Nonlinear optics laser lab.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When considering to study in Jena, please have a detailed look at the (most) frequently asked questions of previous and your fellow students – and our answers to them.
Nonlinear optics laser lab.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

A. Prerequisites and preparation

1. Am I an eligible candidate for the M.Sc. Photonics program? Expand entry

The answer strongly depends on your previous education. You should have a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) degree in Physics or Engineering Sciences. In the latter case, eligibility will strongly depend on your background in physics and mathematics. If you have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Sciences, Computer Engineering or Telecommunication Engineering you might also be an eligible candidate for the Master's degree program.

Students commencing their studies at our School should ideally have basic or in-depth knowledge in

  • mathematics (complex numbers and functions, function theory, linear and vector algebra, ordinary and partial differential equations, vector analysis, integral theory) 
  • physics (electromagnetic field theory/Maxwell's equations, solid state physics).

Please emphasize your experience in the field of optics or photonics within your academic education or your professional career in your Curriculum Vitae as well as in your Letter of Motivation.

2. Which English language proficiency level or test is required? Expand entry

All lectures, courses and modules of the Master of Science in Photonics are not taught in German, but completely in English. Proof of your English skills is a requirement for admission. Since the Master of Science in Photonics is an all-English program, applicants should be proficient in both written and spoken English. Please see our preferred score levels below. While we understand that the results of these language proficiency tests do not perfectly reflect your real capabilities, we believe that the following test scores (minimum points/grades) indicate a level at which you will be well prepared for the courses of our Master's degree program:

  • TOEFL PBT (550)
  • TOEFL CBT (215)
  • TOEFL IBT (85)
  • TOEIC (780)
  • IELTS (6.5)
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

Please note: We do not accept TOEFL ITP assessment tests. (Due to COVID-19 we will not insist on a renewal if your test has already expired, but please double check with your visa requirements.)

The following students are exempt from providing proof of their English proficiency:
  • Nationals from the USA, U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, or BSc and MSc graduates who obtained their qualifications in one of these countries.
  • BSc and MSc graduates who have been taught their previous higher academic education completely in English (language statement from the University is required)
  • If you have received a German Abitur and have taken English classes at a German Gymnasium for a minimum of 8 years, we will also accept your Abitur as sufficient proof of your English language skills.

We encourage you, however, to provide us with an additional language certificate to elevate your chances of acceptance.

3. I have not yet taken an English proficiency test. Can I apply without one? Expand entry

Proof of your English skills is a requirement for admission. Therefore, the Online Application System will ask you for a valid English proficiency test. If you cannot submit the test right away, you will be asked to indicate a date on which you will take the test. You will have to provide it before the final application deadline.

Please be aware that in some countries, such as Bangladesh for instance, German embassies require a valid TOEFL or IELTS test score for processing visa applications, even if you have been accepted at a university without such proof. In this case you should make sure that a missing English test result will not inconvenience your visa application.

(Due to COVID-19 we will not insist on a renewal if your test has already expired, but please double check with your visa requirements!)

4. What is meant by "Native Language/Bilingual", "Medium of Instruction", or "English as a Foreign Language"? Expand entry

We regard strong language skills as a crucial prerequisite for our Master of Science in Photonics program. Since the terms "Native language/Bilingual", "Medium of Instruction" and "English as a foreign language" are the basis for your application, we would like to clarify their definitions. Please take your own situation and background into careful consideration before choosing the option which applies to you.

Native Language/Bilingual: If English is your first language (mother tongue), you are a native speaker. If English is one of 2 or more of your first languages, you are bilingual.

Medium of Instruction: If your previous academic education (e.g., at university) has been conducted entirely in the English language, we consider English to be the "Medium of Instruction" within the scope of your academic career. In this case, please provide us with proof of this, for example an official letter from the Registrar's Office of your university or with a note to this effect on your Transcript of Records. Please note: Statements of attendance to language courses offered by your university or claiming that your pre-academic education (e.g., in school) was offered in English are not sufficient proof for the option "Medium of Instruction".

English as Foreign Language: In all cases not covered above, English is regarded as a foreign language. This includes: if you grew up in an environment, in which English is an official language, but not commonly spoken; if you have learned English in your primary or secondary education; or if English was only part of your academic education.

