Frequently asked questions

General Issues

When is the ideal time for a semester abroad?

Most semesters abroad are carried out or started in a winter semester, as the summer semester (spring semester) in many European and non-European countries already begins in January, when students in Germany are still studying in the middle of their winter semester.  The exception is the southern hemisphere and a few countries that do not begin their summer semester before March, where it is also possible to study abroad in the summer semester. There is no ideal semester for studying abroad, neither in the Bachelor's nor in the Master's programme. However, we recommend the 5th semester in the Bachelor's programme and the 3rd semester in the Master's programme, if there are no obstacles related to study organisation or examinations. This is the case, for example, in the Communication Studies major, where the project study phase takes place in the 5th and 6th semester. In this case, another semester must be chosen for studies abroad.


Can I go abroad more than once?

The University of Erfurt places students at a partner university only once per study phase (BA, MA). A further placement is only possible if exchange places are unoccupied.
This does not affect another stay abroad for the purpose of an internship abroad, for which you apply individually and which is usually not connected to a partner university.

What health insurance do I need while studying abroad?

Germany has social security agreements with the EU countries and some other countries, so that domestic health insurance also applies there. Nevertheless, the statutory health insurance only covers the usual benefits in the destination country. Therefore, it is recommended to take out additional private international health insurance (for long stays abroad, not for holidays), even for countries with social security agreements. In addition, some partner universities also have compulsory student insurance policies that all students must take out. These also do not always have the same benefits as the health insurance in the home country. Therefore, you should also check whether an additional private health insurance contract is necessary in this case. If there is no social security agreement with the destination country and the host university does not offer health insurance either, private international health insurance is mandatory.

Can I write my Bachelor's or Master's thesis during my stay abroad?

The aim of exchange studies abroad is to study at the host university. The host university waives your tuition fees and allows you to attend courses. The workload is normally 30 ECTS per semester at universities that are affiliated to the ECTS system, and a workload in accordance with the usual local standards at universities without ECTS. In the Erasmus programme, the University of Erfurt must report the number of credits achieved to the EU. This is evaluated and has an influence on the approval of the subsequent Erasmus application.

It is not envisaged that you complete coursework abroad that is assessed solely by the University of Erfurt, is not be supervised by the host university and does not appear on the transcript of records of the host university. Consequently, it is also not intended that you write your bachelor's or master’s thesis during your stay abroad, as this would mean that you would be able to successfully complete only fewer courses at the host university than usual. However, you are of course allowed to use your stay abroad to find topics, do research and similar work in preparation for your bachelor's or master’s thesis.

How many credit points do I have to study abroad?

The normal workload is 30 ECTS per semester. This applies to the Erasmus area and higher education institutions that also use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Deviations from this are the exception and must be agreed with the International Office when participating in an exchange programme. Outside the Erasmus area, however, there are also credit point systems that are different from this, where local students study e.g. only 15 or another number of credits, which then do not correspond to one ECTS credit. This would also be your guideline for the country in question. If the workload of a US student is e.g. 15 credits per semester, this implies that you have to spend about twice as much work for a US credit as for an European credit, which accordingly also has to be taken into account when transferring the results to the Erfurt system.  

Current issues

How can I find out whether my host university offers face-to-face teaching or only digital teaching?

As a rule, the host universities inform their future exchange students when decisions on the type of teaching because of COVID-19 are made. Many universities also have a pandemic website. European universities participating in the Erasmus programme are required to enter their information in a database.

Language skills

I have not yet taken a level test according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and cannot yet prove my language skills.

Enclose an informal statement of when you will take the required test. If you are in a language course leading to a level test, have your language teacher sign this declaration for confirmation. If you have registered for a level test without a language course, a self-declaration of when you will take the test is sufficient. Please make sure to take the test on the next possible date.

My Abitur certificate showes language skills at level B2 (or another level).

Schools often certify certain language skills without requiring the Abitur holders  to take a level test according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This mention of a level is not sufficient for the application! Only if you have a examination certificate issued in the language concerned, which shows the overall grade as well as  the grades in the sub-areas, you have taken an examination according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which is then also accepted by the host universities.


I have taken the OPT and reached language level B2 (or another).

The Oxford Placement Test (OPT) is a placement test. It is not a level examination according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It is only used for admission to a language course or a language test, but not to prove language skills at a certain level.

I do not know if my potential host university requires language skills.

Research on the website of the university for which you want to apply. The information is not always clear, and sometimes something else is requested later that was not on the website. Therefore, the International Office‘s recommendation is: If you are considering studying abroad, take the level examination in the language of instruction at the earliest possible date. You can take the level examination at the end of each semester at the Language Centre of the University of Erfurt. Not all levels are offered in every semester. Please inform yourself as early as possible.

The International Office cannot confirm your language skills fort he host university.  It does not have the right to carry out a language test. This is what the level examinations of the Language Centre are for.

There are always particular difficulties when students apply for still vacant places after the deadline. Students decide to apply at relatively short notice, but have not taken a level examination before. We therefore recommend that you rather take one language exam too many than try to go abroad without taking a language exam, which would require exceptions that are not enforceable.

Application and documents to be submitted

Do I have to submit original certificates?

No, because the application is submitted as a scan of all documents. First put together a complete application. Do not forget to sign the application form. Then make a scan of this complete "application folder" and send it to
Sometimes lecturers send the letter of endorsement directly to the International Office. If you are told that, please make a note of this in the accompanying email. We will then add the letter of endorsement to your application. (A letter of endorsement is only needed for the "University Partnerships" programme).


