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Applications to the Master's Degree Program in Geology

The requirements below apply to all applicants, regardless of nationality and of BSc degree-granting institution (including LMU Munich), with a few exceptions for specific documentation as explained below. There is no interview, but of course applicants are welcome to visit and talk to faculty, staff, and students.

Please read all of the instructions carefully before you start preparing your application. The process involves multiple steps and, for international applicants, multiple offices handling the application.

Submission of applications for winter semester 2019/20 is open. 

Applicants who have German citizenship, have a German Abitur, or have completed their Bachelor degree in Germany, are considered German for application purposes. Please be aware that this includes applicants who are dual citizens with Germany but who may not speak German. "German" applicants will have no contact with the International Office of the LMU, and will have to go through the regular registration channels of the LMU (where the language is German only) on their own if accepted into the program.  

International applicants are all applicants who neither have German citizenship, nor a German Abitur, nor a German Bachelor. Their applications need to be approved by the International Office and, if admitted, their registration process will be handled by the International Office as well.


1. Basic Requirements


B.Sc. or equivalent degree of minimum 6 semesters of study with major in one of the following fields: Geology, Geosciences, Earth Sciences, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Resource Geology, Mineralogy, Petrology, Engineering Geology, Oceanography or related scientific disciplines.

If the degree is not in one of the disciplines explicitly listed above (i.e. it is in a "related scientific discipline"), the applicant must submit proof of having passed Bachelor-level or higher exams in at least three of the following subject groups, for at least 3 ECTS (or ECTS-equivalent; in Germany 1 ECTS = 30 hours of work per semester) per subject group

(1) Geology, Structural Geology/Tectonics/Geodynamics, 

(2) Stratigraphy/Sedimentology/Geomorphology,

(3) Petrology/Mineralogy/Microscopy/Crystallography, 

(4) Ore Geology/Petroleum Geology,

(5) Geological Maps and Profiles/Geological Mapping,

(6) Geophysics/Geochemistry/Geobiology.

For example, an applicant who has passed exams in courses named "Stratigraphy", "Sedimentology" and "Geomorphology", but not in any of the other subject groups, does not qualify. The syllabus of each course passed in these subject groups must be submitted with the application as well, if your degree is in a "related scientific discipline". The program admission committee will then evaluate whether the documentation submitted is proof of sufficient background to be considered for admission.

Language Proficiency

Proof of German proficiency is not required for acceptance into the program. Candidates for the Program must however show very good command of English, both spoken and written. Proof of English proficiency must be submitted together with the application, it is not possible to submit test results at a later date. One of the following standardized tests is required, with minimum scores as indicated:

  • TOEFL with at least 570 points (PBT), or 87 points (iBT) and with no individual section below 21 points (iBT) or 54 points (PBT) ; please use the code 4464 to select the score recipient when you register for the test. If you do not use the correct code, we will neither receive your test results, nor be able to verify them online, and your application will therefore be rejected.
  • IELTS (Academic Version) with at least 6.0 final score, and no less than 5.0 in any sub-score. When applying for the test, please enter the following information on the page "Applications to Recognising Organisations": Name of person/department: Master's Degree Program in Geology; Name of institution: Ludwig-Maximilians Universität; Address: Geologie, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Luisenstr. 37, 80333, München, Germany. Please also include a copy of your IELTS certificate in your application package.
  • Cambridge FCE (First Certificate in English) with minimum grade A; you must send us a copy of your certificate, and your Candidate's ID number and secret number for verification. Failure to provide any of these will prevent your application from being processed.
  • Cambridge CAE (Certificate of Advanced English) with minimum grade C; you must send us a copy of your certificate, and your Candidate's ID number and secret number for verification. Failure to provide any of these will prevent your application from being processed.
  • Cambridge CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) with minimum grade C; you must send us a copy of your certificate, and your Candidate's ID number and secret number for verification. Failure to provide any of these will prevent your application from being processed.

TOEFL and IELTS test results older than two years at the time of application submission will not be accepted.

