- Rund ums Studium
German is the language of instruction in most study programmes at Lower Saxony’s universities. Therefore, sufficient knowledge of the German language is a basic requirement for studying in Lower Saxony. For most study programmes, you will be asked to prove that you have reached at least level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) at the time of your application.
International or English-taught study programmes may be exempt from this rule. In these cases, language certificates for English and/or other relevant languages are likely to be required. Exchange students may also be exempt from proving German language skills.
To study in Lower Saxony, you need a good command of at least intermediate German for most study programmes. You can prove your proficiency by completing a German test successfully.
There are three tests especially for university admission:
TestDaF – short for "Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache" (= "Test of German as a foreign language") is a standardised language test of German for non-native German speakers. You can take this test either in one of almost 100 countries around the world, or in Germany. It is offered three to six times a year.
The examination consists of four parts: Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, Written Production and Oral Production. Each part is graded separately and assigned to one of three different levels: TestDaF level TDN 3, TDN 4 or TDN 5.
For the admission to a university in Lower Saxony you will generally have to reach at least level TDN 4 in each part of the exam. The TestDaF levels correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels B2 – C1.
The examination fee ranges from 90 to 175 Euro, depending on the country in which the test is taken. For more information, see www.testdaf.de (available in 17 languages).
DSH – short for "Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang" (= „German Language Examination für University Admission“) can only be taken in Germany. Many universities in Lower Saxony offer the exam several times a year.
First, there is a written examination with three parts (Written Production, Listening Comprehension and Reading Comprehension). If you pass the written exam succesfully, you will be admitted to an oral examination, which takes place a few weeks later. The results are assigned to one of three levels: DSH-1, DSH-2 and DSH-3.
For the admission to a university in Lower Saxony you will generally have to reach at least level DSH-2 in both parts of the exam. The DSH levels correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels B2 – C1.
The examination fee ranges from 70 to 160 Euro, depending on the university. Some universities offer additional (chargeable) preparation courses. For more information, contact the International Office of your university of choice.
The exam telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule can be taken in more than 3.000 examination centres around the world. Exams are offered regularly throughout the year, but on request and for an additional fee you can also take the exam upon request . However, individual exams need to be registered with the telc-examination centre at least 30 days before the exam date.
There is a written examination with three parts (Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, Writing) and an oral examination, which is usually a group exam with two or three candidates. The oral and the written part of the examination can take place on the same day or on different days.
By passing the examination you prove that your German language skills have reached level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This will qualify you to apply for a study programme in Lower Saxony.
Please ask your examination centre about the exact exam fee. In exam centres in Lower Saxony, the fee ranges between 140 und 215 Euro. For more informatione see www.telc.net.
You will find a comparison between TestDaF and DSH as PDF download (in German only) on the web page of Leibniz University Hannover’s Centre for Applied Linguistics and Special Languages ("Fachsprachenzentrum" or "FSZ").
If one of the following cases applies to you, you will be exempt from taking one of the above-mentioned German examinations: