Study with a vocational qualification

Mechanic at work
© auremar / Fotolia

Persons who hold a foreign vocational qualification which has been recognised as equivalent may be admitted to an institute of higher education in Germany without being in possession of a school higher education entrance qualification.


The usual prerequisite for entering higher education in Germany is an upper secondary school leaving certificate/general higher education entrance qualification or another school qualification which provides an entitlement to enter higher education. Notwithstanding this, applicants with vocational qualifications who are not in possession of an upper secondary school leaving certificate/general higher education entrance qualification or a University of Applied Sciences entrance qualification may be admitted to a course of higher education under certain circumstances (Resolution of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of 6 March 2009: "Hochschulzugang für beruflich qualifizierte Bewerber ohne schulische Hochschulzugangsberechtigung" – "Access to higher education for applicants with vocational qualifications who are not in possession of a school higher education entrance qualification. Candidates who have completed a two-year course of vocational education and training and have at least three years of occupational practice may present themselves to institutes of higher education for an aptitude test in a subject of study which is professionally related to the occupation in which they are qualified (“subject-specific higher education entrance qualification”). Like the upper secondary school leaving certificate, advanced vocational training qualifications completed (e.g. master craftsman qualifications in the craft trades, certified senior clerk qualifications and technician qualifications) enjoy the status of “general higher education entrance qualification” and can be used to apply for any course of higher education study in Germany. The institute of higher education selected will then decide whether a candidate should be awarded a place.

This provision also applies, of course, to holders of foreign vocational qualifications which have been recognised as equivalent to a German training qualification in accordance with the recognition rules of the Federal Government or federal states. Such a notice of equivalence means that you have the same rights to apply for a place at a German institute of higher education as someone who has acquired a vocational qualification in Germany.

For further information, please contact your chosen institute of higher education (“Higher Education Compass” information platform) or the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).

Further information on the topic of higher education study in Germany is available here.

If you are a national of a third state, you may need to apply for an amendment to your residence permit when you begin your course of study. For further information, please contact the relevant immigration authorities at your place of study.