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, requirements etc. 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: 6th June 2022

Questions regarding the situation caused by COVID-19

Since the summer semester of 2022, the majority of teaching is again taking place as face-to-face events on the TU Darmstadt campus. After three digital and hybrid semesters, we are all looking forward to direct contact again. It is therefore necessary that you come to Darmstadt (again) for your studies on site. Adapted to the respective situation, certain hygiene rules apply. All the relevant information and regulations for students will be updated on the website of TU Darmstadt on a regular basis.

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.

The applicable deadlines and procedures at TU Darmstadt are available on the website under Application deadlines and in the respective degree programme descriptions.

There are three admission procedures.

Degree programmes without admission restrictions do not have any restrictions. All applications submitted on time with complete documentation and university entrance eligibility will be accepted. The applications can be submitted via TUCaN.

Applications for degrees with NC require you to apply via the hochschulstart.de website and TUCaN. After the application deadline has passed, all applications will be checked and you will receive a notification as to whether you have been accepted, or put on the waiting list. The waiting list does not guarantee you a place.

Aptitude test: These degrees require special additional requirements to be fulfilled which are linked in the description of the degree programme .

The aptitude determination procedure requires applicants to take part in an approximately 30-minute long interview. If the school leaving examination grades are particularly good, an exception is made to this and the applicants are generally accepted directly.

The aptitude interview focusses on the subject-related abstraction ability and degree of formalisation of the applicants. The grades from the most important school subjects are also taken into consideration. In addition, applicants with extracurricular activities can also benefit, such as those who took part in a relevant competition or project, those who have previously completed vocational training in a similar field, or those with special language knowledge. Alongside the usual application documentation, the aptitude test procedure also requires applicants to submit a letter of motivation which describes the applicant’s background and states the reasons for wishing to study.

Please note: The aptitude tests can vary greatly depending on the degree programme. It is therefore recommended to check the course descriptions to find the information on the test required for the desired degree programme.

“NC” stands for numerus clausus which means “limited number”. Degree programmes which require an NC have restricted admission and there are more applicants for these courses than there are free places. As a result, a selection must be made amongst the applicants. The criteria for this selection are a) the waiting time and b) the average grade of the university entrance eligibility.

The limit values are automatically recalculated for each allocation procedure as a new group of applicants participates each time. This means that the limit values are not determined in advance, but are specified during the course of an application phase. You can find the current limit values of TU Darmstadt and more information on this in the application results.

Waiting times are the number of semesters after receiving a university entrance eligibility in which the applicant was not matriculated in Germany – this includes universities, colleges or combined vocational training and degree programmes.

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

The limit values for each allocation procedure are automatically recalculated as a new group of applicants participates each time. This means that the limit values are not determined in advance. You can find the current limit values of TU Darmstadt in the application 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.

The best approach would be read up on finding a flat, or be put on the list of student dormitories in advance of being admitted. Find more info on housing options in our in-depth Housing Guide .

It is generally possible to have work credited, however, each university or college has its own regulations regarding the crediting of completed work. In each case, the completed work is examined to verify whether it is similar to the content and scope of a module in the new course and can therefore be credited there. As modules are often similar in name, but can vary greatly with regard to content, crediting completed work is always based on an individual, technical review.

The following information provides a rough orientation. The first semesters tend to focus on providing fundamental knowledge. This means that students in different degree programmes often take the same modules, classes and exams. If the desired degree programme and alternative option share modules, there is a high probability that these will be credited, particularly if you transfer courses at the same university or college. It is recommended that you look into this before your degree starts, for example at the ZSB .

Ideally, you would successfully complete as many modules as required to correspond to the scope of a semester. This opens the door to applying for and being admitted to a higher semester.

However, be aware! Admission restrictions for NC degree programmes often also apply to higher semesters. You should therefore consider whether you meet requirements for a transfer. There are also application deadlines for transfers. It is generally only possible to start a degree (first semester; later semesters are excepted) in the winter semester. Students who apply for an education grant (BAföG) can only change degree programmes once and within the first four semesters in order to not lose their right to the grant.

