Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the MPP, the application processing, living in Germany and learning German. 

  • If you are considering applying to the Brandt School but want to know more about your options, please see the General Questions.
  • If you have decided to apply but are unsure about the procedures, find answers to your questions under Application Process.
  • If you want to know how to prepare for your stay in Erfurt, see Preparing for Life in Germany.
  • If you are interested in learning German before coming to Erfurt and during your stay, please see the questions and answers under Learn German.

General Questions

When does the program start?

The MPP program starts only once a year in the fall term, which regularly begins on October 1, with classes starting in mid-October. We offer a mandatory orientation week which starts one week before the opening of the lecture period.

Please note: Due to the Coronavirus situation, classes in the Winter Semester 2020/21 will begin at the start of November, as opposed to mid-October. 

What is the duration of the program?

The MPP program requires 120 credit points for graduation, earned over four semesters (i.e. two years). It is not possible to reduce the number of semesters or to graduate sooner.

How many students are admitted to the program?

There is neither a limit for the number of students accepted to the MPP program, nor are there any geographical restrictions. The Admissions Committee does not use quotas of any kind. The average class size is now about 50-60 students.

How many international students attend the MPP program?

The number of international students varies from year to year, and the school does not try to target a certain number of international students in the admissions process. However, as the program’s orientation is explicitly international, the majority of students is indeed international.

How much does the program cost?

The estimated overall cost of attendance is currently around EUR 26,600. This sum consists of the following expenses:

  • Tuition fee: EUR 6,400 (for the whole program of two years) in total or in installments of EUR 1,600 per semester due in advance
  • Semester contribution fee (subject to change, see below for details) EUR 270 (per semester)
  • Living expenses (cost of housing, food, health insurance, etc. as stipulated by the city of Erfurt's Foreigner's Office) approximately EUR 853 (per month for 22 months).
  • Course materials (books, course packs) at least EUR 100 (per semester)
  • The semester contribution covers the cost of student services as well as of the student council. One part of the semester contribution goes to the student services and the student council, the other covers the “Semester Ticket”. The “Semester Ticket” entitles you to travel free of charge on city routes of the Erfurt Municipal Transit Authority (EVAG) and can be used by all students. You must simply show your student ID when asked to see your ticket. The semester contribution, the payment of which is mandatory for all students, currently totals EUR 270

Can I do a Ph.D. or Doctorate at Brandt School?

Yes. You have the possibility of doing research work here, using the University of Erfurt facilities, or finding your Ph.D. supervisor at Brandt School or the Faculty of Social Sciences (Staatswissenschaftliche Fakultät).

Our general field of expertise is outlined in our mission statement, which can be found here; if this is in line with your own research agenda, you may want to continue by reading through the Research & PhD sections of our website, in order to compare the fields of specialization of our faculty members with the envisaged topic of your Ph.D. thesis.

If by now you feel that there is a potential "match" between yourself and a faculty member here, feel free to contact him/her directly, specifying your request as much as it is possible for you at this stage:

When exactly do you plan starting to work on your Ph.D.? In which area or on which topic, using which research design? Will you work full- or part-time on your Ph.D.? Have you already secured funding for your plans? Are you planning to apply, and if so to whom, for grants or scholarships?

The more details you provide us with, the better we will be able to respond to your request.

Please note: Agreeing to supervision of a Ph.D. research project by a faculty member of the Brandt School would require the Ph.D. student to enroll as a student at the University of Erfurt, and the degree conferred at UE actually is a "Dr. rer. Pol.", not a Ph.D.

Can I study part-time?

No, your offer of admission to the Brandt School program will be for full-time study only.

Can I take classes at other faculties at the University of Erfurt?

Yes, students do have the possibility to cross-register for selected classes offered by other departments at the University of Erfurt, provided that space is available in these courses. Whether and how many credit points are awarded is subject to approval of your academic mentor and the MPP Examinations Committee. You can get an idea of which lectures and seminars are offered for a given term by checking the course listings on the University of Erfurt's homepage.

Can I visit the University of Erfurt and the Brandt School of Public Policy?

If you want to find out more about the University and the Brandt School, you are welcome to visit us during our office times, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, please make an appointment to ensure that staff or lecturers can plan to spend time answering all your questions.

We encourage you to pay us a visit on our yearly Open Day each spring when we introduce the program and the school to interested visitors. Please check our website for the exact date.

