Numerus clausus

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Under numerus clausus , abbreviated NC , synonym admission , refers to restrictions on the admission to schools, colleges and universities.

About the term and its name

The expression comes from the Latin numerus for 'number, number' and clausus for 'closed', and in German means roughly 'limited number'. It describes the usually capacity-related limitation of admission in certain subjects when entering a degree at a university, a college or other schools.

The term in relation to maximum admission numbers was already in use before the Second World War and was then also used for maximum numbers for female or Jewish students.

The expression is sometimes wrongly equated with the admission criterion (e.g. grade point average, aptitude test). The term does not include aptitude tests such as tests of physical performance for sports studies or tests of artistic talent for art studies.

The term numerus clausus is used in addition to the designation of admission restrictions for degree programs in law: see Numerus clausus (law) .



The European equal treatment policy with regard to university applicants from all member countries prohibits all regulations that discriminate against applicants from one country. For example, in July 2005 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rejected a lawsuit in Belgium, which had introduced a numerus clausus according to the country of origin principle - i.e. proof of factual admission to study in the home country - against the French rush in the Walloon region , as a violation of Union law. This regulation does not apply to third countries .


According to the Basic Law (GG) Art. 12, all Germans have the right to freely choose the training facility and thus to access universities , provided that the formal qualifications ( technical college entrance qualification , general university entrance qualification / Abitur or, in most cases, completed vocational training) are available. However, if the demand for places in certain subjects exceeds the capacity of these subjects, the federal states or individual universities can apply for admission restrictions on access to the university (see numerus clausus ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court).

The study place capacities of a subject are determined by the university or the responsible state ministry for the respective university. The available personnel resources (available teaching staff), the factual and spatial equipment of a subject are included in this capacity calculation. The capacity calculation then results in the study places available at a university in a subject.

If the capacity is exceeded, the applicants for the available study places are selected; the selection regulations are regulated in a state treaty of the federal states as well as in the higher education laws of the federal states. The main selection criterion is, on the one hand, the average grade in the Abitur and, on the other hand, the waiting time that has passed between the acquisition of the university entrance qualification and the application for the university place.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled on December 19, 2017 on two judges' submissions from the Administrative Court of Gelsenkirchen on the question of whether the university framework law (HRG) and in the regulations of the federal states for the ratification and implementation of the State Treaty on the establishment of a joint institution for university admission regulations are compatible with the Basic Law. The BVerfG considers the federal and state legal regulations on the procedure for the allocation of study places at state universities, insofar as they concern admission to the study of human medicine, to be partly incompatible with the Basic Law. A new regulation must be made by the end of 2019.

Local admission restrictions

For subjects that are only offered at a few universities, these universities also have the opportunity to choose their students. In most cases, the universities apply the rules that also apply to the selection process of the Foundation for University Admissions (SfH), the former central office for the allocation of study places. However, the universities also have the option of using other criteria for the selection of applicants. These can be: selection interviews, aptitude tests, work experience and internships, the weighting of certain grades in the Abitur.

It is currently evident that some universities are making use of these expanded options for applicant selection and that the regulations differ from university to university and from subject to subject, so that the selection rules for applicants are becoming increasingly confusing. In many cases, it is therefore necessary to obtain detailed information from each relevant university before applying for a study place.

The allocation regulations for study places of the individual federal states are the basis for all universities of the respective state. The licensing procedure and the partially existing restrictions on participation in it result from them. This includes u. a. the restriction: " Anyone who has reached the age of 55 when applying (...) will only be involved in the award procedure if there are serious scientific or professional reasons for the intended study, taking into account the applicant's personal situation. “(Identical § of the procurement regulations in Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony). This regulation can only apply to the first semester or even to consecutive postgraduate courses ( master’s ).

The student advisory service of the respective university will advise you on the application and admission regulations when starting a university course.

NC values

Numerus clausus values ​​- or better: the admission limits - arise anew in every procedure based on the current requirements of the individual applicants. An admission limit expresses the grade (usually the average Abitur grade) or how many waiting semesters (times without enrollment since obtaining the university entrance qualification) the last admitted person has. This usually results in three different values, as each applicant actually takes part in up to three admission procedures (ranking procedure):

  1. The first 20% of the available places are awarded according to the average Abitur grade (performance rate).
  2. A further 20% of the admissions are based on the number of semesters waiting.
  3. The universities can distribute the remaining 60% independently according to defined criteria (university selection process, AdH). Acceptable selection criteria are:
    • Professional experience,
    • weighted individual grades,
    • subject-specific test,
    • Selection interview,
    • Location preference
    • and combinations of these criteria.

However, the average Abitur grade must be of decisive importance in each individual case. The universities regulate how the selection is made in their own statutes. There are considerable differences from country to country and from university to university.

In the admission procedure, all applicants usually take part in the three different procedures. However, it is possible that the universities only accept a limited number of applicants for the AdH. In this case, a preselection is made. The pre-selection takes place according to the aforementioned criteria. In addition, for the subjects that take part in the nationwide allocation procedure, the location preference given by the applicants for participation in the AdH can be decisive.

