Knowledge of German
The language of instruction in all undergraduate programmes and in the majority of graduate pro-grammes at Heidelberg University is German. Accordingly, if students are to be successful in their coursework, they must be proficient in German when they begin their studies here. The German proficiency examination at Heidelberg University is the “Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschul-zugang (DSH)”. In order to be able to enrol, applicants must achieve a minimum score of DSH-2 in this examination. Some study programmes require a higher level of German knowledge.
To be admitted to Heidelberg University, applicants do not have to present a DSH certificate with their application if they have not yet passed such an exam. In case of admission to a study pro-gramme, the applicant must pass the DSH examination at Heidelberg University before he or she can enrol.
The DSH exam is usually taken at the end of September if the study programme starts in the winter semester and at the end of March if the study programme starts in the summer semester. The exam consists of a written and an oral test.
The fee (current rates at www.isz.uni-heidelberg.de/e_pruef_dsh.html) must be paid in cash on the day of the exam. In case of admission, information on the time and place of the DSH examination is given in the letter of admission. Please note that the DSH exam can only be taken by students who have been admitted to Heidelberg University (students must be in possession of a letter of admission).
To pass the DSH exam at the DSH-2 level, applicants are expected to have completed at least 1,000-1,200 hours of German language instruction at a recognised institution (e.g. the Goethe-Institute). Proof of this must be included in the application dossier.
Sample questions from the DSH exam are available online at
Student applicants can be exempt from the DSH – according to RO-DT of the HRK (ruling of the KMK from 25.06.2004, version of 12.11.2015) – if one of the following certificates considered equivalent to the DSH is submitted with the application for admission:
- “Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz – Zweite Stufe”
- Registered “Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) – Stufe 2”
- “Großes [or] Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom” of the Goethe-Institut
- “Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP)” of the Goethe-Institut
- “Goethe-Zertifikat C2” of the Goethe-Institut, issued from January 1, 2012
- “Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF)”, if graded TDN 4 or better in all examinations
- “Zeugnis der Prüfung zur Feststellung der Eignung ausländischer Studienbewerber für die Aufnahme eines Studiums an den Hochschulen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland” (so-called “Feststellungsprüfung”)
- a certificate of ”telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule”
- an equivalent certificate based on a bilateral treaty with another country
Special German-language requirements for degree programmes “Germanistik im Kulturvergleich” (Bachelor of Arts / Master of Arts)
Special German-language requirements for degree programme "Master of Laws in German Law" (LL.M. - Magister Legum), degree programme (“Konferenzdolmetschen” (Master of Arts), degree programme "Deutsch als Zweitsprache" (Master of Arts)
Special German-language requirements for the degree programme “Germanistik” (Master of Arts)
The following German language courses are offered by the university to help applicants improve the standard of their German before entering a study course.
Kolleg für deutsche Sprache und Kultur at the Internationales Studienzentrum (ISZ)
The Kolleg für deutsche Sprache und Kultur of the ISZ offers intensive German language courses
with a minimum of 20 hours of instruction per week at various levels (elementary, intermediate and advanced; A1-C1). Certain courses are designed to prepare students for the German proficiency examination (DSH) and the entrance examination of the Studienkolleg. There are two possible ways to apply for a place in one of the university’s German courses:
- Students who wish to learn German for one or two semesters before applying for a place in a degree programme (undergraduate or graduate) can apply directly to the ISZ. In this case, the application is only for the German language course and does not include the application for a study place in a subsequent study programme (cf. 2). Detailed information about fees and the application procedure can be found at www.isz.uni-heidelberg.de/e_anmeld.html.
- You can apply with the International Relations Office for a place in the German language course and, at the same time, to a study place in a subsequent undergraduate degree programme. The German course lasts at least one semester. The subsequent study programme cannot be started unless the DSH exam has been passed at the requested level. Only a very limited number of places in the language courses are available to the International Relations Office, and it is therefore not possible to guarantee a place in a language course for all students who have requested it in their application. Please note as well that this option is only available to undergraduate applicants. All other applicants must apply for a place in the language course directly through the ISZ (cf. 1) and cannot combine this with their application for a study place.
Please note that if you wish to apply for a place in one of the university’s German language courses, you must opt for one of the two ways described above. It is not possible to apply to the ISZ (cf. 1) and to the International Relations Office (cf. 2) for a place in a German language course at the same time.
It is also not possible to take an intensive German language course at the Kolleg für deutsche Sprache und Kultur and, at the same time, start the study programme at Heidelberg University.
For those interested only in learning German, the International Summer School (Internationaler Ferienkurs) of Heidelberg University offers four-week German courses at various levels (elementary, intermediate and advanced) as well as special courses for foreign German teachers and courses in business German. Further information about fees and the registration procedure can be found online at www.uni-heidelberg.de/ifk/index_en.html.