German language requirements

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Language requirements granting direct admission to study

To apply for direct admission to study at Goethe University - beginning with summer semester 2019 (application deadline 15.01.2019) - along with your application you will have to prove German language proficiency at level DSH-2 (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang).

If you have the following language certifications you may be granted direct admission to study:

  • 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

In the following cases an individual exemption is possible:

  • completed vocational training (abgeschlossene Berufsausbildung) in Germany
  • German school certificate of completed 10th grade at a German High School (Gymnasium) or secondary school certificate (Realschulabschlusses/Mittlere Reife) from Germany in Deutschland in conjunction with other certificates proving German language proficiency

In those cases please contact Herrn Dr. Wollert, head of the Internationales Studienzentrums at Goethe University Frankfurt.

German language requirements for DSH prepatory course or the prepatory college

If you do not have any of the above mentioned proofs of language proficiency you will have to attend DSH preparatory course or preparatory college (Studienkolleg) first, before starting your studies.

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

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

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.

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.