Do you offer scholarships?

A very limited number of partial scholarships is available to highly qualified international students already in their second year of studies only.

Brandt School partial scholarships are financed by the DAAD and subject to academic performance and continued availability of funds. The amount of money awarded to a successful applicant is not pre-defined. Rather than serving as a means of covering all your costs it is meant as a finacial support during your final year of studies.

Therefore, we highly recommend that applicants in the need of financial support apply for scholarships from third institutions. For further information please see our Tuition and Financing page.

What is the MPP curriculum like? What courses and specializations are available?

Detailed information on the structure and content of our curriculum can be found under Master of Public Policy, where you can download the most recent Academic Schedule.

Application Process

What are the application deadlines?

The deadline for applicants from EU + EFTA member states who do not need a visa (and do not apply for a scholarship) as well as for German applicants is September 1st. All hardcopies of application documents must be submitted to the Brandt School by September 1st, therefore online applications close to the deadline are not possible.

For applicants from non EU or EFTA countries who must apply for a visa to study in Germany, and applicants who are applying for scholarships (Haniel Stipend/EICF Scholarship) the deadline is May 31; however, we strongly advise you to apply as early as possible, especially if you are applying for a scholarship. Please keep in mind that, depending on the country you are from, visa processing time can take 3 months or even longer. Please check with the local German Embassy to estimate how long visa processing would be expected. This is why we strongly encourage you to apply before our priority deadline (end of February).

What materials do I have to submit with my application?

Please read carefully through our Admission Requirements and Application Process pages for detailed and in-depth information on all required documents. Generally speaking, all applicants are required to submit the following items:

  • Official secondary education certificate (Abitur, High School Diploma, or equivalent)
  • Official degrees and transcripts from all colleges or universities attended
  • Statement of Purpose (two pages or less)
  • Curriculum Vitae (two pages or less)
  • A proof of a minimum of one year of work experience.
  • Applicants whose previous study program was conducted in a language other than English are required to submit official TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge Certificate scores. Test results of the first two may not be older than 2 years

International students from a non-English speaking country who have earned a university degree from an institution where the language of instruction and examination is English need not prove their English language ability by an official test. However, they must submit an official letter from their university certifying that they have studied in English.

Please note that simple copies cannot be accepted. All copies must be certified as true copies by an official authority as being true to the original document. These certified copies can therefore not be faxed to the Brandt School, as the Admissions Committee must be able to see the stamp as verification of its authenticity. The German Embassy, among other authorities, offers the official certification of copies.

What do we look for in an applicant?

The Admissions Committee seeks highly talented and motivated applicants. The following requirements and prerequisites must be met:

Academic Background

Admittance for the program requires the fulfillment of the following academic prerequisites:

  • German "Abitur", a General Secondary Education Certificate, a high school diploma or a comparable international diploma entitling the applicant to enter an institution of higher education, and
  • A university diploma awarded for the completion of an academic program with a duration of a minimum of 6 semesters of study, , ideally in subjects from the social sciences, economics, or law. If your undergrad degree is from a different discipline, please also use your letter of motivation to spell out your connection to the subject and how you acquired the analytical skills required for the study of public policy.

Professional Experience

As an addition to the academic prerequisites, the Brandt School is looking for applicants who have had first professional experience in an area of work that connects the the field of Public Policy. While in some cases we accept applications who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance, we recommend that you do already possess some professional experience, which includes internship experience.

Curriculum Vitae, Statement of Purpose, and Letters of Recommendation

The Admissions Committee considers the impression gained from the Statement of Purpose, the CV, and the letters of recommendation in the admission process. It is essential that your statement provides us with sufficient information about your analytical skills, the reasons for your interest in political issues, your professional objectives, and their connection to the MPP program. Your statement should explain your career goals and why you have chosen our public policy program to pursue your academic or professional goals. It is also important that your statement of purpose explains how prior professional experiences (such as internships) have shaped your career plans. Please limit the length of your statement of purpose to two pages.

Language

Students will have to read demanding scientific texts during their studies. Therefore, they must be able to read, write, speak, and understand English fluently. Applicants must demonstrate their competency in English by taking one of the following tests: TOEFL, IELTS, or the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English.
Candidates who received their universtiy degree from an English-language college or university do no necessarily need to take one of the tests listed above, but can present an official document or letter issued by the university stating that English has been the medium of instruction.

