Glossary for German Education

Glossary for German Education

These are some terms that might act as a ready reckoner for all those who aspire to study in Germany and get familiar with the very basics that there is to know about German higher education institutions.


  1. Abstract: This is an acceptable document and qualifies to be of international standards. Herein the student presents in brief, their thesis question and the methods that are applied therein. This an essential piece of the document when u haven’t yet received a Bachelor’s Degree or haven’t completed a Diplom Thesis.
  2. Accreditation Certificate: It denotes an authenticated and notarised formal document verifying that the educational institution from where you are studying is an accredited institution. It can be only obtained upon request to the aforesaid institution. This accreditation also approves the quality of education provided by the institute.
  3. Admission Letter: Like everywhere else, this is a letter received by the respective student by a German academic institution allocating a place in their institute as well as the choice of course. It can be a conditional or unconditional offer along with a deadline to make the requisite registration. In case the admission is provisional the criteria or preconditions would also be mentioned by the university on how to secure a place in the university to complete the admission formality.
  4. Aufenthaltstitel: In the first three months of arrival, a student has to take a German residence title available at the German Foreigner’s Authority. All those who want to study for a period longer than 3 months in Germany must obtain this residence to legally study as well as residing there.
  5. Ausländerbehörde: This in other words is Foreigner’s Registration Authority. It is a German public body that is assigned to look into and take care of all issues connected to foreign residents in Germany, including granting German residence permits. Every German district has its designated Foreign Registration Authority.
  6. Agentur für Arbeit: This can be referred to as ‘Federal Employment Agency’ which is a state or public administration body that takes care of all job and placement opportunities within Germany. This body can assist in looking into your interests and qualifications and give you future leads for jobs.
  7. Beglaubigung: This is what one can understand as a transcript of records or (ToR). This is an original educational document that is approved and certified by a German authority or any other recognised consular service abroad.
  8. Blended Learning: It’s a combination of online and offline or classroom seminars or lectures. This in a nutshell is the study course or modules that one has to take up during the academic session
  9. Block Seminar: “Blockveranstaltung” is an intensive pattern of study offered for all as a chunk over back-to-back teaching sessions.
  10. Certificates of Education: This is the entire trajectory or graph comprising of all educational certificates and achievements which showcases the education you have received and completed at school or university. These are usually in the form of school leaving certificates, certificates for clearing university entrance exams, transcript of marks, university/ diploma certificates, other supplementary diplomas, any other additional certificates or diplomas
  11. Confirmation of Registration: It is used for an education certificate that displays the registration to undertake an exam or join in a study course at a higher education institution.
  12. Curricular Analysis: It is a vital document that assesses and gives a synopsis of the education and proficiency achieved during the previous or latest study period. This is instrumental in applying for a Master’s study along with an aptitude valuation.
  13. Curriculum Vitae/Résumé: It is all the achievements in a linear and sequential order as well as all the formal and informal education undergone along with internship and other work and professional experience.
  14. Dekan / Dekanat: In other words, known as the head or Dean of the faculty of higher education in Germany. The workplace he or she holds is known as ‘Dekanat’ which also doubles up as an administrative division of the faculty.
  15. Deutschlandstipendium: This is a German scholarship. It is a subsidy or a bursary by the country for the well-deserved and outstanding students in German higher education institutions. They are in the range of 300€/month.
  16. Dissertation: This is also known as ‘Doktorarbeit’. This is an original research-based academic piece that is submitted as a part of undergraduate or postgraduate study and a prerequisite for a PhD degree in Germany.
  17. Doppelstudium/Doppeldiplom: Also known as a double degree study. This is a study arrangement between Germany and another country. One can attend part of the curriculum in one country while the other half in another country abroad. This leads to a double degree or Doppeldiplom.
