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Welcome. Photo:Fotolia/Markus Mainka

Information for refugees

Language development courses, occasional studies, leisure activities: students and teaching staff at Osnabrück University have developed a range of offers and initiatives in a bid to offer practical assistance and support to refugees in and around Osnabrück, giving them a warm welcome.


Language development courses

Student initiatives

Additional university activities

Further initiatives and services in and around Osnabrück

Useful links


If you have questions concerning what to study and what courses of study are on offer, please contact the Study Counseling Service:
Once a month the counseling service holds group consultations for international students where you can pose questions concerning, for example, the guest auditor program. More information at
Tel.: +49 541 969 4999                                                                                                     

If you have questions concerning specific courses of study in which you want to audit, please contact the responsible departmental academic advisor.

If you have questions concerning university entrance qualifications, recognition of foreign diploma and admission into the guest auditor program, please contact the students' office:
Maren Grosse-Wördemann, Sandra Calba                        
Tel.: +49 541 969-7777

If you have questions concerning the tandem program, please contact the Welcome@UOS team:

If you have questions concerning language courses, please contact the Language Center:                          

If you have questions concerning your residency, funding, and insurance, please contact the International Office:
Anna-Julia Toll       
Tel.: +49 541 969-4106

If you have questions concerning admission to (the guest auditor program of) Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, please contact the Center for International Students (CIS) at the University of Applied Sciences:
Rita Malich                                       
Tel.: +49 541 969-3044                                     


Studying as a guest auditor

Osnabrueck University offers a special guest auditor program for refugees. Within this program, you may complete courses worth up to ten credit points (ECTS) and also take exams. (This is not the case with the university’s traditional courses for guest auditors, which you may also attend free of charge.) For any exams you pass, proof will be provided so that they can be credited to regular studies pursued at a later date. The program is free of charge. You can download the registration form here:

Download the registration form (PDF, 562 kB)

Regular Studies

Certain admission requirements must be met in order to enroll for regular studies at Osnabrück University. In order to embark on an undergraduate program such as a Bachelor’s degree, for example, applicants must have a qualification for admission to higher education. In order to embark on a Master’s degree, applicants require an academic degree – usually a Bachelor’s degree. They must also have a special aptitude for the program. In addition, language skills - generally German - have to be proved.

Refugees who do not possess any certificates, because they had to flee from their home country, may take an entrance test for the Preparatory Foundation Course in Hannover. Those who pass the test and proves appropriate German language skills can be admitted to the course and will gain a subject-restricted higher education entrance certificate within the space of a year. (Note: There is a huge demand for the course at present, meaning that it will be very difficult to secure a place on the course, even if a candidate passes the test.) If outstanding results are achieved in the entrance exam (at least 85 per cent in the math part) and with appropriate German language skills (at least level C1), refugees may be admitted straight onto a study program with open admissions. In the case of study programs subject to admission restrictions, regular attendance on the Preparatory Foundation Course is mandatory. In addition, German skills (usually language level B1 oder B2) must be proven in all cases, depending on the study program.

Financing studies with a student grant (BAföG)

BAföG is the term for state aid provided to pupils and students in Germany. The term BAföG is short for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (Federal Training Assistance Act). Depending on their financial situation, BAföG recipients receive up to € 670 per month to finance their education. A degree program must usually have been commenced before reaching the age of 30. Half of the BAföG grant amount is paid out in the form of a subsidy, the other half as a non-interest bearing loan..

Refugees can also benefit from financial aid via BAföG:

  • Persons entitled to political asylum and recognized refugees are eligible for benefits in accordance with BAföG (see Refugee Council of Lower Saxony).
  • As of January 1, 2016, persons with exceptional leave to remain (Duldung) and holders of certain humanitarian residence permits can apply for BAföG after just 15 months.

Osnabrück Student Services is responsible for advising on matters concerning BAföG in Osnabrück. Please contact the Department of Student Financing.

Student initiatives

Tandem project welcome@uos

In close cooperation with Osnabrück University's International Office, the student-led initiative welcome@uos organizes a tandem project for refugee students and guest auditors.

The program aims at creating a venue in which students from Osnabrück and local refugees can engage in cultural exchange and language learning. Refugee students also receive support both by student mentors as well as through workshops in finding their way around Osnabrück University. The project is commences before the start of every semester and has capacities for 40-50 students. During a two-day introductory seminar, students can familiarize themselves with the program details, receive vital information for studying at the university as well as cultural sensitivity training.

Aside from weekly/regular meetings between the tandem partners, welcome@uos organizes events and workshops on a monthly basis, catering to the needs of refugee students. The project has adapted to the COVID19 situation and continues.


Additional activities

FreiZeit für Flüchtlingskinder (leisure activities for refugee children)

This initiative offers projects and activities to help refugee children join in with leisure activities outside their accommodation, enhancing their self-realization and self-perception. A photo project, a dance workshop and trips to Osnabrück Zoo and the Botanical Garden are just a few examples of the activities undertaken.

Medical care

The former hospital “Natruper Holz” in Osnabrück has been home to an initial reception center for refugees since the end of 2014. Osnabrück University’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Dermatological Prevention and Rehabilitation (iDerm) is housed in the same building. In consultation with health insurance associations, the head of the institute and dermatologist, Professor Dr. med. Swen Malte John, has assumed responsibility for providing health care to refugees at Natruper Holz.

Further initiatives and services in and around Osnabrück

City of Osnabrück

Numerous initiatives related to refugee work such as integration facilitators, the association Exil e.V. and the Rosenplatz initiative receive generous support and funding from the City of Osnabrück. More information about the topic of integration can be obtained from the City of Osnabrück.

Osnabrück Rural District

Information for refugees

Exil e.V. Osnabrück
Center for Refugees offers low-level language courses and brings refugees into contact with students, who offer individual support. In cooperation with the Philosophy Student Representative Committee at Osnabrück University, a project is being initiated where refugees will be assigned a mentor to help them become acquainted with their new environment.

Amnesty International
The Amnesty International University Group is also committed to the issue of refugees.

Weitblick Osnabrück e.V.
This student initiative advocates fairer access to education throughout the world, hence its commitment to refugees in Osnabrück.

Caritas Osnabrück
One of the services offered by this association is private tuition for refugee children and adolescents, provided mainly by students.

“NoLager” is an umbrella organization comprising various initiatives with a different focus. The main objective is to ensure that refugees are not housed in camps.

Osnabrück integration facilitators
Many such facilitators are students who work with refugees.

Flüchtlingshilfe Rosenplatz (refugee relief)
Neighborhood assistance is provided to refugees with the help of students.

In addition, students from Osnabrück are involved in nationwide initiatives to help accommodate refugees in private households, e.g. in shared flats.

Bündnis gegen Abschiebungen
(Anti-deportation alliance) An association of various groups and individuals in Osnabrück who seek to prevent people from being deported (in particular due to Dublin III regulations).