You should also be aware that studying does not count towards waiting time! As such, if you study, this time is not counted when applying (again) for a degree with an NC. If you have very good grades, this aspect is less significant.

You should therefore really consider why you selected your desired degree. What do you want to achieve in your job? Can you only reach your goals with this degree, or would an alternative provide a similar output? Are there other options, such as vocational training, a gap year, or voluntary work, which can be credited as waiting time for a later application, potentially also resulting in a more successful application? The Central Student Advisory (ZSB) can support you here.

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.

Vocational training with similar content to the degree can also be a good option, as this is counted towards the waiting time. However, we recommend you definitely check the waiting time application limits, 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.

You can submit an application without a bachelor’s degree, as a transcript of records is sufficient. For applications for the winter semester, you must submit your bachelor’s degree by 15 January of the following year at the latest; for the summer semester, the deadline is 1 July.

Degree orientation and degree selection

All bachelor degrees and teaching degree programmes have detailed information and module overviews.

You can find more information on the online self-assessment for TU Darmstadt. This tool is an online assessment which aids you in choosing your degree programme. The Central Student Advisory can help you in your selection via phone, email, or in personal consultation meetings via Zoom.

There are also many events in which you can participate in, such as “hobit”, where students and employees at TU Darmstadt provide information on the university and the degree programmes.

Ambassador Denise Frey, a student at TU Darmstadt, wrote a blog on how she made her decision and the support she received from the university. We recommend that you compare the module overviews of the degree programmes which can be found in the course descriptions. Or try out the online self-assessment.

Set yourself clear and measurable criteria to create a basis for comparison. You can give your arguments quantifiers and grade them as a basic starting point: What is particularly important to you? What do you want to achieve? What do you enjoy and where do your strengths lie? Instinct can also play a part in your decision. The Central Student Advisory can also advise you here, and there are additional targeted offers, such as personal decision counselling and the decision workshop.

A degree requires more personal discipline than school. Here, you must learn and work autonomously and organise your time yourself. You alone are responsible for how and when you complete your tasks. Furthermore, you must prepare for and follow up on your lectures yourself, and the subject matter is not repeated here, unlike at school.

You can decide a large part of what you want to learn yourself by selecting your degree programme and many classes therein in line with your own interests and strengths.

There are also many different types of courses: lectures, tutorials, exercises, practical courses and seminars. The number of participants in these different courses varies significantly. Sometimes you might be in a lecture with 500 other students – an unthinkable situation at school! Seminars and exercises generally take place in smaller groups.

The level of complexity is higher than that in school. You will therefore have to revise more for exams here than at school, which is why it is sensible to form study groups and prepare for the exams together. You can support each other this way.

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 the job market, but life in general has many different tasks and requirements. And every one of us has different interests and strengths. Germany therefore has three different models for further education: vocational training and degree programmes, (technical) colleges and universities.

The amount of knowledge increases depending on the model: starting with a vocational training and degree programme (employment in a company, strongly sector or company-specific content), to college, to university. This results in the common stereotype that a university degree is overly based on theory. The large theoretical share is based on the fact that a university degree trains students for research and scientific careers. The respective fundamental knowledge required to create innovative approaches are taught in the first three semesters. However, this does not mean that a university degree is purely theoretical. Practical experience is also gained through internships or project work. Find more info on that in the blogpost “practical application during the degree” .

Ambassador Judith, a student at TU Darmstadt wrote a blog on the benefits of TU Darmstadt compared to other universities.

TU Darmstadt helps everyone get off to a good start, with various offers available to all who wish for a network of people, support and advice. These include mentoring options prior to starting your degree and at the start, orientation weeks, learning spaces and various points of contact, such as the Offices for Student Affairs, Central Student Advisory and the Studierendenwerk.

