German Universities With Direct Application

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Team College Learners

Even if you meet the general requirements and have chosen your desired subject, you may still encounter difficulties when trying to enrol in a degree programme in Germany. This is because there are often more prospective students than available study places, leading to the need for an admission procedure to determine who will be accepted into the programme.

For those interested in pursuing a degree in Germany, it is important to be aware of the basic admission requirements that are typically required. These requirements may vary depending on the specific programme and university, but commonly include factors such as a high school diploma or equivalent, proficiency in the language of instruction (usually German or English), and sometimes additional entrance exams or interviews.

The admission process for universities in Germany typically involves submitting an application through the online portal for the particular programme of interest. This application will require you to provide transcripts, letters of recommendation, a motivation letter, and any other relevant documents. After the application deadline, the university will review all applications and select candidates based on their qualifications and performance in the admission procedure. It is important to carefully follow all instructions and deadlines to increase your chances of being accepted into your desired programme.

List of Best German Universities with Direct Application

*Freie Universität Berlin *Heidelberg University *Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin LMU – Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München RWTH Aachen University *Technical University of Munich University of Bonn University of Freiburg University of Tübingen

Freie Universität Berlin

  • Social Sciences

  • Natural Sciences

  • Humanities

Heidelberg University

  • Medical Sciences

  • Law

  • Natural Sciences

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • Philosophy

  • Social Sciences

  • Humanities

LMU – Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

  • Medicine

  • Natural Sciences

  • Economics

RWTH Aachen University

  • Engineering

  • Natural Sciences

  • Architecture

Technical University of Munich

  • Engineering

  • Natural Sciences

  • Technology

University of Bonn

  • Agricultural Sciences

  • Humanities

  • Law

University of Freiburg

  • Biology

  • Environmental Sciences

  • Social Sciences

University of Tübingen

  • Medicine

  • Natural Sciences

  • Social Sciences

Which documents will I need?

Foreign students have to apply to the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung, directly to the higher education institution, or to the University Application Service for International Students (uni-assist) – this depends on which country they come from, what higher education entrance qualification they hold, and what subject they want to study. 

The International Offices of the higher education institutions can help answer this question. They will tell you about the application process and which documents have to be submitted. The application form is available from your chosen higher education institution, from uni-assist or from the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (only in German).

As a general rule, you will need the following documents:

  • An officially certified copy of your higher education entrance qualification
  • An overview of your subjects and grades (with official translation)
  • Certified copies of your previous higher education certificates, if applicable
  • A passport photograph
  • A photocopy of your passport (name and photograph)
  • Certified copies of language certificates

Please note: Only officially certified copies and translations are accepted for the application process. Official certifications can be issued for example by the German embassy in your home country. Some higher education institutions also accept documents in English and French.

Germany University Admission Requirements for International Students

1. Does the subject have admission restrictions?

Even if you meet the general requirements and have chosen your desired subject, you will frequently not be able to enrol directly. For many degree programmes in Germany there are more prospective students than study places, so applicants first have to take part in an admission procedure. There are two types of admission restrictions: those determined locally, which means they only apply at certain higher education institutions, and those that apply throughout Germany. If your intended degree programme has no admission restrictions, you can enrol directly.

2. Do the admission restrictions apply locally or throughout Germany?

Germany-wide admission restrictions: Degree programmes such as medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and dentistry are so popular that admission restrictions apply at all German higher education institutions. They have what is known as a numerus clausus (NC). Study places are awarded by the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (Foundation for University Admissions) (only in German).

Local admission restrictions: Some degree programmes only have admission restrictions at particular higher education institutions. These are frequently described as NC degree programmes. In addition to an overall average grade, higher education institutions can specify further criteria they will consider when selecting applicants, such as a letter of motivation, tests or selection interviews. These criteria differ between higher education institutions and between study programmes.

TIP: Contact the International Office of your higher education institution directly for information before applying. You can find the academic counselling offices on the Higher Education Compass website.

3. Where do I apply?

Foreign students have to apply either to the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung, directly to the higher education institution, or to the University Application Service for International Students (uni-assist) – depending on which country they come from, what higher education entrance qualification they hold, and what subject they want to study. The following diagram shows how you should proceed in the various cases:

4. Which documents will I need?

The International Offices of the higher education institutions can help answer this question. They will tell you about the application process and which documents have to be submitted. The application form is available from your chosen higher education institution, from uni-assist or from the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (only in German).

