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Admission Procedure

Every year, the SLE takes on up to 20 graduate students for its 12-month study programme. Guest students are also admitted, and can attend individual courses.

Applicants should have completed a university degree at the Masters level in a subject area relevant to development cooperation, and be able to show that they have studied some development-related topics during their degree. The range of suitable disciplines is wide. Natural and Earth sciences, such as agriculture, landscape management, environmental studies, geography or geology, are often relevant qualifications. Business studies, economics, sociology, politics, cultural studies and law are also suitable qualifications. Ethnology, psychology and other disciplines may in some individual cases also be appropriate.

Applicants should speak fluent German and English, and preferably one other UN language. They should have both theoretical and practical experience with issues from development studies and have gained knowledge of developing and transition countries during internships or working visits.

Admission requirements

  • completed university or vocational college degree (Master, Diplom, state examination, PhD)
  • citizenship of an EU or developing or transition country
  • very good English and excellent German, as well as good knowledge of at least one of the following languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic
  • demonstrable interest in, and commitment to, development policy
  • internship, work or study stays in developing or transition countries
  • suitable state of health for long trips to developing countries (often with poorer healthcare and increased health risks)

Admissions committee

Every year, 20 graduates are selected for the graduate study programme on the basis of their knowledge, experience, motivation and personal suitability.

The final decision on admissions is made by the admissions committee, which is made up of representatives of the SLE, organisations within the field (GIZ, NGOs, consulting firms), the university faculty and the Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute, as well as one student from the current cohort.

Admissions process and criteria

During the pre-admissions phase in September each year, candidates are assessed on the basis of their written application, following set categories.

The overall impression of the application determines selection for the main admissions phase. The selection criteria include involvement with development topics, personal motivation, argumentation, study grades, language skills, age and previous work experience (for example in internships or work placements).

The pre-admissions committee selects approximately 50 candidates for the main admissions phase.

During the main admissions phase in mid-October, candidates present themselves in person at the SLE. In written essays, short presentations, interviews and language tests, the admissions committee forms an impression of the candidates' analytical skills, personality, motivation, team competence, development expertise, suitability for the profession, writing skills and language skills.