5. Do I need German language abilities as a requirement for the program? Expand entry

No, German is not a requirement for acceptance and admission. We especially do NOT require any DSH (German language proficiency test for entrance to a German higher education institution), TestDAF, attendance to a Studienkolleg (German study preparatory course) or Feststellungsprüfung (German certification for the ability to study in a German university).

However, we strongly recommend engaging with the German language in order to integrate into the culture and manage daily life. For this reason, the Abbe School of Photonics offers a presessional German language course to all of its international students in September each year in addition to German language courses during the study period. This course is highly advisable, and students benefit a lot from this course.

6. Are there particular requirements concerning my GPA or the GRE? Expand entry

We do not set any requirements for our applicant's GPAs (Grade point average) since these numbers differ enormously depending on the university and the country. The Online Application System will ask you for several certificates and your Transcript of Records. We will base our decision mainly on these documents. For this reason, we ask you to provide us with your GPA as stated on your certificates and diploma. See also here.

A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or any other similar test is not required and will not be taken into consideration for your application.

7. What should my CV include? Expand entry

In Germany, we expect the CV to be a chronological list (with dates) of all the stages of your professional career, including school. We consider it an advantage if there are no gaps in your CV, so please take the time to list all successive chapters of your life thus far.

8. How much will my studies in Germany cost? What expenses will I have each month? Expand entry

Living expenses in Germany are very dependent on your lifestyle, which city you stay in, and which university you are enrolled at. For Jena, it is recommended to have about 860 Euro available per month. For a rough estimation, the following expenses must be taken into consideration:

Living expenses: When it comes to accommodation there are many options. The first and best option is to stay in a university dormitory (Studentenwohnheim), because the fee is subsidized. Monthly rent will cost you approximately 150 - 300 Euro. In addition, you will need some budget (at least 200 Euro / month) for food, drinks, and other living expenses such as communication costs, entertainment, travel expenses etc., which will cost you around 100 - 300 Euro. The university is equipped with cafeterias and dining halls (Mensa). The meals offered in the Mensa come at favorable prices, compared to having lunch in a restaurant or Imbiss (kind of snack bar). Another option is: cooking at home (which is cheaper).

Semester contribution: While our students do not have to pay any tuition fees, a semester contribution must be paid in order to matriculate. The semester contribution is approximately 240 Euro. This amount covers the fees for the Student Government Body (Studentenschaft), Student Services (Studierendenwerk) and the Semester Ticket. The Semester Ticket allows all students to travel by public transport within Jena (JeNah) and by regional trains within Thuringia (Deutsche Bahn). First-semester students must pay an additional one-time fee of 20 Euro to obtain their student ID card, called THOSKA.

Insurance: For students, health insurance costs ca. 105 Euro per month (= 85 Euro health insurance fee + compulsory long-term care insurance ca. 15 Euro + a small administrative fee of ca. 4-6 Euro depending on the health insurance company, for all students under the age of 31. The Abbe School of Photonics recommends students to organize their health insurance through the Abbe School of Photonics, rather than on their own. All students in Germany are required to be insured by law. Students are expected to be insured starting from the first day of their first semester (i.e., beginning October 1st for winter term, regardless of date of arrival). This reduced student fee applies to all students under 31 years of age and if their home country has no bilateral agreements on recognition of local health insurance in Germany. A different price rate applies to students over 31 years of age or with children. The university will not accept any private travel or emergency insurances as proof of insurance. The Abbe School of Photonics recommends, however, that students have travel insurance for their journey to Jena and for the time before the semester starts on October 1st).

Books and course materials: Many books and course materials can be borrowed at the university library for free. However, there may be additional materials that you might need to purchase. Calculate approximately 100 Euro per semester for these costs (copies, books, course material etc.).

Electronics devices: Since some parts of teaching will take place online, you will need a computer or laptop with a microphone and a camera.

9. Do I need a German visa? How long will it take me to get one? Expand entry

In general, you will need a visa, but don’t worry, it is comparatively easy and straight forward to get a visa for studying in Germany. The timeframe to get a German visa granted will vary from country to country and may take up to several months. Please ask the German embassy of your home country about the procedure as soon as possible after your application and make sure you apply early enough.

Citizens of certain countries can enter Germany without a visa:

  • EU members or the Schengen Treaty
  • Citizens of Australia, Canada, Honduras, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland and USA

All other applicants must apply for a student visa in their home country before departure. You can find a short overview of Visa requirements and exemptions for entry into the Federal Republic of Germany here.

