German language requirements

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Required proof of language skills

In general:

To apply to study at Goethe University, you must have German language skills at B1 level (minimum) as stipulated by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. You must prove the above with appropriate documentation and certificates (see below). Certificates merely confirming attendance or participation are not accepted.

Knowledge of a language to this level (B1) is only enough to

Knowledge of German at C1 level as stipulated by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is required if you wish to

You must provide a certificate that proves you have achieved C1 level (see below). Certificates merely confirming attendance or participation are not accepted. If you have applied with a C1 language certificate and received a place at Goethe University, then the university will invite you to take a DSH-examination.

The DSH is the "Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang" (mandatory German language proficiency examination to assess your qualification for study at a German university). For admission and enrolment at Goethe University the minimum level to which you must pass this examination is a result of DSH-2. Achieving this level DSH-2 is a prerequisite to enrolment.

If you fulfil the entry requirements, you will receive an invitation from Goethe University’s "Studierendensekretariat" (student registration office) to take the DSH. The examination takes place on the fixed DSH date before the beginning of the semester (usually towards the end of August/end of February). There is only one DSH examination per semester.

>> Examination dates 

>> DSH preparatory courses

German language requirements for DSH prepatory course or the prepatory college

  • Certificate B1 (Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache) of the institutions: Goethe-Institut, ÖSD, UNIcert, telc
  • DSD-I, Deutsche Sprachprüfung I, TestDaF 4x3
  • Certificate of attendance at a German intensive course at ISZ at the Goethe-University

German language requirements for direct admission (with DSH)

  • Certificate level C1 (Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung) of the these institutions: Goethe-Institut, ÖSD, UNIcert III, Telc, DID
  • TestDaF at least 14 points
  • DSH-1 (at a HRK registered location); DSD II, if less than continuous level C1; ZMP
  • telc Zertifikat C1 Hochschule, if result is „ausreichend“ or less than 151 points
  • Successful participation at DSH prepatory course at Goethe-University

Also the following educational qualifications:

  • International Baccalaureate (IB) with German as language A
  • completed university degree (in German) in D, CH, AT, BE, LI, LU

Exemption from the DSH

If you have the following language certifications you may be exempt from taking the DSH:

  • DSH-2 (at a HRK registered location)
  • TestDaF (German as a foreign language test): all results being at least at level TDN 4
  • Goethe certificate C2
  • KMK examination: German language diploma second class (DSD II) with level C1 throughout
  • Telc German C1 higher education: with a result of “satisfactory”, “good” or “very good”
  • KDS and GDS (Kleines/Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom – small/big German language certificate), Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP)
  • Deutsche Sprachprüfung II

Also the following educational qualifications:

  • Feststellungsprüfung (university assessment test; Studienkolleg) mit Prüfungsteil Deutsch
  • German Abitur (certification of eligibility for university entrance) or equivalent certificates from Austria, Switzerland or Liechtenstein (with German as first language)
  • Foreign certificates according to KMK-resolution (as of 02.06.1995 in the version from 23./24.03.2016) 
  • Intermediate school leaving certificate ("Mittlere Reife") at a school with German as main language (continuous lessons in German until graduation with the minimum grade „ausreichend“ in German in the school leaving certificate) in combination with one of the following certificates: A-Level „German“ of the british General Certificate of Education, Higher Grade in „German“ in the scottish Certificate of Education or Standard Level in "German" of the IB Diploma

Frequently asked questions concerning the DSH and proof of language skills

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Can I take the DSH at Goethe University even though I don’t plan to study there?

As long as you have a letter of admission to a German university you may sign up to take the DSH at Goethe University. If you wish to register as an external candidate who wants to study at a different university, please register in good time with the admissions office of the International Study Centre ISZ – at least two weeks before the examination date. Confirmation of your participation by the International Study Centre (ISZ) is a prerequisite for taking the DSH examination.

Can I take the DSH multiple times?

Yes, you can take the DSH multiple times. The examination fee is 105 Euro for applicants who take part in the DSH preparatory courses of the ISZ, and 120 Euro for external applicants.

What should I do if I wish to take a DSH course but don’t get a place?

You can apply for a language course at a private language school. Please make sure you attend an intensive course (about 20 hours per week).

Can I continue to improve my knowledge of German throughout the course of my studies?

The International Study Centre ISZ offers the opportunity to take a German language course parallel to your main course of study once you register. The centre offers subject-specific as well as general courses. Further information on the courses offered parallel to a main course of study.

I would like to apply, but I don’t yet know any German at all. What does this mean for me?

With the exception of some Master’s programmes in English, all applicants to Goethe University must already have knowledge of German to a level of at least B1 (basic level) when they apply. Therefore, you must learn German (in Germany or abroad) and acquire the "Zertifikat Deutsch" (Certificate of German) or a different language certificate.