In 2009, the ministers of education and the arts of the German Federal States (Länder) agreed on general and subject-based requirements to grant those with vocational qualifications access to higher education.

The aim was to place vocational education and training on the same footing as academic education. By 2014 these arrangements had been implemented in all 16 federal states ([1]).

Now, anyone can enter a university or university of applied sciences, if he/she holds one of the following vocational education qualifications:

  • certified senior clerk;
  • state-certified technician;
  • business economist;
  • educators or training staff for care and care providers.

A successful examination to become a master craftsman will also entitle the applicant to study whatever degree they wish, provided that there are no entry restrictions for the subject.

The Federal States agreed also that those students who have successfully completed one year of their studies in Germany have the right to continue their higher education in any other German Federal State, as long as they continue studying the same subject or a similar course. 

Overall, 3 to 10% of available higher education places are reserved for applicants with vocational qualifications. However the rule is that those with the best grades are accepted so only 2% of university students and 4% of those in a university of applied science have accessed their studies with vocational qualifications but without the higher education entrance qualification.

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([1]) One exception is certain catholic studies in Rhineland-Palatinate where a higher education entrance qualification is required, See:…