If you do not have a valid passport, you should immediately apply for a new one. The issuance of a new passport can take many weeks. Accepted students should submit their Acceptance Letter from the Abbe School of Photonics to the embassy along with the visa application as soon as possible. Ask the German embassy in your home country about the visa requirements and how long the entire process of visa application might take. Do not - under any circumstances - enter Germany with a tourist visa.

Nevertheless, to have a valid passport and an appropriate visa when entering the German Federal Republic is your own responsibility. Please double check the requirements for your personal case with the German embassy in your home country.

10. I do not have a passport. Can I submit my application anyhow? Expand entry

For your application at the Abbe School of Photonics we accept a copy of your passport as well as copies of other identifying documents like an ID-card or a driver's license, if they are issued using the Latin alphabet. However, in order to enter Germany and successfully enroll at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena you will need a passport. Therefore, you should make sure that you apply for a passport as soon as possible after your acceptance.

11. May I apply although I have not (yet) finished my current academic degree? Expand entry

Yes, you can apply with a preliminary Transcript of Records including all completed courses (or any other overview of attended classes and achieved grades officially issued by your education institution) thus far. This document needs to be uploaded to our Online Application System, as it is required to evaluate your application.

However, the earlier we receive your Academic Degree Certificate and your official Transcript of Records the better. Please provide us with both documents as scanned PDF-files as soon as possible. If these certificates are not issued in the German or English language please also provide a certified translation.

Your Academic Degree Certificates and your Transcript of Records (as well as certified translations if necessary) will have to been shown upon your enrollment at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena at the latest.

B. Application process and enrollment

1. How will the application process to the Abbe School of Photonics proceed? Expand entry

Applying to a university abroad is usually a rather lengthy and complicated process. For your convenience, we have, therefore, divided your application to the Abbe School of Photonics into three easy steps. Most of these can comfortably be done online.

Step 1: Submitting your application (online)

After you have completed your application file, you may submit your application. Your online application needs to be handed in until the deadline. At the end of this process, you will receive the "Application for Admission" form which must be printed out, signed, and sent to as a scanned copy after you have been accepted by the ASP evaluation committee. Please send this document to us via email, and only do so once you have been formally accepted.

Please do not send any application materials via post unless we have specifically asked for it!

After submission, the Selection Commission will make its admissions after each priority deadline. This process takes about 4-8 weeks, respectively. (In case that a sufficient number of applications is submitted before the deadlines, we will start earlier with the evaluation procedure and decision sending.)

If your application to the Abbe School of Photonics has been accepted, you will receive an Acceptance Letter. You will need this letter in order to apply for a visa at the German Embassy or Consulate. A detailed explanation (in German and English) will be attached to this letter, containing specific information regarding the program, language requirements and costs. It will be sent via email only.

Step 2: Submitting further documents (online & postal)

After being accepted by the Abbe School of Photonics, you will receive an email from our University (Master Service Center) asking you for further documents for your enrollment. Simply follow the instructions given to you in this email and send the requested documents. The Master Service Center will also send you an Admission letter which you should keep because you will need it for the enrollment process once you are here.

Step 3: Enrollment

Finally, admitted students will complete the process of enrollment here in Jena in the International office of our university. This is usually done exclusively in person. However, in accordance with our University’s current Covid-19 regulations, this process is now managed via postal service.

After having been accepted by the Abbe School of Photonics, you will receive an email from our University (Master Service Center) asking you for further documents for your enrollment. Simply follow the instructions in this email and send the requested documents. The Master Service Center will also send you an Admission letter, which you will need for the enrollment process once you are here.

2. Summary: What to keep in mind about Admission and Enrollment? Expand entry

After being accepted by our Abbe School of Photonics selection committee, your documents will be reviewed by the University’s central admission office (Master Service Center). For this, you will be sent an email to inform you about what is necessary to enroll at our university. You will need the Abbe School of Photonics acceptance letter for Visa applications, and the Friedrich Schiller University’s admission letter for your enrollment upon your arrival. But don’t worry about all this information now: more details will be provided via email to guide you through this process!

After you have received both letters and sent all the documents which were requested, you are ready to start your studies in Jena. You will be issued your student ID card and finally become a full-scale student. This final process is called Enrollment. This is usually done exclusively in person. However, in accordance with our University’s current Covid-19 regulations, this process is now managed via postal service.