For the specific requirements, please see our Application Process page.

Do I need to have my foreign documents translated?

Yes. All documents, such as official transcripts, diplomas, certificates, or letters of recommendation not issued in German or English must be translated into German or English by an official translator and certified as authentic translations by a public notary.

Which degrees and transcripts am I required to submit?

You must submit degrees and transcripts from all schools and universities that you have attended. These must either be official transcripts issued by the institution itself or certified true copies of them. Also, if you have not yet completed your studies, please send us a current transcript including all courses you have taken to date. Before your final admission, we request that you send all finalized documents.

Do I have to prove my German language ability?

No. German proficiency is not an admission requirement for the MPP program, which is taught entirely in English.

However, we do strongly recommend you that you are able to speak at least basic German upon your arrival in order to be able to cope with everyday life in Erfurt, including tasks such as grocery shopping and visits to the doctor or official authorities. Last but not least, being able to speak the local language is a great facilitator of integration and will enrich your experience in Germany.

As the program is taught in Germany, students will study the German language as a part of the MPP curriculum until they reach A2 level. Students who already are proficient in German (A2 level) are free to take German classes at a higher level or to choose other language classes offered by the university.

What is the TOEFL code of the Brandt School?

The TOEFL institution code of the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy is 1350.

Additionally, you can also include the address of the Brandt School:

Universitaet Erfurt
Willy Brandt School of Public Policy
Nordhaeuser Straße 63
99089 Erfurt
Germany

If your TOEFL result is send directly by the TOEFL testing center, please upload the confirmation you recieved when submitting your application online.

What happens after I submit my application to the Willy Brandt School?

We will inform you about the receipt of your application via e-mail and we will be in touch with you about any further action that might be required from your side. Of course you are always welcome to ask us any question you might have during the application process. Once the Admissions Committee has decided upon your application, we will let you know immediately and guide you through the further procedure.

When do you inform applicants about their admission status?

The Admissions Committee reviews the applications to the program on a rolling basis. This means that the Committee meets regularly in order to evaluate the applications sent to the Brandt School. Therefore, decisions concerning admission are generally made within six to eight weeks after receipt of a complete application. Please note that in peak application times the processing and review of the application can take longer, therefore it is recommended to apply as early as possible.

If you apply before the priority deadline (end of February), you will know the result in March.

Can I defer my admissions offer?

An admission offer by the Brandt School is valid only for one particular academic term. If you are unable or unwilling to make use of it, it automatically becomes invalid.

However, there is the possibility to reapply during the next admission round. Since admission criteria, among other things, may be subject to change, you cannot be guaranteed being accepted for a second time. On the other hand, if you were successful once, your chances of convincing the admission committee again are considerably high.

Special note for applicants from the P.R. China and Vietnam

Having your certificates checked by and taking the "APS" interview at the German Embassy is not an obligatory requirement. However, it is highly recommended by the Brandt School! While passing the interview does not automatically mean admission to the MPP program, it certainly helps to strengthen one's application. Furthermore, obtaining the APS certificate facilitates and expedites the visa application process. If you take the interview, please submit the certificate from APS to the Brandt School along with your application package.

More information on APS can be found on the Germany Embassy China and the German Embassy Vietnam websites.

Preparing for Life in Germany

What are useful websites?

All are very good sources to cross-check and gather additional information with regard to almost every aspect of living and studying in Germany (in English and other languages). We encourage you check them out!

What should I do while still at home?

  • hand in all remaining documents required for final admission
  • Apply for a visa and submit all necessary documents to the Embassy
  • Determine what kind of health insurance you will need
  • Seek accommodations in Erfurt
  • Pay the tuition fee

What do I need to take with me when coming to Erfurt?

  • A passport valid for the full period of your stay in Germany (otherwise, you must return to your home country when it expires)
  • Notification of admission for your studies at the University of Erfurt
  • Scholarship award (if one has been granted to you)
  • Appropriate proof of sufficient financial means (e.g., bank statements, scholarship award, etc.)
  • Visa, if required (not a tourist visa!)
  • Proof of health insurance from your home country if you obtain it at home
  • An international student identity card (advisable, but not necessary)
  • At least 4 passport photographs (please see the requirements here)
  • Prescription medication and vaccination documents
  • Travellers' cheques and some cash for your arrival
  • EC bank card (debit card) or credit card

What do I have to do after arriving in Germany?

