Studienkolleg in Germany: Is it Mandatory? How to Qualify to Avoid it?

Since foreign nationals who wish to study in Germany have no much idea about the German education system, it makes it challenging even to apply for a place in German universities. Foreign educated high school graduates holding their national certificates need to attend  a preparatory course called Studienkolleg before finally being accepted to a bachelor’s degree course in a university in Germany. In other words, they will be allowed to study in a German university only after completing a foundation course in a studienkolleg..

But what exactly is Studienkolleg in English? Is it the only way to study directly in your dream university? Let’s find out.

What is Studienkolleg!


Studienkolleg in Germany is a preparatory program that non-EU students, especially from third world countries who are not holding international school qualifications need to attend and pass the examination before qualifying to study a bachelor’s degree course in a German university. 

Those who graduate with an IB diploma or an Alevel British qualification meet the university entry criteria of Germany called Abitur, and hence they qualify to apply for a bachelor’s degree programme directly. 

Students from countries like India who complete a 12-year national board school education are required to attend the studienkolleg / foundation course to make up for the differences compared with the 13-year school qualification of Germany. 

The preparatory phase of a Studienkolleg lasts for two semesters, where the students must complete any one of the following courses depending on your field of study chosen in a German university.

studienkolleg in Germany

1. T Course


International students being accepted conditionally to study a technical course, such as Engineering or IT, must attend a  T Course in a Studienkolleg. This system comprises four subjects, three of which are related to science, including Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. As an international student looking to pursue a degree in Germany, you will be undergoing the T Course for 28 hours a week. Out of these 28 hours, you will be studying German for 12 hours and Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics for approximately six hours each.

At the end of the course, you will have to write an exam with written and oral sections. The written exam for Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics lasts three hours, and the one for German lasts four hours.

Similarly, the oral exam lasts for 20 minutes. You get 20 minutes to prepare for it.

2. M Course


The M Course is for those who want to pursue courses in Medicine, Biology, health sciences, or Pharmacy. It comprises subjects like German, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. Aspiring candidates must study the M Course for 10 months for 28 hours a week, where each lesson lasts for 45 minutes. While you will be studying 12 lessons a week in German, you must study six lessons each in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

At the end of the M Course, you must write an exam consisting of two parts: written and oral. Interestingly, while you need to write the German, Physics, and Biology exams, Chemistry is the only subject that has an oral exam. The written exam for Physics and Biology lasts for 180 minutes (three hours). The duration of the German exam is 240 minutes (four hours).

3. W Course


Students looking to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Economics, Business Administration, or Social Sciences in a German university must complete the W Course. The W Course comprises subjects like German, Mathematics, Economics, and English. The W Course lasts for 38 weeks for 32 hours a week, where each lesson is 45 minutes long. While you must study German for 12 hours a week, you also study Mathematics, Economics, and English, each for approximately six hours a week.

The final exam has two parts: written and oral. While Economics and Mathematics are for 180 minutes each, the German language exam lasts for 240 minutes. It is important to note here that the oral exam would be in English and lasts for 20 minutes, for which you get 20 minutes to prepare.

4. G Course


The G Course is for students looking to pursue a Humanities or Social Sciences program in a German university. What you study in this course depends entirely on your preferences. However, as a standard, you will be studying music science, sociology, law, culture, languages, literature, and linguistics.

Candidates must study this course for ten months for 32 hours a week. Each lesson lasts for 45 minutes. At the end of the course, you must write an exam in German, Social Sciences, and History. The exam is for 240 minutes. In addition, you must also go through an oral examination that tests your German literature knowledge. Note that the oral exam lasts for 20 minutes, and you will have 30 minutes to prepare for it.

5. S Course


Many Studienkollegs offer different specialisations depending on the field that you have chosen to study. To pursue a degree course in languages, you must study the S Course, designed explicitly for language courses in Studienkolleg. The S Course is for those students who want to pursue language courses in a German university. For example, if you’re going to pursue a course in digital media and journalism, you can take up the G Course or the S Course if you are looking to study German. In the S Course, you will be studying German, Literature, History, and Social Sciences. Also, by learning the S Course, you can pursue courses in the translation of foreign languages, classical philology, linguistics, religious studies, and law.

So, these are the preparatory courses that you may need to go through to pursue an undergraduate course from a German university. Learning German is mandatory to study in Germany, and so, all the Studienkollegs have integrated it into their curriculum. 

It is important to note that these courses are for regular universities.

University Clinic Aachen, Germany

If you want to pursue technical courses at a University of Applied Sciences, you will need to go through the following courses as part of Studienkolleg:

1. TI Course


The TI Course is for students who are looking to pursue courses in Technical Sciences, Engineering, and IT. Some of the subjects you would study in a TI course include Mathematics and IT, Natural Sciences, German, and Drawing.

