German recognition requirements for university entrance

New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results can be used to apply for admission to German universities when the minimum requirements below are met.

Minimum requirements for students applying for admission to German universities with NCEA results

NCEA Level 3

 60 credits at Level 3 or above plus 20 credits at Level 2 or above
in at least five distinct subjects including English (or Te Reo
Rangatira) and Mathematics (or Calculus)
University Entrance 14 credits each in three approved subjects at Level 3
Literacy  10 credits at Level 2 or above in English (or Te Reo Rangitira)
made up of 5 credits for reading and 5 credits for writing
Numeracy  14 credits in Mathematics (or Calculus) made up of 7 credits
at Level 3 and 7 credits at Level 2 or above*
*new requirement

It should be noted that the numeracy requirement for entry into German universities from 2017 are more stringent than those of New Zealand University Entrance. Therefore, achieving New Zealand University Entrance does not mean that the requirements of German universities have been met.

For further information on the minimum number of credits required for each subject, refer to the requirement table. (PDF, 426KB)

Additional requirements for students applying for admission to German universities

  • Students are advised to check for further requirements of the state they plan to study in. Some German Länder (federal states, with responsibility for education policy and recognition of foreign certificates) may have additional requirements, for example the required number of years of study.
  • Students are advised to contact the universities they are considering studying at to check for additional requirements before commencing their final year of study at a New Zealand school.  Individual German university programmes may have specific subject and grade requirements where admission is competitive or restricted.

What subjects should be studied in New Zealand?

Subject combinations that most closely follow the Abitur requirements include:

  • English or Te Reo Rangatira*
  • Mathematics or Calculus**
  • any natural science subject
  • any language, literature and arts subject (preferably a second language)
  • any social science subject (preferably history)

*English or Te Reo Rangitira are substitutes for German which is compulsory in Germany

** Achievement Standards for mathematics must be predominately calculus not statistics

For the list of NCEA subjects that correspond to subjects approved for Abitur, please see the Approved subjects for University Entrance in Germany (PDF, 126KB).

Grade conversion for recognition by German universities

The Abitur certificate provides an average score, Abiturdurchschnittsnote, allowing German universities to rank students for the competitive allocation of places. To enable German recognition authorities and universities to calculate an equivalent Abiturdurchschnittsnote on the basis of a student’s NCEA results, NZQA provides a German Overseas Results Notice (ORN) to students who have achieved NCEA from 2012 onwards. It includes values for use by German authorities and universities to convert NCEA results into the equivalent Abiturdurchschnittsnote.

Students are advised to achieve 90 or more Level 3 credits and aim for as many Excellence and Merit grades as possible. Higher grades achieved in the standards in each NCEA Level 3 University Entrance subject will result in a better Abitur conversion.

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
  • the Nd value (i.e. the student’s individual average score)
  • the Nmax and Nmin values.

The Nd, Nmax and Nmin values are used to convert the students’ NCEA results into the equivalent Abiturdurchschnittsnote.

The German ORN is updated in mid-January each year to include the results from the previous academic year. German international fee paying students can download their German ORN by logging into the Learner Login. Non-German citizens and domestic students can order a German ORN by emailing

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.


Please refer enquiries to:

International Unit
Telephone: 04 463 3000
Fax: 04 463 3426

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