Starting a degree at TU Darmstadt

Whether you’re starting a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you probably have a lot of questions. It is very easy to lose sight of things among all the options, deadlines or requirements. We have therefore collected some of your questions (and answered them!) to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible!

Published: June 2020, last edit: 3rd July, 2023


  • HZB (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung): High school diploma (Abitur) or specialized baccalaureate (Fachabitur), which is achieved through the (Fach-) university entrance qualification (Hochschulreife). The HZB can also be achieved by other means and qualifies the candidate for enrollment in a course of study.
  • NC (Numerus Clausus): “limited number” = courses of study that are “limited in admission” or “restricted in admission”.
  • TUCaN: Digital Campus Management System of the TU Darmstadt, here you can apply and later also retrieve your exam results, for example.
  • Transcript of Records: Overview of achievements during the degree programme; it can be issued during the degree programme and provides an overview of which courses have already been successfully taken.

Application and admission procedures

You can apply for multiple degree programmes. For those who want to start their degree as soon as possible, it is recommended to apply for multiple programmes.

There are many alternative bachelor degree programmes without NC restrictions with similar content to those with an NC. The Central Student Advisory (ZSB) at TU Darmstadt can help advise you in the selection of alternatives. Under the “Course catalogue” section of the TU Darmstadt website, you can find detailed descriptions on degree programmes and links to related programmes. The pages also contain a selection of possible job opportunities.

Another method of gaining insight into degree content and requirements is to take an online self-assessment test.

There are three different admission procedures:

  • Admission-free degree programmes: They have no admission restrictions. All applications submitted on time with complete documents and university admission are granted a place. Applications can be submitted via TUCaN.
  • NC degree programmes: Applications for which an NC applies must be submitted via the hochschulstart.de website and via TUCaN. After the application deadline, all applications will be reviewed and you will be notified whether you have been given a place – or whether you have been admitted to the move-up procedure. Unfortunately, this does not yet guarantee a place.
  • Suitability assessment procedure: There are special, additional requirements here, which are linked in the programme description.

In some degree programmes, additional criteria are important in addition to the university entrance qualification. These are determined by the department. You can find all further information about the aptitude test on the TU Darmstadt website.

Please note: Depending on the degree programme, the aptitude test procedures are designed very differently in some cases, so it is worth taking a look at the degree programme descriptions to find out which aptitude test procedure applies to the degree programme of your choice.

The aptitude assessment procedure usually consists of a personal aptitude interview. In addition to subject-related abstract ability, grades in selected school subjects or extracurricular qualifications such as competitions or projects can be important. If the Abitur grade is particularly good, there are sometimes exceptions and applicants are usually admitted directly.

“NC” stands for “Numerus Clausus”, i.e. “limited number”. Study programmes that are awarded through an NC procedure are therefore called “admission-restricted” or “admissions-restricted”. There are more applicants for these programmes than there are places available. Therefore, a selection must be made between the applicants. The selection criteria are a) the waiting period and b) the average grade of the university entrance qualification.

Since a new group of applicants takes part in each allocation procedure, the limit values are automatically recalculated for each allocation procedure. The limit values are therefore not set in advance, but are determined in the course of an application phase. The current limit values of the TU Darmstadt and further information on this can be found in the procedure results.

The waiting period is the number of semesters after obtaining the higher education entrance qualification during which the applicant was not enrolled in Germany – neither at a university nor at a higher education institution or for a dual course of study.

These semesters not spent studying are automatically counted as waiting time. At the TU Darmstadt, 20% of the available places in an NC degree programme are awarded to those applicants with the longest waiting period. The remaining 80% of places are awarded to the applicants with the best average grades.

Since a new group of applicants takes part in each allocation procedure, the limit values are also recalculated for each allocation procedure. The limits are therefore not set in advance. You can find the current threshold values of the TU Darmstadt in the procedure results.

TU Darmstadt sends notifications informing all applicants on whether they have been admitted or not. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, the length of time may vary.

It's best to figure out how to find a flat before you receive your acceptance letter or to get on the list of student dormitories .

You can find more tips on finding a place to live in our Housing Guide .

In principle, it is possible to have academic credits recognised. However, each university or higher education institution has its own regulations for the recognition of credits already earned. In each case, it is checked whether the completed work corresponds in content and scope to a module in the new degree programme and can be recognised there. Since the modules often have similar names but may differ in content, the recognition of credits is always an individual, subject-specific examination.

In simplified terms, the following rough guidelines apply: Especially in the first semesters, basic knowledge is still taught. This means that students from different degree programmes often take the same modules and attend the same courses and examinations. If there are such common modules in the desired degree programme and alternative degree programme, it is highly likely that they will be recognised, especially if the change of degree programme takes place at the same university or college. It is therefore best to find out about this before you start your studies, e.g. at the Central Student Advisory and Guidance Service (Zentrale Studienberatung und -orientierung ZSB).

Ideally, so many modules can be successfully completed that the recognised credits correspond to one semester. Then it is possible to apply for and be placed in a higher semester.

