German language courses, German language skills and certificates

German language skills are a prerequisite for studying

With the exception of a small number of degree programmes, German is the teaching language at FAU. Therefore, a very good knowledge of German (at about the Level C1/C2) is essential for successfully completing a degree programme at our University. Students require the following language skills and proof of proficiency:

Before registering for almost all undergraduate Bachelor’s and State Examination degree programmes, students are expected to submit evidence of proficiency in German of at least level C2 (CEFR). The only exception is the telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule examination, which can also be accepted as proof of language skills when registering for the stated degree programmes. More specific information on accepted proof of language proficiency is given below.

No knowledge of German is required for the Bachelor’s degree programmes in Clean Energy Processes (new programme for winter semester 2021/22), International Business Studies (Bsc) and International Economic Studies (Bsc) only as they are taught purely in English.

  • The level of German required for applying and/or enrolling for Master’s degree programmes varies greatly. Our information sheet on Master’s degree programmes (in German) gives an overview of the level of German required in each case.
  • FAU offers a number of international Master’s degree programmes for which no German or only a very low level of German is required. An overview of degree programmes taught in English is included on the page on international degree programmes.

The following certificates are accepted as proof of language ability when enrolling at FAU:

  • DSH: Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber (German language university entrance examination for international students). The results of the DSH examination are divided into three levels, with level 2 considered proof of sufficient proficiency in German for all degree programmes. 1
  • Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF) – a test that is offered worldwide. Serves as proof of sufficient proficiency in German if at least level 4 is reached in each of the four parts of the examination. 1, 2
  • Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS) (minimum of 60 points in listening, reading, writing and speaking; from 1 January 2012)
  • German part of the assessment examination (Feststellungsprüfung) at a German Studienkolleg. This examination also counts as proof of sufficient German language proficiency for all degree programmes.
  • Kleines or Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom of the Goethe-Institut
  • Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung of the Goethe-Institut
  • Deutsches Sprachdiplom of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs level II (DSD II), if at least level C1 is obtained in all parts of the examination
  • Deutsche Sprachprüfung II of the Sprachen- und Dolmetscher-Institut München
  • Pass in the telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule examination

For more information on these examinations please see


1 ExceptionFaculty of Sciences: For undergraduate degree programmes, it is sufficient if applicants have DSH 1 (oral) / DSH 2 (written) or TestDaF with level 4 in three parts of the examination and no more than one part of the examination at level 3. The same applies to Master’s degree programmes at this Faculty, which require German at level C1/C2 (CEFR).

2 For all undergraduate degree programmes, you may have level 3 once in the TestDaF examination. However, if this is the case, you must compensate for this with level 5 in at least one part of the examination. This does not apply to undergraduate degree programmes at the Faculty of Engineering and all Master’s degree programmes at FAU (with the exception of those at the Faculty of Sciences) which require German at level C1/C2 (CEFR); for these degree programmes, level 4 must be obtained in all parts of the examination.

An exemption from the obligation to submit proof of language proficiency may only be granted by the head of the German Department at the Language Centre, Dr. Frank Mielke after you have been admitted to a degree programme. This is usually only possible for applicants whose native language is German. A degree in German studies does not entitle an applicant to exemption from the DSH examination.

Taking the DSH examination before starting to study

If you cannot provide proof of proficiency as stipulated above, you can still apply to study if you have a sound knowledge of German (level B2). If you are admitted to the degree programme you have applied to, you have to take the DSH examination immediately before starting to study and obtain the results required in order to be able to start studying.

In order to sit the DSH examination you must prove German language proficiency of at least level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and submit evidence of having attended additional German language courses.

The following certificates are accepted as proof:

  • Goethe-Zertifikat B2 or higher
  • telc certificate B2 or higher
  • onDaF/onSET certificate B2 or higher
  • ÖSD-Zertifikat B2 or higher
  • TestDaF score of 12 points or higher (no results below level 3)
  • UNIcert II or UNIcert III
  • DSH 1
  • Deutsches Sprachdiplom of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs level II (DSD II), B2
  • Language Center Erlangen B2-Zertifikat

You will receive an invitation to the DSH examination at FAU together with your admissions letter; this examination will take place immediately before the start of the semester (late March/early April for the summer semester and late September/early October for the winter semester).

If you have applied directly to FAU to study medicine, medicine in Erlangen-Nuremberg/Bayreuth, dentistry or pharmacy, you cannot take the DSH examination just before you start to study. In these instances, the proof of proficiency in German (DSH 2 or equivalent, see ‘Accepted proof of language skills’) required for enrolment has to be submitted together with your application for a place on the degree programme. The only exception to this rule is applicants who have to apply for these degree programmes via the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (Foundation for University Admissions). You can visit our website about application to find out whether this applies to you.

Before the DSH examination at FAU, we offer an intensive course which is structured to prepare students for the form and content of the examination. The course costs 100 euros (including 5 euros material costs). The examination is subject to an additional fee of 80 euros. You will receive the application form for the German examination and the preparatory course together with your admissions letter.

The Goethe-Institut offers an online language course to prepare for German language examinations (DSH or TestDaF). For more information A further online German course is offered by DUO. For more information

German course preparing for studies

Provided you already have a sound knowledge of German (Level A2), you can attend a German course at the FAU Language Centre specially tailored to prepare students for studying in Germany and the relevant German language examination. The course is structured in such a way that you can take the DSH examination after one or two semesters. Those taking the German course do not enjoy student status. More information is available on the Language Centre website.

Please note that students applying for the following degree programmes cannot take part in the preparatory German language course:

  • Medicine
  • Medicine in Erlangen-Nuremberg/Bayreuth
  • Dentistry
  • Pharmacy
  • Food chemistry
  • Logopaedics
  • Master’s degree programme in Psychology
  • Bachelor’s degree programmes for working professionals
  • Master’s degree programmes for professional development
  • Supplementary teaching degree programmes
  • International degree programmes taught in English

In order to take part in a German course preparing for studies at FAU, the school and degree certificates you have submitted must entitle you to take up studies at a German university directly. Further information can be found on our page on international qualifications.

In addition, you must provide proof of a sound knowledge of German equivalent to level A2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The following certificates are accepted as proof:

  • Goethe-Zertifikat A2 or higher
  • telc certificate A2 or higher
  • onDaF/onSET certificate A2 or higher
  • ÖSD-Zertifikat A2 or higher
  • Language Center Erlangen A2-Zertifikat

At least level A2 must be achieved in each part of the examination for these certificates.

Applicants who intend to enrol in a Master’s degree programme after the German course must have completed their Bachelor’s degree and submit their certificate when applying for the German course.

A placement test will take place at the University’s Language Centre before the courses begin (early April for the summer semester and early October for the winter semester). The test determines whether you are admitted to the course. This test is subject to a 25 euro fee. If the number of applications is higher than the available places, the participants will be selected based on the test results. Students who are not admitted to the University’s language course can attend a language course at a private language institute.

Applications for the German language course must be submitted via the FAU application portal campo. After you have completed the online application, please send your completed application form and all required documents to the Admissions Office:

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Admissions Office

Schlossplatz 4

91054 Erlangen

If you intend to attend a Master’s degree programme immediately after completing the course, please direct your application for the German course to the Master’s Office:

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Masterbüro Referat L4

Schlossplatz 4

91054 Erlangen

The deadline for applications is 15 July for the following winter semester and 15 January for the following summer semester.

No German courses for beginners

FAU does not offer any German language courses for beginners. Please contact external language schools for information on beginners’ courses. You can find a list of local language schools here: German language courses