German Higher Education Entrance Qualification

What Is the German Higher Education Entrance Qualification?

Along with other admission requirements that German higher education institutions have towards their applicants, is a higher education entrance qualification, commonly referred as Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB).

The university entrance qualification is a term used to name collective documents proving you’ve completed previous studies entitling you to take up higher education studies in Germany.

HZB typically includes school-leaving certificates such as diploma certificate together with a record of all subjects/grades completed/achieved in your previous studies. It can also be a higher education degree certificate (i.e. Bachelor degree awarding certificate) accompanied by other educational certificates showing your overall success in studies, i.e. Transcripts of grades.

HZB Types

Depending on previous study type and the state where you’ve completed such studies, these are the entitlements to take up higher education studies in Germany:

  • General university admission “Allgemeine Hochschulreife” commonly referred to as General HZB.
  • Subject-specific university admission “Fachgebundene Hochschulreife” commonly referred to as subject-specific HZB.
  • Combined studies. If you’ve completed up to 2-year academic studies in a foreign country.
  • Unacknowledged earlier education. When your previous education isn’t equivalent to the German university entrance qualification.

If you have a foreign university entrance qualification that isn’t accepted for academic studies in Germany.

Typically, you’ll have to attend a 1-year foundation course “Studienkolleg”, as a preparation to sit the university entrance assessment exam “Feststellungsprüfung” for recognition. You must possess German language command of the B1 level of the CEFR, to be able to participate in the course.

If you have a foreign university entrance qualification that is recognized for academic studies in Germany.

To prove that your foreign university entrance qualification is recognized in Germany for further academic studies you’ve to provide these documents:

  • Certified copies of your foreign school-leaving certificate.
  • Statement about the equivalence of your foreign certificate with German school-leaving certificate.
  • Overall average grade of studies. It has to be obtained by the state education office “Oberschulamt” of the respective city you’ll be studying at.

General Higher Education Entrance Qualification “Abitur”

German Abitur “Allgemeine Hochschulreife” also known as general higher education entrance qualification, entitles you to commence academic studies in any study program at any university, equally recognized institutions, university of applied science or study-specific college in Germany.

General higher education entrance qualification can be obtained by completing these types of education/measures:

  • Gymnasiale oberstufe. This includes Gymnasium, Schularten mit drei Bildungsgängen, Berufliches Gymnasium Evening University Preparatory School “Abendgymnasium”.
  • Education institutions “Kolleg” offering full-time studies for the purposes of getting a general higher education entrance qualification.
  • Fachoberschule.
  • Berufsoberschule
  • Passing a preliminary examination “Vorprüfung” at University of Applied Sciences.

You can find additional information about the German Abitur here.

Higher Education Entrance Qualification to Study in a University of Applied Sciences “Fachhochschulreife

Largely known also as “Fachabitur” this German higher education entrance qualification allows you to commence further studies at a University of Applied Sciences “Fachhochschule”.

This certificate can be obtained by completing a study program lasting at least 2 years, at a vocational school “Fachoberschule”.

Subject-Specific Higher Education Entrance Qualification “Fachgebundene Hochschulreife

If you have a subject-specific HZB you’ll be entitled to start academic studies for a specific study course of a higher education institution in Germany.

A subject-specific university entrance qualification is usually received by completing:

  • Certificate of Intermediate Diploma. It has to be accompanied by HZB for university of applies sciences and evidence for pre-study work experience/practical training. Or, a certificate showing you’ve reached minimum 60 ECTS credits from a University of Applied Sciences.
  • Subject-specific HZB received by a vocational/technical school “Technischen Oberschule”, business school “Wirtschaftsoberschule” or vocational school for social work “Berufsoberschule für Sozialwesen”.
  • Subject-specific HZB as a qualified professional.

Professional Qualifications entitling holder to Start Higher Education Studies

Even if you don’t have a school-leaving diploma or other higher education entrance qualification there’s a possibility to start academic studies in Germany. This is relevant if you’ve been pursuing a job in a specific profession for some years, and perhaps completed an advanced professional training exam.

HZBs that entitle you to enter higher education studies as a qualified professional without a school-leaving certificate are:

  • General higher education entrance qualification for graduates of vocational advanced or further education examinations.
  • Fachgebundener Hochschulzugang for qualified professionals with several years of professional experience after successful completion of the practical training.

General Higher Education Qualification from a German School Abroad

This takes account of all school-leaving certificates taken from German schools operating in foreign countries.

These certificates are equally recognized as school-leaving certificates taken from German schools operating in Germany.

General Higher Education Qualification from a European School in Germany

This takes account of certificates obtained upon completing a European School in Germany. These certificates should be accompanied by the Certificate from the Recognition Office, known as calculated German grade point average certificate for ZVS.

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