Foundation Year - Pathways

Foundation Year - next start 11 July  2022


Foundation Year

Students from abroad who don‘t have a secondary school certificate that is equivalent to the German Abitur have to complete a one year foundation course before being admitted into University. The foundation year ends with a final exam

There are a very limited number of places in public Foundation year programs.  ISL therefore offers its own private Foundation year  program.

Foundation year - what you need to know

A number of public universities offer free foundation year courses. While it was no problem to get a seat in one of these courses a few years ago, it has become increasingly difficult over the past years due to the high number of applicants coming to Germany. Hence the universities had to limit the number of people that they can accept into their foundation courses. When the public foundation year is offered the University now runs an entry test and the people with the highest points get the places available. At present about 10% of students get a place in such a free Foundation year program.

  • As a result of this, there are a number of private foundation year course providers which offer the same course at a charge. 
  • When selecting a course please pay attention to the fact that only courses with one letter, allow access to a university. The courses with two letters (e.g. TT-course) only allow access to a university of applied sciences. 
  • If you want to have a guaranteed seat, you will need to opt for the private option. Please note that the fees cover the course, but there can never be a guarantee on the successful passing of the final exam.  
  • Most importantly a student is allowed to stay in Germany for a maximum of 2 years to learn the language and to pass the Foundation year program (FSP exam). If you have not managed this in 2 years you must return home. Exceptions are sometimes made if students show that they are close to entering University - but this cannot be relied on. So you must ensure that you start your Foundation program as soon as possible.


For the foundation year you need a good level of German (B2) when starting in order to be able to understand the course content.

Start, Duration and Cost of the course

As the ISL Studienkolleg / Foundation Year is a privately-run college, you won't need to sit an entrance exam. We will admit you based on your secondary school certificates. You do however need to have a B2 German Language Certificate.

  • If you don't have this German level - you will not be able to sucessfully manage the course.
  • You also need this B2 level to register for the final exam (FSP) on time.
  • The courses at ISL Studienkolleg start twice per year: in July and in January.
  • Each course (T, W, M) lasts for a total of 36 weeks, split up into 2 semesters. Between each semester there is a 2 week break.
  • The courses runs for an average of 32 hours (45 minutes each) per week.
  • This program costs €7900 (inculding material/books)