When it comes to university education in Germany and when you start researching on this subject, the most curious topic you will come across will be the question of what is HZB?
What is HZB?
HZB stands for “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung”, the German university entrance qualification. As you know, there is no central exam to start university in Germany. Every German young person who has completed a Gymnasium (the equivalent of a high school in Germany for students who want to go to university) has the right to attend a university and a program. Some universities set a limit on high school graduation (Abitur) grades for certain programs with limited places and only those with the highest grade point average can enroll in those programs. (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Law, etc.) This ranking is called NC (Numerus Clausus).
How much does this concern us, you may ask? The German approach to university placement means that you will be questioned whether you are on equal footing with German students. Since German universities are in high demand from all over the world, they have set very different standards for applicants depending on the country in which they have obtained their university entrance qualifications. If you have an internationally recognized high school diploma (Abitur, Matura, Baccalaureate, IB, etc.), your diploma meets the HZB qualification. In other cases, your university entrance qualification needs to be checked on the basis of the country where you obtained it.
There is a site called anabin created for this purpose. You should check your HZB qualification here. HZB conditions differ from country to country. Therefore, select your country and read all the explanations carefully. The requirements are updated 2 times a year. Therefore, it is useful to check them again even if you have already reviewed them before.
How to Make a HZB Query for Undergraduate Program Applicants?
Here I will talk about the query for undergraduate programs. The queries for master’s degree are a little different, you can read the Anabin user manual for that query.
As I mentioned above, the HZB query is made on the Anabin website. When you ask a question to any school in Germany, this is the site they will direct you to. Let’s take a look at how to make an HZB query together.
First of all, the official address of anabin’s website is https://anabin.kmk.org/. By entering the site, the inquiry for undergraduate programs is done as follows. Since the site is in German, you can use google translation. However, when you translate, you will have problems on some screens. For this reason, I will describe it with the German original below.
If you go to the Anabin website, click on “Schulabschlüsse mit Hochschulzugang”, i.e. “School-leaving qualifications with access to higher education” in the menu on the left.
You will be greeted with an informative article in the Menu that opens. It is also shared that the information you will find here is updated twice a year. Click on the “Suchen” tab on the right side of the menu and select the country from the drop-down menu on the screen. In our example, this is “Turkei”.
In the list that opens, you must select the most recently completed school diploma. When you click on the diploma, a new window will open and the special conditions and rules for that diploma will be explained. I have selected the 12-year High School Diploma as an example.
In the window that opens, you will see the diploma you have selected in the description “Schulabschluss:”. You can scroll down the window and you will see a list of special case descriptions. In the section “Bewertung Schulabschluss”, i.e. “Evaluation of the school-leaving certificate”, there is a code that I have marked with a blue pencil. Make a note of this code for the condition that applies to you. In case of disagreements with the universities about the HZB, you … the conditions with the code … apply to me. Therefore, you can defend yourself by saying that I have the HZB qualification. (In some cases there are mistakes, so confirm that you comply with the conditions under that code)
Scan the list for conditions that suit you. Let me give an example on one of them.
In the screen above you see the condition map coded TUR-BV05. Under this code, there are two conditions in the left column. The first one is a 12-year high school diploma (which we have already selected on this screen) and the second one is a “Code-Karte”, which is a certificate of passing the university exam. In the right column, we see the requirements for this certificate. Here, the minimum points required are given, varying according to the years. For example, in the most recent case, the minimum score for 2022 is 180 points.
Apart from the score, you must be placed in a 4-year faculty (the section marked in blue at the bottom right). If you meet these conditions, the rule in the dark background at the bottom left applies. As I underlined in red, 12-year Turkish High School graduates who comply with these rules are entitled to “Direkter Zugang”, i.e. direct access. However, there is a detail in parentheses, it is called “fachorientientiert”, i.e. “subject-oriented” and the explanation is written below as follows. “To all universities for the subject or adjacent departments mentioned in the university exam certificate you have submitted”
“So it’s the same or similar in subject matter to the one you’re studying”. It can be a bit confusing. I have tried to write about this in more detail below. If the conditions in the example I have given do not show your situation, try to find the appropriate situation for you by scrolling the window like TUR-BV06 … 07. In some possible cases, there may be conditions such as “Fachhochschule only”, “Preparatory school (Studienkolleg), “Associate Degree” or “University education in Turkey for a certain period of time”. It is not possible to sample all of them as it is a very wide scale. You should choose the situation that suits you.
What can I do if I do not meet the HZB requirement?
If you do not meet the HZB requirement, you have two options. Either you can go to a university preparatory school (Studienkolleg) and obtain a university entrance qualification based on your school-leaving grade, or you can take the TestAS exam. If you are interested in schools where the TestAS exam counts as a HZB qualification, visit the “Universities accepting testas exam 2023“.
When the intention of studying in Germany arises, it immediately comes to mind to contact a consultant, but first read my article “Is it necessary to work with a consultant to study in Germany?“.
Check whether your chosen program at your desired university requires an NC. You can read this as ( Ohne NC ), meaning that your score does not matter for programs that do not require NC, but for others it does. For programs with NC restrictions, your score will need to be converted into the German grading system. Some universities do this themselves, while others may want it to be done through uniassit. This process is called VPD for short. Please see my more extensive article about this (see What is VPD?).
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