NC and No NC in Germany
  • Eduzeit
  • 1 year ago

Being one of the best Education providers in the world, Germany and the Universities in this nation have some of the highest enrollment rates. While this is a positive aspect for the country, it has problems. One of the most obvious and toughest ones to study in Germany is the number of applicants; they only have limited seats available each education season.

While many Top Universities in Germany are pretty big, they cannot accommodate all the applicants. The fact that most applicants meet university requirements perfectly presents an even more challenging problem.

The selection of who gets these seats is purely determined by NC or Numerus Clausus!

What is Numerus Clausus (NC)?

Numerus Clausus (NC) or restricted application restricts the number of students who can apply for the set course in a set area. In other words, this is a rule that states, "The number of applicants should not be too much higher than the total number of available seats. Different factors determine the total number of available seats in any faculty/ course.

Your past GPA plays a significant role in determining if you fit within the NC of a university/ program. This is because one of the contributing factors behind NC is the lowest GPA of a student in the previous semester.

For instance, if a University in Germany has an NC of 2.2, the lowest GPA of a selected student in the previous semester was 2.2. You must be considered an applicable student with an average GPA of more than 2.2. Naturally, this is just a tiny part of the selected route. However, it does reduce the total number of applications under NC by a significant amount.

That said, your GPA is just a factor. The University determines the total number of applications, and the process is long and complicated.

What are the types of Numerus Clausus? 

The primary purpose of NC is to limit the number of students and ensure that no field or University is overstuffed with students. While this limits the opportunity for many students, it also provides that those selected have the best of what Germany offers. 

There are two major types of NC. They are:

  1. Local NC

Local NC has restricted applications limited to one faculty within a college.

The TU Berlin has an NC of 150 applicants for Masters of Mechanical Engineering but an NC of 200 applicants for Masters of Civil Engineering.

Here the NC of these two fields are independent of each other, and from the rest of the Universities, they are Local NC.

  1. Subject NC

Here the restricted admission depends on the subject and is applicable in Germany.

The NC for Bachelor of Arts in Germany is 300 Students with a GPA of over 1.8. Regardless of the university, there will only be a maximum of 300 students with a GPA of 1.8 or higher.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Numerus Clausus (NC)/ restricted application?

We have already hinted a bit before regarding the advantages and disadvantages of NC. The core aspect of NC is to limit the number of students in each program depending on their previous performance. Some people support it, and an equal number of people are in opposition. But why? 

The following Glimpse of the advantages and disadvantages of NC might give you some ideas. 

Advantages of Numerus Clausus (NC)

  • NC prevents overcrowding in any given Study programs
  • Restricted Application promotes Quality over Quantity
  • It uses previous performances as a basis, ensuring qualified students' dedication
  • Less risk of system failure because of unruly students

Disadvantages of Numerus Clausus (NC)

  • Restricted Application or NC does not consider the potential of a student
  • It restricts the opportunity for many capable but unfortunate students
  • NC grants the possibility to those who are already good at their education

From this, you can easily see why parties are on both sides of the spectrum, making equal sense. If NC is applied everywhere, capable but unfortunate students will never get a chance to grow. On the other hand, if NC is not applied at all, every college will be nothing better than the marketplace.

Because of this, some courses, especially those requiring creative thinking, do not have NC, where previous performance doesn't play a significant role in their selection. That said, the seats will still be limited as the government and education board specified.

What are the factors that affect NC?

The specific factors affecting NC will vary depending on its type, University, and program. Some elements may be necessary for one kind of NC but, simultaneously, redundant to others. That said, some factors have more weight than others. Some of these factors are:

  • National Admission Restriction:

Applicable for all Federal Universities allotted through Hochschulstart. Die in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.

  • Local admission restrictions:

Applicable for programs in a state-run higher education institution.

  • Dialog-oriented service process:

Internal restrictions for programs subjected to local university admission restrictions.

These factors affect the NC in every nation that has this system.

What is Numerus Clausus in Germany?

If you are wondering about the specific NC within Germany, there is a particular process that Germany follows for its Numerus Clausus. Following is a general outlook of NC in Germany.

The grade of University Entrance Qualification grants 20% of the slots, University criteria grants university admission to 60% of the applicants. The criteria can include your quality in Arbiter, entrance exams, the impression created by your motivation letter, and your interview performance.

The final 20% of the entrance is determined after a "waiting period." Your grade doesn't matter here, but the number of semesters waited does. The waiting period includes completed apprenticeships or semesters abroad and your persistence and patience in waiting to be selected.

This is indeed a cold form of selecting students but is efficient.

What is a No NC?

By now, you should already have a good idea of what a No NC is. It is the university admission system where students are admitted as long as they have the basic requirements. The essential requirement is often an Abitur or equivalent education. That said, your diploma or degree may not be identical to Abitur, depending on your nation.

You can simply register and study as long as you have the documents and meet the requirements. You will be enrolled in the Study program of your choice as long as you don't drop out or are terminated from the Study program.

What is an Orts-Nc?

Besides the education programs that are entirely free from Numerus Clausus and those with no restriction, there is also a third type known as Orts Numerus Clausus.

Orts-NC falls somewhere in between where the study programs under this NC have restricted application in some universities but free university admission in others. You can find this type of education program under the local NC.

In the End,

Regardless of what you call NC, Numerus Clausus, or Restricted Application, NC is undoubtedly an integral aspect of education in Germany. While the system is not perfect, it does prevent the universities from becoming random and maintains the systematic functioning of universities and programs with high demand. While the selection process for NC is indeed cold and calculative, no one can deny its practicality.

That said, the system of NC doesn't consider the future possibility, which is its major downside. Before we end, we would like to ask you for your opinion- Are you in support of NC, No NC, or Orts-NC?

We hope you found this helpful. And as always, thank you for reading till the end.


Q: What is an NC?

A: NC, in simple words, is a restriction on the application numbers.

Q: What is a No-NC?

A: No-NC means that the university/program does not have any restriction on the number of applications.

Q: What is Orts-NC?

A: Orts-NC is a type of NC that is situational and only applicable under specific conditions.

Q: What are the factors affecting NC?

A: The factors affecting NC are GPA, federal restriction, local restriction, and the educational laws regarding NC.

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