The language of instruction in all Bachelor's and Master's courses of study at RWTH is German, with only a few exceptions. You must prove you have the required language skills for your chosen course of study – usually with a recognized language certificate. You can find out which language certificates are accepted for your chosen course of study in the document in the yellow download box below.
Participation in RWTH Language Center's placement tests requires a user account. In order to set this up, you must first transfer the semester fees. Only then will you receive your coupon code for creating a user account.
Exemptions from the German language certificate
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.
All applicants who hold a first degree in German that was issued by a German university – including universities of applied sciences – are also exempt.
Exemptions from the English language certificate
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. The school leaving qualification or first degree must have been completed in one of the countries listed above.
Please note that having German citizenship or citizenship of an English-speaking country, even those listed above, does not in and of itself exempt you from the respective language certificate requirement.
Please also note that RWTH does not accept MyBest Scores of the TOEFL test. The required minimum TOEFL score must be achieved within one single TOEFL exam. In addition, we would like to point out that TOEFL and IELTS tests lose their validity two years after they have been taken.
Conditional Enrollment By Submitting a Level B2 Language Certificate
The following regulation will likely not remain in effect until the 2023 summer semester. So please be aware as you plan your next steps that enrolling at RWTH may not be possible if you can only submit proof of B2 language proficiency.
In winter semester 2021/22, RWTH has adopted an extended regulation regarding submitting proof of the required language skills (German or English) for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs with open admission. Accordingly, students can acquire the necessary language proficiency (Level C1) during the first two semesters of study and then submit the certificates by the end of the second semester. Students who wish to use this option must, however, prove B2 language proficiency in the required language when enrolling.
If you would like to make use of this option, please contact the Registrar's Office or the Admissions and Social Affairs Department of the International Office by e-mail to let them know in advance. The following are accepted as valid proofs of the B2 level achieved:
- B2 Certificate from the Goethe Institut,
- telc B2,
- TestDaF 3x3, 1x4,
- DSH 1,
- a final transcript from a secondary school (EQF level 4) that you have attained Level B2 in German (according to the Common European Framework of Reference)
Please note that if you have enrolled with the B2 language certificate, you can only change or add a degree program after one or two semesters if you provide the C1 certificate when you transfer.
Applicants who do not have German language skills at C1 Level are strongly advised to take a language test to prove that they have at least B2 language proficiency before coming to Germany.
During the first two semesters of your studies, we strongly recommend that you attend the appropriate language courses offered by the RWTH Language Center to help you prepare for the required language test (Level C1).
Please note that if you do not submit the necessary language certificate by the end of the second semester, you will not be able to register for the third semester of your degree program. If you do not submit the language certificate within the accepted late deadline, you will be deregistered from the University.
For more information on the German courses and English courses offered by the language center, please refer to the linked web pages. If you have any questions about starting your studies at RWTH in this way, please send them to us by email.
Please note that the English-language Master's programs currently require language proficiency at the B2 level, and that this requirement is not lowered for enrollment. For this reason, one of the language certificates specified in the examination regulations must be presented at enrollment.
Language Requirements for Doctoral Studies
Your supervisor will usually check whether it is necessary for you to provide a language certificate to be able to pursue your doctoral studies. You may indeed have to take a language exam, so please discuss this with your supervisor early on.
Acquiring German Skills
In Your Home Country
Sound language skills are a prerequisite for you to be successful in your studies in Germany. Applicants from non-EU countries can only get a residency permit for the purpose of learning German for a limited period – typically twelve months.
Therefore, we highly recommend you acquire basic German skills in your home country wherever you have the opportunity to do so. Learning German at home can prevent lengthy language stays in Germany, where you cannot be certain of passing the required language exam at the end.
- The legal basis for providing proof that you fulfill the required language skills is § 49, paragraphs 8 and 10 of the current edition of the Higher Education Act of North Rhine-Westphalia.
- You can find more information in the Ordinance for the German Language Exam University Admission of International Applicants – DSH, and in the Comprehensive Examination Regulations for all Bachelor's and Master's Courses of Study at RWTH, which are complemented by the examination regulations for each course of study.
Please look into language-learning opportunities in Germany and your home country and consider the time and expenses involved in such preparatory courses. The many Goethe Institutes around the world offer German courses at every level. Deutsch-Uni-Online, or DUO offers supported Online Language Courses.
Unfortunately, the University cannot currently offer any German language courses for prospective students to prepare them for pursuing their studies. Please refer to the Language Center's website for up-to-date information on when courses will be offered again.