The language of instruction in all Bachelor's and Master's courses of study at RWTH is German, with only a few exceptions. You must prove you have the required language skills for your chosen course of study – usually with a recognized language certificate.
You can find out which language certificates are accepted for your chosen course of study in the document in the yellow box opposite.
Exemptions from the German language certificate
All applicants who have a school leaving qualification from Germany, Luxemburg, Austria, the German-speaking part of Switzerland, or the German-speaking communities in East Belgium and South Tyrol are exempt from the German language certificate requirement.
All applicants who hold a first degree in German that was issued by a German university – including universities of applied sciences – are also exempt.
Exemptions from the English language certificate
All applicants who have a school leaving qualification or first degree in English that was issued by an institution in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or the US are exempt from the English language certificate requirement. The school leaving qualification or first degree must have been completed in one of the countries listed above.
Please note that having German citizenship or citizenship of an English-speaking country, even those listed above, does not in and of itself exempt you from the respective language certificate requirement.
Submitting the Language Certificate
You usually have to provide proof of your language skills when it is time for you to enroll. You can therefore first apply without submitting the valid language certificate. You will however be refused the opportunity to enroll if you cannot provide proof of the required skills during the usual enrollment period. We would also like to point out that it is not possible to start a course of study, take a language exam, and then submit the certificate retrospectively, after you have been enrolled.
Language Requirements for Doctoral Studies
Your supervisor will usually check whether it is necessary for you to provide a language certificate to be able to pursue your doctoral studies. You may indeed have to take a language exam, so please discuss this with your supervisor early on.
Acquiring German Skills
In Your Home Country
Sound language skills are a prerequisite for you to be successful in your studies in Germany. Applicants from non-EU countries can only get a residency permit for the purpose of learning German for a limited period – typically twelve months.
Therefore, we highly recommend you acquire basic German skills in your home country wherever you have the opportunity to do so. Learning German at home can prevent lengthy language stays in Germany, where you cannot be certain of passing the required language exam at the end.
- The legal basis for providing proof that you fulfill the required language skills is § 49, paragraphs 8 and 10 of the current edition of the Higher Education Act of North Rhine-Westphalia.
- You can find more information in the Ordinance for the German Language Exam University Admission of International Applicants – DSH, and in the Comprehensive Examination Regulations for all Bachelor's and Master's Courses of Study at RWTH, which are complemented by the examination regulations for each course of study.
Please look into language-learning opportunities in Germany and your home country and consider the time and expenses involved in such preparatory courses. The many Goethe Institutes around the world offer German courses at every level. Deutsch-Uni-Online, or DUO offers supported Online Language Courses.
The University offers German language courses for prospective students to prepare them for pursuing their studies. You can find information on the prerequisites, application process, and fees on the Language Center's website.