You will need the following documents:

  • An officially certified copy of your higher education entrance qualification
  • An overview of your subjects and grades (with official translation)
  • Certified copies of your previous higher education certificates, if applicable
  • A passport photograph
  • A photocopy of your passport (name and photograph)
  • Certified copies of language certificates

Please note: Only officially certified copies and translations are accepted for the application process. Official certifications can be issued for example by the German embassy in your home country. Some higher education institutions also accept documents in English and French.

There is a fee for getting a document certified. The application itself also often costs money. The processing fee depends on where you apply. If you apply via uni-assist, an assessment of your certificates and preliminary review of your documents costs 75 EUR for your first choice of study and 30 EUR for each application to further courses of study in the same semester.


You can fill in the form on the screen. Please note that you can not save it! Please print it out and mail it to the designated place of application

Please note that some Higher Education Institutions in certain federal states of Germany (e.g. Bavaria) do not accept the application form you can find here. Please make sure before applying to a certain University or Fachhochschule that the application form will be accepted.

5. When does the application have to be completed?

At most higher education institutions, the application phase for the winter semester starting in September/October begins in early May and ends on 15 July. For the summer semester starting in March/April the application period runs from early December to 15 January. Letters of acceptance are sent out in August/September and in February/March. Rejections are often sent a little later. Private universities may have other deadlines.


Write multiple applications: Submitting more applications to different higher education institutions increases your chances of success.

Choose less popular locations: Most students want to study in major cities or traditional university towns. We recommend applying to higher education institutions at less popular locations.

Gain additional points: The grades on your higher education entrance qualification are not always the only criterion for awarding a study place. Sometimes certain grades are weighted more heavily or there are aptitude tests.

Try your luck: Higher education institutions award some study places by lottery because the originally selected applicants turn down their offered place. It is important to know the dates and conditions of this lottery.

Start in the summer semester: Around one quarter of all Bachelor’s programmes can also be started in the summer semester.

Universities in Germany with No Application Fee

1. Heidelberg University

  • Application Fees
  • No application fee for: all students

Heidelberg University was founded in 1386 and is one of the oldest in the world, while being Germany’s oldest and one of the most prestigious universities. It has 12 faculties. Heidelberg University is one of the universities in Germany with no application fee for all students.

There are, in total, around 100 subjects you can study here, and there are courses offered in English and French as well as the majority in German. Heidelberg is also a founding member of the League of European Research Universities, it has 29 Nobel Prize winners affiliated with it, and is the university that introduced a number of scientific disciplines into modern studies (such as psychiatric genetics and modern sociology, among others).

2. Technical University of Munich

  • Application Fees
  • No application fee for: all students

Another German university with no application fee is the Technical University of Munich, a research university with a particular focus on the natural sciences, engineering, medicine and social sciences concerning technology issues. Its main campus is in Munich but there are also campuses in four other locations in Germany as well as one in Singapore. It is one of the leading universities in the European Union and one of the best in Germany for its area of expertise.

The TUM can trace its roots back to 1868 when it was founded by King Ludwig II. It then had a massive historical role to play in the development of industry in Bavaria, which led the state from a predominantly agricultural set-up to a leading industrial state and a center for high-tech in Germany and Europe as a whole.

Today, the TUM has organized itself around the major challenges facing society.

3. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat München

  • Application Fees
  • No application fee for: all students

Another Munich university, LMU has been in operation from 1472 which makes it the sixth oldest German university still receiving students. It is named in honor of its original founder, as well as that of the King Maximilian I of Bavaria who renamed it in 1802. LMU is another German university without any application fee for all students.

This prestigious university is associated with 43 Nobel prize winners and also had Pope Benedict XVI as a student and later a professor.

In terms of student numbers, the LMU is the second largest in Germany, with over 50,000 students. Its institutes and buildings are spread all around Munich.

The university offers hundreds of degrees and specializations and has been opening up to English-speaking courses too, allowing international students without knowledge of German to come and study during exchange programs. However, the bulk of the coursework continues to be exclusively in German.

Additionally, there are numerous research centers and facilities at the university, allowing students to go further in their pursuit of any subject of interest. Some notable research poles include the Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich, The German Research Center for Environmental Health – Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen, and the Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking.

4. Humboldt University Berlin

  • Application Fees
  • No application fees for: all students

Studying at the Humboldt University Berlin will put you at the heart of the German capital of culture and social life. It was founded in 1810 by Frederick William II on the initiative of Wilhelm von Humboldt, Johannes Gotlieb Fichte and Friedrich Enrst Daniel Schleiermacher. At the time it was the University of Berlin and only in 1949, after the Second World War, it was named in honor of Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt.