The only alternatives to the standardized tests above, pending approval by the selection committee, are:

  • English as a mother tongue. The burden of proof is on the applicant. Items like proof of citizenship, residency, school attendance, etc. may help but, in case of doubt, other proof may still be required;
  • A Bachelor or higher degree from a program where English is the only language of instruction; bilingual programs do not qualify. Please supply proof that your entire degree (all courses and exams, no exceptions) was conducted in English.
No other proof of English proficiency will be considered, regardless of the applicant’s country of origin or residence. Important note for applicants from LMU/TUM: none of the courses offered at the TUM can be used as proof. In the past, applicants have claimed "CAE" on their application form and submitted a certificate from the TUM. This is not the Cambridge CAE and will not be accepted. 

Supplying alternate proof does not mean that such proof will automatically be accepted. If the proof is rejected, the applicant will still need to register for a standardized test and supply the results at the latest before the registration (Immatrikulation) period at LMU ends (for German applicants) or before May 31st (for international applicants). Until test results are supplied, admission to the Program will not be granted even if all the other requirements have been met. N.B.: these deadlines apply exclusively to students who have claimed one of the two alternatives above and have been denied, not to students who have no such claim to begin with.

GRE test

We strongly recommed to take the GRE general test and submit the results. Use the code 0608 to select the score recipient when you register for the test. Applications submitted with GRE scores will be given priority for evaluation. GRE test scores older than five years will not be accepted.

Important: for any tests that you take, please be aware that the results may take up to 6 weeks to reach us. Therefore plan accordingly, and keep in mind that your preferred test location may not be available if you do not register well in advance of the test date.

Warning: LMU has multiple codes assigned for the TOEFL and GRE tests. Do not use any other codes than the ones provided above, because other codes belong to other programs. Under no circumstances we are allowed to access TOEFL or GRE scores sent to the wrong LMU program.

2. Deadlines

Applications for admission to the Program must be submitted by May 31st each year. Late and/or incomplete applications will be rejected. Enrollment in the Master’s Program in Geology is possible only for the winter semester that immediately follows the May 31st application deadline. No enrollment is possible in the spring semester, no exceptions. 

International applicants are strongly advised to submit their applications to the Program no later than February 15th (non-EU applicants), or March 31st (EU applicants). International applications have to go through the International Office for approval, so if you wait until May 31st, even if you get admitted, your admission letter may arrive too late for you to get a visa, or to book a flight, or to find a place to live.

No fast-tracking of individual applications, regardless of nationality, is possible.

German applicants can expect a final decision by the end of June. For international applicants, no precise time frame can be given, because it depends on when an application is submitted, and on how complex the documentation is. International applicants should in general expect a processing time of several months from application submission date.

3. Steps

a) You submit the application to the Master Geology Program online with all documents attached as pdf files (see point "4. Submitting your application" below). You will receive an automated reply confirming receipt of application.

b) We review the application

c) You will either receive a letter of rejection, or you will be asked to take the subject-relevant test, consisting in written answer/s to evaluation question/s. 

d) If you fail the test, you will receive a letter of rejection. If you pass the test, you will be informed, and asked to immediately mail all paper documents to us (normally as certified copies, see further information below), which must match the previously uploaded pdfs. If they do not match, your application may be rejected at this stage on grounds of false representation. You will be also informed at this stage of any additional documentation that may be required. Important: when you mail your documents, you are advised to use a postal service that will return a delivery receipt, so that you know that your documents have arrived. We do not send confirmation or receipts for materials that we receive by mail.  

e) If you are a German applicant, we will issue a letter of admission to the Program (Zulassungsbescheid) as soon as we receive your paper documents and verify them for consistency with the electronic submission. If you are an international applicant, your documents will first need to be checked by the International Office of the LMU. We will forward your paper documents to the International Office for this check. You may therefore receive a letter of admission only after the International Office of the LMU has reviewed your documents and has approved them. If your documents are not approved, your application will be rejected at this stage.

Any further instructions concerning steps d-e will be supplied in the emails that applicants will receive informing them of the outcome of steps a-c. Please make sure to check your email regularly, to avoid unnecessary delays.