  • Purchase health insurance, if not already done at home
  • Pay the semester contribution
  • Register at the University and pick up student ID (Thoska) at Student Services
  • Find and move into your room or apartment, sign tenancy agreement 
  • Register with the City of Erfurt
  • Register at the Foreigners’ Registration Authority (Residency permit)
  • Open a bank account

Do I need a visa? How do the visa procedures work?

A visa authorizes you to enter - but not to remain in - Germany. Visas have an expiration date and may be valid for different time periods and purposes (pleasure, business, study).

For students from EU and EFTA countries, Switzerland, Canada, the USA and a couple of other countries, no entry visa is required. Please check the list on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office for details.

Most international students from countries outside the European Union who want to enroll at a German university may only do so with a Student Visa. You must apply for a visa in your home country at the German Embassy or Consulate. In general, the following documents must be submitted along with a visa application form:

  • Notification of admission to study at the University of Erfurt
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover living expenses for the duration of at least the first academic year in Erfurt (currently approx. EUR 750 per month) and all fees
  • Copy of a higher education entrance qualification
  • Health certificate, if necessary (for further information please inquire at the German embassy in your home country)
  • The submission of additional documents (e.g., your birth certificate) may be necessary depending on your country of origin
  • Regulations about biometric photos for ID documents are strict in Germany

For further information about the format of the biometric passport photo, please click here.

Processing a visa application usually takes up to three months - and might take even longer in many cases. Please apply as early as possible!

It is your responsibility to apply for a visa timely so that you can arrive on time in Erfurt to begin your studies on time.

If you require an entry visa for Germany, please note the following:

Never travel to Germany on a tourist visa! A tourist visa cannot be converted into a student visa. Note that entering the country on a tourist visa will not enable you to enroll at the University of Erfurt and will instead require you to leave Germany after three months.

What type of arrangements do I have to make concerning health insurance, and when should I do so?

Every student is required to have recognized health insurance coverage at all times. Insurance fees and medical expenses are solely the student's responsibility. When enrolling at the University of Erfurt or applying for a residence permit in Erfurt, you must submit proof of a valid health insurance policy.

Health insurance coverage can be purchased in your country of origin or in Germany. The former must be accepted by the German Embassy and the Foreigner's Office. You can also purchase a health insurance policy immediately after your arrival in Germany. Please note that it is one of the first things you have to do, as you will not be able to take care of any other formalities in Germany until you have proof of health insurance coverage. As a student in Germany you have the right to statutory health insurance at the lowest rate of contribution (currently around EUR 90 per month), if you are under 30 years of age. The following health insurance options are available:

  • For students under 30 years of age: a health insurance contract at student rates (currently around EUR 90/month) with the local branch of a public health insurance provider
  • For students over 30 years of age: the contribution rate depends on your income

Private health insurance is also available. However, it should be noted that once private insurance has been purchased, switching to a public health insurance carrier is no longer possible. In addition, the contribution rates always depend on your income.

Please note: Certain countries have bilateral agreements on health insurance with Germany. Their health plan is recognized in Germany; therefore, you can simply remain insured in your own country and require no additional policy in Germany. In order to have your health expenses covered, you must obtain a particular form from your domestic national insurance provider and present it to a German public health insurance company. Please inquire there about the form.

Currently, the following countries have bilateral agreements with Germany:

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Tunisia.

Does the University offer student housing?

Yes. Most of our students live in one of the student dorms. In order to get a room, you need to make sure, however, that your online application for a student dorm room arrives as early as possible, because rooms are assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The residence halls are administered by the University's Studierendenwerk (Student Services Organization). Rent is priced according to the size and quality of the room and according to the number of occupants. The same rental and residential conditions apply to all the rooms in the various residence halls. The monthly rent payment includes service costs (heating, water, electricity). A deposit of EUR 300 must be paid upon moving into a residence hall.

Students have their own bedroom but share a kitchen and bathroom with others. A limited number of single apartments (with a private kitchen and bathroom) are also available. If you require a single apartment, please do not forget to specify this request on your application form. However, very few of these are available, and it would be wise in this case to seek private accommodation.

We ask prospective students to send their applications for accomodation directly to the Studentenwerk Thüringen via their online application portalThis portal usually opens on April 1st.

The Brandt School is in contact with the housing department and can offer logistical assistance before your arrival in Erfurt. However, we are not responsible for the rooms in the University's dormitories.