The universities and many institutions such as the Foundation for University Admissions (SfH) offer information on the respective selection limits on their websites. Usually two values ​​are given. The indication "1.9 / 3" for the performance rate (see above no. 1) and the selection process of the university (see above no. 3) means that the last person admitted has an average Abitur grade of 1.9 and three waiting semesters. This means that all applicants with an average Abitur grade better than 1.9 or a grade of 1.9 and subsequently more than three waiting semesters were admitted at the same time. The remaining study places were often distributed by lottery among the applicants with an Abitur grade 1.9 and three waiting semesters.

The waiting semesters (see no. 2 above) are sorted first by waiting semester, then by grade, and finally by lot value. The admission rank for the last person still admitted is given, for example, as "10 / 3.3". This means that all applicants with more than ten waiting semesters (a maximum of 16 are possible) and that all applicants with ten waiting semesters and a subordinate grade better than 3.3 get a place on the course. For candidates with ten waiting semesters and a grade point average of 3.3, the lot decides on the distribution of the remaining study places.

waiting period

If you do not have a sufficient Abitur grade on a course with NC, you can also wait for a place to study.

" calculates the waiting time based on the number of half-years that have passed since you acquired your university entrance qualification (minus 'parking study times'). Contrary to popular belief, there is no 'waiting list' you have to sign up on. Your waiting time is recalculated every semester for which you apply. Even those who have not applied in the meantime receive their half-year waiting period. For example, if you first complete vocational training after graduating from high school and apply for a place at the university for the first time at the end of your training, the corresponding number of semesters will be counted as waiting time. The same applies to stays abroad or a 'service' (military service, community service, voluntary social or ecological year). Those who have waited long enough will certainly get their place in the NC subjects. "

-, official website of the SfH

The times during which you were enrolled at a state or state-recognized German university are deducted from the waiting semesters determined. As long as you are not enrolled at a German university, the time counts as waiting time.

This time is often used to gain professional experience. For example, training to become a health care professional , paramedic or medical documentary specialist is often completed before studying medicine .

Independence from grade point average and waiting time

The assumption that accumulating waiting time can improve one's own Abitur grade is not correct. An improvement in the Abitur grade can only be achieved through compensation for disadvantages ( hardship case ). In the SfH procedure, the quotas for “waiting time” and “grade point average” are independent of one another, i. H. a longer waiting time only improves the position in the quota of applicants after the accumulated waiting time.


After a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2005, Austria violated EU law by requiring EU foreigners to provide evidence of admission to study in their country of nationality in order to be admitted to study in Austria.

As a result, Austrian legislation issued a quota regulation in several subjects, including human, dental and veterinary medicine, according to which 75 percent of the study places are reserved for first-year students with an Austrian high school diploma, a further 20 percent for applicants with an EU high school diploma and 5 percent of the study places are not -EU applicants are granted. The possibility was also introduced to “ fix a number of study places for new students by ordinance and authorize the rectorates to define a qualitative admission procedure if the study conditions in these courses are unacceptable due to the increased demand from foreign nationals.” (§ 124b, line 6) The European Court of Justice allowed Austria to set the quota for medical studies in 2017, since Austria was able to prove that the quota for residents was necessary to counteract a national medical shortage. However, the quota for studying dentistry was declared inadmissible. The resident quota for dental studies is to be abolished by the 2019/20 academic year.

A joint admission procedure was introduced at the Medical University of Vienna and the Medical University of Innsbruck from the 2006/07 academic year. Anyone who wants to start either a human or dental degree at one of the two universities must take the aptitude test for medical studies (EMS), which is carried out jointly with Switzerland and is intended to assess the participants' ability to acquire knowledge and to derive their suitability for study . Its expressiveness is considered to be high.

The Medical University of Graz introduced its own admission procedure, which consists of a knowledge test of the Matura material in mathematical and natural science subjects and a test of language skills. Knowledge tests are generally not used for university admission because it is assumed that they devalue the Matura and because they capture the potential for acquiring new knowledge and skills less clearly than tests specially designed for this purpose, such as the aptitude test for medical studies (EMS) . Accordingly, test takers' educational experience and extensive preparation for the selection test (e.g., through training courses, over-learning, etc.) can bias the predictions that the admissions process makes about student success. This problem also shows up in skill tests such as EMS, but here the training gains that can be achieved through targeted preparation are significantly lower.

Since 2013 there has been a uniform admission procedure at all medical universities.


University sector

In Switzerland there has been a numerus clausus for medical students since 1998 (human medicine since 1998, veterinary medicine since 1999, dentistry since 2004) for the universities of Basel, Bern, Friborg and Zurich, which form a joint pool of admissions. In Neuchâtel, Lausanne and Geneva, access is unrestricted in the first year, but there is a more stringent intra-university selection through the examination after the first year. The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss universities publishes information on the numerus clausus in medicine and the annual available study space capacities . From 2007 the capacities will only be given for the universities in the NC pool. Registration with CRUS must be made by February.