4. Submitting your Application

Applications may only be submitted through the online portal, by filling out the application form and attaching all relevant documents using the following link: 

You will be asked to create a user profile to use the online form. The name and address of the person signing up to use the service must be the same as that of the applicant: third parties may not apply for you. Any documents that you scan must be certified copies of the originals. You may send scans of originals only if you plan to later mail the original itself (that may be possible for transcripts, for which usually you can obtain multiple identical originals, but not for final certificates of which normally only one original is printed). Be aware that when you show up in person for registration (see point "6. Registration" below), the originals of all your documents will need to be in your hands, and you cannot get back any documents from LMU offices. So, again, do not mail unique originals at any time, use certified copies for all steps a-e above. The files that you upload at this stage must match exactly the paper documents that you plan to mail us later

In addition to the completed application form (in English), applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Personal Essay (in English): as part of the application form (you will be asked to upload this as a pdf file when filling out the applicaton form). This file must be editable using pdf tools, therefore do not upload a scan or any other kind of image file. You must save your text document as pdf, or generate a pdf file by using a "print to pdf" function.
  • GRE test results: if you have them (see "GRE test" above). You will be asked to upload a scan of your student score report as a separate pdf file, but we must receive the original score directly from ETS as well.

    The documents below must all be combined into a single pdf file, not exceeding 10 MB, to be uploaded:

  • Curriculum Vitae (in English): it must be complete, with no gaps in time.

  • Transcript of Records (in English or German), clearly stating the reference scale used for grading, with lowest/highest grade and minimum passing grade and your grade point average (GPA) at the time that the transcripts were produced. It must be the original or a certified copy identical to the original (except for applicants from the USA and Canada, see below under "information for international applicants").
  • B.Sc. Degree certificate (in English or German): if you have already completed your studies. For the application process, it must be a certified copy identical to the original. If you have not completed your studies yet, you must have collected credits equivalent to at least 150 ECTS points before applying (for ECTS equivalence in other countries, see below under "information for international applicants"). 
  • Proof of English proficiency. See language requirements above. If proof is by test, a scan of your student score report must be included in the application, but we must also be able to check your scores with the testing organization for it to be valid. For example, using the wrong score recipient for the TOEFL test will prevent us from checking your score, and your application will therefore be rejected.
  • Course syllabus (in English) of any course passed in a relevant subject as specifed under "Degree" requirements above (if applicable to you). Proof of having passed the course exam must also accompany the syllabus.
  • If applicable, a marriage certificate or official certification of name change, either in German or English. The applicant must be clearly identifiable at all steps. We cannot accept applications where different last, first, or middle names appear on different documents (for example an English test score report that has a different last name than the Bachelor degree certificate or the application form), unless accompanied by such certification. The name on your passport must also match, as passport must be presented later on, at registration.
  • Financial statement (in English) (international students only), see below under "information for international applicants". 
All files must be in PDF format. Make sure all the documents you send have your family name as the first part of the document name. Example: Your family name is Smith, then your merged documents file should be named smith_documents.pdf. The maximum file size for upload is 10 MB.

Important information for international applicants

  • All details must be proven by enclosing officially certified/attested certificates/supporting documents, and officially certified/attested German or English translations. We will not accept documents in other languages: this requirement overrides any statement to the contrary on the pages of the International Office (which anyway applies only to applications for undergraduate degree programs). See here for more information about suitable certified translations and certified copies. The only exception to certified translation is the "course syllabi", which you may translate into English yourself.
  • All translations must be accompanied by their original language version.
  • You do not need to prove proficiency in the German language to apply for this program.
  • Non-EU applicants: Notification of transcript recognition (Annerkennungsbescheid) from the Bavarian State Office for the Recognition of Foreign Qualifications (Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle) is mandatory for applicants from Afghanistan. Applicants from the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam and Mongolia must submit the original certificate from the Akademische Prüfstelle (APS). The LMU International Office may also request the notification of transcript recognition in other cases.
  • Applicants from Canada and USA: when asked to send paper documents to us, your original transcripts must be inside an envelope sealed by the Registrar of your University, unless we instruct you otherwise. You may place such envelope (still sealed!) inside the one with the rest of your documents for mailing. Scans of transcripts issued to the student may be used for the initial online application steps a-c above, but not for steps d-e.
  • In the financial statement you should explain how you plan to meet the expenses of your stay in Munich, e.g. scholarship, savings, job, parental support, sponsor, etc. Only a personal statement is being asked for. It is not necessary to submit additional documents, such as bank statements, at this stage.
  • The following applies only to applicants who have not yet graduated from a Bachelor program at the time of application: If your institution does not use ECTS points, you can still verify whether you have collected enough credits to apply. First determine how many credits at your institution define a full course load for one semester, then compare that number with the full course load at LMU, which is defined as 30 ECTS per semester. For example, if a full course load at your institution is 15 credits, that means one of those credits is equivalent to 2 ECTS points. In this example, if you have passed exams for 80 credits, then you have the equivalent of enough ECTS points to apply.