Can I work part-time in order to finance my living expenses in Germany?

Yes, you are free to take on a part-time job while studying at the Brandt School, provided that it does not interfere with your studies and that you do not violate your visa stipulations. 

As a foreign student from outside the European Union, you are allowed by law to work for three months during the semester break or up to 120 days (up to 8 hours per day) evenly distributed over the year or 240 half work days (no more than four hours per day) evenly distributed throughout the year. This authorization is provided directly by the local Foreigners’ Registration Authority so that you do not need a work permit from the Employment Office. If you are studying on a scholarship and wish to earn extra money during your stay in Erfurt, you will also need permission from the institution giving you the scholarship. Do not accept jobs and work without the necessary permits, as it could get you into severe trouble!

Citizens from European Union countries, from countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), and from Switzerland have a different status under European Community Law. Therefore, the same conditions apply to them as those that apply to German citizens. Since January 1, 2013, German and international students earning more than EUR 450 per month are required to pay contributions into the German pension fund (paid internships may be treated as an exception from this rule), so your net income will actually be a bit lower than you may expect. These pension fund contributions are transferable within the EU; students from non-EU countries can apply to have their contributions refunded.

Further details and information on legal regulations can be found on the DAAD's website on working in Germany.

Do I have to stay in Erfurt while writing my master's thesis during the last term?

Technically, there is no formal obligation for you to be in Erfurt during this time (fourth semester). (Those of you with scholarships should consult your Scholarship Awards to see if they include a residency requirement.) However, we strongly recommend that students remain in Erfurt due to the mandatory  research colloquium that takes place during the period of instruction and also because of the advantage of staying in personal contact with your academic mentor. Finally, we have had some poor experiences in the past of students trying to combine doing an internship with writing their master's thesis. We therefore advise students not to do so. The only exception here is if your internship is directly linked to your topic and if your internship organization is willing to allow you sufficient time to do your research.

Learning German

Why should I learn German?

Being able to speak the local language is the best way to integrate yourself into German society and to get to know your host country and its people better. Although many Germans do speak some English, everyday life takes place entirely in German. Therefore, basic German skills are essential for various activities. From exploring the ancient history of Erfurt, to taking the train to Berlin, to buying some bread in the supermarket: German will help you to reach your goals and to get in touch with the locals.

In Erfurt you will have the chance to learn the basics of the language in your German course at the university and at the same time to practise your skills with locals.

Click here to see why German is furthermore an important language and why learning it will be a major asset in the future.

Do I have to learn German before starting the MPP program in Erfurt?

No. However, knowledge of some basic German is strongly recommended to cope with everyday life, but there is no prerequisite for you to speak German before your arrival in Erfurt.

How can I learn German before coming to Erfurt?

If you wish to prepare yourself for your stay in Germany by learning German before hand, there are various ways to do so:

One possibility is to order learning material on the internet.

Another way to become familiar with the German language is to take a course at one of the various Goethe Institutes all over the world. Click here to find out where German language courses are offered.

How will I learn German in Erfurt?

International students whose knowledge of German is not proficient enough for the purpose of studying at university level are required to continue taking semester-long German-as-a-foreign-language classes as part of their MPP studies (within the “basics and language module”). There are several levels of German courses available.

German for beginners

In these courses, your teacher Gudrun-Gerlinde Hennig will teach you the basics of German grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills. Gudrun-Gerlinde Hennig has been teaching German as a foreign language since 1993, and for several years in close cooperation with the universities of Ilmenau and Erfurt. Since completing her studies in German and Russian at the Pädagogische Hochschule Erfurt, from which she graduated in 1973 with a teaching diploma, she has taught German and Russian at the high school level and as a freelancer.

German for advanced learners

Students who already have basic or advanced language skills may improve deepen their theoretical and practical skills in one of the many advanced German courses at the University. There is a great variety from which students can choose: courses range from grammar to pure communication and from listening comprehension to courses which focus on reading scientific texts.

Alternatively MPP students who already speak German at a very advanced level may opt to study another foreign language instead.

Do I have to pay for the German courses?

No. German courses and other foreign language courses are included in your tuition fees.

Can I learn other languages at the University of Erfurt?

Yes. There is a great variety of other language courses from which you can choose. Whether you want to learn Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Polish or Russian - you will have the chance to do so in Erfurt with teachers who are mainly native speakers.