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2023 Guide To Study In Germany After SPM Or IGCSE For Malaysian Students

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Last updated: Jan 2023

TL;DR: In order to study your Bachelor’s degree in Germany, you will need to have the right pre-u qualification and obtain up to C1 level German proficiency. Certain courses may also require additional requirements such as pre-internship or portfolio.

Germany has started to gain popularity among Malaysian students in recent years for its top-quality education. With more than 21000 courses offered by around 400 universities in Germany and majority of them offering free tuition, this is no wonder more and more Malaysians are shifting their goals from popular study destinations in the past like UK, Australia, and US to Germany. Over the years, one of the most popular courses in Germany is no other than engineering courses, such as mechanical engineering, mechatronics engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, and industrial engineering. Other highly sought-after courses among Malaysian students are computer science, data science, mathematics, business studies, and more.

While many Malaysians are exploring the option to study in Germany, the application process is not as straightforward as, and information is not as widely available as for other study destinations. This process is further complicated when students are required to master a foreign language before they can study and live in Germany. We have compiled a list of the requirements to apply to German universities as well as the different pathways students can take after completing SPM or IGCSE, all which will eventually lead to Germany- the land of opportunities.

Germany has started to gain popularity among Malaysian students in recent years for its top-quality education.

Requirements to study in Germany after SPM and IGCSE

University Entrance Qualification (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung HZB)

In order to study in Germany, or to be exact, to study a Bachelor’s degree at a German university, students will need to have a recognized university entrance qualification, or in German, the “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung”. SPM or IGCSE alone is not sufficient to meet the university entrance qualification. Malaysian students will have to complete their pre-university program as an entry requirement for university application.

Not all pre-university qualifications are recognised by German universities. According to Anabin, a foreign qualification evaluation database for German education system, the most common pre-university courses in Malaysia that can allow students to gain direct entry to a Bachelor’s degree program in German universities are:

  1. Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) with Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM)
  2. General Certificate of Education (A Level)
  3. Australian Year 12 (AUSMAT/WACE, SACE, HSC)
  4. International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB diploma)
  5. Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP)

Other pre-university qualifications such as the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), matriculation, Diploma and Foundation programs from private colleges in Malaysia are generally not recognised in Germany. Contact us for a free qualification check if your qualification is not listed above.

In addition to having the right pre-university qualification, students will need to have the right subject combination as well. Depending on the Bachelor’s degree students are aiming for and the pre-university courses of their choice, the subject combination differs. For example, students who wish to study engineering or medicine in Germany will have to take Mathematics and Science subjects during their pre-university. Students applying for business-related courses should take Mathematics and other business-related subjects.

Check out the requirements and details of the 5 Pre-University Courses that will Open Your Door to German Universities [2023 Updated].

The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), matriculation, Diploma and Foundation programs from private colleges in Malaysia are generally not recognised in Germany.

German Language Proficiency

Most Bachelor’s degree courses offered by German universities are conducted in German. For those courses, it is necessary for students to be sufficiently proficient in the German language prior to applying to the universities. The following German language certificates are accepted by the universities:

  • DSH (at least DSH2)
  • TestDaF (at least TDN 4-4-4-4)
  • Goethe Zertifikat C1 or C2, depending on the universities
  • The DSD German language diploma (“Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz”)


Generally, international students are required to learn German up to the C1 level. For beginners with zero prior knowledge about German, it is possible to pick up this new language up to C1 level (advanced level) within a year if students attend an intensive German program of at least 20 hours per week and obtain consistent performance throughout the program.

Students can choose to start learning German after completing their pre-university qualifications so they can fully concentrate on one task at a time. On the other hand, students can also choose to study their pre-university and the German language in parallel which shortens the preparation time and allows them to start their Bachelor’s degree earlier.

Other requirements to study in Germany

On top of the above university entrance qualification and German language proficiency, some courses in certain universities will require additional requirements. For example, students who are applying for Mechanical Engineering are often required to complete a 6 to 8 weeks industrial pre-internship (Vorpraktikum) before they enrol to the university.

Apart from engineering courses, students interested in applying to courses in the art field like design or fashion will often have to sit for an aptitude test and submit their design portfolio during their application. Likewise, applicants of music degrees in Germany will often need to audition in Germany. The application process often takes a longer duration compared to other more academic degree courses.

It is highly recommended for students to check the study requirement from the specific universities they are applying to in order to find out the latest and complete requirements needed.

Applying to study in Germany may seem like a complicated process, but it is definitely rewarding. If you have just completed your SPM or IGCSE, this is the best time to make necessary planning to avoid unnecessary detour in the future.

German Educare offers a comprehensive Pre-U Preparation Program and University Preparation Program to assist interested students in this journey. Book us for a free consultation to find out more.

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