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. 



Before applicants can start their programme at Heidelberg University, the German language test for the admission to universities (DSH) must first be passed at minimum the level DSH-2. Some degree programmes require a higher level. 

If a passed German examination cannot be certified at the time of application, admitted applicants must pass the DSH at Heidelberg University at the required level prior to enrolment. In order to pass the DSH at the level DSH-2, applicants should have participated in at least 1000 to 1200 hours of German lessons at a reputable institute. Supporting documents should be included in the application. 

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. 

The fee must be paid in cash on the examination date. Time and location of the DSH are communicated in the letter of admission. Please note that only applicants with a letter of admission for the respective semester at Heidelberg University can take the DSH. 

Examples of DSH examination questions can be found by following the adjacent link. 


Applicants can be exempted from the DSH - in accordance with the framework on German language university entrance examinations (RO-DT) of the the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) of 25 June 2004 in the version of HRK of 23 July 2020 and KMK of 28 November 2019 - if they submit one of the following certificates with the application for admission: 

  • 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 (as of summer term 2021)
  • telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule certificate 
  • Certificates in accordance with bilateral agreements with other countries 


The following degree programmes have special language requirements: 

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

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.