In conclusion, first you must be accepted by the selection committee, who will assess your qualifications. Then, you will be admitted by the Central University Administration (Master Service Center), who will check your application documents for completeness. Finally, if all necessary documents are complete, you can enroll in person at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and become a "Master of Science in Photonics" student.

3. What do you mean by certified translations or certified documents? Expand entry

A certified translation or copy is an official translation or copy of a document which is issued, or legally attested for, by a public agency, an auditing agency, or any other public authority (e.g., the Administration Office or Examination Office of your university, a notary, the embassy etc.). An apostil as proof of authenticity is not required. Certified translations of the required documents must be uploaded as part of your application to the Abbe School of Photonics if they are not available in English or German.

All those documents marked with an asterisk (*) on the list of required documents must be handed in to the Friedrich Schiller University Jena before the time of enrollment as certified copies. The documents need to be signed and stamped in order to be accepted as certified.

4. Which documents should I prepare for my application? Expand entry

We understand that the application procedure asks for a lot of data and documents, and we thank you very much for your efforts. This information is generally required for the application/enrollment to German universities.

These are the mandatory documents for the application:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of motivation (a maximum of 500 words, to be typed)
  • Passport
  • School leaving certificate with grades*
  • Academic degrees* and/ or
  • (Temporary) Transcript of Records with grades*
  • Official English language certificate*
  • Short course description of all your courses in engineering fundamentals, physics, and optics (for applicants who do not have a B.Sc. in Physics)

If available, you might also wish to submit these voluntary documents:

  • Passport photo
  • Language proficiency certificates of other foreign languages
  • References from former employments
  • Professional qualifications

If you apply for an Abbe School of Photonics scholarship, please read the corresponding FAQ question.

The Abbe School of Photonics works on the acceptance and admission process together with other offices within the university. Therefore, we need you to upload your documents in separate files in order to distribute them among the offices and committees responsible for your acceptance, admission, enrollment, and services at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena without violating your privacy. For example, your Letter of Motivation is only of interest to our Selection Committee, your passport only to the International Office, etc. Providing these documents separately in individual files is necessary for your process of acceptance, admission, and enrollment and it helps speed up the process for you.

Please note: All documents need to be digitalized and, with the exception of the passport photo, provided as a PDF document, preferably in black & white or grey scale with a maximum of 5 MB file size each. If documents are not issued in English or German, a certified translation is needed as well.

Please note: An incomplete application file will not be processed. Similarly, providing us with incorrect data may also lead to a retrospective refusal.

5. Are there any additional mandatory documents for applying for an ASP scholarship? Expand entry

In order to apply for an Abbe School of Photonics scholarship you will need to provide the following additional mandatory documents on top of your regular application:

  • two Academic Letters of Recommendation from previous or current professors
6. After being accepted - what documents do I need? Expand entry

After your acceptance to the Abbe School of Photonics you will be asked for a few more documents to gain admission and complete the entire enrollment process. After acceptance to the Abbe School of Photonics you will be notified separately about this issue.

Documents mandatory for admission and enrollment are:

  • Passport photo
  • Certificate of Name Change* (if you have got married or changed your name for any other reason)
  • Higher education entrance qualification* (if applicable)
  • Certificate of the Feststellungsprüfung* only if you attended a Studienkolleg* (preparatory course) in the Federal Republic of Germany, or took the Feststellungsprüfung (assessment test)
  • Academic Evaluation Centre* for Chinese, Mongolian and Vietnamese applicants

Again, these documents must be submitted as digitalized PDF files and with them, if not issued in English or German, a certified translation. Please do not send any documents by post unless you are specifically asked to do so.

All documents marked with an asterisk (*) will have to be shown as originals or certified copies at the time of enrollment at the University Jena.

7. I want to submit my language certificate at a later time. What should I pay attention to? Expand entry

We would like to ask you not to submit your language certificate e.g. by using TOEFL/TSE institution code of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Instead, please scan the certificate and send it directly to the Abbe School of Photonics via e-mail.

Please note: We can accept screenshots of the online announcement of your results only as temporary proof of your test results. We need the scanned PDF file of your official result sheet as soon as possible. Since your English language proficiency is taken into consideration at the evaluation process of your application, the Selection Committee of the Abbe School of Photonics cannot make its final decision about your file until after your scanned official test result has been received.

