A Comprehensive Guide for Master Applications

I have decided to apply for Bauhaus Universität Weimar around these days last year (2017). I have already had in my mind to study Public Art and New Artistic Strategies for years, and I felt like the moment had come to take a firm action. It was almost the perfect timing. I had about 3 months ahead to prepare all the necessary papers, take the language tests and finalize the presentation of my works. In this article, I tried to perform a general review of the application process. I wanted to create a short guide in the matter of the basic documents, from certificates to letters, and also about some exceptional ones that your department may ask additionally.

 

Some general tips and notes

    For the international students, try to complete all your documents and apply for an appointment at the consulate as soon as possible. Even though you deliver all your documents precisely, there is always a possibility for the visa process to be unstable depending on different conditions and it may take longer than you think to take your passport back. 
    For some departments, the deadlines may differ depending on if the applicant has graduated in Europe or outside of Europe.
    All of the final documents have to be sent to the university by post – not via e-mail. You will also need to upload them to the online application portal. You can find the link on the relevant application page.
    Once you are accepted, your recognition is valid for two to three academic years depending on your department — including the year of your application and the following ones.
    Instead of sending the original documents, try to share their legalized copies. Even though you will get them back from the university, this will save you from the possibility of losing them. You should share the copy in the original language along with its certified translation.
    Certified copies can be either in English or in German.
    Pay attention to what your course ask for since some of them want “uncertified” copies for the first application process.
    Some courses offer admission both in the winter and summer semesters. So if you feel like you are not ready yet, or if your application fails, you can try again in a short period of time.
    Some courses may ask for a higher education entrance qualification such as a high-school leaving certificate (Abitur) or university entrance exam results (A-levels).
    Proof of your health insurance and payment of semester contribution can be arranged when you arrive in Weimar.

Picture: Hamish Appleby

Aptitude Test and Entrance Examination

Your first step is to take the aptitude test or the entrance examination. They are basically the same thing and you will take either of them. If you pass, you will be entitled to enroll for the course afterward. There is a sufficient time in-between to prepare all your files. For example, in Architecture, the application deadline for the next entrance exam is 15 July every year, while the enrolment period ends on 30 September.
Entrance examination means that a commission will check all your documents and will give you a vote for the pre-selection process. Therefore, you should submit all the requested files, and most likely they will need to be legalized. You will be qualified to enroll in the intended masters degree only after passing the entrance examination.
For the aptitude test, some programmes will ask you to apply for it first. Two options might be offered — writing an informal letter stating the course of study you wish to pursue or filling out the given registration form online. They can be asked to be sent either by post or via mail.
Aptitude tests may contain variable processes. They can follow the same route as the entrance examination. They can be based on the documentation of previous works (portfolio), a personal interview, or an assignment to be completed at home which will be sent to you after the registration. Bear in mind that passing the aptitude test doesnt mean admission to the degree programme.
For example, for my homework assignment, I was obligated to prepare two public art projects. One was supposed to be an installation realized in my hometown, while the other one was to find an idea for the green space in front of the Atrium. I photographed my realized artwork for the documentation, made drawings and photoshopped images for the theoretical one. Included a name and explanatory texts for each.
Online Application Form
You will be directed to the online portal through your application page. Every candidate should choose the course of study/studies, complete and sign the form. Some documents will be asked to be uploaded.
Diploma
Your certified bachelors degree, diploma certificate or equivalent university degree should be submitted alongside with the translated copies.
Most of the courses ask for a study-related degree. This means that you have to have a bachelors diploma that shares the same or relevant topic. But in some cases, solely on the basis of a passed aptitude test, you may have the chance to get accepted.
Curriculum Vitae
A detailed CV is a must for every course. It is mostly asked to be maximum of one A4 page in a tabular form. Try to include your educational, practical and international experiences.
Letter of Motivation
Letter of motivation is crucial for your application. It is the most personalized document that gives you the chance to present yourself from first hand. It shouldnt be a text version of your CV. A language that is positive and enthusiastic in tone would work perfectly. Pay attention to grammar and spelling. You can copy and paste your text to Grammarly which will check them for you for free. Dont send the letter on the day you wrote it. It is always better to read once more the day after with a fresh mind.
You can start with your previous experiences and memories that have directed you to apply for the programme. The text should contain your future goals in your career. You need to give reasons to the selection committee so that they would choose you. Your purpose in preferring to study in Germany might be a question to be answered as well.
The guide of DAAD can be useful:
Portfolio
Your portfolio should be a documentation of previous academic and practical works. Try to include only relevant and effective projects. Most of the departments will ask a maximum of 20 sheets in either A4 or A3 formats. Try to demonstrate the ability for interdisciplinary work, as well as special skills in theory and in practice.
Declaration of Authorship
You will need to give a written paper that is stating that the projects you have shared in your portfolio belong to you. That is a written declaration concerning the authorship of the submitted work.
Language Certificates
If your department asks for German and/or English certificates, try to take the tests at least one month ahead in order to deliver them early enough. This duration includes the time spent on finding a spot that fits your schedule and the time spent until you get the results. For example, I have taken my German certificate from Goethe Institute which arrived in 5 days, and my English certificate from IELTS which came in 15 days.
Some study programmes are bilingual. In that case, they will ask for the proof of both English and German language skills.
If you cant fulfill the language proficiency requirements, you can participate the four-week intensive course that Bauhaus Summer Academy offers before the semester begins. But you should keep in mind that at least A1 level German might be asked from the consulate during the visa process.
Modulkatalog
Since, in most cases, you need to be graduated from a relevant course, you are also asked to submit a detailed description of your previous study content. The so-called “Modulkatalog” can be provided from the student offices. It needs to be sent either in English or in German.
Addressed Envelope
In most cases, the school will send your original documents back by post. To do so, you should include a stamped envelope with your address on. The size of the envelope may differ depending on the department. You also have the opportunity to pick up your papers after the procedure is over.

 

One last thing, I know, when you first open the page to check the required documents, it seems a little bit overwhelming and some of them appear to be confusing. But as an international student, I have been through all of the stages, and today I am very happy that I have done it.
 
More helpful links:
 
 
Yağmur Ruzgar, 1. semester Public Art and New Artistic Strategies (M.F.A.)

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