  18. Dozent/ Dozentin: A male lecturer is called a Dozent and a female lecturer is called Dozentin in Germany.
  19. Duales Studium: In this study curriculum in Germany one can merge the usual academic program with some hands-on work in an enterprise or a business corporation
  20. Einwohnermeldeamt: This is the resident’s office of registration. It deals with the candidate’s residential address. Once in Germany, it is mandatory to register with this office within two weeks of one’s arrival. There are several Resident’s registration offices in Germany with each district having one of its own.
  21. Embossed Seal: It denotes a stamp that is put over a foil. It is used by authorised and notarised agencies to attest and endorse copies of educational documents for their legit and valid status.
  22. Exmatrikulation: This situation arises when a student doesn’t pay up for his or her fees for the forthcoming semester. The student gets exmatriculated. The student gets officially removed from the recorded and registered list of students.
  23. Fachhochschule (FH): These are also known as German Universities of Applied Sciences. These specifically catch on as being the prominent subjects that are in high demand. These are hands-on practical based modules and programs which confer students with a requisite degree that is lower than a PhD.
  24. GATE: This is an acronym for ‘Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering’. These are only for Indians who aspire to study Engineering course in an academic institution in Germany. IIT students are exempted from this test.
  25. German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): This is an association that has its establishment in Germany with its branches around the globe. Its principal purpose is to provide authentic and current information on higher studies in Germany be it research and other guidance on academic cooperation with Germany
  26. German Aptitude Test: This is a compulsory exam that is rolled out by German Higher Education Institutions for applicants who are seeking admission for a study abroad program in Germany. This is an assessment that determines if the student is eligible and fitting for the German education.
  27. German Diplom: This is a German traditional degree certificate which an undergraduate program can deem you with. The undergraduate study program is in Engineering, Natural Sciences and Economics
  28. German Student Applicant Visa: This is a visa that only German Consular Services can provide to foreign national students after they receive a confirmation for their university application but who haven’t received the admission letter yet.
  29. GMAT: It is an acronym for ‘Graduate Management Admission Test’. It is for postgraduate study or a Master’s degree in the field of business administration. This exam is accepted across the globe and is a competitive exam that ascertains the competence of a candidate for higher or postgraduate studies in the field of business.
  30. Grading System: This determines the minimum and maximum scores required to enrol into a specific study program either in Germany or anywhere else. This information is customarily published in the official website of some institutions.
  31. GRE: ‘Graduate Record Exam’ is the standardised test that evaluates the preparedness of any candidate for a PhD, postgraduate or a Master’s degree in a study program of the student’s choice. There is a wide spectrum of disciplines that a student can choose from.
  32. Hauptstudium: This follows what is known as “Grundstudium”, which is to specialise in a certain field. ‘Hauptstudium’ stands for advanced studies. Advanced studies are achieved only after clearing an exam which progressively leads to a German Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
  33. Higher Education Entrance Exam: Some of the higher education institutes in Germany require the candidate to take a test called the ‘University Entrance Exam’. This is mainly for candidates who aspire to enter the tertiary study field. Passing this test is mandatory even though a candidate may have an acceptable university entrance qualification. (HZB)
  34. Hilfswissenschaftler (HiWi): Another name for a research assistant in Germany is called Hilfswissenschaftler. A student can develop into a research assistant in the same university where he or she is enrolled as a student or studying there.
  35. Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB): This is also known as German Education Entrance Qualification and it denotes collective educational certificates of your earlier education. This is instrumental in enabling you to apply for admission into other German higher educational institutions.
  36. Hörsaal: In German, this refers to large halls in where classes, discussions or seminars are held.
  37. IELTS: This is a standardised and universally accepted English language proficiency test that is required by universities from students across the globe who are applying for further studies or training abroad. This is proof of their English language competence including in Germany. The score validity for IELTS is not more than 2 years.
  38. International Office of the University: In Germany, it is also known as ‘Akademisches Auslandsamt’. It is the department within the university that takes care of all impending needs of international students. They are focused on supporting foreign students through ample information and counselling with regard to academic and non-academic matters.
