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Language Skills


The medical studies in Cologne are taught entirely in German!

Foreign students take part in the same lectures and exams as Cologne students.
Therefore you need a level of German language skills of B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR) in order to successfully complete your studies. Please check here if your language certificate is sufficient and attach this to your application (see above). 

Those who have less than B2 (CEFR) should take note of the following information:

For certain subjects it is required to have a level of B2, such as gynecology, paediatrics, neurology, ophthalmology and for psychiatry even C1. In case you have chosen these subjects in your Learning Agreement, you will not be able to take these lessons until you have enough German language skills (e.g. postponement to 2nd semester).

For enrolled students, German courses free of charge are available at the University of Cologne. These are offered and organized by the "Department of German as a Foreign Language (DAF)" of the International Office of the University of Cologne. For each semester, a course is offered before the beginning of the semester (intensive course / pre-semester course), as well as a semester-accompanying course. Students who do NOT fulfill the above-mentioned language level are strongly advised to take the pre-semester course in order to have an optimal start to their study stay.

The pre-semester course takes place in March (summer term) and September (winter term).

The time schedules for the language courses are not determined by ZIB Med, but by DAF. Before the beginning of the courses, you will be taking an online placement test. After getting your result, you will be assigned to a course. 

Further information about the German courses can be found under the following link.

Clinical traineeships (PJ/Famulatur)

The standard level of German for all types of internships that take place at the University Hospital Cologne and/or the affiliated teaching hospitals of the Medical Faculty is level B1.

The following clinical departments with intensive patient contact or certain legal requirements demand a higher level of German:

B2 for gynaecology, paediatrics, neurology and ophthalmology and C1 for psychiatry.

Language requirements for internships in certain disciplines are subject to individual assessment (case-by-case decision) by the respective departments.

In a few clinical departments such as ear, nose and throat medicine (ENT), orthopaedics, urology and vascular surgery, there are no mandatory German language requirements. Students can be admitted if they can prove an English language level of C1.

If no language skills are proven in the application, ZIB Med will still try to place students, but cannot guarantee a successful placement and reserves the right to reject students.


A detailed overview of the required German language skills to the respective type of activity is shown on this table.