Language Proficiency for a Study Abroad

Admission to a university outside of Germany generally requires that you prove a certain level of language proficiency at the point of application.

English-speaking universities generally make use of standardised language texts. Universities in the United States generally prefer to use the TOEFL test, whilst universities in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand ask that students complete the IELTS test. This also applies where students intend to study at a university outside of Germany as part of an exchange programme (exception:  Great Britain).

Students are also expected to prove their language proficiency when applying for grants or scholarships.

Language tests for applications for funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) can be taken at the Language Centre at the heiSKILLS Competence and Language Centre of Heidelberg University. To arrange this, please contact the relevant lecturer or teacher and arrange an appropriate time and date for the language test. Please note that the high level of demand in the winter semester in particular, can result in longer waiting times for appointments. The form for the DAAD language certificate can be found on the website of the DAAD.

Applications for the ERASMUS exchange programme or for an alternative exchange programme offered by Heidelberg University also require proof of language proficiency. For more information on the skills and levels required for certification (TOEFL or other language certificate), please refer to information provided below for each type of text. The form for certification as part of an exchange programme can be collected from Infozimmer 119 at the University’s International Relations Office. The examinations for certification can be taken at the Language Centre at the heiSKILLS Competence and Language Centre of Heidelberg University.

Many host institutions organise intensive language courses, which take place before the beginning of lectures, in the language spoken in the host country. Information on these (and also on possible financial support), is available from the International Relations Offices at the respective host institutions.

Language certificates

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

This test is competed in Germany and is taken on a computer (ibT - internet-based test). It consists in four parts: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The oral part is recorded by microphone. The test can be taken at many test centers in Germany, including the University of Heidelberg, and costs about $265 (credit card payment). Regular test appointments are available. Please ensure that you book a test sufficiently in advance - a hard copy of results will take a minimum of six weeks to arrive. Results can be seen online a week after completion of the test.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

The IELTS is a language test from Great Britain and, like the TOEFL, consists of four parts: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking, but differs in the style of questioning. The IELTS can be taken at various test centers. The additional test option IELTS Online is not recognized by all partner universities, so we advise you to make an appointment at a test center in time. The cost is approximately 240 euros.