Winter semester 2017/18: Hamburg has the highest proportion of numerus clausus subjects
Mid-July is the closing date for applications for many degree programmes subject to restricted admission starting next winter semester. The latest Numerus Clausus Check by the CHE Centre for Higher Education reveals significant differences between federal states as well as between subjects. Even so, more than half of all degree programmes on average can be embarked on without a selection procedure.
Germany’s three city-states and Saarland are the federal states with the highest proportion of numerus clausus (NC) subjects. Hamburg has the highest percentage (75.5 per cent) of degree programmes subject to restricted admission starting in winter semester 2017/18, followed by Saarland, Berlin and Bremen (approx. 62 per cent each). Mecklenburg-West Pomerania has the lowest proportion of NC subjects (20.1 per cent). Here, applicants can enrol directly for four out of five degree programmes starting next winter semester, without a selection procedure taking place, e.g. based on Abitur examination grades. Just four years ago, one third (32 per cent) of all degree programmes in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania were subject to restricted admission. In total, 42.4 per cent of all degree programmes throughout Germany are subject to NC, representing a 0.9 percentage point increase over the previous year.
Frank Ziegele finds it remarkable that the overall situation provides a heterogeneous picture even though the national average of the proportion of NC subjects has remained relatively constant for years. “The examples of Hamburg and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania show that a mere 100 kilometres may make the difference between three-quarters of all degree programmes being subject to restricted admission and three-quarters of them being open to students without restriction,” the CHE Executive Director explained.
The percentage of degree programmes subject to restricted admission may also differ significantly within a single federal state. Taking the example of North Rhine-Westphalia, around two-thirds of degree programmes offered in Cologne are subject to restricted admission, whereas this is the case for only one quarter of degree programmes in Dortmund. “For this reason, student guidance should also involve telling prospective students about these major regional and local differences in NC percentages,” urged Frank Ziegele.
Major differences between subjects were also revealed in this year’s CHE Numerus Clausus Check. The group of subjects with the highest proportion of NC degree programmes continues to be Law, Economics, Social Sciences and Humanities (approx. 53 per cent). In contrast, around 70 per cent of all degree programmes offered in the group of subjects involving Languages & Cultural Sciences are open to all applicants.
The percentage of degree programmes subject to restricted admission at universities (41.2 per cent) is lower than that at universities of applied sciences (46 per cent). CHE experts have noticed that the difference in percentage of Bachelor and Master’s programmes subject to restricted admission has become less marked in recent years. 46 per cent of Bachelor programmes are currently subject to numerus clausus restrictions, which continues to be higher than the rate for Master’s programmes (39.9 per cent).
In view of the significant differences in admission restrictions, co-author of the study Cort-Denis Hachmeister advises applicants to take a broader perspective: “Those at risk of failing to obtain a place on their preferred degree programme at their favourite higher education institution due to NC restrictions should consider other cities and federal states, a different type of HEI, or a related subject. With the exception of a few degree programmes that are subject to restricted admission throughout Germany, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy and Psychology, there are always degree programmes somewhere that are not subject to admission restrictions – it’s just a matter of finding them.”
About the “CHE Numerus Clausus Check 2017/18“ The “CHE Numerus Clausus Check 2017/18“ is based on NC data contained in the Higher Education Compass of the German Rectors’ Conference for around 19,000 degree programmes in winter semester 2017/18, as well as relevant data from previous years. The federal state, type of higher education institution, degree type and group of subjects were used as criteria for the analysis conducted by the team of authors comprising Cort-Denis Hachmeister, Anna Gehlke, Lars Hüning and Lisa de Vries.
More information for prospective students A publication entitled “Im Blickpunkt: Der Numerus Clausus” (In the spotlight: numerus clausus) was issued in parallel to the “CHE Numerus Clausus Check 2017/18”. This publication, directed at prospective students, provides answers to the key questions relating to numerus clausus. Another publication called “(Wie) komme ich an einen Studienplatz?” ((How) Can I get a place at university?) uses concrete NC examples from the previous year to show how the admission procedure works in certain subjects, and how school leavers can calculate and assess their chances of obtaining a place on their chosen programme.
Further Information can be found in the publications stated below.