Special Admission Process


Applications for admision are assessed against agreed selection criteria. Although these criteria are to ensure that all applicants are treated equally and according to verifiable standards, they cannot do justice in every individual case.

Some applicants find themselves in special situations, and such candidates cannot be fairly assessed according to criteria such as “average grade” and “waiting period.”

Therefore, in jusitfied cases, it is possible to submit special applications. These serve to consider possible disadvantages of candidates in the selection process.

Below we provide you with an overview of valid reasons to submit a special application.


Overview of Possible Petitions

Volunteering: Voluntary Military Service, Federal Voluntary Service, Voluntary Ecological or Social Year

Prospective students who would like to perform a voluntary service and subsequently enroll in a restricted-admission course of study are strongly advised to apply for admission before or during the service period. If you are admitted before or during the service, it is possible to defer admission to a later semester. Keep the letter of admission in a safe place, reapply after completion of the service, and enclose a copy of the letter of admission and a certified copy of your service certificate with your application. As a rule, this should be sufficient for admission.

This process makes sure you will not have any disadvantage due to possible changes to the admission requirements, which might become stricter during your service. Please note that for degree courses with a low number of places, the number of prospective students with the right to be given priority for admission may be higher than the number of available study places. In this case, candidates will be selected through a lottery process.

The process outlined above applies to the following types of volunteering activities: voluntary military service, Federal voluntary service, voluntary ecological or social year, European Voluntary Service, International Youth Voluteer Service (IJFD), “kulturweit” cultural voluntary service, and “weltwärts” volunteer service. It also applies to candidates with care responsibilities, e.g. for a child or for relatives in need of care.

More detailed information is available on the leaflets available for download from the hochschulstart (de) website. The rules and regulations outlined in these leaflest apply at RWTH as well.

Exceptional Circumstances (Petition for a "Nachteilsausgleich")

Due to special circumstances, some prospective students are at a disadvantage when applying for a place at university. Due to illness or family circumstances, for example, their Abitur grade may have been lower than expected or it may have taken them longer to finish school by no fault of their own (competitive athletes may also be affected here!). In such cases, a better Abitur grade can be determined in cooperation with the school or additional waiting time can be credited.

Exceptional Circumstances (Petition for a "Härtefall")

In other cases, for example, an illness may mean applicants cannot wait even one more admissions round to commence their studies. If their circumstances are recognized as a "hardship case", they will be admitted to the course of study immediately. The exceptional circumstances must be special social or family reasons that make it absolutely necessary for the applicant to commence their studies straight away.

The legislator has determined that a small number of study places can be allocated to applicants for whom non-admission to the desired course of study would mean an exceptional hardship.

However, before you submit your application, please check very critically whether you truly fulfill the criteria, since not every reason that you consider relevant can be recognized as a “Härtefall” when awarding a study place. The reasons stated must implicate a serious restriction.

The Registrar's Office will inform you individually about these exceptions, the correct evidence, and the rights that those concerned have. In any case, you will need school reports, medical certificates, or other evidence.

Regulations for Top Athletes

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia and RWTH Aachen University are dedicated to promoting top athletes.

Therefore, the University has made use of a special option granted by the State of NRW in its admission statutes.

Applicants who are part of a national A, B, C or D/C squad of a national association of the German Olympic Sports Confederation are given preference in the local selection and admissions process of the University for the first semester. This means that you will get a place at the university, regardless of your average Abitur and waiting semester.

Please state that you are part of a national squad in your online application. You must prove this by presenting a corresponding certificate from the relevant association.


Two percent of the study places are reserved for applicants who will still be minors at the time lectures begin and whose main residence is with their parents in the districts or cities assigned to RWTH. The details are regulated by § 23 of the ordinance for the allocation of study placements in North Rhine-Westphalia (Vergabeverordnung NRW) in the currently valid version.

Applicants are only considered in this special quota if no place can be allocated in the standard quotas (grade, waiting period, and selection).


A certificate of registration stating that the applicant lives with their parents in the districts or cities assigned to RWTH Aachen University.

Applicants for second degree programs

You are considered a second degree applicant if you have already received a certificate of successful completion of your studies by the end of the application period (summer semester: January 15, winter semester: July 15) and have completed your studies at a German university or university of applied sciences.

Proof of the completed first degree, usually the transcript, must be submitted as an officially certified copy, and an explanation why you want to take up studies for a second degree must be presented by the late submission deadline at the latest.

A second degree program in medicine for scientific reasons

If you have already completed a university degree in Germany and are interested in completing a second degree in medicine, please note that we only provide information here on how to apply if you wish to claim scientific reasons!
Please carefully read the information provided by Hochschulstart, the foundation for university admissions, first:

Information on second degree programs at Hochschulstart (de)

If you would like to take up a second course of study for scientific reasons, the following information is relevant for you:

You can claim scientific reasons if, with a view to a later activity in science and research, you aim for a further scientific qualification in another degree program based on your previous scientific and practical activities, which can be credibly proven.

If you would like to take up a second course of study for scientific reasons, you must first apply via Hochschulstart and submit the following documents, among others:

  • Certified copy of the graduation certificate of the first degree with grade
  • Certified copies of all documents and proof of academic achievements and other activities to support the second degree application
  • Detailed written explanation for your desire to pursue a second degree, including information about your previous education and professional activity as well as the desired career goal (all aspects that are relevant for a second degree)
  • Brief confirmation/notification that RWTH Aachen University was asked to prepare the report

At the same time, you must submit the following documents to the Registrar's Office of RWTH Aachen University, Super C, Templergraben 57, 52062 Aachen:

  • Authenticated copy of your first degree certificate with grade
  • Certified copies of all supporting documents and proof of academic achievements and other activities in support of the second degree application (expert opinions, letters of recommendation, publications, contributions)
  • Detailed written explanation outlining the reason why you want to pursue a second degree, including information about your previous education and professional activity as well as the desired career goal (all aspects that are relevant for a second degree)
  • Tabular resume
  • Completed form “Aufnahme eines Zweitstudiums aus wissenschaftlichen Gründen,” which you will receive from Hochschulstart

As soon as the documents have been received here, they will be forwarded to the RWTH Medical Faculty for an expert opinion. We will then send this report and the other documents to Hochschulstart by August 26 (for the winter semester) at the latest.

As the report's preparation and the further procedure take some time, we ask you to submit the documents to the Registrar's Office as early as possible.