FAQs about studying for a second undergraduate degree

How is studying for a second undergraduate degree actually defined?

If you have already graduated from a higher education institution in Germany and you now want to apply for admission to an undergraduate programme in another subject, your application will be subject to the selection criteria for second-degree applicants. To have graduated from a German higher education institution (HEI) you must have successfully completed the final examination and assessment phase of a state-examined degree programme (Staatsexamen) or an HEI-examined degree programme (Diplom, Magister or Bachelor's). Please note that in the case of a law degree (Rechtswissenschaft) or a teacher-training degree (Lehramt), you will be deemed to have graduated after successfully completing the first state examination (Erste Staatsprüfung).

If you are studying Pharmaceutical Science, you will need to have successfully completed the second part of the pharmaceutical examination (Pharmazeutische Prüfung). If you are unsure about what constitutes successful completion of your degree programme, please ask for clarification from the relevant examinations office.

What is a German higher education institution?

Higher education institutions (HEIs) in Germany (Hochschulen) include universities, the former integrated higher education institutions (Gesamthochschulen), teacher training institutes (Pädagogische Hochschulen), higher education institutions specializing in music, art or sport (Musikhochschulen, Kunsthochschulen, Sporthochschulen), cooperative universities (Duale Hochschschulen), higher education establishments of the German military (Bundeswehrhochschulen), church-maintained higher education institutions (Kirchliche Hochschulen), universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) including colleges of public administration (Fachhochschulen für öffentliche Verwaltung). The following tertiary education institutions in Germany are not considered to be HEIs: cooperative education institutions (Berufsakademien), specialist vocational training colleges (Fachschulen, Ingenieurschulen).

Do entry restrictions apply?

Applications for admission to study for a second undergraduate degree are subject to restrictions as preference is given to applicants who have not already graduated from a German higher education institution. In local restricted-entry degree programmes, no more than five percent of the places will be made available to applicants seeking to study for a second undergraduate degree. Places will be allocated according to a points-based ranking system.

How are the ranking points awarded?

Ranking points are awarded based on the grade of the applicant's first degree and the relevance and significance of their reasons for studying for a second undergraduate degree. The following scheme is used to award ranking points according to the grade of the applicant's first degree:

  • 'Excellent' (ausgezeichnet) or 'Very good' (sehr gut): 4 points
  • 'Good' (gut) or 'Wholly satisfactory' (voll befriedigend) 3 points
  • 'Satisfactory' (befriedigend) 2 points • 'Sufficient' (ausreichend) 1 point
  • 'Grade not specified' (nicht nachgewiesen) 1 point
How do I provide proof of the grade awarded for my first degree?

The grade that you were awarded for your first degree must be included on the degree certificate or must be recorded on a separate document from the same office that issued your degree certificate. If you are unable to provide proof of the grade awarded for your first degree, you will receive the lowest number of ranking points ('grade not specified'). Applicants who have completed a medical degree may in certain cases not be able to provide proof of their overall grade due to specific provisions in the regulations governing the licensing of medical practitioners (Approbationsordnung). In such cases, applicants will need to include with their admission application appropriate certification from the relevant examinations office (e.g. official notification of the grade awarded by the examiners).

What are acceptable reasons for wanting to study for a second undergraduate degree and how many ranking points are awarded?

The following reasons are all deemed acceptable grounds for seeking to study for a second undergraduate degree and they are listed here with the corresponding ranking points in descending order:

Academic reasons: 11, 9 or 7 points
You are planning to pursue a career in academia or in research and you wish to earn a qualification in another academic discipline that complements your existing academic and practical/professional training. The number of ranking points awarded will depend on the relevance and significance of your reasons, what you have already achieved academically and/or professionally, and the extent to which your reasons are of general interest.

Compelling professional reasons: 9 points
You plan to pursue a career that requires you to have completed two undergraduate degrees. You must state the profession in which you wish to work and there must be a legal requirement specifying that this professional activity can only be undertaken once you have completed the second academic qualification (that you are now applying for) in addition to your existing university qualification.

Special professional reasons: 7 points
The second undergraduate qualification will complement your existing university degree in a meaningful way, thereby substantially improving your professional prospects. This is the case when your intended field of work is essentially a combination of the professional activities associated with two separate undergraduate degrees and graduates from either one of these programmes alone would not normally be capable of working in the intended field. You must also provide evidence that you are actively seeking to work in the stated field.

Other professional reasons: 4 points
You need to study for a second undergraduate degree due to your current personal professional situation. This might be to compensate for inequitable or adverse professional circumstances or to broaden the employment opportunities currently offered by your first-degree qualification.

Other reasons: 1 point

Will I acquire additional ranking points if I am seeking to return to work after taking time out to look after a child or other family member?

If you are planning to start or restart employment after taking time out to look after a child or other member of your family, you can earn up to two ranking points when applying to study for a second undergraduate degree. These additional points will be awarded to applicants who had to stop work for family-related reasons (e.g. raising children) or who were not able to take up appropriate employment after completing their first degree due to a significant life event or family issues at that time. The number of ranking points awarded will reflect the nature and extent of the applicant's care responsibilities (e.g. number of children, duration of parental or carer leave). Please submit appropriate proof and supporting documents (birth certificate, documentary proof of the periods spent caring for children or supporting family members with care needs, etc.).

Can the ranking points for several different reasons be counted together?

If you have specified several different reasons for wanting to study for a second undergraduate degree, the reason that awards you the highest number of ranking points will be taken into account. Please note that these ranking points will not be counted cumulatively except in the case of applicants whose application for admission to study for a second degree was delayed for family-related reasons (see above). In this case, the ranking point(s) will be awarded additionally.

How is the final ranking position calculated?

The ranking points awarded for your first university degree and those awarded based on your reasons for wanting to study for a second degree will be added together to form your ranking score. The ranking score determines your position in the ranked list of applicants seeking admission to study for a second degree. Applicants with higher ranking scores will take precedence over those with lower scores. If two or more applicants have the same ranking score, their position in the list will be determined on the basis of additional selection criteria. Preference will be given to those who have completed a period of officially recognized voluntary service. This also applies to those applicants who have cared for a child or adolescent under the age of 18 or have supported a family member with care needs for up to three years or who can credibly show that they have undertaken care duties of this type for at least six months prior to the application date. In all other cases, final ranking positions will be determined by drawing lots.