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Language Skills

A good knowledge of German is essential for German-taught study courses in higher education at Bielefeld University. Basically, all parts of these courses (lectures, practical exercises and seminars) are taught in German and applicants with foreign university entrance qualifications, who wish to graduate with a degree from Bielefeld University, will have to provide proof of the necessary language proficiency.

When applying for a German-taught study course, you need to provide sufficient knowledge of German. For international master programmes and so-called "international tracks" there is no need to prove knowledge of German but of English language. For English-taught study programmes different language requirements apply. A list of these programmes can be found here.

If you are not able to provide sufficient evidence of German language skills but want to study a German-taught programme, you you can enroll at Bielefeld University as Language course student (Sprachkurs-Studierende/r).

If you are already enrolled as a student at Bielefeld University, you have the possibility to improve your knowledge of German. The "Deutschlernzentrum" offers different courses.


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How can I aquire knowledge of German language?

It is highly recommended for foreign applicants for a place of study in a German-taught study course to attend a German language course before leaving their home country. Sometimes these are offered by the home university or the German cultural institutions (e.g. the Goethe-Institut, the DAAD) in the home country. The addresses of such institutions can be obtained from German embassies and consulates.

Furthermore, the Deutsch-Uni Online is a webportal for learning German. The DUO German courses offer all the necessary knowledge - covering language, knowledge about culture and everyday life, and subject-specific skills. Also, you can check or train your German grammar (structured according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) with the Deutsch Akademie.

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How can I provide evidence of knowledge of German language?

Generally, knowledge of German language for professional studies at Bielefeld University is proved by the TestDaF or the DSH-Certificate. But basically, the following evidence is accepted as well:

  • TestDaF
    Bielefeld University has set up the TestDaF-Zentrum Bielefeld in a joint venture with the bibis language institute. Here you can take a test in order to proof your German knowledge before the beginning of your studies. There is an examination date preassigned before the beginning of the semester. For an admission to study at Bielefeld University you need a TestDaF-Certificate at level 4 in all four subtests = 4x4 or overall 16 points, in which you need to have passed the written part of the exam at level 4.
  • DSH Certificate
    Until winter term 2007/2008 the DSH Certificate was offered instead of TestDaF. However, the DSH Certificate was replaced by the TestDaF and is not offered anymore. The DSH certificate level 2 can still be used as an evidence of German language skills in order to begin your academic studies at Bielefeld University.
  • telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule
    telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule tests the German knowledge needed for success at an advanced academic level. The examination is suitable for adults who are already studying or who are interested in studying at German institutes of higher education.
  • Goethe-Certificate C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom
    of the Goethe Institut
  • Deutsches Sprachdiplom (DSD) der Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK)
    At level 2 (with level C1 in at least two of four parts of the test − especially the written part)
  • Feststellungsprüfung
    from a Studienkolleg
  • School-leaving qualifications from a German-language secondary school in a foreign country
  • German-language Diploma of higher education (e.g. Bachelor) from a German-language University
  • Proof of at least ten years of attending a school in Germany or school-leaving qualifications after 10th grade of a German-language school

In exceptional cases you do not need to provide evidence of your German language skills when applying at Bielefeld University.


// Exceptions:

  • You do not need to provide evidence of German language skills if you would like to study an English-taught programme or a so-called "international track" at Bielefeld University. A list of exceptional rules of each of those study courses can be found here.
  • PhD students may gain exemption from prooving their knowledge of German language by applying to the dean of their faculty.

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I am not able to provide evidence of knowledge of German language. Can I nevertheless apply for a study course taught in German?

If you have basic knowledge of German but your German language qualifications are not good enough for a German-taught higher education course, you may enrol as Language course student (Sprachkurs-Studierende/r) at the Bielefeld University. To gain admission, you will need a Zertifikat Deutsch or a proof of at least 800 hours of accomplished German classes. The preparatory language courses for higher education studies are provided by the bibis language institute in cooperation with Bielefeld University. You can enrol in the language course at the beginning of any semester. For the winter semester, enrolment may be postponed until the end of October for participants arriving late or those on waiting lists. A similar ruling applies for the summer semester.

At the end of the language course you can register for the TestDaF which can be evidence of sufficient knowledge of German for professional studies at Bielefeld University.

Please note:
Bielefeld University does not offer language courses for so-called "beginners", i.e. for applicants who do not yet speak any German at all and who want to pursue a German-taught study course.

Precondition for attending the language course for students of Bielefeld University assured by bibis is the acceptance through uni-assist (for Bachelor's study courses) or through Bielefeld University (for Master's study courses, PhD).

Participants will be enrolled as students at Bielefeld University only after registering for the language course. This will grant them the status of enrolled students for one semester.

If you have any questions on the language courses or on the language proficiency tests, please get in touch with the bibis language institute.
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Are there any English-taught study courses for which I do not need to provide knowledge of German?

Bielefeld University offers a broad range of globally oriented, highly attractive Master programmes. These Master programmes are specially designed for international students and domestic students who would like to qualify for an international career.

Whereas a good knowledge of German is essential for all German-taught study courses, language requirements are different for the international programmes:

An overview of those Master programmes can be found here.

Even if you choose a study course taught in English, a basic knowledge of German can be a plus.


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