resources)
Proof of health insurance coverage
Proof of any academic credits gained or examinations passed
Proof of German proficiency
2 passport-sized photographs (35mm x 45mm)
For further questions, please refer to the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Addresses are available at the website of the Federal Foreign Office, which also provides further information on the visa process and the appropriate application forms.
Proof of financial resources
Non-EU students in Germany are required to submit evidence of sufficient funds to finance their studies in Germany. In most cases, this proof of financial resources (German: Finanzierungsnachweis) must be included with the visa application. Expected living expenses are estimated by the Aliens’ Registration Office based on BAföG, a German funding programme for living expenses. At present, you must prove you have at least €670 per month, or €8,040 per academic year at your disposal.
Proof of financial resources can be provided in various ways. The following forms are generally accepted:
Paying the required amount of money to a blocked bank account in Germany.
Having a German resident provide the Aliens’ Registration Office with a written statement that they will cover your expenses (sponsorship).
Receiving a scholarship from a recognised scholarship provider.
Providing a bank guarantee from a bank institute in Germany.
Submitting evidence of your parents’ income and financial assets.
Contact the German Embassy or Consulate in your country to find out which form of financial proof is required.
Please note: Although international students are allowed to work in Germany under certain conditions, you should not expect to work to cover the cost of your education at Ruhr West.
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