Bavarian State Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts

Titles and Degrees

To BA or not to BA

All German universities now offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In addition, they award titles such as “Magister”, “Diplom”, or “Staatsexamen” for some degree courses. This is why it is a good idea to check course descriptions carefully before signing up for any particular degree programme. Here is a list of the most common degrees at German universities.

Bachelor’s Degrees (BA, BSc, etc.)

A bachelor’s degree is an internationally recognised, first professionally qualifying degree. In Germany the bachelor’s title is normally awarded after six to eight semesters (three to four years). After completing your bachelor’s degree you can find a job or continue your studies with a master’s degree. In exceptional cases, an excellent bachelor’s degree can also lead straight to admission to a doctoral programme.

Master’s Degrees (MA, MSc, etc.)

If you want to study for a master’s degree, you are normally required to complete a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent academic qualification first. For certain master’s courses some practical work experience may also be required. The master’s title is generally awarded after studying for two to four semesters (one to two years). After your master’s degree you may choose to study for a doctoral degree.

Doctoral Degrees (Dr. agr., Dr. iur., etc.)

A doctoral degree proves the student’s ability to carry out extensive academic research. It includes a written dissertation and an oral examination. There is generally no set time-frame for a doctoral degree. However, most students complete their dissertations within two to five years. On successful completion of a doctoral degree, the candidate receives a doctoral title, such as Dr.iur. for lawyers. There are also certain doctoral programmes in Germany for which the title PhD is awarded. However, so far these remain the exception.

Diplom or Magister

This degree title is awarded after eight to ten semesters (four to five years) of studying.

Staatsexamen (State Examination)

This is an examination that doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, food chemists, and teachers have to pass before they can work in Germany.

Kirchliche Prüfung (Ecclesiastical Examination)

This is an examination for certain theological courses that are administrated by the Catholic or Evangelical-Lutheran church.