Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Consequences of COVID-19 pandemic for the application round for the winter semester 2020/21:

Lectures will start on October 26th  and end on February 12th (previously announced time period: October 12th - February 5th). The official semester start remains October 1st. Admitted candidates should arrive in Germany by the beginning of October in order to participate in introductory events and an intensive German language course. Although nobody knows, how the pandemic will evolve, and in which form the classes will take place in the winter semester (currently all classes are taught online), we accept applications as usual, according to the procedure and deadlines described below. However, it is beyond our control, whether the embassies will issue visas, the borders will be open and the flights to Germany will be operated. We hope so.

Since most of the TOEFL and IELTS test centres are currently closed, we accept the Duolingo English Test results of min. 110 points as a proof of English language skills. Duolingo English Test is an affordable and convenient language certification from Duolingo.

New: Application documents for the winter semester 2020 can be submitted online entirely. Applicants do not need to send in certified copies for the application. Only admitted candidates will be requested to submit certified copies of their documents upon enrollment.

New: The application deadline for international applicants is expected to be extended until July 31st 2020 . (The application deadline for applicants with a degree from a German university is expected to be extended until August 20th, 2020). You can check up-to-date information on the deadlines here. A decision regarding admission of international applicants will be made after the application deadline (31.07.2020), when all applications are received.

Application and Admission

According to the subject specific regulations for the MA Sociology, applicants have to prove either their English language skills or their German language skills. Information provided on this page for the MA Sociology International Track application process is relevant for applicants with limited German language skills, who want to gain admission to the MA Sociology based on their English language skills and study completely in English. They have to select “Soziologie International Track (Master, fachwissenschaftlich, englischsprachig)” from the list of degree courses in the Online Application Portal.

All other applicants should familiarize themselves with the application process on the Student Office website and with the subject specific regulations for the MA Sociology (in German) and select “Soziologie (Master, fachwissenschaftlich, deutschsprachig)” from the list of degree courses. You can also attend International Track courses or even complete your whole master’s degree in English (with exception of introductory module) in the case that you have gained admission to the MA Sociology based on your German language skills.

There are no application fees for the MA Sociology International Track application.




Formal requirements

In order to qualify for the MA Sociology, you must have an undergraduate degree with at least three years of higher education, which is recognized in Germany as equivalent to a German bachelor’s degree. You can check how your degree is recognized in Germany in the anabin database (in German). Formal requirements are checked by the Student Office at Bielefeld University. If you have any questions regarding the formal requirements, contact the Student Office at application@uni-bielefeld.de. If you are in the last semester of your undergraduate studies and are going to receive your undergraduate degree certificate until the enrollment deadline (October 1st for winter semester and April 1st for summer semester), you may apply for admission to the MA Sociology with your provisional transcript of records. Your transcript of records has to contain all courses you have attended so far and your preliminary final grade, if applicable. It must be evident from your transcript that you have almost completed your undergraduate studies (at least 80% of courses required for the degree must be listed in the transcript). 


Subject specific (academic) requirements

Your transcript of records must indicate that your previously completed course of study covers at least three of the following four thematic areas: theory of sociology, methods of empirical social research, special sociology/social science and general social sciences. These thematic areas are meant as general areas, not concrete seminars with exact these titles. For example, a seminar with the title “qualitative methods” would be regarded as a seminar in the area methods of empirical social research. It is your responsibility to make it clear to the admission committee that you meet this requirement. Students from other academic backgrounds may also apply for admission and will be accepted if they provide good reasons why they would like to participate in the MA programme and how they meet the requirements (by describing extracurricular activities, participation in thematic summer schools, publications etc.). If you think it is not evident from your transcript that you meet this requirement, you may specify your previous experiences in sociology in your motivation letter or provide additional documents, such as a diploma supplement.

The Diploma Supplement is a document accompanying a higher education diploma, providing a standardised description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies completed by its holder.