The medical school is operated in conjunction with the Free University of Berlin. Additionally, there are nine other faculties welcoming around 32,000 students.

The Humboldt University also includes a Center for British Studies, the Natural History Museum and an Arboretum on its grounds.

The most famous person connected with Humboldt University is Albert Einstein, who taught here. Other notable alumni or professors include the philosopher Max Planck, the Brothers Grimm, the chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the writer Heinrich Heine, notable socialist revolutionaries and philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

5. RWTH Aachen University

  • Application Fees
  • No application fees for: all students

We end our list of universities in Germany with no application fee with the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, RWTH Aachen University. It is a public research university with over 45,000 students and the largest technical university in Germany.

The university started in 1850 and is now a leading place of study as well as a notable member of various university networks and thought exchange platforms.

RWTH Aachen is particularly known for its international connections, with many double degrees on offer. They specifically promote student mobility through the TIME (Top Industrial Managers for Europe) network and they welcome c. 7,000 international students in their programs across undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

At RWTH Aachen University, you can study Mathematics, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, as well as Architecture, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Georesources and Materials Engineering, IT, Electrical Engineering, but also Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, and Medicine. There are many research institutes and graduate schools as well.

7 Steps to Study in Germany for Free for International Students

How to Apply To Universities in Germany

If you’re planning to study in Germany at postgraduate level, check out our dedicated guides for master’s degrees in Germany and PhDs in Germany.

If you’re planning to study your first university degree in Germany, read on…

1. Choose a university 

So, you’ve decided on Germany as your study abroad destination – now it’s time to choose the right course and university for you. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a database of almost 2,000 programs available to search from, including 1,389 programs in English.

Unfortunately opportunities to study in Germany in English at undergraduate level are currently fairly limited, though there are some courses taught in both English and German (typically starting with English for the first two to four semesters and then changing to German). This allows you to study in English while improving your proficiency in German, particularly as your university may offer German language classes.

You may also like to consider the latest rankings of the top universities in Germany while making your decision, or check the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject to find the top German institutions in your field, using the compare tool to help you narrow down universities.

2. Check the admission requirements 

Before applying, check that your current qualifications are recognized by your chosen university. To study in Germany you need to have a recognized Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), meaning ‘higher education entrance qualification’.

For prospective undergraduate students, a high-school diploma, school-leaving certificate or university entrance exam result is usually sufficient, and the DAAD has a database of information on admission requirements for selected countries. Students with qualifications from outside Europe may have to sit the Feststellungsprüfung entrance examination after attending a preparatory Studienkolleg, although high-achieving students may be able to bypass this.

You’ll also need to check the language requirements. Most courses are taught in German, requiring international applicants to submit proof of proficiency in the German language. Two main tests are available for this purpose: the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH, meaning “German language examination for university entrance”) and the TestDaF.

German universities where we can apply, without Uni-ASSIST

Likewise, if your course is taught in English, unless you are a native speaker or have previously studied in English, you will need to prove your knowledge of the language with a test such as IELTS or TOEFL. Universities will usually state the score/s they require on their websites.

3. Get your finances in order 

In order to fulfill student visa requirements, you will need to show proof that you have, or have access to, around €8,700 per year (~US$10,000) to cover your living costs, although you may find you need more, depending on your lifestyle and spending habits (the average student spends €850/US$975 a month). Living costs also vary depending on the location; according to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey, Munich is currently the most expensive city in the country.

If you’re concerned about costs, there are scholarships available to support students studying in Germany at various study levels.

4. Apply!

For most subjects, you can apply directly to the international office of the university. Alternatively, you can use the website, a centralized admissions portal for international students, run by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), although not all universities use this. You may wish to apply for numerous courses and universities separately to increase your chances of being admitted.

At many German universities it’s possible to apply for admission twice a year – to commence studies either in the winter or summer semester. In general, applications for winter enrolments need to be made by 15 July, and applications for summer enrolments by 15 January. However, application deadlines vary between institutions, and the same institution may set different deadlines for each program – be sure to carefully check the specific dates for your chosen course. 

It’s recommended to submit applications at least six weeks before the deadline, to ensure time for corrections or additions if any information is missing. You should expect to receive a formal acceptance or rejection approximately one to two months after the deadline has passed.

