Finding your dream study program can be a bit stressful, especially when you are looking to study in a foreign country. Many students look at study programs in Germany because of the tuition-free public universities which are open to all students, including non-EU students.
Something to keep an eye out for is the application process - requirements, deadlines, certificates, etc. - which programs have for their international students. Usually, the application process is different for international students since their certificates such as educational diplomas, language certificates, and other official documents will not be in German and come from countries all over the globe.
To ease the application process for both international students and universities, there is a national service provider used as a mediator for many German universities which process all such application procedures for international students: it's called uni-assist.
uni-assist is in charge of processing all application materials and documents from international students and many universities across Germany use this tool. Students who wish to apply to study programs that use uni-assist cannot avoid the process. It may sound overwhelming but don't stress, we're going to break it all down for you!
What is uni-assist in Germany?
uni-assist is a tool which is used by universities to help them process international student applications. They also support international students who are interested in applying to German universities.
uni-assist does this by providing general information about the application process online and processing relevant application documents required by universities for the admissions process. Though universities evaluate student applications and ultimately decide on which students are admitted, uni-assist processes the application materials and facilitates the admission process. uni-assist does this by:
- Evaluating official certificates to determine whether they fulfill the criteria for studying in Germany.
- Converting grades (e.g. GPA) to the German grading system.
- Checking all admission requirements of your universities of choice.
- Registering all data and documents required for the university of your choice’s admissions procedure.
- Informing students about the evaluation results.
Further ReadingUni-assist: A guide for international students (2022/2023)
Special Case: Vorprüfungsdokumentation (VPD)
Some universities have their application process directly with the university and just use uni-assist to verify the documents required to apply. Through this process, once students have documents verified by uni-assist, they receive a Vorprüfungsdokumentation (VPD) (don't let big German words scare you, in English, this translates to 'Pre-Review Documentation') which they then send, along with the application and required documents, directly to the university.
The VPD is a certificate, used by uni-assist, that students must submit directly to the university when they apply. Students must submit the VPD to the university before the application deadline expires.
The VPD contains information on
- which educational certificates you presented to uni-assist,
- which kind of university entrance is possible with these certificates,
- and how uni-assist rates your grade within the German system of grades.
To clarify, even though students must have their documents verified by uni-assist in this case, the application is still done directly through the university.
Will this cost me money?
In short, yes. uni-assist charges fees for their services because processing documents from all over the globe, translating them, verifying authenticity, and converting grades to the German grading system takes a great deal of time and resources.
The good news is that once you submit an application to a university, the rest of the applications are charged less.
How much do you have to pay for uni-assist?
1st Application: EUR 75.00 for your first desired course of study in an application semester.
- Additional Applications: Each additional desired course of study in the same semester costs EUR 30.00.
Additionally, a benefit about uni-assist is that you only have to submit an application to uni-assist once. They process your documents and submit remaining applications you would like to universities. Should different programs require different documents, uni-assist will ensure that you simply upload all required documents for all programs.
There is no limit for the amount of applications you can send through uni-assist, but keep in mind that universities can limit the number of applications per semester. You should enquire at your chosen university about how many courses of study you can apply to at the same time.
Special Cases: uni-assist Fee Waiver
Some universities that process their international student applications through uni-assist cover the uni-assist application fees. This keeps the application fee free for you! In case this applies to your application, you will see a special note in your chosen programs list of the uni-assist online portal.
Besides, various universities have special programs for refugees. To find out the details regarding the conditions and processes, the applicants are encouraged to contact their university program directly. You can find more about special offers for refugees here.
Which universities are members of uni-assist?
Many universities across Germany process international student applications with the help of uni-assist, this includes top-ranked universities as well.
Our StudyFinder can help you with this too! By simply using the filters on the left hand column, you can see all of the universities which use uni-assist and among them, you will find many top-ranked universities. Simply select "only uni-assist" under the "Application" column, or check the list at the bottom of this page to see which universities handle their applications through uni-assist.
Something to keep in mind: Some universities use uni-assist to process international student applications only for certain degree programs, but not all degree programs.
Therefore, you should check if your preferred degree program uses uni-assist rather than searching for the University on the list of member universities. Even if your preferred university is listed, it can be the case that your program has direct applications through the university or vice versa.
Are member universities better than non uni-assist universities?
Absolutely not! Whether or not a university uses uni-assist to process their international student applications by no means is a determinant of the quality of education of the study programs.
There are many internationally top-ranked universities in Germany that do not use uni-assist and have their applications done directly through the university.
Alternatively, there are also many top-ranked universities that do use uni-assist to process their applications. Therefore, don't be misled in thinking that a program may be better or worse because they do or don't process their international student applications through uni-assist.
Further ReadingUni-assist Free Universities (2022/2023)
Why can I apply for a degree without uni-assist - even though the university is a member?
Because universities may use uni-assist for select programs and have others in which students apply directly with the university, even though that university may be listed as a uni-assist member. The list of member universities on the uni-assist website is therefore not an accurate representation as a university may be listed on their page which has only one or two study programs that are processed through uni-assist.
For example, it could be that due to the high number of international student applicants, a university chooses to administer the applications for their Master of Business Administration degree through uni-assist. If you are applying to that university for a Master of Psychology where the university processes the applications directly, then uni-assist would not be relevant for you, even though your university is a uni-assist member.
List of Universities in Germany that process their English-taught Degree Applications through uni-assist
Program Fees: € 5,700 - € 8,400
M.A. (Master of Arts)
MBA (Master of Business Administration)
Program Fees: € 1,250 - € 2,640
M.A. (Master of Arts)
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uni-assist provides a list with all member universities on their website but this information is not precise as many universities have only a handful of study programs in which their applications are processed through uni-assist.
Member universities may also offer direct applications for some master's programs, so be sure to look for the specific study program of your choice for their application procedures.