8. What is the "Common European Framework of Reference" (CEFR)? Expand entry

The "Common European Framework of Reference" (CEFR) indicates the level of your proficiency in a foreign language. You will find, for example, that most modern European textbooks use the CEFR to indicate their level of language proficiency. The levels "A1" and "A2" represent beginner levels, "B1" and "B2" intermediate, and "C1" and "C2" almost or equal to native speaker's proficiency.

For more detailed information about the CEFR please refer to the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe.

9. What is the "School Leaving Certificate"? Expand entry

The "School Leaving Certificate" provides you with the necessary qualification for admission to a university or other higher academic institutions (e.g., Abitur, secondary school leaving licence, baccalaureate, A-levels, high school graduation certificate, senior school certificate (e.g. WASC) etc.).

If you took a placement or assessment test to enter university, this is a separate document to be uploaded ("Higher education entrance qualification").

10. Which system of grades or marks is needed for the application? Our current study program differs to that of the USA or Germany. In which system should I provide my GPA/score? Expand entry

Please present your grades according to the system of your school leaving certificate. If there is no explanation on the certificate itself, please provide some additional information about this in the free-text field of the section "further documents" at the end of our Application Assistant.

Academic grading systems differ strongly around the globe. Even on a regional level, grades and performance systems may vary significantly. In order to allow for a fair and transparent evaluation of your previous academic performance, we kindly ask for a short description of your national and regional grading system. To help us map out your performance on a unified scale, please explain the framework of your previous grading system by indicating (a) the highest achievable grade (100% performance), (b) the lowest achievable grade (0% performance), and (c) the lowest pass grade (between 0 and 100% performance).


      • In Germany, pass grades range from 1.0 (best) to 4.0 (worst). With 5.0, you would fail.
      • In some cases, point systems are used which measure all achievable points and the threshold of points which you need to pass. For instance, if a system allows for a maximum of 95 points, but 65 points are required to pass, you enter 95 (best) and 65 (worst).

If your system uses letters instead of numbers, please transcribe them into a numerical scale. Use the Grade Point Average. Example: US universities typically use a letter system from A to F, but you need at least a D to pass.

11. Should I provide all of my academic degrees or only the most applicable? Expand entry

Application procedures at German universities require the complete educational background of an applicant. For admission and enrollment at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, your full educational record is needed - starting from elementary school until today. For this reason, we ask you to provide every academic level and degree you have obtained in your CV.

12. I have previously changed my field of study. Do I have to provide any documents in this case? Expand entry

If you have changed your field or course of studies, please provide information about this time and - if applicable -a transcript of records for the courses you attended within the cancelled or changed program. A short description of the reasons for changing your studies will be needed as well.

13. How should/can I provide my "Academic Letters of Recommendation"? Expand entry

If you are interested in applying for an Abbe School of Photonics scholarship, please upload two academic letters of recommendation from your current or former professors. Please make sure that they contain your professors' signature, a date, and the official headline or stamp of your university.

If you are unable to upload these documents yourself, you have the possibility to provide us with your professors’ contact information in the Application Assistant. After your application is submitted, your professors will receive a notification from our system to submit the letter themselves.

We also have a template that your professors may use here [pdf, 439 kb]. The template is, however, not mandatory.

You will not be informed of the arrival of the letters. We ask, that you make sure to remind your referees in case they are late in submitting them. We expect the letters to be submitted no later than two weeks after the deadline.

14. The Letter of Recommendation is enclosed in a sealed letter, which I am not allowed to open. What should I do? Should I send it via postal mail? Expand entry

Yes, please forward this document via regular mail to us.

15. What kind of passport photo should I submit? Expand entry

The photo for your student ID card must meet biometric standards: It should be a high quality (3 x 4 cm at 300 dpi which equals 355 x 475 pixel) frontal portrait of your uncovered face (no sunglasses, hats, etc., except for religious reasons) in front of a plain, bright background. The photo should be borderless, focused, and centered. You will need at least 2 copies: one for your student ID and one for your German residence permit.

16. I am from China, Vietnam or Mongolia and have to provide a certificate from the Academic Evaluation Center (APS). Where do I find more information about this requirement? Expand entry

Mongolian, Chinese, and Vietnamese applicants need to provide a certificate from the Academic Evaluation Center (APS) of the German Embassy. The APS will verify the academic documents awarded to you in your home country and may also interview you for validation of your qualifications. The APS provides the fastest way to issue your German visa. Considering this, please apply as soon as possible.

