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Prerequisites for Study & Questions of Recognition

When a student enrolls (registers), he or she becomes affiliated with Freie Universität Berlin and part of its student body. The major prerequisites for this are a certificate of higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulreife) that is sufficient for the desired course of study, an admissions notice (or several, where applicable), and, if applicable, proof of knowledge of German and/or additional foreign languages.

International scholarship recipients (“program students”) are only required to meet these prerequisites if they plan to be admitted and enroll as regular students in good standing at Freie Universität Berlin after the end of their stay at the university as part of their program.

These rules and regulations do not apply to guest auditors (Gasthörer), who are generally permitted to attend up to six credits worth of courses of their choice at Freie Universität Berlin, provided that they have the consent of the instructor and have paid the appropriate fees. Guest auditors receive a certificate of course attendance, but are not permitted to sit for exams. Freie Universität GasthörerCard (Guest Auditor Card, only in German) permits auditors to participate in a rich program of selected courses and offers special discounts.

Higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulreife) or authorization to study (Studienberechtigung)?

One of the basic prerequisites for enrollment is that students must hold a certificate of general higher education entrance qualification or a subject-specific higher education entrance qualification (fachgebundene Hochschulreife) recognized in Berlin or a subject-specific authorization to study pursuant to Sec. 11 of the Higher Education Act (Hochschulgesetz) for the State of Berlin (see Studying at the university without first having higher education entrance qualifications? – Studying a particular subject).

While a certificate of general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur or recognized equivalent) entitles a student to enter any subject as a basic principle, a (recognized) subject-specific higher education entrance qualification is limited to a certain range of subjects listed in the certificate.

There are no opportunities for students with a certificate of eligibility to study at a university of applied sciences (Fachhochschulreife) to study at Freie Universität Berlin. Even though this document is sometimes called a “Fachabitur”, it entitles the bearer solely to study at a university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule).

German citizens (with foreign educational qualifications) and prospective international students without a recognized higher education entrance qualification may apply, under certain conditions, to participate in a one-year course to prepare to study at a German higher education institution. This course is held within a Studienkolleg and culminates in the test of aptitude for university study (Prüfung zur Feststellung der Hochschuleignung). Candidates who pass this test receive a certificate of subject-specific higher education entrance qualification, but are not entitled to a specific study placement (see International Students).

Recognition of higher education entrance qualification

The website of the department "Application and admission" illustrates the different ways of applying depending on nationality, type, and point of origin of the university entrance qualification.

International and stateless applicants are required to apply via uni-assist. The appropriate bodies perform the recognition of higher education entrance qualifications where necessary and, if applicable, calculate the applicant’s average grade, which can be critically important in terms of securing admission to the first subject-specific semester (Fachsemester) in all study programs.

For initial information on recognition of foreign educational credentials, please see the following databases: www.anabin.de (in German) and www.daad.de.

In case of any doubt, the following agency is responsible for these matters in the state of Berlin:
Senate Administration for Education, Science and Research (Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung) Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle (Credential Recognition) website only in German

Credit for prior studies

The examinations office or academic office of the specific department is responsible for granting credit for courses taken in other academic programs or abroad.

Recognition of initial degree for a doctoral program

The specific doctoral committees (Promotionsausschüsse) of the individual departments are responsible for admissions to doctoral programs at Freie Universität Berlin.

Starting your study program