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German language courses, German language skills and certificates

Prerequisites for individual degree programmes

With the exception of a small number of Master’s degree programmes, German is the teaching language at FAU. Therefore, a good knowledge of German is an essential prerequisite to successfully completing a degree programme at our University. You can find a detailed description of the German proficiency level required for the Master’s degree programmes in the information on the degree programmes in our degree programme catalogue.

We have summarised the most important information on how to prove or obtain German language proficiency below.

You can obtain proof of your German language proficiency by taking the following examination:

Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber (DSH – German language university entrance examination for international students).

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 additional German language teaching.

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)
  • Deutsches Sprachdiplom of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs level II (DSD II) (B2 in every part of the test)
  • UNIcert II or UNIcert III
  • DSH 1

The results of the DSH examination are divided into three levels, with level 2 considered proof of sufficient language proficiency for all degree programmes. If you have already successfully completed the DSH at a different German university, the examination certificate is usually recognised.

Certain Master’s degree programmes have different requirements regarding the required proof of German language proficiency. Detailed information is available on the Master’s degree programme information sheet.

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).

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 materials costs); the examination is subject to an additional fee of 70 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, visit www.uni-deutsch.de. A further online German course is offered by DUO. For more information, visit www.deutsch-uni.com.

If you have any of the following certificates proving your language proficiency, you do not have to take the DSH examination:

  • Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF) – a test that is offered worldwide. It counts as proof of sufficient German language skills for all degree programmes if level 4 was achieved in all parts of the examination.
  • 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) (C1 in every part of the test)
  • 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 www.sprachnachweis.de.

Alternative proof of German language proficiency for specific faculties

The following are also accepted as proof of German language proficiency for undergraduate degree programmes at the Faculty of Sciences: oral DSH-1 or pass in the TestDaF with level 4 in at least three parts and level 3 in a maximum of one part. This modified version of the DSH-1 is also accepted for certain Master’s degree programmes (German) at the Faculty of Sciences.

For all other faculties, the following are also accepted as proof of German language proficiency for undergraduate degree programmes: DSH-2 or passed TestDaF. If you have taken TestDaF, you must have obtained level 4 in all parts of the examination. This is a set requirement for the Faculty of Engineering. For all other faculties, you may have level 3 once. 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 for Master’s degree programmes which require DSH-2 (or equivalent).

Non-eligible certificates

The C1 certificate of the Goethe-Institut and other comparable certificates that merely provide evidence of language proficiency on the C1 level as defined in the Common European Framework are not accepted. Although the level 2 and 3 DSH examinations are on the same language proficiency level, the DSH is specifically geared towards the language requirements of university studies in Germany. This is not the case with the examination upon which the C1 certificate is based. Therefore, proof of the language proficiency level specifically required for university studies must be provided via the DSH. The above mentioned TestDaF was devised for this purpose. The other examinations listed above are either clearly above the C1 level and cover the required language proficiency or can be viewed as equivalent to the language proficiency level required to obtain the German university entrance qualification.

If you do not have a DSH or a TestDaF certificate or any equivalent certificates you cannot enrol at FAU.

Exemption from submitting proof of language proficiency

Exemption from submitting proof of language proficiency may only be granted by the head of the German Department at the Language Centre, Dr. Frank Mielke. 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.

German course preparing for studies

At institutions associated with FAU, you can attend a German course preparing for studies in order to prepare for the German language examination (DSH). The courses cost 680 euros per semester for 20 hours a week. The course is structured in such a way that you can take the German language examination after one year.

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

  • Medicine
  • 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

The prerequisites for participating in such a German course at FAU are:

  • Certificates from secondary and tertiary education which entitle you to take up studies at a German university.
  • You must provide proof of basic knowledge of German equivalent to level B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The following certificates are accepted as proof:

  • Goethe-Zertifikat B1 or higher
  • telc certificate B1 or higher
  • ondaf certificate B1 or higher
  • ÖSD-Zertifikat B1 or higher
  • UNIcert I
  • DSD I (Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe I)

Level B1 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 be able to 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 institutes.

How to apply

Applications for the German language course must be submitted online via the FAU application portal; applications should open on 19 May 2016. More details to follow.

Please send all of the required documents together with the completed application form by post to our Admissions Office:

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Admissions Office
Schlossplatz 4
91054 Erlangen

If you intend to attend a Master’s degree programme 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.

German language courses for beginners

The University of Erlangen-Nürnberg 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.