Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Studies | Counselling Services | Leaflets and FAQ | Studying if you have professional experience but no German university admission qualification (Abitur)

Studying if you have professional experience but no German university admission qualification (Abitur)

In Berlin, those with professional qualifications who do not have a German university admission qualification (Abitur) can, under certain conditions, receive a university education. If you are not sure whether you can apply for a degree with your professional qualifications, you can use the information compiled below to get an initial overview. Status: March 2022

Can I also study at HU without the German university admission qualification (Abitur)?

Yes, under certain conditions you can study in the state of Berlin as a professionally qualified person without a German university admission qualification (Abitur), following the regulations of § 11 of the Berlin Higher Education Act.

Use esra, the study orientation portal of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, to test whether you meet the requirements: esra – ohne Abi studieren

Please note: You cannot study at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin with the advanced technical college certificate (Fachhochschulreife).

Different admission requirements apply in other German federal states. You can find an overview of these on the online study guide for professionally trained.

Please note: All Bachelor degree courses are run in German. All non German native speakers must show evidence that their command of German is at least on the C1 level according the Common European Frame of Reference.

§ 11 Berliner Hochschulgesetz (BerlHG)

Abs. 1: General university entrance qualification

If you have

  1. completed professional development training (Aufstiegsfortbildung) in accordance with the German Trades Code (Handwerksordnung), the German Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz) or comparable German national or regional provisions, including a Master Craftsman’s Certificate (Meister*in), the Chamber of Crafts and Skilled Trades (HWK) continuing vocational training qualifications in business administration (Betriebswirt*in HWK) or state certification in business administration or commerce (staatlich geprüfte*r Wirtschaftsfachwirt*in, Industriefachwirt*in or Handelsfachwirt*in) or
  2. a qualification from a state or state-recognised technical college (Fachschule), within the meaning of Section 34 of the Schools Act, or comparable training in Germany, or a comparable German qualification, e.g. a technical college qualification as a state-certified technician (staatlich geprüfte*r Techniker*in), state-certified (European) business administrator (staatlich geprüfte*r Betriebswirt*in / Europabetriebswirt*in), state-certified kindergarten teacher (staatlich geprüfte*r Erzieher*in) or remedial therapist (Heilerziehungspfleger*in) or
  3. acquired a qualification for nautical or technical ship service (nautischer/technischer Schiffsdienst) that is comparable to the further training mentioned under part 1 or
  4. a qualification equivalent to the advanced training courses described in part 1 on the basis of an advanced training programme regulated by German state law for professions in the medical sector, in geriatric care and in the health care sector as well as in the social care or pedagogical area (according to the list of advanced training qualifications, whose holders have a university admission qualification based on the decision of the Conference of Ministers of Education),

you have the right to apply to your free choice of any undergraduate programme at a university (General qualification for admission to an institution of higher education). You can choose any area of study.

Please note: Some subjects require you to meet additional admission requirements, see the course catalogue.

Abs. 2: Subject-related entrance qualification

If you have completed a course of vocational training regulated by German national or state law lasting at least two years in a professional field related to that of your intended course, you have the right to register for a university undergraduate programme relating to your existing vocational qualification (subject-related entrance qualification). In esra – ohne Abi studieren you can check out which subjects can be studied by which vocational qualification.

The subject must be sufficiently close to the desired core subject (combined bachelor's degree with and without teaching option) or mono subject (single bachelor's degree or state examination). The choice of the second subject in a combination bachelor's degree is therefore free. If you want to study education at elementary schools, your qualification only needs to be close to one of the three majors.

Please note: Some subjects require you to meet additional admission requirements, see the course catalogue.

Abs. 3: Subject-related entrance qualification with admission exam

If you have completed a course of vocational training regulated by German national or state law lasting at least two years in a professional field related to that of your intended course
want a field of study that is not related to the training, then you have to take an admission exam first. This exam will take place at the joint preparatory college (Studienkolleg) of the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) in order to prove the ability to study the desired course. If you pass the exam, you will receive the university admission qualification for the desired non-specialist course.

At the Studienkolleg preparatory courses are offered every winter term. Sample papers of last year’s exams as well as further information about the preparatory courses can be found on the website of the Studienkolleg.

To register for the admission exam please contact us until May before you want to start studying, using the contact form. Please always choose "Studium ohne Abitur" ("Studying without Abitur") in the subject line and also state your desired course of study when making your initial inquiry. You will receive an application form from us as well as additional information about which documents you need to send us by e-mail together with the application form.

Abs. 4: Change of university

If you have already started your studies in another federal state and want to switch to another university and if you have

  1. successfully studied for at least one year and
  2. obtained admission for the current course of study on the basis of a professional qualification (and not on the basis of an advanced technical college certificate, or Fachhochschulreife),

you can continue your studies in a similar course at Humboldt-Universität (applying for a higher semester).

Abs. 5: Training abroad

It is irrelevant whether the required professional qualification was acquired in Germany or abroad. Thus, if you have completed vocational training abroad that

  1. is recognized in Germany and
  2. meets the requirements of Section 11 (1) or (2) or (3) BerlHG,

you can apply at Humboldt-Universität.

Information on the topic of recognition, in particular on comparable German qualifications, on recognition procedures and on the responsible bodies can be found here:

How do I find subjects that are suitable for me?

Have a look at our course catalogue.

Will I be able to complete the course successfully?

You should make sure you have the knowledge and skills required for the course. Are you missing any important basic knowledge that students with the German university admission requirement have by virtue of having attended school for longer? You should check with the relevant Course Advisory Service whether you will be able to fill your knowledge gaps during the course.

You may also be wondering whether you can devote enough time to your future studies, for example, because you want to keep working or you have care obligations. In that case, you should consider studying part-time. For further information see the studying part-time FAQ.

If I satisfy the criteria, will I get a place on the course?

Humboldt-Universität cannot guarantee that. 8% of places are reserved for applications under section 11 of the Berlin Higher Education Act. If there are more applications than available places, places are awarded following a selection procedure. Please check the Numerus Clausus (NC) table for vocationally trained applicants without Abitur.

How do I apply?

You’ll find information on the application procedure here.

Can I transfer to Humboldt-Universität?

If you have successfully completed a course lasting at least one year in another German state on the basis of a professional qualification (admission by professional experience), you can apply for the same course or a course with substantially the same content. For further information see the Changing university FAQ.


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