Do German universities consider the high school grades for post-graduate admissions since they ask for it?

  • 1
    It goes on like that. I had to prove being qualified for university access with the high school certificate before I was admitted for the PhD defense. Just do not think about it too much. If the grades were of any sigificance you surely would know. It would be made transparent. Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 18:12
  • Generally no - though high school grades tell you something about people (e.g. getting the very top grade requires hard work/discipline, while having very good grades can be achieved by being smart but lazy).
    – user151413
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


In theory there is no way to prevent them from doing so, but in general they will focus on more relevant things like bachelors degree.

The reason they ask (apart from the German love for bureaucracy) I believe is a weird quirk in German law. In order to study at a German university you need a "Hochschulreife", i.e. the qualification for university studies. This is normally gained by finishing high school.¹ It is however not gained by having a university degree, even though it is technically needed to get one in the first place. So in order to gain admission into a masters program, you both need to prove that you have the prerequisite bachelors degree, as well as the general qualification to study (i.e. have finished high school).

¹The specifics are a bit complicated, as not every type of German high-school counts. For foreign systems, I believe there are endless lists of what is equivalent and what is not, but in general this is not a high hurdle.

  • 1
    "German love for bureaucracy" Well, not exactly how I would put it... Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 17:59
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    I'd frame it a bit more positively: It's a way of making it a bit more difficult for people who managed to get into university (or any other kind of qualification) by cheating on prerequisites to continue without ever being asked for those prerequisites.
    – user151413
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 22:15
  • Odd. In the US, finishing high school is not necessarily required to study at a university, and there are plenty of people walking around with PhDs who did not finish high school. Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 10:36
  • 1
    @AnonymousPhysicist Well, you have to decide somehow who is going to be admitted.
    – user151413
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 14:31
  • @AnonymousPhysicist Well, there is of course a long list of exceptions and about of 250 years of historical development of the system that explain why things are the way they are. But the details would be a bit far from the heart of the question.
    – mlk
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 8:24

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