5. Re-application

Applicants who are not admitted can reapply only once, no earlier than the next application period (i.e. the following year), by resubmitting all documents. Applicants who send fraudolent applications (forged/tampered-with documents, plagiarized essays, or any other plagiarism in the required documents) waive their right to reapply. In addition, cases of forgery/tampering will be reported to other organizations (e.g. English testing organizations, other Universities or Government offices whose documents were forged).

6. Registration

If you are classified as a German applicant (see top of this page), and are admitted to our program, you must go to this LMU webpage for instructions about registration. The original of the letter of admission to the Program (Zulassungsbescheid) must be presented at registration. We do not forward this document to the registration office. As a reminder, dual citizens (Germany-any other country) are always treated as Germans, regardless of whether they can speak German or not, and are expected to navigate the LMU bureaucracy on their own.

International applicants instead are required to pass the pre-registration stage (which can be only performed by the International Office), in which all documents must be formally approved. If the paper documents are approved, the International Office will send you the official letter of admission, which will contain further information about registration

In all cases, before you are allowed to register, proof of graduation from your previous program must be available. You will be asked for the original of this proof at registration. Graduation must happen before the start date of the Winter Semester for which you have applied. Make sure you do have the original in your possession, and never send it by mail anywhere. If by registration time you do not have a final degree certificate (i.e. the classic "piece of paper" that you would hang on a wall) yet because your university takes several months or years to print such a document even after your have graduated, you must at least be in possession of an official, original certificate from your university that states that you have graduated (and when, and from which program, you have graduated), and that you have already requested the printing of the final (paper) diploma. If you cannot satisfactorily prove that you have graduated, registration will be denied even if you have received an admission letter. This will be the case regardless of nationality or of previous degree-granting institution attended (i.e. there is no exception for students who have graduated from a LMU Bachelor program). Registration is a separate step, and acceptance by the Program, or even admission by the International Office, does not guarantee registration.

Registration itself requires your physical presence and it normally happens in September/October each year. Please be aware that a specific date (or dates) will be given to you for registration, so be prepared to show up at any time during this period on short notice. 

7. Warning concerning application to multiple geosciences Master programs

This is especially relevant for international applicants, but it may happen to anyone. If you get accepted by multiple international geosciences Master programs at different German universities, never decline an offer, even if asked explicitly to give a yes/no answer. These are all "conditional admissions" of one form or another. Your documents may be rejected in the next verification step (usually not performed by the Master program you have applied to), or you may be denied registration based on some unforeseen technicality after you arrive at the registration office. There is nothing that requires you to decline any such offer. If you decline at any point, all processing will be stopped and it won't be possible to restart it later if you change your mind. In such circumstances, students may even lose scholarships from other agencies, when scholarship award is conditional upon showing proof of registration by a certain date.

Please read ALL of the instructions above carefully before asking questions. If you have questions, please be specific in your email about what it is that you have not understood. The email should be sent to

Your email will not be answered, if the answer to the question asked is contained in this page, or in any of the other pages for this Master program. If you do not receive an answer, sending further emails will not help: please go back and read all the information posted on all pages again. If your English level is insufficient for understanding these pages, it is insufficient for applying to the program too.

Last updated: 08.01.2019