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Is it necessary to learn German to study in Germany?

Many young people all over the world dream of studying in Germany. For good reasons, Germany has some of the best Universities in the world, and compared to some other countries, student loans are practically non-existent.

A question that you might ask yourself when thinking about studying in Germany, is “Is it necessary to learn German to study in Germany?

In this article, we will not only give you an answer to this question but also outline what exactly will be necessary for you to make your dreams of studying abroad come true!

Can you study in Germany for free?


Everybody can study in Germany tuition-free, whether you’re German, European, or even Non-European, you can study free of charge!

To study tuition-free in Germany, you can go to any public university! Don’t worry, there are over 300 public universities all over Germany, and more than 1000 study programs, so you will have plenty to choose from!

Some of the largest public universities are:

  • University of Cologne
  • Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
  • Goethe University Frankfurt
  • University of Münster
  • University of Hamburg

But of course, there are many more!

Studying in Germany is free because Germany believes that education should not be treated as a commercial product. 

This does not have an impact on quality, however. Germany’s universities are among the best in the world!

Do you have to learn German?

In short, yes.

Before you get discouraged, there are some exceptions!

If you plan on studying an international major which won’t be taught in German, then proof of knowing the language is not necessary for studying.

Most studies are in German, however, and for these, you need proof of language proficiency.

This proof can be acquired either through the DSH (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber) or TestDAF (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache).

Another exception to having to take these tests is if one of the following is true for you:

  • you got the “Abitur” in German (High School Diploma)
  • you have the Goethe Certificate (C2: Big German Language Diploma)
  • you have the German Language Diploma (level 2) of the “Kultusministerkonferenz”
  • you passed the exam “Telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule

What else do I need to study?

In order to study in Germany, you will need a couple of things on top of your proof of language proficiency.


This is basically the proof of having finished secondary school, which you would also need in your home country to start studying.

Every country is different, but acceptable proof of secondary school could be:

  • High School Diploma
  • Matura
  • A-Levels
  • Bachellirato

This is definitely enough for all EU-States. Whether your proof of secondary school is sufficient or whether you might need to take another test to prove eligibility, you can check here.

Worst case, you need to take a Feststellungsprüfung, which will prove that you have enough knowledge to study at a university.

To avoid this altogether, you could get a Bachelor’s degree in your home country and then directly start studying in Germany.


Anyone from a non-EU state is required to have a visa to study in Germany. There are some exceptions like Switzerland, Australia, Canada, the USA, and New Zealand, for these, the requirements are a bit different.

The different types of Visas are:

  • Language Course Visa (this is NOT to study, this is for learning the language, and afterward you will have to apply for a separate Study Visa)
  • Study Applicant Visa for 3 months (this is if you have not been accepted to university yet. Once you have been accepted, you will have to change this visa to a Study Visa)
  • Study Visa for one year (you can get this after being accepted to university and have proof of sufficient funds)

Proof of sufficient Funds

To get a Study Visa in Germany, you have to prove that you will have sufficient funds to take care of yourself throughout your studies.

Most of the time, you will need to prove that you have the “Regelbedarf” (requirement) covered, which will be 10332 Euros for one year.

There are different ways to go about this. Your parents could provide proof of having enough money to cover for you, you can provide a locked bank account with sufficient funds, a German citizen could commit to taking care of you financially, or you get an official scholarship. 

Health Insurance

Last but not least, you will need health insurance to study in Germany. In order to apply to university, you need proof of having valid health insurance.

You can check whether or not your insurance covers you even in Germany. If not, there are options to get insurance in Germany. This will cost around 110 Euros a month! 

Take the plunge!

As you see, there are quite some things to take into consideration before studying in Germany, but it’s really not too bad!

If you dream of studying in Berlin, Frankfurt, or Munich, don’t give up on this dream!

There are plenty of places that can help prepare you for exams you might need to take, as well as with documents you will need to provide.

Sometimes it’s a lot easier to get some help with these things, but there are plenty of resources online to help you out!

If you already have a specific university in mind, then you could even contact them directly and see if they can somehow help in the process!

Whether you already speak German fluently or need to practice more, studying in Germany will give you an amazing opportunity to improve your language skills, on top of being an incredible cultural experience, of course!

Good luck!

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