Direct admission to undergraduate studies at German universities is possible with an international degree like the International Baccalaureate (IB). However you need to fulfil a few requirements.

The German secondary school called "Gymnasium" provides a very broad education, including many mandatory subjects that can not be opted out. All German students in upper secondary school must for instance study a second foreign language, a social science and maths or a natural science at higher level to qualify for Abitur.

The international Baccalaureate in contrast allows a higher degree of specialisation, so students who are talented in languages might not be interested in choosing higher level maths. Especially paragraph 1 b) will prove a serious hurdle for direct admission in these cases.

Therefore students and parents should consider the requirements very early on, if they look at Germany as a place of higher education!

Last remark: German nationality does not give any privileges in this process, even native speakers will be asked to provide proof of language proficiency. We suggest taking the TestDaF in due time.

Agreement on the recognition of the "International Baccalaureate Diploma/Diplôme du Baccalauréat International"

An International Baccalaureate Diploma/Diplôme du Baccalauréat International issued in accordance with the regulations of the "International Baccalaureate Organization/Office du Baccalauréat International" shall be recognized as valid for university admission, if it has been obtained after attending at least twelve years of full-time education, and if the following requirements are met:

1 a) The six examination subjects taken for the "International Baccalaureate Diploma/Diplôme du Baccalauréat International" (IB) must conform to IB conditions:

  • two languages at A or B level (one of which at least must be a foreign language studied uninterruptedly as “Language A: Language and Literature” or “Language A: Literature” or “Language B HL”)
  • one natural science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Mathematics (Mathematics SL or Mathematics HL or Further Mathematics together with Mathematics HL)
  • One social science subject (History, Geography or Economics)
  • The sixth compulsory subject may be one of the above or one of the following subjects recognized by the IB: Visual Arts, Music, Theatre, Film, Literature and Performance, another modern foreign language; Latin, Classical Greek, General Chemistry, Applied Chemistry, Environmental Systems and Societies, Computer Science, Design Technology, World Religions, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Anthropology, Business and Management, Sports exercise and health science.

1 b) One of the three subjects to be taken at higher level for the "International Baccalaureate Diploma/Diplôme du Baccalauréat International", must be Mathematics or a Natural Science subject such as Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

1 c) All subjects must have been taken uninterruptedly up to the end of the school career.

1 d) Candidates must earn a minimum IB Grade of 4 on the six compulsory subjects. Where an IB grade of 3 is awarded in one subject only, it is possible to compensate for this if another subject taken at the same level has been awarded at least an IB Grade 5, and an aggregate of 24 points has been attained.

1 e) German diploma holders, who have attended a school abroad not providing German courses, must supply proof of competence in German before being accepted for higher studies; such details are defined by the regulations in force in the relevant Federal State.

2)  In the event of failure to comply with the conditions referred to in Section 1, recognition of entitlement to university entrance shall be conditional on passing an additional examination in accordance with the "Rahmenordnung für den Hochschulzugang mit ausländischen Bildungs­nach­weisen, für die Ausbildung an den Studienkollegs und für die Feststellungsprüfung" (Resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Education of 15. April 1994 in its amended form).

Recognition as university entrance qualification could also be obtained by one successful university year in a country whose school-leaving certificates are recognised for direct access to German universities or after one successful university year.

Only the German original is legally binding. More information in English at the IBO.