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Dual Studies in Germany – study and work opportunities

A Dual Study program is a combination of theoretical and practical education offered by a number of German universities, academies and schools. They allow a student to gain an element of professional work experience whilst attending a more mainstream higher education establishment. 

These types of programs offer several opportunities for prospective students:
-A combination of experiences, culminating in both an academic diploma and a professional exam organized by the designated professional school department.
-Final grade determined by an even split between academic work and practical experience within the unified version
-An integrated professional program for those already in the workforce, often identified by the company for an employee to reach a new academic milestone.

Dual Studies for International Students

Germany offers a wealth of fresh opportunities for international students. New experiences in a foreign country prompt language skills, personal development and connections with new potentially rewarding contacts. With a Dual Study course, the networking element will be enhanced even further due to the formal work period undertaken with a particular company.

A Dual Study course offers a diploma equal to a Bachelor’s degree with additional Master’s elements, completed during the summer months via an internship. The requirements for the course vary between educational establishments so it is important to research preferred courses and institutions prior to a serious decision.

Companies supporting Dual Studies

Large numbers of German companies support the Dual Studies program. Extensive lists can be found online via university and college websites, which offer helpful databases for the interested student.

Dual Studies programs are highly popular in Germany. Corporations often invest and sign contracts with students, leading to successful careers, meaning that competition can be fierce for places. Each course will have an individual application procedure, so preparation is the key to a successful application. Interested students should ideally start the process with the school 18 months in advance. Applications for individual internships should commence 12-14 months before the beginning of term.

Documents required for application:

1. Curriculum Vitae
2. Covering Letter
3. Photo
4. Diploma/ High School Degree Certificate
5. Certificate of acceptance in a German University (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung)
6. Proof of sufficient German language ability

Requirements for a Dual Studies diploma in Germany

The basic requirements for acceptance are a high school diploma, or equivalent certificate for entrance to a German university (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung) and a certificate of higher German language skills. Diplomas from other German universities are accepted unconditionally.

Other equivalent secondary education diplomas will need to be validated and approved. This would be undertaken by the student’s local office for the recognition of diplomas (Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle). Certification of adequate German language ability is usually awarded via the Goethe Institute, a worldwide body that administers tests on a regular basis. Other methods, such as the TestDaF exam, are available and should be investigated for those interesed.


One advantage of the dual model is that the company with which the student interns with will provide a guaranteed income, alleviating some of the financial pressure associated with university. This reimbursement, while varied, will be equivalent to a German student’s pay. Scholarships are also available from a number of international funds that help support and promote foreign students. However, these methods must be arranged prior to application as they are required for acceptance.

To do list for interested students:

  • Research and choose a preferred college/university as well as a particular German company
  • Arrange the required diplomas to be sent to the office of acceptance at the chosen university
  • Arrange proof of German language ability from the Goethe Institute, TestDaF or another recognized body
  • Arrange visa clearance, residency permit, health insurance coverage (especially important for students from non-EU countries)
  • Arrange evidence of financial methods
  • Book accommodation and travel locations

The decision to become an international student and engage in a German Dual Study program, while appearing daunting, offers a wealth of opportunities not available by the traditional method of higher education. Students gain valuable insight into their chosen profession, connections with other professionals and a demonstrated ability to operate in a foreign environment.

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