Applying to study at a German university

What you need to know if you're applying to study at a German university using your NCEA results.

Arrangements between NZ and Germany

The German Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK) recommends that German universities accept NCEA results for entry to German universities if certain conditions are met. NZQA has an agreement with KMK to convert NCEA Level 3 results for German university entrance (Abitur).

New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results can be used to apply for admission to German universities provided you:

  • meet the minimum NCEA and University Entrance requirements outlined below
  • meet the German university’s Abitur score requirement
  • meet any additional requirements from your intended university.

We recommend you contact your intended German university in advance to ensure that your NCEA subjects will meet their requirements.

Minimum NCEA and University Entrance requirements

For the best chance of acceptance, we recommend you aim to achieve 90 or more NCEA Level 3 credits and aim for as many Excellence and Merit grades as possible. You should study subjects that most closely reflect Abitur subjects.

Check the requirements of the state and the education provider where you are planning to study – they may have additional requirements.

As a minimum, your NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance subjects must include:

Five distinct general education subjects

The subjects must:

  • be accepted in Germany, as outlined below
  • include English (or Te Reo Rangatira) and mathematics (or calculus).

Recommended subjects

German universities expect you to have studied across a range of subject areas. The subject combination that most closely follows German university requirements would include:

  • English or Te Reo Rangatira (these are substitutes for German which is compulsory in Germany. NCEA German is not accepted by universities in Germany but is included in NZQA’s Abitur calculation)
  • mathematics or calculus (must be predominately calculus not statistics)
  • any natural science subject
  • any language, literature and arts subject (preferably a second language)
  • any social science subject (preferably history).

Approved subjects for University Entrance in Germany (PDF, 126KB)

English or Te Reo Rangatira credits

10 credits at Level 2 or above in English or Te Reo Rangatira, made up of:

  • 5 credits for reading, and
  • 5 credits for writing.

Mathematics credits

14 credits in mathematics or calculus, made up of 7 credits at Level 3 and 7 credits at Level 2 or above. Statistics is not accepted.

90 or more NCEA Level 3 credits

This is so an Abitur score can be calculated and includes Not achieved, Achieved, Merit and Excellence results (see Abitur conversion section below).

NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance requirements for admission to German universities (PDF, 426KB)

Requirements for students who completed NCEA and UE in 2020

The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz or KMK) have decided to indefinitely accept temporary pandemic-related changes to NCEA and University Entrance in 2020.

The minimum requirements for students with NCEA Level 3 and UE achieved in 2020 are:

  • 60 credits at Level 3 or above plus 20 credits at Level 2 or above – up to a maximum of 8 Learning Recognition credits may be used for satisfying this requirement
  • 12 credits each in three approved subjects at Level 3
  • the requirement for numeracy is 12 credits in mathematics (or calculus) made up of 6 credits at Level 3 and 6 credits at Level 2 or above
  • the requirement of at least five distinct subjects remains unchanged – Learning Recognition credits do not count as a subject
  • the requirement for literacy (10 credits at Level 2 or above in English (or Te Reo Rangatira) made up of 5 credits for reading and 5 credits for writing) remains unchanged.

Registered users can refer to this information on the Anabin website.

If you have any difficulties getting your 2020 NCEA with UE recognised in Germany, contact NZQA Policy and International at internationalunit@nzqa.govt.nz.

Abitur score requirements

The Abitur score, Abiturdurchschnittsnote, allows German universities to rank students for the competitive allocation of places.

To enable German recognition authorities and universities to calculate an equivalent Abiturdurchschnittsnote based on a student’s NCEA results, NZQA provides a German Overseas Results Notice (ORN) to students. It includes values for German authorities and universities to convert NCEA results into the equivalent Abiturdurchschnittsnote.

Getting NZ qualification documents

Students are advised to be assessed in 90 or more NCEA Level 3 credits and aim for as many Excellence and Merit grades as possible. Higher grades achieved in the standards in NCEA Level 3 University Entrance approved subjects, particularly externally assessed standards, will result in a better Abitur conversion.

Values for Abitur

NZQA implements a process developed and directed by Germany’s Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK) to calculate:

  • individual Nd values – each student's average score
  • Nmax – the highest Nd value in a given year
  • Nmin – the lowest Nd value in a given year.

This is recorded on the student’s German Overseas Results Notice (ORN).

The Nmin, Nmax and Nd values are calculated using the NCEA Level 3 results from all students awarded University Entrance that year.

Values for Nd are calculated each academic year using the student’s best 90 NCEA Level 3 assessed credits. To determine which 90 credits are your best, assessed credits are given a weighting based on several factors.

How we rank NCEA Level 3 credits

Each standard’s result is prioritised:

  • University Entrance (UE) approved subject standards are used ahead of non-UE approved subject standards
  • achievement standards are used ahead of unit standards
  • externally assessed achievement standards are typically ranked higher than internally assessed standards for the same subject and result.

Ninety credits at Excellence on their own do not guarantee a high score. Higher grades achieved in the standards in NCEA Level 3 University Entrance subjects, and especially externally assessed standards, will result in a better Abitur conversion.

Each standard and result's difficulty is weighed each year. Having a larger number of assessed results may increase the level of the Abitur score. All level 3 results from previous years are included.

Formula for Abitur

The formula for Abiturdurchschnittsnote is:

1 + 3 * ((Nmax - Nd) / (NMax - NMin))

If a student’s Nd score was the lowest in their year level, Nd would equal Nmin and the equation would simplify to 1 + 3 * (x / x) = 4 where x / x = 1.

Conversely, if a student’s Nd score was the highest, it would simplify to 1 + 3 * (0 / x) = 1 where 0 / x = 0.

Documents you'll need

German Overseas Results Notice

NZQA provides a German ORN for students who have completed NCEA in New Zealand. The German ORN includes:

  • a list of all NZQA qualifications achieved by the student
  • a summary of credits achieved, categorised by subject areas, results, grade and level
  • the Nd value (i.e. the student’s individual average score)
  • the Nmax and Nmin values (Nmax is the highest Nd value and Nmin is the lowest Nd value for a given year).

The German ORN is produced in mid-January each year to include all NCEA results from the previous academic years. This is updated with late reported results and those arising from successful reviews and reconsiderations.

German citizens who are international fee-paying students can download their German ORN in the 'Order documents' section of the Learner Login.

Non-German citizens and domestic students can request a German ORN by emailing the NZQA records team at DMRL@nzqa.govt.nz.

There is no cost for a German ORN.

Students leaving New Zealand partway through a year will not be able to have their Nd value until the following January when NCEA results are released. This is because the Nd scores cannot be calculated until all students’ results are available. An Nd score cannot be estimated.

Completion of NCEA before 2012

NZQA is unable to provide a German ORN for students who achieved NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance prior to 2012 because the data sets are not available for conversion to Abiturdurchschnittsnote. German authorities and universities will convert existing NCEA results using the highest three Level 3 subject scores.

How to apply

Apply directly to the education provider.

Contact us

For more information, email internationalunit@nzqa.govt.nz.

 
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