Can I apply more than once?

Each student may submit an application with a first and second choice. A second choice is optional. If, for capacity reasons, no acceptance has been made for either the first or second choice, an application can be made for another place that is still available. For example, if you initially applied to the "University Partnerships" programme and did not receive a place, you can still apply for Erasmus places.

If you have received an acceptance for an exchange place and have accepted it, further application in other exchange programmes will only be considered if there are free places.

How many places can I apply for?

I would like to apply for an exchange place outside the EU and alternatively for an Erasmus place.

It is not possible to submit applications for non-Erasmus exchanges and for Erasmus places in a joint application (as first and second choice). In this case you have to apply for both exchange programmes with one choice in each (see previous question).


Actually, I would like to apply for a partner university outside the Erasmus area (HSP university partnership). If I do not get a place, can I still apply for an Erasmus place?


I would like to apply for an Erasmus place that is offered to students from a different field of study.

As a rule, the exchange places are only valid for the fields of study named in the advertisement. Exceptions are sometimes possible if the field of study you are studying is very close to the advertised field of study in terms of content. In any case, you should enquire at the International Office before making an "unrelated" application whether this makes sense at all.

My first choice is in Switzerland, my second choice is at an Erasmus university. Or my first choice is at an Erasmus university and my second choice is in Switzerland. How do I apply?

For Switzerland, the application documents and deadlines are the same as for the Erasmus programme. As Switzerland does not participate in the Erasmus programme, the application form for university partnerships must be used, as the subsequent workflow is then different. So in this case you have to fill in two different online applications with only one first wish each, one for Switzerland in the University Partnerships programme and one for the Erasmus University in the Erasmus programme. A second request in the same programme is then not possible, the second request fields remain empty. Then produce the application form (PDF) for each application and scan / save them in the correct order (first choice / second choice) with all other required documents. You are welcome to confirm which of the two universities is your first choice in the accompanying email.

Who should fill out the endorsement?

Please ask a lecturer of your major or minor field of study to do so. These may be professors, lecturers or assistant professors, but not lecturers of the Language Centre. The lecturers of the Language Centre can and should assess your language skills, but they usually do not know your performance in your major or minor field of study.


Can I use one endorsement letter for several universities / countries?

Yes, you can enter all your desired universities on the form and have it filled out only once.

How can I get an endorsement if my lecturer only offers online consultation hours?

Download the form and send it by e-mail to the lecturer you wish to ask for an endorsement. Attach a grade report. Ask him / her to return the document by e-mail as a PDF. In this case the application will do without a stamp.


My lecturer would like to send the endorsement directly to the International Office.

This is possible. In this case, the International Office assigns the endorsement to your application. 


What language should the endorsement be in?

The endorsement is initially for the selection committee of the University of Erfurt. This consists of professors from the University of Erfurt who all understand German. Therefore the endorsement can be in German. However, students who are nominated for a host university sometimes need one or two letters of recommendation for the host university later on. Normally nobody there understands German. It is therefore possible to have the endorsement issued in English so that it can be used for the application to the host university as well. The alternative would be to ask for another letter of recommendation issued in English after the nomination for an exchange programme.


What should I include in my letter of motivation and how long should it be?

In the letter of motivation you should explain your reasons for applying for an exchange program. You should also mention the desired target country and the host university. In addition, you should state how you expect to use the academic achievements and experience gained during your studies abroad at the University of Erfurt after your return.

There are no specifications as to the length of the motivation letter.  However, it should not exceed three pages in any case.


What form should the curriculum vitae have?

A curriculum vitae in table form is required. It can also contain a photo (optional).


Is a certain grade average required?

The grades achieved so far are an important selection criterion. In the "University Partnerships" programme, applications with a grade point average of less than 2.5 are usually hopeless. In the Erasmus programme, there are more places and as many students as possible should be given the opportunity for an Erasmus stay. However, if places are in high demand and there are more applications than places, then the average grade achieved so far also plays a major role in the allocation of places. However, grades are not the only selection criterion.

After the application

What are the selection criteria?

The main selection criteria are previous academic achievements and the plausibility of the project abroad. In addition, the letter of endorsement, language skills, the school leaving certificate grade or Bachelor degree grade and social commitment are also taken into account in the selection process.


When will I know if I have been granted a place?

The selection process for places outside the ERASMUS programme usually takes place from mid-January until the end of the winter semester lecture period. As soon as a decision has been made, you will receive a message from the Mobility-Online portal.

ERASMUS students are selected by the coordinators. They are required to complete the selection process by the beginning of the summer semester. The results will also be communicated via the Mobility-Online portal.

I have forgotten how to log in to the Mobility Online portal.

The website fort he login to the portal is



Where can I obtain a Transcript of Records (grade report) in English?

You can obtain a Transcript of Records (grade report) in English from the Examination Office of the Department for Academic Affairs (Dezernat Studium und Lehre). If it does not contain an explanation of the grading system, you should also attach this explanation of the grading system, as not all partner universities are familiar with the German grading system.

I do not know which EU code applies to me.

Unfortunately, the list of codes given by the EU does not completely cover the subjects of study at the University of Erfurt. We have therefore prepared an allocation list with the most obvious codes.