But be careful! The admission restrictions of NC degree programmes often also apply to higher semesters. When changing your degree programme, you should therefore check whether you meet the requirements. There are also application deadlines for changing programmes that must be kept in mind. In most cases, you can only start your studies (1st semester, except for higher semesters) in the winter semester. If you want to apply for BAföG, you can only change your degree programme once and within the first four semesters so that you do not lose your entitlement to further funding.

Otherwise, please note that a course of study does not count as a waiting period! So if you apply (again) for an NC degree programme, this time will not be counted if you have studied during this period. If you have a very good Abitur, this aspect is less important.

Therefore, it is important to think about why you have chosen your desired degree programme. What do you want to achieve professionally? Is this only possible with this degree programme, or does an alternative degree programme offer similar prospects? Are there other options, such as an apprenticeship, a gap year or voluntary service, which can be credited later as waiting periods when you apply again and which might therefore make your application more promising? The Central Student Advisory Service and Orientation (ZSB) can help you decide.

In order to realistically assess your chance of admission, you can check the NC admission restrictions from the previous allocation procedures. If your grades are close to these values, you should definitely apply, as the limit values are recalculated each time, meaning they can change every semester.

If you do not receive a place through this procedure, it is possible to apply via random selection. Random selection only takes place if assigned places are not accepted prior to lectures starting and these places become available.

A course in a related subject can also be a good option, as this is counted towards the waiting time. In this case, however, you should take a look at the waiting period limits beforehand, as courses in high demand could have waiting times of several years. You should therefore look into this as early as possible and consult with the Central Student Advisory.

It is still possible to apply without a Bachelor's degree certificate. It is considered sufficient to submit a Transcript of Records for the time being. In the case of admission for a winter semester, the Bachelor's certificate can be submitted by 15.01. of the following year at the latest; and for a summer semester by 01.07. at the latest.

You can find the applicable deadlines and procedures for the degree programmes at the TU Darmstadt on the website under “Application deadlines” and also in the respective degree programme descriptions. The application deadlines differ depending on the degree programme. For the winter semester, they start on 1 June and usually last until 15 July or 31 August. For the summer semester, they start on 1 December and usually end either on 15 January or 1 March.

Degree orientation and degree selection

There are detailed programme descriptions with module overviews for all Bachelor's programmes and for all teacher programmes.

Further information is also available in the TU Darmstadt-specific online self-assessment, the online help for choosing a degree programme. The Central Student Counselling and Orientation Service (Zentrale Studienberatung und -orientierung ZSB) can also support you in your choice of study programme by telephone, by email or in personal counselling interviews.

There are in addition many events, such as the “hobit”, where students and staff of the TU Darmstadt provide information about the university and its degree programmes.

Deciding on a particular degree programme is a long process. Ambassador Richard reports on his decision and, together with the Central Student Advisory and Guidance Service (ZSB), gives you tips on how to proceed.

Being well informed in advance is an important basis for making a study decision. The module overviews of the degree programmes in the degree programme descriptions and the online self-assessment, the online help for choosing a degree programme, are particularly helpful here.

The ZSB can also advise you on this, and there are additional support services such as personal decision-making counselling and the decision-making workshop.

Studying requires more personal responsibility than school. Here you have to learn and work in a self-determined and self-organised way. You are responsible for when and how you complete your tasks. You also have to prepare and follow up your lectures by yourself. There is no repetition of learning material, as there is at school. What you want to learn is largely up to you. You choose your course of study and many courses according to your own interests and strengths.

There are different types of courses: Lectures, tutorials, exercises, practical units and seminars. The number of participants in these courses varies greatly. You might have a lecture with 500 other students. Unthinkable at school! There are smaller groups in seminars and exercises.

You will generally need the following skills for studying a degree at TU Darmstadt: You need to be able to motivate and organise yourself, as you decide how your day will be structured. As such, you should also be able to concentrate on your work over longer periods of time.

There are also certain subject-related requirements for a degree which vary depending on the degree programme. The degree programme descriptions provide a good overview here. You can find more detailed explanations and an overview of all modules in this degree programme. Modules are course units comprising similar topics. These form the basis of the degree as a whole and are completed by passing an exam.

TU Darmstadt also has an online self-assessment test which is a great way to find out which degree programme is suitable for you with regard to content. The tool contains lots of helpful information and also subject-related tasks, similar to those you will tackle throughout your degree at TU Darmstadt.

More questions? Please turn to the Central Student Advisory. They provide personal, individual advice to help you choose your degree.

Not only in the job market, but in all areas of life there are different tasks and requirements. And everyone has different interests and strengths. For this reason, there is more than one study model in Germany, namely three: dual study – (technical) college – university.

The proportion of knowledge increases from dual study (employment with a company; strongly sector- or company-specific) to college and university. This is why the stereotype often arises that a university is very theory-heavy. The high proportion of theory is due to the fact that a university also trains students for research and academic careers. In order to be able to create innovations, basic knowledge is an important prerequisite for this, and this is usually taught in the first three semesters. However, this does not mean that university studies only consist of theory. Practical experience is also taught through internships or project work, for example. Link to the blog post “Practice in studies” .

