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Frequently Asked Questions


Educational requirements

Master applicants must a) have completed a total of sixteen (16) years of formal education by the time of enrolment (12 years of primary and secondary education + 4-year bachelor degree or equivalent at the tertiary level), or b) have completed an undergraduate (bachelor) degree from a recognized international university. 

English skills

As English is the language of instruction, applicants must possess the ability to comprehend the lectures, undertake independent research and produce reports in English.

All candidates whose native language is not English must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). Candidates who have undertaken their entire secondary and tertiary education in English may be exempted from this requirement.

Application and screening

Applicants are judged primarily on the basis of the following documents:

  • Personal statement (interests, goals etc.),
  • Research proposal,
  • Academic transcripts,
  • Certificate of employment (if applicable),
  • Sample of written work,
  • Score reports in English language and other standardized tests,
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Various other formal documents are required, and it is also necessary to pay a nominal Application Screening Fee. For further details, please check the application details of the respective IMAT programme.


If you are interested in scholarships to help covering your living expenses, we recommend you to do research on private (e.g. Rotary International) and government [German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)] scholarship providers. The most information can be found through


Do I have to register for classes?

Generally not. You will have a special tailored education for the standard completion of your degree. If you wish to attend more classes at the ECB (e.g. language courses) you might have to register. The IfaS management office will advice you on this.

What can I expect as far as class size?

The majority of classes have a maximum of 30 students. Special seminars are often limites to 10 or less students.

Holidays, vacations and breaks, when do I get some time for myself?

All of the important dates, as well as other important information pertaining to attending classes will be delivered after enrollment. In general, all international holidays, as well as holidays of the host country, are considered. Furthermore, there is a long break between the semesters.


How do I find a place to live?

The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld (ECB) is a residential campus with modern student houses based on innovative building standards such as passive and low energy houses. The students have the choice between single and double apartments.  All apartments have private bathrooms and are fully furnished and equipped with broadband internet access, wireless local area network and telephones. All apartments share a coin-operated laundry and a social room.

Other housing options exist in the surrounding cities and villages (Hoppstädten-Weiersbach, Birkenfeld, Idar-Oberstein, St. Wendel, Saarbrücken etc.). The IMAT management office assist students in finding housings.

How long can I stay in ECB Student Houses?

IMAT students are guaranteed a room in ECB Student Houses for the standard period of completion of their courses in Germany.

What about rent?

The monthly rent for ECB Student Houses is approximately 15 € per square meter (sqm), including utilities. The size of the apartments varies between 15 and 30 sqm.


What banking options are available in Birkenfeld?

Commercial banks such as Kreissparkasse and Volksbank (most popular ones among students) and other local banks are available. An ATM is available at ECB.

IfaS will help the students to open a bank account and get a bank card.

What are the most commonly accepted credit cards in Germany, and how can I get one?

Visa and MasterCard are accepted by most vendors that accept credit cards. American Express in another widely accepted option. International students can experience difficulty obtaining a credit card in Germany because they generally have an insufficient credit history. Thus, it is advised that students obtain credit cards from their home country, before coming to Germany.


What computer services are available as a student at ECB?

There are special computer labs with communication equipment for students at ECB. In addition there are computers in the library.

Is high-speed Internet access available at ECB?

Yes, a wireless high-speed Internet connection is available throughout campus. Also, every room in ECB Student Houses is equipped with broadband Internet access.


What health care options exist at ECB?

There is a Health Clinic and various doctors in Birkenfeld.

Is health insurance compulsory?

Yes. All full-time international students are required to have a private health insurance. The monthly costs for the health insurance are approximately 80 € and cover the full expenses for medical services. For the medication a small co-payment might be required (i.e. mostly not more then 10 €). For additional information you can also check the DAAD info-page.

Shopping and personal

Where do you go to shop in Birkenfeld?

A bookshop is located on campus where you can buy/order books, tickets, etc. Also, there are a range of convenience stores, supermarkets, department stores and other shopping options available in Birkenfeld City.
Within 45 min train fare you can reach the City of Saarbrücken.

What type of clothes will I need in Germany?

All four seasons exist in Germany. Specifically, the summer has temperatures around 30°C and winters will often have days with temperature falling below 0°C.

Other information

Do I need to learn German before leaving my country?

All graduate classes are taught in English. However, to enhance your experience in Germany, we recommend that you learn some basic words in German. There are classes available for beginners at ECB.

Can I get a job while I am at IfaS/Environmental Campus Birkenfeld?

Generally, students are able to get a job as student researcher at IfaS in close cooperation with German small and medium sized enterprises. There are also job offers on the notice board at the Student Support Center. Part time jobs are available around the Birkenfeld area as well, but German proficiency is often essential.

What sports do you have?

Many sporting activities are available at the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld facilities, which include a gym, tennis and basketball courts, beach volleyball, and soccer field, among others.

How is the food?

The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld offers a wide array of German and international choices to its students including vegetarian meal dishes.