Katholische Hochschule Nordrhein-Westfalen Catholic University of Applied Sciences

Studying at the KatHO NRW in Cologne


The city of Cologne

Cologne – called Kölle in the local dialect – ranks amongst the most diverse university sites in Germany. That is why a lot of foreign students opt to embark on a full time degree course or a semester abroad in Cologne. With its population of almost a million inhabitants Cologne is the largest city in the Federal German state of Rhine Westphalia and the fourth largest city in Germany. The Cologne cathedral is the city’s most famous landmark. A lot of people associate Cologne with the carnival season, Kölsch (the local beer) and Rhenish frivolity. But Cologne is also famous for its 2000 year history, its cultural and architectural heritage and also for its internationally significant events. Life in Cologne is uncomplicated and stimulating. In addition to the numerous Romanesque churches the cityscape is characterised by the Rhine river as well as the innumerable shopping streets, cafes and pubs. Numerous parks additionally entice you to spend time there. Cologne ranks amongst the great university cities; the almost 71,000 students who have been enrolled thereaccount for about 7 per cent of the city’s population. Cologne is also an intercultural melting
pot with a rich tradition due to the fact that 17.2 % of the population are foreigners.

The university

With approx. 3,500 students at the four sites of Aachen, Cologne, Münster and Paderborn with six faculties the KatHO NRW is Germany’s largest state recognised university that is operated by the church for social work, health service and religious education degree courses. The KatHO NRW was the first university in NRW to be awarded the title of „family-friendly“ university. Its quality finds expression in top rankings in national comparisons, for instance in the ranking of the Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung (Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE).Studying at the KatHO NRW means preparing yourself for the work of social workers with a B.A. qualification with a sound scientific and theoretical basis and also in a practical and application-oriented manner based on the Christian conception of man, so the students can responsibly contribute towards an environment where people live together in a humane manner.

Approx. 1000 men and women study at the Cologne site in the health service and social service faculties. Located in the city centre and close to the Rhine, the social services
faculty also offers the “Training and education at child age“ bachelor degree course as well as the consecutive, research-oriented „Social work in Europe“ masters degree course in addition to the „Social work” bachelor degree course. The “Addiction prevention and treatment, M.Sc” that is unique in Germany is also located here in addition to the “Addiction research competence platform” that is sponsored by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Social Work is about working on behalf of social justice and enabling and creatingconditions for a self-determined life that is fit for human beings. In this way the social work specialists assume responsibility for the social, political, economic and cultural conditions of our society and for their transformation. They structure areas of freedom and action for a fair society.

Students of the KatHO NRW complete the Bachelor’s degree after studying for six semesters.The degree course enables its students to acquire professional and personal skills. A good supervisory relationship, a personal atmosphere, well structured theoretical knowledge and the option of directly applying the things that have been learnt are the main reasons why students opt for the KatHO NRW Cologne.

Applying for a place at the KatHO Cologne

Applications from students embarking on a course of study who want to study in the Social Work Bachelor‘s degree course at the KatHO NRW Cologne, must exclusively be made via the Cologne site and are only possible beginning in the winter semester. You apply online at


The application deadline for the Social Work bachelor‘s degree course is the 31st March.

The requirements for admission to a Social Work B.A: degree course at the KatHO NRW include proof that the students have worked for three months in the social sector in addition to the general certificate entitling holders to university entrance. In the majority of countries the school leaving certificate, which entitles the student to study in their home country, is sufficient for admission to the course. You can find out how your university admission entitlement will be assessed in Germany at the www.anabin.de website.

Graduates of German schools abroad with a general higher education entrance qualification are treated in the same way as German applicants. Applicants who have not acquired their university admission entitlement at a German school must provide proof that they have a sufficient command of the German language. The Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) (German language examination for university admission), the Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF) (German as a foreign language), as well as the German examination part of the assessment test at the Colleges of Preparatory Studies for Foreign Students (Studienkolleg) are recognised.
Pupils who have attained a national school leaving certificate and the German Language Diploma Level II of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (DSD II) are exempted from the need to prove they have sufficiently good German skills.

European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The KatHO NRW makes use of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), an assessment procedure that is applied at European universities and which simplifies the recognition of credits between European universities.

Tuition fees and semester fees

In principle all students of the KatHO NRW must pay study fees of € 350.00 per semester. Students who spend a semester abroad are exempted from the obligation to pay fees. Additional reasons for reductions include having to look after and bring up underage children, cooperation as the selected representatives of university and students as well as the impacts of a disability or a severe illness which extend the time required to study the course. The tuition fees are earmarked for a specific purpose and are solely used to improve the quality of the teaching and the study conditions.