The TU Darmstadt will get you off to a good start: There are various offers for all those who would like a network, support and advice. Mentoring before and at the beginning of your studies, orientation weeks, study rooms, various contact points such as study offices, the Central Student Advisory and Orientation Service and the Studierendenwerk.

The TU Darmstadt attaches great importance to an interdisciplinary range of courses and the research activities of the departments. In addition, the TU Darmstadt offers the opportunity to gain versatile experience abroad. The TU Darmstadt makes a lot of things possible for its students here: from a semester abroad in Europe as part of the Erasmus+ programme or at one of the partner universities worldwide, to summer or winter schools and internships, to double degree programmes. If you are interested in a wide range of leisure and cultural activities, you can, for example, get involved in the numerous university groups or take part in the extensive range of sports on offer at the University Sports Centre USZ L. On the #studentsofTUdarmstadt blog, you can also find out what distinguishes the special community feeling and the “spirit” at the TU Darmstadt.

Last but not least, the city's central location in the Rhine-Main region is a big plus. Since many large companies are located in the surrounding area, there are attractive opportunities for internships and later professional life (Merck, ESA, Fraunhofer, BASF, banks, management consultancies and companies in Frankfurt, etc.).

You'll probably spend a lot of time in the city and around the university in addition to your studies. Ambassador Moritz describes the charm of Darmstadt in his city portrait for you. There he describes the advantages and the particularly interesting places within Darmstadt .

The TU Darmstadt supports and advises prospective as well as current students with many offers: There are mentoring programmes, learning centres, tutorials, online maths courses and the university library (ULB) also offers various courses (e.g. scientific language & work).

The AStA, for example, will support you in legal matters. The AStA also organises and provides cultural offers and student mobility, e.g. the semester ticket with which you can use public transport.

Students with children will find additional offers at the Service Office for Part-Time Studies.

An important contact point for all matters is the Central Student Advisory and Orientation Service (Zentrale Studienberatung und -orientierung ZSB). Here you can get advice on many topics related to your studies (e.g. choice of study, change of study, psychological or financial stress during your studies, etc.) and can also be referred to other services.


The Studierendenwerk can help you with this. It operates its own dormitories and will also inform you on how you can otherwise find housing in Darmstadt. Alternatively, there is the possibility to search independently via search portals, e.g. WG-Gesucht, via forums, or via social media (e.g. Facebook groups).

Link to the blogpost “Housing” .

Darmstadt is a student city through and through. In summer, young people hang out in popular spots such as the parks or the inner-city natural swimming lake Großer Woog and in May the music festival Schlossgrabenfest – Hesse's largest music festival – attracts people from far and near to the city. In addition, there are other events, such as the Heinerfest (one of the largest city center festivals in Germany) and the Darmstadt Wine Festival, including an day for shopping on Sunday. Darmstadt also has a lot to offer culturally: Theaters, museums and cinemas, as well as bars, clubs, restaurants and numerous sports and leisure facilities offer varied entertainment. Many parks invite you to play sports, network or relax. You can find out more about the city of Darmstadt and what you can do here as a student in the Studi-Leben category.

Darmstadt is located in the center of the Rhine-Main area and therefore has great connection. Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden and Aschaffenburg are easy to reach in a jiffy by public transportation. Many big players in industry and business are located in and around the city. Darmstadt offers exciting internships and future career opportunities with companies such as Merck, Evonik, ESOC, Wella, Schenck, and Telekom.

Every application is examined individually for its qualifications and competencies, so it's not just the grade point average that counts. Therefore, first of all, every application is absolutely welcome! If a Bachelor's degree certificate is not yet available, the Transcript of Records of the last semester can be submitted. It is important that the degree is obtained in time and that this is evident from the transcript. The title of the bachelor's degree programme must also be evident from the transcript.

Once the application folder has been submitted to TU Darmstadt, the Department of International Admission will check whether your bachelor’s degree is sufficient for admission. Average grades are therefore not relevant for international students interested in studying here.

If you completed your bachelor’s degree in English, a corresponding additional certificate is sufficient proof for TU Darmstadt. A language test or certificate will not be required.

Unfortunately, this is not possible. We are currently only accepting applications by post.

No, unfortunately we require all application documents to be complete and sent by mail, this includes proof of language skills.

Yes, of course the application is also possible for prospective students with a foreign school leaving certificate. TU Darmstadt will check in each individual case whether the degree is sufficient. You will find all information about application and admission with an international degree on our website.

There are no general admission exams for the bachelor’s degree programmes. However, some degree programmes have certain regulations. The master’s degree programme can have an admission exam. More information can be found in the links of the programme description and the competency description.

You can already see what to expect during your degree by taking an online self-assessment.

General information on preparing for a degree at TU Darmstadt and support for international students is offered by the International Student Services . You may find it extremely helpful to use the ISS Web-App.

The TU Darmstadt Housing Service is available to answer your questions and will be happy to advise you via . We have also written an interesting blogpost about housing: Link to the blogpost “Housing” .

On the website of the TU Darmstadt you can find everything in detail under application periods and deadlines.