Language requirements for international students

The language of instruction in all undergraduate degree programmes as well as the majority of Master’s degree programmes at Heidelberg University is German. Therefore, very good German language skills are a vital requirement in order to successfully complete an academic programme at Heidelberg University.

German language skills do not have to be proven for English-language Master's degree programmes.

Generally, the German language test for the admission to universities (DSH) must first be passed at minimum the level DSH-2 and must be proven at the time of enrolment. Some degree programmes require an even higher level, and in some cases the language proficiency must be proven as part of the application process. Please find more details in the section “Special Requirements”.

At the time of enrolment the required German language skills must be proven in the form of a certificate which must be submitted along with the enrolment documents. If the degree programme requires German language skills equivalent to a level DSH-2, the following examinations/certificates will be accepted:

  • Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz (German Language Diploma of the Conference of German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs), Level 2 
  • Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (German language test for the admission to universities (DSH)), Level 2 
  • Goethe-Zertifikat C2 
  • Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Test German as a Foreign Language), TestDaF, if all test components were passed with minimum the result TDN 4 
  • Diploma of the “Feststellungsprüfung” (assessment test to determine the eligibility of foreign applicants for studies at institutions of higher education in Germany) 
  • Österreichisches Sprachdiplom ÖSD C2
  • Gemischtsprachiges Internationales Baccaulaureate (GIB) at schools in foreign countries with German lessons
  • telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule certificate 
  • Language Certificate or proof of German in a foreign school-leaving certificate which - in accordance with bilateral agreements - is recognised as sufficient proof of language proficiency for admission to higher education (attached to the current valid framework of the Kultusministerkonferen (KMK))

Please find further information on the regulations of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) for the proof of German language proficiency for the enrolment at the university in the corresponding framework.


International applicants do not need any of the above certificates if:

  • Your native language is German (e.g. you come from German-speaking Switzerland) (please upload your identity card/passport as proof in the application portal instead of the required language certificate)
  • You have already obtained a German-language university degree at a German university (please upload your degree certificate as proof in the application portal instead of the required language certificate)
  • You would like to enrol for a short-term study programme or a transitional research stay and do not need any German language skills for this according to your confirmation of supervision (please upload your confirmation of supervision as proof in the application portal instead of the required language certificate)

Registration for the DSH exam

If the required German language certificate cannot be presented at the time of application, applicants admitted to a degree programme at Heidelberg University can register for participation in the DSH at Internationales Studienzentrum of Heidelberg University. More information on the registration for the exam will be sent to you with the letter of admission.

Please note that only applicants with a letter of admission for a degree programme for the following semester at Heidelberg University can take the DSH.

Time and location of the DSH will be communicated after successful registration for the exam. The fee of 100 € must be paid in cash on the examination date (before taking the exam). In general, the DSH takes place at the end of September for enrolment in the winter semester and at the end of March for the summer semester. It comprises a written and an oral component.

Please refer to the website of Internationales Studienzentrum (ISZ) for more information on the exam parts (including examples of DSH examinaton questions), the evaluation, and the fees.


The following degree programmes have special language requirements: 

  • Bachelor/Master Comparative German Studies 
  • Master German Studies 
  • Master German as a Foreign Language / German as a Second Language
  • Master Conference Interpreting 
  • LL.M. (Magister Legum) Law 


The following degree programmes have special language requirements which must be proven already at the time of application: 

  • Bachelor Psychology*
  • State Examination Medicine*
  • State Examination Dentistry*
  • State Examination Pharmacy*
  • State Examination Law*


The following degree programme requires level DSH-2 or an equivalent level which must be proven already at the time of application: 

  • Bachelor Molecular Biotechnology*
  • Master Molecular Biotechnology
  • Bachelor Biosciences (100%)*
  • Bachelor Biology (50%)*
  • Bachelor Biochemistry*
  • Master of Education Programmes


*Application procedure for Non EU-/EWR-citizens with a foreign higher education qualification

The required language levels can be found in the respective admission regulations or on the websites of the subjects. 



Many degree programmes include language skills in modern and old languages as a requirement in their prerequisites for enrolment. These can be made up for during the course of studies if applicants do not have the language requirements or do not have the required level at the time of enrolment.  

Information on whether you require foreign language skills for a degree programme and at which level can be found in the respective examination rules and regulations. The examination and degree programme rules and regulations can be found in our download centre. For more specific information, students should contact the academic advisory services.