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University studies

Dresden is not only a significant cultural and business location in Germany, with 10 colleges and universities, it's also a popular and important city for students. The central location of the academic buildings, excellent connections to research institutions and businesses and reasonable cost of living make it particularly attractive.

Dresden is one of the most important university cities in Germany. At present around 40,000 students are registered in ten colleges and universities, two academies and 12 vocational school centres. A wide variety of study and training possibilities is available: engineering, medicine, natural sciences, economics, social sciences, humanities, dance, art and music. Dresden's colleges and universities can prove their international standards: cutting-edge academic buildings, Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes and good connections with international colleges and universities. Dresden's students benefit from the good contacts between colleges and universities, Dresden's research institutions and local businesses. These connections give students in Dresden good access to internships, degree dissertations and further education.

Types of studies

Foreign students who are enrolled at a German university and want to complete their studies there choose full-time study. If the student only wants to study at a German university for a short time (one or two semesters), then part-time study is the right choice. Part-time study does not lead to a degree, but students do receive credits for completed coursework.

To enrol at a German university proof of higher education entrance qualification is required. If your academic records are not German, then you must check to be sure that your qualifications are equivalent to the German "Abitur" (A-Levels in the UK). If this is not the case, then it's possible to compensate by attending the so-called "Studienkolleg". This course lasts two semesters and is free of charge.

Note: a translation of your academic records is normally necessary to apply

Further information at TUDIAS:

Knowledge of German

In order to study in Germany, recognised language certification is required (for example, DSH, Test DaF, etc.) Applicants with no knowledge of German must complete 1,000 hours of German lessons. With the resulting certificate you can apply for university. You will be given a provisional place at the university and can enrol for the preparatory semester, during which you will take part in an intensive language courses while your place is reserved for you. After the language course the DSH test is taken which assesses whether you are ready to begin your studies. Contact the foreign students' office at the university of your choice in order to enrol for German courses.

“Open” and “NC” subjects

In Germany so-called “open subjects” are differentiated from subjects designated as “Numerus clausus” (NC). The “Numerus clausus” indicates limited access due to the high number of applicants in relation to available places. For this reason a selection process is used: places are allocated either through a central body (ZVS-Zentralstelle für die Vergabe von Studienplätzen, the central clearing house for places in degree programmes) or within the university.
Foreign EU citizens are governed by the same rules as German applicants and must therefore apply directly to the ZVS if they are interested in studying a subject designated as “Numerus clausus”. If they want to apply to study an “open” subject, however, they must send their application to the academic foreign students’ office of their chosen institution.

Foreign students who are not EU citizens normally apply directly to the institution of their choice, whether their chosen field is “open” or allocated by the ZVS, because the institution checks all admissions requirements. An application for an “NC” subject requires the academic records to be translated by an officially recognised translator.

Study schedule

In Germany the academic year is divided into summer and winter semesters. March and September are mainly lecture-free, which means no teaching is conducted, but  some departments do have tests. The period of study varies greatly depending on the subject, but lasts at least three years. You can find out the exact time frame in the academic guidelines of the corresponding study course.



Four to five-year course of study consisting of a foundation course (fundamentals of the subject) and a main course (specialisation). In the last semester students write a degree dissertation and sit an exam. A Diplom is traditionally awarded in natural sciences and engineering.

Magister Artium

Similar to the Diplom course of study in structure and duration, but either two main subjects or one main subject and two minor subjects are chosen. In the final semester a thesis and final exam are required. Magister Artium degrees are widespread in the humanities and social sciences.  

State exams

Required for graduation for teachers, lawyers and doctors. After the first period of study comes the first state exam. Sometimes there is a second state exam after an intership.

Bachelor's und Master's degrees

After 3 years of study students obtain a Bachelor's degree which qualifies them for a job. After 1 or 2 more years the Master's is awarded upon completion of a master's thesis.

Note: Diplom, Magister, state exams and Master's are academically equal and allow the recipient to continue his or her studies to doctorate level.

Financial requirements

Foreign students who want to enter Germany with a student visa must prove that they are able to finance their studies in Germany themselves. For this purpose the deposit of at least 6,600 EUR in a German account is necessary for two semesters. No more than 550 EUR can be withdrawn monthly from this account each month, however. This account can be opened through a German Bank in your home country. Further financing must be convincingly proven with suitable documentation. More information is available directly from your immigration office.

Health insurance

Health insurance cover is necessary during your stay as a student in Germany. EU citizens need an EU insurance certificate from their health insurance company at home, which they must then present to a statutory health insurance company in Germany. The health insurance company provides an insurance certificate which is passed on to the academic foreign students’ office.

Students whose home country is not part of the EU must independently obtain health insurance from a statutory health insurance company. If the student is over 30 he or she must purchase full private coverage for students. Travel health insurance from the home country is recognised only for a period of three months.