246 Uni-Assist Free Universities in Germany (2020/2021) ?️

The specific documents required and application process will be set by each institution, but you’ll typically be asked to submit:

  • A certified copy of your high-school diploma or previous degrees, and any other relevant qualifications in the original language
  • A translated overview of your course modules and grades
  • A passport photo
  • A copy of your passport (personal information and photo ID page)
  • Proof of language proficiency (a test certificate or online equivalent)

You may also need to pay an application fee.

For some subjects, there is a nationwide cap on the number of students who can enroll. For these subjects (mostly life sciences), students from the EU (plus Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) need to apply through the Foundation of Higher Education Admission. Students from outside the EU should apply as normal.

If you want to apply for a place at a German higher education institution, there are some rules you will have to observe. How and where to apply depends on the subject you want to study. You should bear the following checklist in mind when applying for a degree programme in Germany:

5. Take out health insurance 

Before you leave your home country you should ensure you’ve purchased health insurance to cover you during your stay in Germany. This is required both before you enroll and before you get a student visa and/or residence permit. If you’re a resident of a country within the EU or EEA, there should be a social security agreement in place between your country and Germany. This means that if you have public health insurance in your home country, you should be covered in Germany as well. You will generally need to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to take advantage of this (free to obtain).

If your health insurance is not valid in Germany, expect to pay between €80 (US$92) and €160 (US$176) per month to cover this. The cost is higher if you’re over 30, and if you’re over 29 when starting your course you can only obtain private insurance.

6. Get a German student visa 

The requirements for obtaining a student visa for Germany depend on your country of origin. You can find an overview of the countries for which a student visa is or isn’t required on the Foreign Federal Office’s website. You can also read this article to find out how to get a German student visa and a residence permit.

7. Find accommodation 

Once you’ve gained a place on a course and your student visa (if applicable), it’s advisable to start looking for accommodation, as unfortunately most German universities do not offer accommodation to enrolling students. Rent is likely to be your biggest monthly expense, and will vary depending on which part of the country you live in. In big cities within Western Germany (i.e. Dusseldorf, Cologne etc.) and smaller, student-oriented cities such as Heidelberg and Freiburg, you should expect to pay slightly more than if you were living in eastern Germany (i.e. Berlin).

Once you’ve found a place to live, you need to register at the ‘residents’ registration office’ (Einwohnermeldeamt) or the ‘citizens’ bureau’ (Bürgeramt).

E-tools in teaching at German universities - DAAD

8. Enroll 

You must enroll before you can start your course and use university facilities such as the library.  You’ll also need to re-register before the start of every semester. This usually costs between €150 and €250 (~US$170-290), depending on the university. There may be an additional charge of around €180 (~US$205) for a “Semesterticket”, which covers public transport expenses for six months.

The usual documents you need for enrollment are:

  • Your passport with visa or residence permit
  • Several passport photos
  • Completed registration form
  • Proof of higher education entrance qualification, either original certificates or officially certified copies and translations
  • Notice of admission
  • Evidence of adequate knowledge of German (or English)
  • Evidence of statutory health insurance in Germany
  • Payment receipt for the semester fee

Once enrolled, you will receive a registration certificate which acts as a provisional student ID, allowing you to apply for your residence permit and register for classes.

9. Settle in to student life in Germany 

Congratulations, you should now be (mostly) all set to begin your studies in Germany! Don’t forget to pack all the essentials, as well as arranging a few more important affairs:

  • If you haven’t already, once you’ve found accommodation you must register with the local registration office of your city (Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt). Once registered, you’ll receive a document confirming your registration at that address, which you can then use for the next step…
  • Get a student bank account. Most banks offer these for free, and it will make managing your regular payments (such as accommodation) much easier.
  • If you’d like to find a part-time job while you study, you can find out how this works for EU and non-EU students here.

As an international student, the application process can be daunting. The good news is, there are many universities that accept direct applications—meaning you don’t have to go through a third party to apply.

The next step is finding which ones will accept your application and let you apply in English. There are a lot of schools to choose from, so we’ve done the research for you and come up with a list of German Universities that accept applications in English.

We suggest following these steps if you want to pursue higher education at a German university:

  1. Find a school with a program that interests you
  2. Determine whether or not the school accepts direct applications, as well as whether or not your application will be accepted in English.
  3. Apply! It’s as simple as that!

If you need any more help applying, we have tons of resources available on our website! Good luck!

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