Preparing to Study in Germany – Digitally


The FernUniversität is a partner in the cooperative VORsprung project, which aims to establish a digital preparatory program for international students.

Photo: brianajackson/Thinkstock

The FernUniversität is a partner in the cooperation project VORsprung: A Digital Head Start for Engineering and Science Studies in Germany, which aims to establish and develop a digital preparatory program for international students. Involved in the project are the International Office and the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. The three-year project launched at the beginning of the year under the joint coordination of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Goethe-Institut. In addition to the FernUniversität in Hagen, the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Technische Universität Berlin, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, and the Society for Academic Study Preparation and Test Development (g.a.s.t.) participate in the project. VORsprung is supported with funding from the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt).


If you would like more information about the project, please do not hesitate to contact Desirée Kampmeier (desiree.kampmeier) or Hrund Eysteinsdóttir (hrund.eysteinsdottir) of the International Office.

Contact Information:

International Office
Universitätsstr. 27 / Building 5
58097 Hagen

Egypt, India, and Mexico

Until now, prospective international students without a qualification for direct admission to German higher education institutions, or Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, usually had to attend an in-person preparatory program, known as a Studienkolleg, and pass its final examination before beginning to study. With the digital preparatory program that VORsprung is developing, international secondary school graduates who speak German but do not have a direct higher education entrance qualification will be able to prepare to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in Germany before leaving their home country. The project’s pilot phase will take place in three locations that vary greatly in size, language, and economic performance: Egypt, India, and Mexico. These countries are especially suitable as VORsprung pilot regions because of their comparatively high numbers of German speakers in relation to other countries, their extensive networks of German schools, and the high level of interest in Germany as a study location. Accordingly, the target group in these countries is students attending secondary schools with a focus on German.

The digital program will be supplemented by face-to-face sessions and accompanied by tutors. In addition to the subject-specific content, including mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry in the preparatory program’s technology course, special emphasis will be placed on additional measures to prepare students for their studies and develop their German language proficiency. The first group of prospective students will start the program in the project’s pilot phase in September 2022 and complete it in May of the following year. At the end of the eight-month digital preparatory course, participants can complete an assessment test, or Feststellungsprüfung, and the Test for Academic Studies (TestAS) alternative university entrance qualification, which grant them access to the German higher education system.

Accompanying Research Study

The FernUniversität’s International Office is tasked with coordinating with the project partners and the project participants at the FernUniversität. Moreover, the International Office plays a part in the project’s educational design and public relations. Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jörg Desel, the FernUniversität’s Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science contributes subject-specific content, quality control, and an accompanying research study during the project’s pilot phase.

Daniel Löhlein | 12.08.2021