Due to the high number of requests, your qualifications can only be reviewed once all required documents are submitted within the application period via the application portal (see the application procedure below).The MA Sociology is subject to local admission restriction . If there are more eligible applicants than places available, the selection procedure will be based on the applicants’ grades in their undergraduate studies. The minimum-passing grade for MA Sociology is calculated based on the number of places available and grades of applicants in this particular application round, therefore it differs from semester to semester.



Language requirements

According to the subject-specific regulations of the MA Sociology, applicants must provide proof of either English or German language skills. You therefore do not necessarily need a German language certificate, but must be able to provide proof that your English language proficiency meets the International Track’s minimum entry requirements. Accepted certificates include: TOEFL with a minimum of 87 points, telc English with a minimum grade of B2, IELTS with a minimum overall band score of 6.5, or an equivalent English language test confirming at least a B2 level of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. We only accept internationally recognized certificates, and therefore certificates from university language centres or language schools cannot be accepted. Please note that many certificates have a validity period of 2 years.

If English was the language of instruction for your entire undergraduate studies, you may provide an official confirmation from your university or it has to be stated on your transcript. In this case, you don’t have to provide any other language certificates.

Please ignore if the Online Application Portal requires you to submit a German language certificate.


Application process

You have to apply for admission to the MA Sociology International Track in the Online Application Portal by filling in the online questionnaire (application form) and upload all necessary documents (see the list below). You must submit a signed application form and certified copies of your documents and their translations by post to the Student Office in addition to completing the online application. You have to upload all necessary documents in the Online Application Portal. A document, which is part of the hard copy of your  apllication but is not uploaded in the online application portal, will not be considered.

To apply for MA Sociology International Track please select “Soziologie International Track (Master, fachwissenschaftlich, englischsprachig)” from the list of degree courses. Select “1” as the semester in which you wish to start your course of study, regardless of whether you are applying for the Winter Semester or the Summer Semester.

The Online Application Portal opens on June 1st for applications for the winter semester and on December 1st for applications for the summer semesters. It is not possible to apply earlier.

After completing the application online, you have to submit your application (click on “submit”) and then you will be able to print out the application form (it is already filled in with your answers). Please date and sign the application form and send it along with the other required documents to the university's P.O. box (the address, which is given on the application form):

Universität Bielefeld


Internationale Studierende

Postfach 100131

D-33501 Bielefeld

In case your shipping company cannot ship to a P.O. box, you may use the following address:

Universität Bielefeld


Internationale Studierende

Universitätsstraße 25

D-33615 Bielefeld

The Student Office will not process your application until all the necessary documents have been received. Please be aware that your application may take some time to reach Bielefeld University by post and that it must be received by July 15th (for winter semesters) or January 15th (for summer semesters).

When your application is received by Bielefeld University, your status in the portal will be changed to “applications via post received”. If you have any questions regarding the hard copy of your application, please contact the Student Office at application@uni-bielefeld.de.


Required documents

You have to send certified copies of your documents and certified translations of your documents in German or English. Documents in other languages will not be considered. Authentications of original copies must be completed by authorities or notaries who are authorized to carry out such authentications in your country, or by the diplomatic missions to the Federal Republic of Germany. An apostille is not required. The translation of certificates has to be carried out by an official authority, e.g. by the authorized department of the institution that issued the certificate, or by a sworn translator. These translations have to be certified.

The documents to be uploaded in the Online Application Portal and sent by post to the Student Office as a hard copy include:

  • School leaving certificate (a document which certifies your secondary education – the level you have to complete before starting undergraduate studies), both a certified copy of the original and a certified translation to English or German;

  • Undergraduate degree certificate and transcript of records, both a certified copy of the original and a certified translation to English or German.

If you already possess one master’s degree, please provide a degree certificate and transcript for it as well. A master’s degree, which was completed abroad, doesn’t place you at a disadvantage to other applicants.

If your transcript doesn’t contain your final grade and grade scale, please provide this information in the application form or the motivational letter. Don’t recalculate your grade into other systems (German, US, etc.).

