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Transferring between higher Education Institutions in higher Semesters

What are “higher semesters”?

All subject-specific semesters within a study program after the first semester are considered “higher semesters”. Most programs at Freie Universität Berlin are subject to limitations on admissions not only in the first semester, but also in all higher semesters as well. For information on whether there are limits on admissions to higher semesters, and if so, what those limitations are, please see the descriptions of specific subjects. Admission to higher semesters is permitted only within the regular period of study (Regelstudienzeit) of the program at Freie Universität and for programs and subject specific semesters offered. Please note, that you need to prove sufficient granted credits.

If you have been admitted to undergraduate degree programmes, apply for a subject semester classification from the relevant department. The placement notice must be submitted for enrolment. Please note that enrolment can only take place if the subject semester in which you have been classified corresponds to the subject semester for which you have been admitted. It is the applicant's responsibility to apply for the correct semester and to check in advance, based on the study and examination regulations, whether the work already completed is sufficient for placement in the desired semester.

You can apply for any higher subject-related semester, provided that you have creditable achievements. However, you cannot apply for the first semester if you have already been enrolled. Only for degree programmes whose places are allocated nationwide by the "Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung" - Foundation for University Admission (currently for Freie Universität: Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy) does a special regulation apply: University transfer students who were enrolled at a German university and interrupted their studies can reapply for these degree programmes for the first subject semester.

It is a prerequisite for enrollment that you have not failed any examination (such as a written examination) in the same program without the option to retake it.

For students considering transferring to Freie Universität Berlin, personal advising can be beneficial. The Acadmic Advisory Service is happy to provide assistance.

What is considered as transfer from another location (Studienortwechsel), and what is considered as transfer from another program (Quereinstieg)?

Transfer from another location (Studienortwechsel) means having taken up studies at another university in Germany or at a university in another EU member state and wishing to pursue the same study program at Freie Universität Berlin. The length of the study program as well as the number of credit points of program components are not considered.

You are considered transferring from another location (Studienortwechsler/in):

  • if you are currently studying/ were previously studying a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Education study program and wish to continue at Freie Universität with one of these degrees (all are considered the same)

Example: transfer from Bachelor of Education in History and German Philology to Bachelor of Arts in History and German Philology

  • if you wish to hold your previous subject(s) - it is the same subject when the course content is the same, even if the name of the subject at the previous university is different from the name at Freie Universität Berlin.

Example: transfer from Bachelor of Arts German Studies and English Studies to Bachelor of Arts in German Philology and English Philology

  • if you previously studied a study program at Freie Universität Berlin, interrupted the program and wish to continue within the same program

Transfer from another program (Quereinstieg) means having taken up studies at another university and wishing to pursue another study program at Freie Universität Berlin.

You are considered transferring from another program (Quereinstieg):

  • if you wish to transfer into a higher subject-specific semester of a different (core) subject than your current/previous one

Example: transfer from Biochemistry Bachelor of Science to Chemistry Bachelor of Science

  • if you wish to apply for the some (core) subject with a different character

(combination bachelor degree program to single-subject bachelor degree program and vice versa)

 Example: transfer from Biology and English Philology Bachelor of Education to Biology Bachelor of Science

  •  if you wish to transfer from a university outside the EU to Freie Universität Berlin (all subjects, all degrees)

Are there placements available despite the NC (Numerus Clausus, limitation on admissions)?

Normally, study placements in higher semesters are taken by students advancing from the previous semester. In semesters with limited admissions, placements that have become available again due to student withdrawal or transfers are allocated. Since it does not become clear until after the end of the re-registration period (the final day of the period when classes are in session) and an adequate period for receipt of payment into the account of Freie Universität Berlin how many students have not re-registered, it is impossible to predict the chances of admission in higher semesters.

How does the allocation of study placements work for higher semesters with limited admissions?

An applicant’s average grade and wait time are irrelevant to admission to higher semesters of academic programs at Freie Universität (exception: in the case of modules in combination bachelor’s degree programs, applicants are admitted primarily according to average Abitur grade in all higher semesters).

According to the Higher Education Admission Act for the State of Berlin (Berliner Hochschulzulassungsgesetz, BerlHZG, in German), study placements are allocated in a certain sequence in higher subject-specific semesters with limited admissions (impacted semesters):

  • The first group of applicants considered are those who have been admitted to the first semester and, at the same time, are able to present an placement to a higher semester for the same academic program based on previous studies for which they are eligible for credit, such as study abroad. You do not have to have applied for a higher semester to Freie Universität Berlin to fall within this group: For the Admissions Office it is sufficient to present them the admissions notice for the first subject-specific semester and the semester assignment notice issued by the examinations office in charge.
  • After that, transfer students from other universities, who are enrolled or have been enrolled within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway for the same study program (students transferring from another location / “Studienortwechselnde”) are considered. Within this category, special reasons for “preferential changes of study location” can be taken into account where applicable: Transfer students can state family, economic, or academic reasons for the application.
  • The final group considered when placements are allocated in higher semesters includes other applicants (students transferring from other programs – “Quereinsteigende" – with previous studies for which they are eligible for credit, either from other academic programs or from studying in a non- EU country, ICL, LIE, NOR).

Admission & enrollment for higher semesters

Undergraduate Degree Programms

Higher semesters without limits on admission
Information on enrollment into higher semesters without limits on admissions (non-impacted semesters) can be found on the websites of the Student Records and Registration Office (Studierendenverwaltung).There you will find special information for prospective students who do not have a German university entrance qualification, as well as for those with vocational qualifications. When enrolling, a placement certificate from the relevant examination office must be submitted.

Special aspect of the combination bachelor degree programs (Kombinations-Bachelor):
If the combination Bachelor contains a core subject (Kernfach) or module (Modulangebot) with restricted admission, the application must be submitted within the deadline for degree programmes with restricted admission.
The application deadlines for impacted programs can be found in the Academic Calendar.
The enrolment deadline will be communicated in the notification of admission. Upon enrolment, a placement certificate from the respective examination office must be submitted for each degree programme component - core subject and module(s).

The deadline for enrollment will be announced in the admission notice (Zulassungsbescheid). When enrolling, students are required to present a notice of granting of credit (Anrechnungsbescheid) from the appropriate examination offices for each subject.

Higher semesters with limited admission
If you are interested in an admission-restricted degree programme in the higher semester, then you must apply and, after receiving an admission, submit the subject semester classification for enrolment. In the case of a combined Bachelor's degree, you must submit a placement certificate from the relevant examination office for each degree programme component - core subject and module(s).
Please note the deviating information for the degree programmes Pharmacy (only in German) and Veterinary Medicine (only in German).

Master's degree programmes

Application and admission to the higher subject semester requires a completed undergraduate degree. The subject-specific admission requirements for each Master's degree programme apply. Detailed information can be found in the respective subject description. Classification is carried out by the respective departments as part of the application (on the basis of the performance overview of the Master's degree programme started, which must be submitted with the application).

Information on how to apply can be found on the pages of the Admissions Office of Freie Universität Berlin.
Initial information on the recognition of an international educational qualification can be found in the following online databases: anabin (in German) and DAAD. For cases of doubt, the following is responsible in the state of Berlin: Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Jugend und Familie - Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle.

Starting your study program