Applicants who obtained their secondary school-leaving certificate outside the EU (and NOT in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or from official German schools abroad) and want to start their studies in medicine at a German university have to apply directly to the university or via uni-assist. For this group, the application process to study medicine in Germany is not much different from that to other subjects. To access the websites of universities that offer medical studies in Germany in order to find the information on the respective courses’ application procedures and requirements for international students, check out our article on universities to study medicine.
How likely is it that I will get admitted?
5% of study spots at each university are reserved for foreign students from outside the EU in an extraordinary quota for internationals. If you are in this group of applicants, have performed outstandingly in your high school career, you have a chance to score one of these reserved spots.
Because the applications of foreign students are administered by the universities directly, there is no general rule of which requirements the individual programs have. As a rule of thumb, each university will require excellent German skills and an excellent GPA. Some universities admit foreign students based on their GPA only, in which case successful students often have a straight-A record.
Other criteria that may be considered by some universities may include:
- Professional training in a medical field,
- Volunteer Service.
You may resort to making your application stronger by, for example, doing a relevant internship in your home country.
Furthermore, there is a test specifically designed for international students. The TestAS is required by some universities (e.g. RWTH Aachen University) and can give you some bonus points in application procedures of universities where it is not explicitly required.
If you do your own research, do not confuse the TestAS with the TMS aptitude test: For students from within the EU, there is the TMS medical aptitude test. Since applicants from outside the EU take part in the separate selection procedure, taking the TMS, which is the medical aptitude test German and EU students take, is not necessary for their application and therefore not recommendable.
At the end of the day, you should also focus on scoring excellent grades throughout your high-school years, since a good GPA is often the most relevant criteria according to which international students from outside the EU are selected.
What if my secondary school certificate of completion does not qualify me to apply to a German university directly?
If your secondary school certificate of completion qualifies you to enter the German higher education system and start your medical studies directly or not, depends on where you got your high school diploma. As a general rule, most students from outside the EU can enter a German university directly. Find out if your diploma will be considered equivalent to the German system on this website!
For students who cannot start their medical studies directly, there is the option to attend a preparatory year in Germany and visit the so-called Studienkolleg. This is common for many foreign students looking to study in Germany after their secondary school.
What is the Studienkolleg to study medicine in Germany?
To be able to study medicine at a German university, you need to visit the Medicine course at a Studienkolleg. This is the only preparatory course that allows international students who need to visit a Studienkolleg to start their medical studies in Germany. In the M-Course you acquire relevant subject-knowledge to study medicine. The Studienkolleg also helps you improve your German. The course ends with the Feststellungsprüfung, an assessment test which upon successful completion, qualifies you to study medicine in Germany.
Even if it appears as a bummer to lose one year of time in the Studienkolleg, it can be a blessing in disguise. If you have the chance, we would therefore recommend you take the opportunity and take the year to prepare. Here are some advantages:
- If you graduate from the Studienkolleg with good grades, your overall GPA can improve: In the application, many universities calculate your GPA based on your high school grades AND the Feststellungsprüfung.
- It makes the German language criteria easier: If you apply to study medicine, you typically need a C1 level of German, which is hard to obtain. You can get admitted to a Studienkolleg with a B1 or B2 level and use the time to improve your language skills and learn vocabulary that is relevant for the subject of medicine.
- You have a year to settle in and start feeling at home in Germany so that when the stressful medical study program starts, you can fully focus on that.
Applicants outside the EU can skip the Studienkolleg if they start studying medicine in their home country and then transfer to a German university.
I have already started or completed my medical studies abroad. Can I continue them in Germany to become a doctor?
For students who have started their medical studies abroad and wish to transfer to a German university, they may face difficulties in getting their courses recognized. As is explained in our article on how to study medicine in Germany, the German medical curriculum follows a set structure. Therefore, it may be difficult to compare this to other countries’ curricula. This is why you may experience difficulties in getting your courses or practical internships recognized.
To find out what applies in your case, it is important that you contact the universities you are interested in, directly. Most likely, your previous study experience may be a way to waive the Studienkolleg requirement for applicants from outside the EU and partake in the application process to the university directly.
If you are a practicing physician in your country already and would like to transfer to Germany, doctors from outside the EU will experience some hurdles: In many cases, doctors from abroad who were not trained within the EU need to get their qualifications recognized in order to start working in Germany as a medical physician. To get the process started, and to provide you with further information, there is a useful tool provided by the German government that provides you with an overview of what steps to take.