The numerus clausus becomes active as soon as the number of registrations exceeds 120% of the available study places. This decision is made annually at the beginning of March by the Swiss University Conference.

The aptitude test for medical studies is used as an admission criterion for the NC . The test contains many more questions than can be answered in the allotted time, and the candidates who do best are given a place on the course. Those who took the test in the previous year can dispense with repeating the test and have last year's test value transferred. The test value is calculated from the point value by standardization to the annual mean value and the standard deviation and is between 70 and 130 (mean value 100). This means that test values ​​can then be transferred between years. In addition, if the test values ​​are equal, a middle ranking decides on the individual subtests if not all persons with the test value can get a place.

However, around 120% of the available study places are also effectively distributed in order to compensate for withdrawals (no-shows). In particular, diversions to another university lead to such withdrawals - the preferred study locations are offered to the people in the order of the level of the test value (high test values ​​also ensure that they study at the desired location).

In other popular courses of study such as psychology, journalism, nursing and sports science, there may also be aptitude tests depending on the university due to limited study places.

Furthermore, it was in 2008, especially for German students to the precarious in Switzerland German glut to be gentleman who introduced in the EU forbade numerus clausus by country of origin, the scheme has been standardized by the CRUS for 2011/12 in Switzerland: German students must in principle proof provide proof of admission to a university , whereby Zurich and Bern require an average school-leaving certificate of 2.0, other universities in Switzerland 2.5.

In addition, there are access restrictions in subjects with capacity bottlenecks (such as psychology, media studies, biology, pharmacy), mandatory proof of admission to the Università della Svizzera italiana  (USI), special regulations at ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne , and the University of St. Gallen controls entrance exams Rate of 25%.

Technical college sector

At the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), a numerus clausus is currently required for the course in applied psychology . Studying at the Department of Applied Psychology and future professional activities in the fields of applied psychology place high demands on cognitive as well as social and personal skills. The suitability of applicants for this course is checked in a two-stage professional individual assessment. The best 100 candidates will be awarded a place (50 places for the full-time course and 50 places for the part-time course). There is the possibility - in the case of de-registration or the prevention of the students - to follow up and a waiting list will be kept.

Numerus clausus in high schools

In 2004 the canton of Graubünden introduced a hidden numerus clausus for all entrance exams at grammar schools. H. instead of stipulating average grades or scores with which you passed the exam, you created a ranking list and only recorded a certain number according to your rank. With this measure they tried to reduce the number of high school students by ten percent due to financial difficulties. This restriction was planned for the years 2004–2007.

A year later, the canton of Glarus followed suit by defining admission restrictions only for the lower secondary school (6th and 7th school year). He limited the number of applicants to 44, even if some candidates achieved the usually required 27 points or more in the test. Selection by rank, of course. Admission regulations Art. 8a. An actually successful candidate lodged a complaint against it and took the complaint to the highest Swiss court. In its judgment of March 14, 2006, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that such a numerus clausus was not legal. The introduction of a numerus clausus basically needs to be anchored at the level of formal law.

See also

Web links




Individual evidence

  1. z. B. Edith Fliess, The struggle for the numerus clausus in the legal profession, Verlag Gatzer & Hahn 1933
  2. ^ Joseph Lazarus, The Numerus Clausus in World History, Verlag P. Reinhold, 1924
  3. Jonas Kreppel, Jews and Judaism of Today, clearly presented, Amalthea-Verlag, 1925
  4. ^ Susanne Dreisbach: Study reform. Equality looks different. In: FOCUS-Online. August 4, 2010, accessed August 4, 2011 .
  5. Studying without a high school diploma - University Rectors' Conference
  6. Judgment of the BVerfG of December 19, 2017, Az. 1 BvL 3/14 and 1 BvL 4/14, NJW 2018, 361 with comment by Christian von Coelln
  7. Sibylle Schwarz, Federal Constitutional Court in 2017 on Numerus clausus , published on December 19, 2017 on Beck's blog clausus
  8. | Allocation Regulation for Study Places NRW § 4 Paragraph 2
  9. How the waiting time is calculated ( Memento from February 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  10. ^ Judgment of the Court of Justice (Second Chamber) of 7 July 2005 - Case C-147/03 , accessed on 10 July 2017
  11. § 124b Supplementary provisions for admission to the studies affected by the German Numerus Clausus University Act 2002 i. d. F. Amendment 2009.
  12. Allocation of the study places to be allocated according to the quota regulation ,
  13. Austria must abolish the dental quota. In: May 17, 2017. Retrieved July 10, 2017 .
  14. Press release from the Medical University of Vienna
  15. a b Admission based on German secondary school leaving certificates: What has really changed since the summer 2010 registration date? In: → news. Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities, August 26, 2011, accessed on August 30, 2011 .
  16. University admission: Switzerland wants to slow down German applicants with numerus clausus. In: ZEIT ONLINE. August 22, 2011, accessed October 3, 2011 .
  17. ↑ Conditions of admission | ZHAW Applied Psychology. Retrieved on October 12, 2017 (German).
  18. Federal Court judgment of March 14, 2006 (2P.304 / 2005 / leb)  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /