Information for refugees
Here you can find basic information in english language. Further information are provided in German.
1. Personal consultation
Refugees are welcome to use the consulting services provided by the International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) and the Student Counselling Service: Dr. Thomas Bodenmüller and Elke Stigler.
2. Degree programmes
An overview of all the study programs offered by the University of Augsburg can be found here: Programmes
3. Application, Admission, Enrolment
Please find information about application, admission and enrolment on the International Office´s web pages.
4. The Higher Education System in Germany
4.1. The Types of Institutes of Higher Education
There are over 110 universities in Germany. The course of study there is academically strong. This means that the focus is on the theoretical research. Universities offer many different courses and subjects. In addition to these universities, there are more than 220 universities of applied sciences in Germany. They are also referred to as technical colleges or FHs and HaWs for short. Studies here include internships or practical training semesters. This prepares students for their future careers. Artistic subjects such as singing, dancing or graphics can be studied at one of the over 50 art, film or music academies in Germany.
In German, the word Hochschule (University) is used
- as a generic term for universities and technical colleges / polytechnics
- as well as an abbreviation for technical colleges / polytechnics.
The exact meaning is derived mostly from the context. If not, you need to ask!
4.2 Public and Private Universities
Most students in Germany (approx. 94%) attend a public university. There are also 120 private universities. Here, students often have to pay high tuition fees. The quality of public and private universities is comparably high.
4.3 Degrees and Courses of Study
Bachelor (B.A., B.Sc., B.Eng.)
The bachelor degree is the first degree that one can obtain at a university. It is recognized in the international labor market. Earning a bachelor degree takes six to eight semesters. After completing undergraduate studies, one can either enter the workforce or continue on to a master degree program.
Master (M.A., M.Sc., M.Eng.)
A master program usually takes three to four semesters and extends the teachings of the undergraduate course of study. A prerequisite for the master program is very often a (bachelor) degree from a comparable study program. The completion of the master program is either the stepping stone into a career or the next academic degree: PhD.
In Germany, those studying law (legal), education in Bavaria, medicine or pharmaceuticals must sit for the "state exam" at the end of their course of study. The state exam is not an academic, but rather a state qualification and consists of two parts: The first state exam is completed after the successful course of study. Afterwards you may prepare for the second state examination with a professionally oriented, practical training phase or begin working towards your PhD. Anyone wishing to work outside of Germany at a later time should ascertain whether the German state examination is recognized in each country.
A doctoral title is acquired through the PhD program, which also requires the writing of a research paper (thesis). Depending on the subject, the doctoral program lasts between four and ten semesters.
(Source: https://www.study-in.de/de/refugees/studieren/hochschulsystem_38620.php, 04.05.2016)
5. The Academic Year
The academic year at German universities begins in October and ends in September. It is divided into two semesters: the winter semester (October to March) and the summer semester (April to September). Many course of study can only be started in October.
6. German Language Skills
Most courses in Germany are given in German. This means that all students need a very good knowledge of German in order to successfully complete their studies. There are very few English only courses given, especially in the undergraduate area.
For descriptions and comparison of language levels, utilize the levels as defined in the Common European Framework of References
To be able to undertake studies successfully, you need knowledge of German at the B2 / C1 level. This knowledge can be verified through various tests. The most well-known tests are the DSH Exam (German language test for university admission of foreign applicants) and TestDaF (Test for German as a foreign language).
The exact level of language skills or the accepted language tests may differ from university to university and study program to study program. The following applies for most - but not all - German courses:
- DSH-2 or DSH-3 as well as
- TestDaF with the grades 4 or 5 in all four sections
Exact information can be found on the website of the desired course of study, usually under the "Application" tab.
Information on the German tests recognized by the University of Augsburg for level C1 you can find here.
7. University Admission Qualification / Certificates
In addition to linguistic aptitude (see, inter alia, knowledge of German), technical aptitude ("University Admission Qualification") is key to beginning or continuing their studies in Germany. Refugees and asylum seekers are subject to the same basic terms and conditions as other foreign students. Specifically, this means: Anyone wishing to pursue a bachelor degree must submit a Certificate of Secondary Studies that is equivalent to the German "Abitur", which is the diploma required for university admission. As to which school certificates are described in detail can be researched in the information portal for recognition of foreign educational qualifications under Anabin.
Prospects for master programs must prove that they have a relevant university degree (bachelor in the same or similar field). The detailed terms and conditions for this vary from degree to degree.
What to do when there are no school certificates available?
In this case, the universities will decide how to proceed. Interviews, classification or entrance or assessment exams or prior attendance at a preparatory college are some of the options available.
8. Financing Your Studies
How much money does a student need?
In Germany, there is no tuition at public universities. In Augsburg students need about 700-800 EUR per month to cover their living expenses:
- 350-400 EUR / month "Residential" (rent, electricity, heating, TV licensing fee etc.)
- 80 EUR / month health insurance
- 300 EUR / month for food, clothing, etc.
- 150 - 200 EUR / semester for books, lecture notes, copies
In addition there are individual expenses, leisure activities and the current semester fee of approx. 100 EUR (valid for 6 months), that must be paid before the start of the semester.
Where does the money to study come from?
Please find out all relevant information on the following issues before beginning your course of study:
- How will I finance my life as a student?
- May / Can I work?
- May I work? If yes, how many days a year?
- Where can I find a job?
- Am I eligible for BAföG?
- Are there any scholarships for me?
At the moment it has not yet been finally clarified whether refugees who study will continue to have access to social benefits. Currently this is not the case!
Some refugees can apply for BAföG. In those cases where this is possible, the BAföG office at the relevant university location will make the decision on a case by case basis. For some refugees there may even be funding options available through the University Guarantee Funds. It will be determined during Educational Counseling exactly how much funding will be available. Funding may, for example, cover course fees, travel expenses and subsidies for living expenses and housing. The DAAD maintains a Scholarship Database, in which funding programs can also be found, as applicable.