You will find more information here:

If your academic degree was not awarded in your home country, you do not have to provide this certificate.

17. I cannot submit my application. My status says I have not uploaded all documents. What shall I do now? Expand entry

You should first check your application carefully. An upload might have failed, or something may not have been saved correctly.

While working with the Online Application System you will notice certain fields marked bold. These fields must be filled in to proceed with the application process. Should one of these fields be left empty or the required document not be uploaded, you will not be able to submit your application. Please check and complete this information and try to submit your application again. If a document or data is not available, or if you are still facing technical problems, please contact us.

Please note: An incomplete application file will not be processed. Intentionally providing us with incorrect data may also lead to a retrospective refusal.

18. I have already submitted my application, but I noticed some mistakes in it/ forgot to upload a document. What shall I do? Expand entry

Please contact the Abbe School of Photonics immediately so that the information can be edited, new documents can be uploaded, or your file can be reopened. However, since this is a rather complicated process, it is advisable to check all required data and documents carefully before submitting your application.

19. When will I know if I have been admitted? Expand entry

Due to the large number of applications, we ask for your patience and understanding during your wait for admission. While the Selection Committee do their best to review all applications as fast as possible, this process can take between 4 to 8 weeks depending on the number of applicants. (B.1)

You will receive an answer as soon as the evaluation of your application is completed. Once more, we ask for your understanding and cooperation, as queries about the status of your application cannot be answered before then.

20. I didn't receive any Acceptance/Admission Letter. What should I do? Expand entry

Once you have been accepted by the Abbe School of Photonics, you will receive an Acceptance Letter via email to print out. Should the consulate/ embassy need proof of authenticity, simply contact us at

You will, then, receive your Admission letter from the University main administration (Master Service Center) via email, containing further information on the necessary documents for your enrollment.

C. Coming to Jena and getting started

1. How and when do I apply for a dormitory? Expand entry

Along with your admission letter, you will get an application form for housing in one of the dormitories run by the Studierendenwerk Thüringen. You can also download this application form from their website. Please keep in mind, that an application does not necessarily guarantee you a dormitory apartment or room. Furthermore, the Studierendenwerk Thüringen makes its decisions on the principle of first-come, first-served. Please be aware that applications for dormitories should be submitted as soon as possible after admission to the university. Applications later than July 31st will not be considered for placement. By the same token, do not apply earlier than April 1st.

Please note: The Studentenwerk will inform you themselves once a place has been found for you. In this case, please accept their offer immediately, even if the dormitory does not meet your expectations completely. You can move after your first semester, but due to a shortage of dormitory places, a rejection of, or no reaction to their offer will leave you without a home

2. What does the Abbe School of Photonics scholarship cover? Expand entry

There is a limited number of Abbe School of Photonics scholarships for international students of the Master of Science in Photonics program. The Abbe School of Photonics full scholarship includes a stipend of up to 860 Euro per month. The scholarships are granted by the State of Thuringia. It covers (a part of) your living expenses in Germany.

Your scholarship will be transferred to your German bank account after your arrival. Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any financial support before your arrival. You will receive your scholarship rate for the first 3 months a few days after the enrollment procedure.  

3. What are my financial options as a self-funded student? Expand entry

Generally, proof of sufficient financial resources must be given when international students apply for a visa at a German diplomatic representation abroad or for a residence permit at the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde), which will enable the applicant to pursue university studies without financial hardship. Sufficient financial resources must cover your study costs as well as your daily needs.

If you would like to find a student job, please also take into consideration that you will be limited in your opportunities to work. International students usually do not have a work permit and without this, international students are only allowed to work for a limited time with a student visa. If you are from a non-EU country, you will be allowed to work 120 full days per year or 240 half-days. In any case, if you are studying in a foreign country it is not a good idea to be dependent on a job from the very start of your studies just to cover your basic needs. Furthermore, knowledge of the German language is important for working in Germany. If your funds are limited, we suggest that you apply for another scholarship (e.g. DAAD, scholarships from your home country, etc.) or to find other sources of funding.

