- Rund ums Studium
To study in Lower Saxony you need a so-called "Higher Education Entrance Qualification" – in German: "Hochschulzugangsberechtigung" or "HZB" for short – as proof that you are qualified to take up university studies in Germany. As a rule, this can be confirmed by your school-leaving certificate, provided that it qualifies you to study in your home country as well. This case is known as "direct university admission."
For a non-binding assessment whether your school-leaving certificate will be recognised as a higher education entrance qualification before the actual application, you can use either the DAAD online admission database (English and German), or the more extensive Anabin database (in German only). Simply enter the country in which you received your school-leaving certificate.
You will then receive one of the following assessments:
You may apply for certain artistic or musical study programmes without a higher education entrance qualification if you can prove that you are especially gifted (within the meaning of the law NHG § 18, Section 5). Depending on the university or the study programme, you have to demonstrate your talent by submitting a work portfolio and/or by passing an aptitude test. International students also have to prove adequate proficiency in German by providing a recognised language certificate.
N.B.: The application deadlines for study programmes with aptitude tests end much earlier than those for most other study programmes. Check the website of your university of choice well ahead of time for admission details – ideally 1.5 to 2 years before you would like to begin your studies in Lower Saxony.
Ultimately, the decision concerning your admission will always be made by the university to which you apply. Therefore, it is advisable to contact the university’s International Office to make sure that you know about and meet all admission requirements before you hand in your application.
If your school-leaving certificate is not sufficient for university admission, you will have to take an additional University Entrance Examination (sometimes also known as "University Entrance Assessment Examination", or German: "Feststellungsprüfung"). You will be tested on your knowledge of the German language as well as subject-specific knowledge relevant for your desired field of study. Once you pass the examination, you will earn the qualification for subject-restricted study.
Most applicants prepare for this examination in a two-semester foundation course (German: "Studienkolleg"). In Lower Saxony, these courses are offered by Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg. Since places in the foundation course are high in demand, you will have to take an entry exam. Only the best candidates in this test will be offered a place in the foundation course. Excellent preparation for the entry exam is therefore crucial.
You can also take the university entrance examination as an "external applicant", without attending courses at Studienkolleg first. This, however, is not recommended due to low pass rates among external exam candidates.
You will find further information regarding the qualification assessment examination and Niedersächsisches Studienkolleg here.
In this video, Ana from Brasil gives you a summary of what you need to know about admission requirements: