As an outward-looking institution, we welcome all prospective students to our university. We offer a wide range of courses as well as special services for refugees. Our International Centre will advise you on all questions concerning study requirements, application and beginning your studies.

Requirements for studying

All applicants must meet certain requirements in order to study at our university.

To be able to study at our university, your educational qualifications must entitle you to study at a university in Germany. You can check whether your foreign qualifications are recognised for German universities:

‘Direct’ higher education entrance qualification (HZB)

  • A general ‘direct’ higher education entrance qualification (known in German as a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, or HZB) entitles the holder to study any course of study.
  • A subject-specific ‘direct’ higher education entrance qualification entitles the holder to study certain courses of study.

‘Indirect’ higher education entrance qualification (HZB)

If you hold an ‘indirect’ higher education entrance qualification, this does not directly entitle you to study. In order to study at our university, you must have attended a subject-related preparatory language course at a Studienkolleg. This preparatory course lasts two semesters and ends with an assessment test known as the Feststellungsprüfung (FSP).

University degree

If you already hold a recognised university degree, you also have a direct higher education entrance qualification and additionally meet the requirements for a master’s degree.

  • Please go to the Master’s programmes page for more information on further admission requirements for postgraduate degrees.

Without a higher education entrance qualification (HZB), it is not possible to study at our university or take courses at the Studienkolleg. 

For a degree programme taught in German, you must demonstrate proficiency in German equivalent to C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This must be proven by providing a recognised language certificate. Our university offers free German language courses for refugees in preparation for their studies, provided that their proficiency in German is already at B1 level.

If you only have an ‘indirect’ higher education entrance qualification (HZB) and have to complete a course at the Studienkolleg first, then your proficiency in German must be equivalent to B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Please note that some courses are offered in English, while some others require additional foreign language skills. The language requirements for each programme are specified in our course database as well as in the overview of linguistic admission requirements.

You do not need a specific residence permit to study. It is only necessary to fulfil the study requirements.

zwei Studierende stehen sich unterhaltend am Fahrstuhl des Geisteswissenschaftlichen Zentrums
Students at our university’s Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum. Photo: Christian Hüller

German courses to prepare for studying

Applicants with a refugee background who do not yet have the necessary German language skills can take a free German course to prepare for their studies at our university. The course starts in the summer semester (April) and in the winter semester (October) and takes place at the Studienkolleg Sachsen and at interDaF e. V. at the University’s Herder Institute. The course lasts six to nine months. It ends with an examination called the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH). In order to then start studying, students must pass this examination and achieve at least level 2.

We are particularly keen to encourage women with a refugee background to apply for the preparatory German course and subsequently study at our university.

  • Direct higher education entrance qualification (school qualification or university degree recognised in Germany which entitles the holder to study at our university)
  • proven knowledge of German at B1 level or at least 500 hours of German lessons, for example acquired in an integration course
  • application for the German language course (Deutschkurs für Geflüchtete) via the uni-assist application portal at the same time as when you indicate which degree programme you want to study at our university
  • participation in the entrance test.

You can apply for the preparatory German courses during the relevant periods via uni-assist at the same time as when you state what you want to study later on.

Simply follow our step-by-step guide to applying via uni-assist. First of all, you have to complete an application online and then post certified, complete copies of all the required documents to uni-assist by the deadline.

Application periods:

  • application for the winter semester (course starts in September):
    15 July 2019
  • application for the summer semester (course starts in April):
    to be announced.

The admission process is handled by our university’s International Centre.

People who take this German language course do not receive student status, which means that they are not entitled to services available for students (such as student BAföG and a room in student halls of residence).

Preparing for studies at the Studienkolleg

The Studienkolleg Sachsen at Leipzig University offers courses for subject-specific and linguistic preparation for studying at our university. There are currently additional places available for people with a refugee background. The Studienkolleg page contains information about requirements and application periods.

The German courses and other courses for refugees at the Studienkolleg are supported by the INTEGRA programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Saxon State Ministry of Science and the Arts (SMWK).

