Language Preparation

  Bruno de Castro Copyright: © Martin Braun  

I did not only learn German as a second language. I have grown as a person. My stay in Aachen gave me the opportunity to acknowledge the intercultural differences between Germany and Brazil and to learn from them. This affects my professional relationships but even more so my personal relationships.

Bruno de Castro


Language Requirements for Exchange Students

Most of the lectures and seminars at RWTH Aachen are held in German. We want your academic stay at our university to be successful and as smooth as possible but also want you to be able to find your way through everyday life in Aachen and feel comfortable. German skills are important for achieving this.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the language requirements for exchange students?

In order to apply for exchange studies at RWTH, you must possess the language skills required for your desired course of study. Depending on your selected courses, this is either German or English at the B1.1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Applications without suitable proof of language proficiency will not be accepted.

Attention: If you are applying to the following subject areas, you must provide proof of German skills of at least B2.1:

  • Earth Sciences and Geography
  • Medicine

Students who cannot provide proof of the required level cannot be accepted.

How can you prove the language skills?

As proof of German and English skills we accept all official certificates that were either issued by the home university or from an officially recognized language school. The level must be clearly recognizable and be comparable to a level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – either on the certificate itself, in an addendum to the certificate, or on the language school's website.

Certificates, where it is not directly clear, to which level the result corresponds, are not accepted. It is the applicant's responsibility to request information about the language level and its equivalence to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages from the language school.

Accepted English language tests for exchange students (incomings)

  • Cambridge: B2 First (140 to 159; B1 Preliminary Pass, Pass with Merit; A2 Key Pass with Distinction
  • EF English Test: 41-40
  • English course taken at your home university (Certificate/Transcript): B1-C2
  • IELTS: >3,5
  • Language proficiency at level B1 attested by your home university (signed/stamped): B1-C2
  • Pearson Test PTE Academic: >43
  • TELC: B1-C2
  • TOEFL IBT: >42
  • TOEFL ITP: >460
  • TOEIC Listening and Reading Test: 275-395 (listening), 275-380 (reading)
  • TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test: 120-150 (speaking), 120-140 (writing)

Accepted German language tests for exchange students (incomings)

  • Deutsch-Uni Online, DUO: B1-C2
  • German course taken at your home university (Certificate/Transcript): B1-C2
  • Goethe-Institut: Goethe-Zertifikat B1; Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD)
  • Language proficiency at level B1 attested by your home university (signed/stamped): B1-C2
  • TestDaf: TDN 3-TDN 5
  • WiDaF: 247-495

Do I need to prove both my English and German skills?

If during your exchange you choose only courses taught in English, you only need to certify your English language proficiency. Similar rule applies when you choose courses in German, one needs to certify their German language proficiency.

What if I'm not taking any courses in RWTH, but just doing an internship or working on my thesis?

You are not taking any courses during your exchange, but are writing your thesis or working on a project during your exchange. You do not have to submit a proof of language proficiency, but need to agree with your supervisor directly on your working language with them. In case your supervisor notices lacking language skills, additional proof of proficiency might be required.

What if my mother tongue is English or German?

  • All applicants who have a school leaving qualification from Germany, Luxemburg, Austria, the German-speaking part of Switzerland, or the German-speaking communities in East Belgium and South Tyrol are exempt from the German language certificate requirement. In this case, a copy of the diploma is sufficient for language certification.
  • All applicants who have a school leaving qualification or first degree in English that was issued by an institution in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or the US are exempt from the English language certificate requirement. In this case, a copy of the diploma is sufficient for language certification.
  • In case the above mentioned exceptions do not apply to you, your home university can issue a signed and stamped proof letter of your language skills being at least level B1.

What if my current studies are in English or in German, even if it is not my mother tongue?

In case your current studies are in German or English, your home university can issue a signed and stamped proof letter of your language skills being at least level B1.

I have read all the information, but I still have questions

Contact the Incoming Student Services via


Acquiring German Skills

There are numerous opportunities to learn German before your stay, or when you are already in Aachen. Even if you will only be taking courses and writing papers in English here, we still recommend you learn some German before your stay. You will benefit from your stay more if you can speak and understand German, as it will make it easier for you to socialize, communicate at the University, and generally get by in Aachen.

Before You Get Here

Deutsch-Uni Online

Deutsch-Uni Online, DUO for short, offers online German courses that are exclusively for ERASMUS students. Please contact Deutsch-Uni Online directly if you have any questions.


The Goethe-Institut offers many opportunities to learn German. You can take a German course or exam at one of their many locations all over the world. You can find all the information about courses and cultural offers directly on the Goethe-Institut website.



You must be enrolled as a student at RWTH to be able to take a semester course at RWTH. You will need your TIM ID to be able to take the placement test and receive your test results. Therefore, make sure that you get enrolled at RWTH by mid-September or mid-March at the latest. If you want to enroll in the intensive course, please enroll by September 1. You will need your TIM ID for the final test and to get the result.


When You Are Here

RWTH German Courses

The RWTH Language Center offers intensive courses and courses that run throughout the semester. These courses are open to all international students. The semester courses are in especially high demand and fill up quickly – you have to be fast and ensure you do not miss the registration periods!

  • RWTH German Courses Intensive Phase in September
    Before each winter semester, exchange and program students can register for an intensive German course at RWTH in September at levels A1.1 to A2.2. You will receive all important registration information directly from the Incoming Student Service after you have applied.
  • RWTH German Courses – Semester Course
    During the semester, the RWTH Language Center offers German courses at all learning levels, i.e. from A1.1 to C1.1. All information about registration can be found directly at the Language Center. Please note that you cannot list these language courses as a course on your Learning Agreement! However, you will receive a certificate of attendance upon successful participation.

Tips: More Ways to Learn German

If you cannot, or do not want to pay for a course, there are also many other opportunities and different ways to learn German. Here are a few suggestions:

  • DAAD has summarized the most common ways to learn German. Get some ideas here!
  • Look at the database of the Professional Association for German as a Foreign Language. Here you can filter by state or city and find a suitable language course near you.
  • Deutsche Welle offers free online courses for all levels.
  • INCAS, the international student club, also offers many opportunities to learn new languages, including German, for example together with a tandem partner or in a group with Café Lingua.