TU Darmstadt places great value on an interdisciplinary offer of courses and in the research activities of the various departments. In addition, TU Darmstadt also provides the opportunity to gain experience abroad, supporting students in numerous ways here: From semesters abroad in Europe as part of the Erasmus+ programme, or at a partner university around the world, to summer and winter schools and internships, to dual-degree programmes. If you are interested in diverse leisure activities and cultural offers, you can participate in the numerous groups at the university or the comprehensive sport offers at the University Sports Centre. Check out the #studentsofTUdarmstadt blog to find out more on what characterises the special sense of community and spirit at TU Darmstadt.

Not only is the location in the centre of the Rhine-Main metropolis a great benefit, but also the number of large companies found in the surrounding area, as they offer numerous attractive opportunities for internships and subsequent working life (Merck, ESA, Fraunhofer, BASF, banks, management consultancies and companies in Frankfurt, etc.)

Outside of studying, you will probably spend a lot of time in the city and around the university. Ambassador Moritz Lämmerhirt describes Darmstadt’s charm in his blog , talking about the benefits and the particularly cool parts of the city.

TU Darmstadt supports and advises both actual students and prospective students with numerous offers. These include mentoring programmes, centres of learning, exercises, online refresher maths courses and different courses offered by the university library (e.g. scientific language and working methods).

The AStA (General Students’ Committee) provides support in legal matters, as well as organising cultural programmes and mobility for students, such as the semester ticket which allows you to use public transport.

StumiK provides support for students with children.

The Central Student Advisory is an important starting point for all matters. Here, you can get advice on many topics regarding a degree (e.g. choosing your degree programme, switching programmes, mental stress or financial burdens in your degree) and they can also point you towards other offers. Ambassador Denise Frey, a student at TU Darmstadt, wrote about how the Central Student Advisory helped her when she started her degree in her blog.

The International Student Services (ISS) support international students, exchange students and prospective students with a refugee background in all non-academic areas.


The Studierendenwerk will support you here. It operates its own halls of residence and will inform you on how to find other living options in Darmstadt. There are also other options, such as search portals like WG-Gesucht, forums, and social media (e.g. Facebook groups). For international students, the International Students Services provide housing assistance (see below: FAQs from international students)

Find more info on housing options as well as a few popular neigbourhoods in our Housing Guide .

Darmstadt is definitely a university city and is full of students. In summer, you can find groups of young people relaxing in the parks, at the inner-city lake Großer Woog, while Hesse’s largest music festival, the Schlossgrabenfest takes place in May and is a draw for everyone from both near and far. These are joined by other events, such as the Heinerfest (one of the largest inner-city festivals in Germany) and the Darmstädter Weinfest, where shops are also open on a Sunday. Darmstadt also has a lot to offer when it comes to culture. Theatres, museums, cinemas and bars, clubs, restaurants, as well as numerous sporting options and leisure activities guarantee diverse forms of entertainment. The city has many parks, all of which are perfect for sport, networking or just simply relaxing. You can read more on student life in Moritz' blog .

Darmstadt is at the heart of the Rhine-Main metropolis and has excellent transport connections. Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden and Aschaffenburg are all quickly and easily reached with public transport. The city and its surrounding areas are home to many big players from industry and economy, with Merck, Evonik, ESOC, Wella, Schenck and Telekom located in Darmstadt, all of which offer exciting internships and job opportunities for the future. Have a look at Ambassador Diego’s blog where he talks about Darmstadt as a science and research hotspot .

FAQs from international students

You can apply for a degree programme with a school leaving qualification from a foreign country. TU Darmstadt will check whether the degree is sufficient on an individual basis. Our website has all the information on applications and admissions with international qualifications .

The exact application periods and deadlines can be found on the TU Darmstadt website.

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

Every application is checked individually with regard to qualifications and expertise, meaning the average grade is not the only criterion. As such, every application is welcome! If you do not already have a bachelor’s degree, you can submit your transcript of records from the previous semester. The only thing that matters here is that you receive your degree on time and that this information is clearly visible in the transcript. The title of the bachelor’s degree must also be apparent in 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.

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.

at TU Darmstadt will answer your questions and advise you via email. You can find the contact information as well as a lots of information on popular neighbourhoods and housing options in our Housing Guide .