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Second Courses of Study

Definition of second course of study

When we speak of a second course of study or second academic program (Zweitstudium), we mean a second undergraduate program undertaken after a student has already earned a first academic degree (State Exam or Bachelor). This is however only the case if the first academic degree was earned at a higher education institution inside the EU or EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway).

Programs designed specifically as postgraduate advanced courses, supplementary programs, or continuing education courses of study do not fall under the category of “second course of study.” This means that students, who already have earned a bachelor’ degree and apply for a master’ degree program, are not considered to be starting a second course of study in this sense.

There are generally no scholarship or student aid options available for those wishing to start a second program. Thus far, the university does not charge any specific fees for students applying in this category.

Note on Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine

When applying for Pharmacy or Veterinary Medicine for the first subject-specific semester via Hochschulstart, you are only considered a second course of study applicant if your first degree was obtained in Germany.

Applicants who are not EU or EEA nationals and who do not have a German university entrance qualification are only considered as second course of study applicants by Hochschulstart if they have acquired their university entrance qualification for the two above-mentioned programs of study when they graduated in Germany.

Admission to a second course of study in subjects with limited admissions (NC subjects)

At Freie Universität Berlin, a special quota, currently 3% of the available study placements, is set aside for applicants who are also applying to start a second program. The key factors in the process are neither the applicants’ higher education entrance qualification grade nor their wait times, but rather only

  1. the final grade of the first academic program and
  2. the reasons for the second one.

A written statement why a second degree is needed regarding all study subjects has to be submitted.

Points are awarded for both criteria and added together to yield an index.

1. Results of examination in first academic program (1–4 points)

Grades up to 1.5 (ausgezeichnet/Excellent and sehr gut/Very Good)

= 4 points

Grades from 1.6 to 2.6 (gut/Good and voll befriedigend/Completely Satisfactory)

= 3 points

Grades from 2.7 to 3.5 (befriedigend/Satisfactory)

= 2 points

Grade from 3.6 (ausreichend/Sufficient) or not shown

= 1 point

2. Reasons for the second academic program

  • Group 1: Urgent professional reasons
    - The applicant is trying to enter a profession that necessarily requires two completed academic programs: 9 points
  • Group 2: Academic or scientific reasons
    - There are weighty academic or scientific reasons proven by the candidate’s academic career: 7 points
    - There are especially weighty academic or scientific reasons proven by achievements: 9 points
    - There are extremely important academic or scientific reasons, proven by outstanding achievements and of particular general interest: 11 points
  • Group 3: Specific professional reasons
    - The applicant’s professional situation will be significantly improved and completing the second academic program is a sensible supplement to the first program: 7 points
  • Group 4: Other professional reasons
    - Although the further course of study does not represent a sensible supplement, the applicant’s professional situation will be significantly improved by the second academic program for other reasons: 4 points
  • Group 5: Other reasons: 1 point

If there are scientific or academic reasons for the second program (Group 2), Freie Universität Berlin may invite the applicant to an assessment meeting with professors of the subject.

Within your application for an undergraduate program with limited admissions the request for an opinion is made automatically (all programs except Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine). For Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine a request for an opinion has to be send to the university besides the application via Hochschulstart. Everything else is taken care of by the university. The application form and more detailed information on the documents to be submitted can be found on the Hochschulstart website.

Admission-unrestricted study programs and higher semesters of study

The "second study" quota is not formed for admission-unrestricted study programs and for admission to higher semesters. Therefore, a justification for the second degree is not necessary. However, the first university degree can be considered as a university entrance qualification, e.g. if a school-leaving qualification has not given direct access to studies at the Freie Universität (entrance qualification for studies at universities of applied sciences, indirect or subject-linked foreign HZB).


Applicants for a second undergraduate program can submit only one application for another undergraduate study program for the first subject-specific semester according to BerlHZVO § 11.

An application for a second course of study is only possible if the first degree has been completed before or on the last day of the application deadline. Otherwise, the previous university entrance qualification, e.g. high school diploma, applies.

First academic degree received in Germany:

First academic degree received in an EU member state other than Germany, or in an EEA member state (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway):

  • Application for a second course of study for the first subject-specific semester via uni-assist
Important note: Degrees from the United Kingdom are no longer considered to be degrees from the EU and are therefore not a basis for a second course of study, regardless of the date of acquisition!

Information on application procedure can be found on the Admissions Office's website.