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I'm aiming to apply for a MA in Germany and in the description for my programme of choice it says:

The study course is admission free.

I'm a bit unsure of what this could mean, any German student could clarify if this means that meeting the criteria is enough for admission or something else?

How to apply section

Most important points

The study course is admission free. Application for beginning students is possible in summer semester.

First day of application: December 15th 2017

Application deadline: March 31st 2018

Special admission requirements: Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification in Philosophy or in a closely related field worth at least 60 credit points.

Admission requirements: A very good command of German is required.

Application/admission procedure section

This is an open admissions degree course, and applications are accepted for both the winter and summer semesters. Please note For open-admission Master's degree programmes it is strongly recommended to submit their applications as early as possible before 15 July for the winter semester. If the supporting documents are submitted after these dates but before the standard application deadlines, your application can only be processed at the start of the lecture period in the new semester.

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    I think you should provide more of the information as this is most probably context specific and is part of a section explaining their criteria. – Solar Mike Feb 9 '18 at 8:16
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    I'll copy-paste the how to apply section below: Most important points The study course is admission free. Application for beginning students is possible in summer semester. First day of application: December 15th 2017 Application deadline: March 31st 2018 Application: Click here. Special admission requirements Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification in Philosophy or in a closely related field worth at least 60 credit points. Admission requirements A very good command of German is required. – Alex VWyn Feb 9 '18 at 8:19
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    and here's the Aplication/admission procedure section: This is an open admissions degree course, and applications are accepted for both the winter and summer semesters. Please note For open-admission Master's degree programmes it is strongly recommended to submit their applications as early as possible before 15 July for the winter semester. If the supporting documents are submitted after these dates but before the standard application deadlines, your application can only be processed at the start of the lecture period in the new semester. – Alex VWyn Feb 9 '18 at 8:24
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    Have you checked the German version of the description? Maybe it's a mistranslation and it will become clear once you check the original version. (I assume you know some German at least, or you wouldn't apply to a program where "a very good command of German is required"). – Federico Poloni Feb 9 '18 at 8:26
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    @CapeCode What's ironic about that? The german language proficiency is required to attend the course. The english language version of the page is simply there as a matter of convenience, there is no expectation that whoever is maintaining that side should have a very good command of the english language. – Cubic Feb 9 '18 at 17:11
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This is most likely a very confusing translation of "zulassungsfrei", as opposed to "zulassungsbeschränkt"; the former meaning that there are no special restrictions placed on who will be admitted, you just need to satisfy the basic requirements for being allowed to enroll. In case of a Master's degree, that would probably be a relevant Bachelor's degree.

"Zulassungsbeschränkt", on the other hand, means that there will be some selection procedure because the number of spots is limited. Usually selection is by grades.

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    The first concept is commonly known as "open enrollment" in the USA. This means that there is no competitive process - anyone who fulfills the baseline criteria may enroll. Most "community colleges" in the USA are Open Enrollment, with the basic criteria being a high school diploma or equivalent. – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Feb 9 '18 at 18:55
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    @RobertColumbia Yes, that is indeed the same concept. The obvious difference being that it is a lot more common in Germany than in the US in many fields. (For example most CS Bachelor programs in Germany are "zulassungsfrei".) – Maeher Feb 9 '18 at 18:59
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The phrase admission free certainly is an attempt to translate the German zulassungsfrei.

Zulassungsfrei means that everyone satisfying the basic requirements can enroll in the course.

Sometimes it means that it is not necessary to apply for admission at all, and one can directly move to the enrollment step. However, this varies on a university by university basis, so do not rely on this unless you have verified that it is applicable to your university. Based on the extra info given by the OP, it does not apply in their case.

In the other cases, one still applies for admission, but this is a pure formal check of requirements.

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    Well, looks like I was 16 seconds too late. – Maeher Feb 9 '18 at 8:39
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    Both good answers anyway. – Solar Mike Feb 9 '18 at 11:22

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