2. WW Course


The WW course is for those students who want to pursue their graduation or undergraduate studies in Business, Management, and Marketing. The fields of study in a WW course include Mathematics and IT, Economics, German, and English.

3. SW Course


SW Courses are for students looking to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in Social Sciences and Economics at a University of Applied Sciences. Here, students would be studying subjects like Mathematics, Pedagogy, and German.

4. GD Course


The GD Course is for those students who want to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in Arts and Design in a reputed German University of Applied Sciences. In this course, students would be learning German, Mathematics, Physics, and Design as part of Studienkolleg.

Types of Studienkolleg


Now that you know about the courses that Studienkollegs offer, it is time to learn about the types of Studienkollegs. The German education system has two kinds of Studienkollegs:

State-Run Studienkolleg


Each state in Germany has one Studienkolleg, which is state-funded, and all the Government universities in that particular state are under this Studienkolleg. These state-run Studienkollegs offer foundation courses free of charge.

Most state-run Studienkollegs have affiliations to recognized universities across Germany and charge you only the semester fee. These Studienkollegs award you with a state-approved degree. So, if you have completed the preparatory course from any of these universities, you get to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Similarly, if you have completed the courses from a state-run Studienkolleg, you can pursue a course at a University of Applied Sciences.

Private Studienkolleg


Besides State-run Studienkollegs, you also have private Studienkollegs.

The significant difference between the two is that state-run Studienkollegs do not charge a tuition fee, while private Studienkollegs charge a fee and even offer certificates. Hence, it is vital that you know about the Studienkolleg you will be attending. It is important to know what you will be putting into the course and what you will be getting out of it.

Hundreds of privately run preparatory schools teach their students the same syllabus as that of a state-funded Studienkolleg and help them prepare for the Feststellungsprüfung (FSP) exam.

Girls studying in the classroom

Is Studienkolleg Compulsory?


While attending Studienkolleg is the usual way to ensure that you get to study in a university of your choice in Germany, you should know that it is not mandatory. There are alternative courses that you can pursue to become eligible. Some universities offer alternative preparatory programs that can grant you entry into a German university.

Since you need to complete 13 years of education before you can pursue a bachelor’s program, and there are only 12 years of school education in countries like India, you will need to go through a Studienkolleg. 

However, if you complete a Bachelor’s course in India itself, then you can avoid the requirement of attending a Studienkolleg to qualify for a bachelor’s degree course directly.

Another way to avoid Studienkolleg would be attained and passing with high marks in an aptitude test called ‘TestAs.’ However, do note that you can only write the ‘TestAs’ exam if the target university deems it as valid – Not many universities accept TestAs to avoid attending a studienkolleg!

A diploma may also sometimes help you to get direct admission, although most universities don’t recognize them, and tend to reject your application.

There could be a chance to apply for a Bachelor’s degree, very rare, without attending any studienkolleg, without attending one or two years of a degree course in our home country or even attending a Test As aptitude test! Get in touch with KCR CONSULTANTS for more information.

Some universities have their Studienkolleg; however, they may not necessarily be within the campus. There are private educational institutions under the concerned university that manage these Studienkollegs.

Here in these institutions, once you receive an offer letter then you will definitely be accepted to the programme. Whereas in the state funded studienkollegs where you can study free – no tuition fees – will have entrance examinations before finally allotting the 150-200  studienkolleg places to the 1500-2000 aspirants. 

Studienkolleg students need to sit the year end examination called Feststellung Prufung (FSP) and pass the to qualify to progress on to the bachelor’s degree course for which they are offered conditional admission.

Therefore the FSP is known as the entrance examination for foreign educated students to study a bachelor’s degree course in a German university!

A few universities offer preparatory courses to sit the Test As an examination, and here no more FSP examination is required to complete it and qualify to meet the condition in the Bachelor’s degree admission offer. But here the students need to be with a better C1 in German, and they are expected to score higher in the Test As examination. 

FSP is waived in some other University approved and assessed preparatory programmes, for example, a couple of universities ask students to attend a preparatory course in a private college and pass their inhouse examination to qualify to meet the admission condition for their chosen bachelor’s degree course. 

Conclusion


To pursue a bachelor’s degree course in a German university directly, one should have completed their school education and obtained an international qualification e.g; IB Diploma or A Level under the British curriculum.

The other option is with a national certificate of higher secondary school education passed + at least one-year college/university experience in the home country – should be able to provide at least the first 2 semester mark sheets of a degree course. 

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