If your university issues a Diploma Supplement or similar document, please attach it as well, although it is not mandatory.

  • Proof of English language skills, a certified copy. (For more, see above in language requirements);

  • Curriculum vitae, maximum 2 pages long, tabulated, listing your education and work experience from present to past. You may use the Europass CV although is it not mandatory;

  • Motivation letter of max. 1500 words long;

  • You don’t have to provide a German language certificate, however if you have some previous knowledge of German you may provide such a certificate in the field “further documents”.

Your motivation letter should state why you have chosen our programme. You should also describe your academic background and how your qualifications and perhaps your practical experience (job, summer school, etc.) have prepared you for the International Track programme. In particular, we would like for you to tell us why you are interested in the profiles of “Social Structure Analysis and Social Inequality” or “Sociology and Anthropology of the Global World” (see Curriculum).

Please don’t just list activities from your transcript and CV, but instead reflect on what you have learned and how this experience qualifies you for our programme.

We expect you to discuss your academic interests, but you don’t necessarily have to outline the topic for your master’s thesis. Unlike some other master’s programmes, you don’t have to have a topic for your master’s thesis by the time of application. You will write your master’s thesis in your last semester.

We don’t require any recommendation letters. However, you may upload them in the field “optional documents”, if you think they support arguments in your motivational letter.

General tips for documents to be uploaded in the portal:

* If a document contains many pages, don’t upload each page separate but instead merge them in one document (search “merge pdf” in the search engine of your choice).

* Don’t upload the same document in different fields.

* Give each document meaningful, clear names such as “Transcript”, “Motivation”, etc.

* Pay attention that your documents are readable (for instance, in resolution, contrast).

* Rotate and save your documents if necessary (search “rotate pdf” in the search engine of your choice, since usually it is not possible to save rotated document in the adobe reader programme).


Admission decision

Once you have submitted your application, you can check the progress of your application any time by going to the website of the Online Application Portal, logging in and clicking “Status”.

A decision regarding your admission will be made after the application deadline, when all applications are received.

Acceptance letters as well as negative admission decisions for non-eligible candidates will be uploaded in the online application portal between the end of January - early February for summer semesters and in the end of July - early August for winter semesters. If you are admitted, Bielefeld University will provide you with an official admission document that you can present to the authorities when you apply for a student visa and enter the Federal Republic of Germany. For subjects with restricted admission, you will receive separate information on the closing date for registration in your notice of admission. We recommend that you set an appointment with the German consulate/embassy as soon as possible, because the visa issuance procedure usually takes between four and six weeks.

Negative admission decisions for eligible candidates may take longer to be uploaded, since we have a waiting list.



The winter semester starts on October 1st and the summer semester starts on April 1st. Courses will start approximately 1-2 weeks later and end respectively in early February and late July. The German intensive language courses start in the beginning of September and in the beginning of March, respectively. If you get a visa by this time, it is highly recommended that you participate in this course.

Students are free to start their programme in the winter semester or the summer semester. The only differnece between these starting time points is that students admitted in summer semester will complete the introductory module in their second semester (see more in Curriculum).

Applications will be received from June 1st to July 15th for the winter semesters and from December 1st to January 15th for the summer semesters.

Please note that at Bielefeld University these application deadlines refer to the day on which the documents you submitted are received by post and not the date of online application submissions.

Events & Deadlines

Erasmus+ Sprechstunde/ Office hours:
Aktuell bieten wir eine online Sprechstunde an. Bitte kontaktiert uns zum Termin vereinbaren per Mail an erasmus.soc@uni-bielefeld.de

// At the moment we are offering online office hours. Please contact us to make an appointment by mail to erasmus.soc@uni-bielefeld.de


PDF-DokumentCourses taught in English - WS 2020/21

Alle Kurse für das kommende Wintersemester 2020/21 sind auch im eKVV online einsehbar! Englischsprachige Veranstaltungen finden Sie HIER.

All courses for the upcoming winter semester 2020/21 are also available online in the eKVV. You can find an overview of courses in English  HERE.









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