In addition a semester fee that currently amounts to € 192.00 is charged at the KatHO NRW Cologne. The semester fee includes social fees for the use of social institutions of the student union such as the cafeteria or the student halls of residence, a fee to finance the student university bodies as well as the portion of costs for the semester ticket. The area of validity of the semester ticket, which enables student to use all the public means of transport free of charge, extends throughout the entire Federal German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Financial support options

International students can apply for a grant from various institutions. The financial support is generally contingent upon requirements being met such as their talent in the subject areas and evidence of special political and social commitment. The grant database of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) (German Academic Exchange Service) provides a good overview of the grant options for foreign students: www.daad.de/deutschland/index.de.html (by taking a look at the Financial support section).
The financial support of a fulltime degree course from the first until the last semester is generally not possible.

BIDS grants for students who have completed their school education at German schools abroad
The international office of the KatHO Cologne takes part in the programme „BetreuungsInitiative Deutsche Auslands- und Partnerschulen (BIDS)” (A support initiative for German schools abroad and partner schools) that is funded by the DAAD. Each year approx. 7,000 graduates of German foreign and language diploma schools obtain entitlement to enter a German university or to have completed school education that is line with the secondary level II in accordance with the rulings of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the states in the Federal Republic of Germany. The goal of BIDS is to increase the number of well qualified students who have completed their school education who embark on a full time degree course in Germany. Graduateswho have achieved very good results can apply for a motivation grant of € 300 per month for the first semester at the KatHO Cologne, which should make it easier to embark on a degree course in Cologne.

Grants provided by the KatHO NRW Cologne
The social services faculty of the KatHO NRW Cologne provides grants each year to students, who distinguish themselves due to their outstanding and well above average performances
as students. The grant can be awarded in the form of book grants. Every student can apply for this performance-related grant. International students who have acquired a foreign entitlement to study at a university can receive a grant from the funds of the STIBET programme that is sponsored by the DAAD if they are actively involved in the international office.

State education funding
In Germany local students from families with a low income receive state funding in accordance with the Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (BAföG) (Federal Training Assistance Act). 50% of the BAföG is paid as an interest-free loan that has to be paid back in instalments once the student starts working. Under certain circumstances international
students also have the option of receiving financial support in accordance with the Federal Training Assistance Act. You can obtain information about this at www.das-neue-bafoeg.de.


The inventory of books of the KatHO NRW Cologne comprises literature on all the subjects lectured at the university. Now laying claim to approx. 71,300 books and around 360 magazines it provides the university members with all the information for the degree course, research and lectures. At the library there is an information area, the option of interlibrary loan consultancy and the use of document delivery services, reading areas as well as PC workstations with internet access.

Computer, Internet, E-Mail

In addition to the computer workstations in the library premises the KatHO NRW Cologne has a separate PC room where you can work with different programmes. Free access to the internet is also possible there. The KatHO NRW also enables its students to surf on the internet with their own laptops via WLAN.

Coffee bar

Hot and cold drinks as well as sweets and cakes are sold in the coffee bar of the KatHO NRW Cologne. In addition to sandwiches and salad there are alternating daily snacks on offer. The coffee bar has modern fixtures and fittings and can accommodate more than 70 students. Students also have the option of using the cafeteria of the nearby music college.
Three different dishes on a plate are offered every day including a vegetarian meal.

Working groups

Various student working groups are on offer at the KatHO NRW Cologne. For instance you can become actively involved in the international office, in the Israel-Palestine working group, in the choir or in the drama group and thus actively participate in university life.

Students councils

The student union (ASTA = Allgemeiner Studierendenausschuss) is elected by the student’s parliament (StuPa)for a year. It represents the students’ interests, informs them about current issues of relevance to the university, organises various activities and supports you if you have any questions or problems.

Introductory week

Prior to the official start of the lectures an introductory week takes place in the winter semester at the KatHO NRW Cologne, which should make it easier for you to get used to university life. At the start you will be welcomed by the dean, the lecturers and students of the KatHO NRW Cologne and familiarised with your degree course. You have the opportunity of having your questions answered and drafting your timetable in small groups, which are managed by tutors (students of higher semesters) and lecturers. The groups of mentors support with the first steps into the everyday university life and provide you with advice and assistance throughout your degree course. The introductory week additionally offers you a good opportunity to establish contacts with your fellow students in Cologne.

Katholische Hochschule Nordrhein-Westfalen 2019