Diplomas & Certificates

How to choose the right German title

Diplomas & Certificates

There are many widely recognized German language diplomas and certificates. If you want to invest your time and money in preparation for passing one of them, make sure to choose the most appropriate diploma or certificate for your future needs.

The following list of courses, arranged according to linguistic level, will help you to find the one best suited to your needs. Examinations for these certificates can generally only be taken in connection with a course run by one of the providers.

Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD)

The Zertifikat Deutsch (German Certificate, ZD) is proof of a sound basic knowledge of colloquial German which enables you to cope linguistically in different kinds of day-to-day situations. It is widely recognized among private and public employers and can be taken with a B1 language examination developed by on of the following:

  • Goethe-Institut
  • German Institute for Adult Education
  • Austrian Language Diploma (ÖSD)
  • Swiss Conference of Directors in Education (EDK)
  • WBT Weiterbildungs-Testsysteme (Further Education Test Systems)

For further information go to the Goethe-Institut's website ( www.goethe.de ).

Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf (ZDfB)

This certificate is designed as a proof that you can make yourself understood in various day-to-day situations at your place of work. This includes understanding simple business texts, drafting routine letters and the ability to participate effectively in everyday working-type conversations. This exam can be taken following the B2 language examination developed by the Goethe-Institut and the Deutscher Volkshochschulverband. Find further information at www.goethe.de .

Zertifikat Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung (ZMP)

The Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung (ZMP) certifies that you have a good command of standard German. At this level of proficiency you should be able to speak and write about various topics correctly and also to understand more difficult texts.

Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studenten (DSH)

This is a German language proficiency test for advanced level students, that concentrates on the use of German in an academic context. It acts as proof that you have sufficient skills to study at a German university and is normally an obligatory entry requirement for a full university course in Germany. Information can be found on the website of the German Conference of University Deans (Deutsche Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, www.higher-education-compass.de ).

Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF )

The TestDaF ( Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache) is an advanced level examination that concentrates on German skills in an academic context. It is used as a language admission test by many universities, which can be taken instead of the DSH to prove you have sufficient language skills to study in Germany. Students applicants should have attended at least 700 hours worth of German lessons, but proof of this is not required. The TestDaF is administered in licensed test centres in over 70 countries. Information on this test is provided by the TestDaF-Institut on its website www.testdaf.de .

Zertifikat Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP)

The Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP) provides certification of a sound knowledge of standard German. With your acquired language skills you can understand difficult texts and express yourself well both verbally and in writing. It may be taken following the Oberstufe developed by the Goethe-Institut ( www.goethe.de ).

Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom (KDS)

The Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom (KDS) is proof that you have a strong command of the standard German spoken nationwide. You can understand demanding, authentic texts (mostly literary) and express yourself well both verbally and in writing. The test may be taken following the Oberstufe developed by the Goethe-Institut on behalf of the LudwigMaximilianUniversity, Munich. The KDS is about as difficult as the ZOP, but additionally requires some knowledge of German cultural affairs. If you hold a KDS, you don't need another proof of language for studying at a German university. Information under www.goethe.de .

Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS)

The Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS) certifies an excellent command of German, akin to that of a native speaker. It is the highest diploma for German as a foreign language (except for professional interpretation diplomas) and entitles you to teach in Germany. In some countries, the GDS is accepted as a diploma for German teachers. It may be taken following the Oberstufe developed by the Goethe-Institut on behalf of the LudwigMaximilianUniversity, Munich. Information under www.goethe.de .

Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch International (PWD)

This is a specialized test which serves as a proof you are able to communicate in a German business environment. It has been developed jointly by the Goethe-Institut, the Carl Duisberg Centre, Deutscher Industrie- und Handelstag. Further information at www.goethe.de  and www.cdc.de .

Further reading

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