Admission to studies
For admission to studies at a German higher education institution, applicants must hold a study entrance qualification or higher education entrance qualification.
To qualify for admission to studies at a research university, applicants must hold a general (all subjects) respectively a subject-specific higher education entrance qualification; or alternatively must have passed a talent or aptitude test. These two alternative routes are called "study entrance qualifications without formal higher education entrance qualification" by the official higher education statistics and are found particularly often among students enrolled at colleges of art and music.
To qualify for studies at an FH university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule), applicants must hold a general higher education respectively a Fachhochschule entrance qualification. Admission to studies at FH universities of public administration (Verwaltungsfachhochschulen) is fundamentally based on the same conditions as defined in the public service/civil service employment act. Students at these latter institutions are frequently given the status of candidate civil servants when they pass a selection process. For German students, studies at an FH university of public administration are simultaneously regarded as practical professional training for positions in the public administration (federal and state) and are governed by the civil service employment act.
The higher education entrance qualification serves as proof of the holder's formal aptitude for a course of higher education studies. Applicants may be required to meet additional conditions for admission and enrolment or for allocation of a study place. This is particularly the case when demand for study places in a specific degree programme is much greater than the number of available places and access is consequently restricted by means of a numerus clausus (grade point average of the school leaving certificate).
Individuals who are nationals of another country (not Germany) can gain their higher education entrance qualification at a German or a foreign school. The question as to whether the foreign school leaving certificate is recognised as a higher education entrance qualification for admission to a German higher education institution is determined by the German authorities or is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, qualifications from a foreign school may have to be complemented by attendance of a German Studienkolleg (preparatory course for higher education admission).
Bildungsinlaender are foreign students who gained their higher education entrance qualification at a German school or who passed a talent or aptitude test in Germany.
Bildungsauslaender are foreign students who gained their higher education entrance qualification at a foreign school; they still fall under this category, even if they had to attend a Studienkolleg in Germany.