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.

A second degree program

Three percent of study places are available for second-degree applicants in the first semester.

You are a second-degree-program applicant if, at the time of application, you already have a certificate of successful completion of a course of study and have completed your studies at a German university and would like to take up a (further) admission-restricted course of study.

A degree program is completed when the prescribed state final examination (Staatsexamen) or academic final examination (for example, Bachelor, Master, Diplom, or Magister examination) has been successfully passed.

The date of issue of the certificate must be no later than the application deadline (July 31 for an application for the winter semester or January 15 for an application for the summer semester).

Without a completed first degree at a German university, you cannot apply for a second degree. Therefore, if you are in the final phase of your first degree and are interested in further studies, you can only apply for another first degree without proof of a degree.

The documents submitted to the Registrar's Office for the purpose of preparing a report for your application may not be submitted later than July 1.