Information on applying as a refugee

Please use the uni-assist portal if you wish to apply at our university for the German language course, the Studienkolleg, undergraduate study (bachelor’s, Diplom and State Examination courses) or a master’s programme. uni-assist is a centralised service for universities which, among other things, will check your higher education entrance qualification.

For refugees, the cost of applying to uni-assist may be waived under certain circumstances:

  • Register on the cost exemption portal.

  • Apply for cost exemption.

  • Present a TestAS certificate or a Beratungsschein (see below).

  • Submit proof of your residence status.

Detailed instructions on how to apply for cost exemption can be found in our step-by-step guide for uni-assist.

TestAS: TestAS is a standardised aptitude test for international students that is offered in German, English and Arabic. More information about this test is available on the Prospective students page. Please register for the test via the TestAS portal for refugees.

Beratungsschein: If you are unable to participate in a TestAS aptitude test, then please speak to one of our advisers at our university’s International Centre. After a personal consultation (during regular office hours), applicants with refugee status may receive a document known as a Beratungsschein. Please bring the required application documents, such as secondary school certificate, university degree (if you have one) and proof of proficiency in German to this consultation. If these documents are not in German or English, you will have to bring a sworn German or English translation.

If some or all of the applicant’s documents are missing due to the circumstances of when they fled their home country, then we base our decisions on the resolution of the Kultusministerkonferenz (Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder) of 3 December 2015. This resolution allows for the burden of proof to be relaxed. It is thus possible to waive the applicant’s requirement to provide official documents, provided there is indirect evidence that the applicant has acquired the necessary higher education entrance qualification.

uni-assist will contact you if your documents are incomplete. You will receive a self-assessment form to provide information about your missing certificates. uni-assist will check the plausibility of this information. An individual decision will then be made on your formal and academic suitability.

Before applying, we recommend that you come to our International Centre for a personal consultation during office hours.

In certain circumstances, you can apply for state support for your studies under Germany’s Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG):

  • Recognised refugees: 
    Recognised asylum seekers, refugees who have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection can apply for BAföG, regardless of how long they have been in Germany.
  • Persons granted temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung) and holders of certain humanitarian residence permits:
    Persons granted temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung) and holders of certain residence permits can apply for BAföG if they have already been in Germany for 15 months.
  • Asylum seekers whose asylum application has not yet been settled:
    If your asylum application has not yet been settled, it is not possible to apply for BAföG.

To find out whether you are entitled to BAföG whilst studying, please contact the BAföG counsellors at the Studentenwerk Leipzig. Information on financing options for your studies in general is available from the Studentenwerk Leipzig’s social counselling service.

You can submit your BAföG application one year in advance before commencing your studies. Please make sure you take care of your basic financial security early on. It can take several months to process BAföG applications.

More information about BAföG is available on the website run by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

You can also apply for a scholarship. There are many different foundations that provide financial and non-material support to refugees during their studies.

Participation in preparatory German courses is not supported by BAföG. In many cases, participants are still looked after by the Jobcenter and they continue to receive benefits. If you have any questions, please contact your Jobcenter supervisor directly.

Further information

  • If you are currently unable to take up full-time studies, you might want to register as a Gasthörer, or auditor.
    Learn more
  • Every Wednesday, mitStudieren! lets you improve your German in the language learning workshop, ask questions about studying and get talking with other people.
    Learn more
  • Information about further support for refugees at our university is available on the page of the Commissioner for Refugees.
    Learn more
  • With the help of Kiron Open Higher Education, you can take online courses on five different subjects.
    Learn more
  • Graduates who acquired their degree abroad and wish to enter a profession must have their degree checked and accredited by the relevant authorities. Our university does not offer this service. An online tool is available to help you find the right accreditation body and information about the accreditation process.
    Learn more

You may also like


Read more

Support for Refugees

Read more

Prospective students

Read more
Back to top