4. Are there financial requirements for my Visa-application? Expand entry

For your visa you need to prove that you have sufficient financial resources for your studies. You will receive specific instructions when you apply for your visa at the appropriate consulate or embassy. However, here are 4 ways to provide such proof:

  1. You receive a scholarship and provide proof of it.
  2. If you can cover your living expenses with your own funds (e.g., savings), you can provide proof of this with an account statement, for instance. Your bank or embassy should normally accept a bond.
  3. You may also submit a letter of financial support from a person you know, e.g., family member or friend, which declares that this person will financially support you.
  4. In some exceptional cases, the German embassy or consulate may require a specified amount to be paid into a blocked access bank account so as to ensure financial security for the initial period of the applicant's stay in Germany. You remit a default amount at a German bank. The bank will block this credit voucher for your stay abroad. During your stay you will have access to this money. Please note that the Abbe School of Photonics is not allowed to assist you with opening such an account.

You can find more information about the living expenses in Germany here.

5. Is it necessary to have a German health insurance? Expand entry

All students in Germany are unexceptionally required to have a health insurance that meets the requirements of German law. Students are required to be insured at a German statutory health insurance carrier from the first day of their first semester (i.e., beginning October 1st for winter term; regardless of date of arrival). The university will not accept any private travel or emergency insurances as proof of insurance. There is a reduced student fee, which generally applies to all students under 31 years of age. Different regulations apply for students over 31 or with children (contact your coordinator). Abbe School of Photonics will assist you to find a suitable health insurance upon your arrival.

If you are a citizen of the European Union and have a health insurance in your home country, you should ask your health insurance for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or the form E 111.
Please note: Your journey to Jena and the days before your enrollment will not be covered. We strongly advise you to take out a travel insurance policy.

6. When should I arrive in Germany? Expand entry

We offer a presessional intensive German language course starting at the beginning of September. Participation is highly recommended. This is the best preparation for studying here, since you have enough time to learn the basics of the language of your new home country, meet new friends, and get to know Jena and Germany. The personal enrollment for this course takes place in the last week of August. If, for some reason, you are not able to participate in the language precourse, you are expected to arrive by the end of September at the latest, since our program starts with two mandatory presessional courses in Mathematics and Physics during the first weeks of October.

However, enrollment at the university is not possible before the last days of September/ beginning of October.

7. Will the current COVID-19 pandemic impact on my studies? Expand entry

In general, we do not expect this. The study program is running smoothly, as in Germany, the pandemic and its restrictions seem practically finished. Current information regarding COVID-19 related issues is available here: de

8. How can I travel to Jena? Expand entry

There is no international airport in Jena. You will most probably arrive in Frankfurt, Berlin,  or Munich.

  • From Frankfurt: There are high-speed trains (ICE) running hourly from Frankfurt-Airport or Frankfurt Central Station to Erfurt or Weimar, where you can change to a regional train to Jena (approx. travel time: 3.5 to 4 hours).
    • From Berlin: Take the shuttle bus or S-Bahn (tram) to Berlin Central Station. From here there are hourly high-speed connections to Jena (approx. travel time: 3 hours)
  • From Munich: Take a local train or shuttle to Munich Central Station. During the daytime, there are hourly high-speed connections from Munich to Jena (approx. travel time: 4-5 hours)

To find a suitable connection, please check the website of Deutsche Bahn. You can also ask travel agencies for support.

If you wish to be assisted by a student mentor, please register here. This way, you have the chance of arranging for your mentor to pick you up from the train station in Jena.


9. What is THOSKA and what is it good for? Expand entry

THOSKA is the student ID card you receive upon your enrolment at our University. It gives you various discounts and can grant access to many buildings and facilities of the University.

Schematic view showing the different functionalities and benefits of the student ID card THOSKA. Schematic view showing the different functionalities and benefits of the student ID card THOSKA. Graphic: Elif Cevik
10. Will I get any further help, once I am in Jena? Expand entry

You will be provided with all kinds of helpful and important tips and information before you arrive in Jena. Furthermore, one of our mentors will get in touch with you to help you with your preparations. If you would like to be supported by a student mentor at the beginning of your stay in Jena, please register here. Your student mentor will assist you with all necessary steps in the first few weeks after your arrival, and your coordinator will organize orientation weeks for you to help you getting started, meeting your fellow students, and preparing yourself for your classes.

Last but not least, our professors, teachers, and students are also here to help you to cope with your prospective studies - a strong and supportive community is awaiting you in Jena!

We look forward to welcoming you!