  39. Klausur: It is a German version of what is called a written examination
  40. Kolloquium: This refers to a group in Germany who are always together through various interactions and discussions on a definite lecture or study session or even a sequence of lectures or seminars. Sometimes this would be followed by some kind of assessment or lecture by some industry expert.
  41. Kommilitone: This in Germany refers to a fellow student or a classmate
  42. Language Certificate: These are acceptable certificates that certify that the student or candidate has successfully passed an approved German or any other language test. Frequently acceptable language certificates for German higher education institutes are the certificate for the DSH test, certificate of TestDaf, certificate of Goethe-Institut.
  43. Lehrveranstaltung: This denotes a seminar, a lecture or course in Germany.
  44. Master’s Degree Studies: This refers to a postgraduate study that logically follows an undergraduate study, usually for one year or two semesters which culminates into a Master’s degree. There are two types of Masters in Germany (i) Follow-up Master’s Course; something related to the candidate’s previous academics (ii) Extension Studies: it’s a course which relates to the candidate’s work experience
  45. Plagiat: It’s the other word for plagiarism. This is basically unrecognised and fraudulent work. When a student or candidate uses others published work or research or ideas without making any citations or references. It is called Plagiat in Germany
  46. Referat: It is a verbalized form of presentation of a seminar or lecture with a group of associate students
  47. Studentenausweis: This in Germany would mean a student ID showing you are an official student studying in a German higher education institute as a registered student. This ID helps in obtaining discounts, rebates, exemptions, allowances etc in museums, theatres, using study material etc.
  48. Studentenwerk: This is a network of student services which is across Germany and is committed to assisting and supporting an array of all major services pertaining to international students’ lives in Germany.
  49. Study Module: This is the phrase used for seminars, lectures and other course works for two different subjects
  50. Test für Ausländischer Studierende (TestAS): It’s a way to test students and evaluate their proficiency and competence levels to start a tertiary education study in German higher education. TestAS has two parts (i) core exam (ii) exam in your academic area, this could be maths, computers, arts, engineering, economics and so on
  51. Test für Deutsch Als Fremdsprache (TestDaF): This German exam tests the foreign student on their language ability and competence. It contains of (i) Reading (ii) Writing (iii) Listening (iv) Speaking exams. TestDAF grades are accepted as a German language skill for university admissions in Germany. However, the minimum score may differ for each university
  52. TOEFL: ‘Test of English as Foreign Language’. This is an internationally accepted English language test that certifies your English Language aptitude and competence. This test can be taken in three ways (i) IBT(Internat Based Test) (ii) PBT ( Paper Based Test) (iii) ITP (Institutional Testing Program). The scores are valid for 2 years. This exam consists of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking sections. This is acceptable in Germany as a valid English Language attestation. The score requirements may vary from one university to another.
  53. Tutorium: This refers to some form of official consultation or meeting with your subject tutor or guide who teaches you via seminars, lectures and other coursework.
  54. Uni-Assist: This is a German internet-based online service adopted by certain colleges and universities. This can act as a medium for students to apply for admissions in various study programs. Uni Assist can facilitate all application-related work of a student or candidate however the final decision for admission lies with the respective university itself.
  55. University Application Deadline: This stands for the final or last day wherein the application of the candidate must reach the respective university. It also denotes the earliest day when the application is eligible to get accepted.
  56. University Application Extension Period: This is over and beyond the acceptable application deadline. The university may be willing to accept the application and stretch the date for submission of additional documents or information for the purpose of university admission.
  57. Vorlesung: It is a German way of denoting a lecture or class
  58. Zugangsvoraussetzungen: This denotes the academic criteria or the course requirements for the chosen academic field.
  59. Zweitstudium: This refers to the second or the Master’ degree. A Master’s degree can commence only after successful completion of Bachelor’s degree studies.
  60. Zwischenprüfung: This in other words means final examination. This exam is normally taken after the completion of the first few years of studies also known as ‘Grundstudium’. This is a determining test which is an index to show the competence of any student to carry on with further studies and whether or not he or she is capable enough for it.

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