Photo: Marcus Mlynek

We are pleased that you are interested in studying at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB). On this page you will find all important information about the application process at the HGB.

Prerequisite for embarking on a degree programme at the HGB is both your artistic talent and a university entrance qualification / subject-specific university entrance qualification. In some cases, applicants who prove to be exceptionally talented in the entrance exam are admitted without the need for a university entrance qualification.

To apply, you will need to register via an online platform and submit a portfolio. The portfolio should consist of a free selection of roughly 20 to 30 original, own, programme-related art and design samples of your work. We do not give any thematic guidelines. Instead, we would like you to show us your special interests and abilities through the choice of works you submit. The application deadline for the following winter semester is always 1 February.

We will assess your portfolio until the end of February, giving us enough time to carefully select the applicants we would like to invite to sit our entrance exam. The entrance exams take place throughout March. Once a prospective student has passed the entrance exam, they will need to submit a transcript of their university entrance qualification.

Application for Diploma degrees

The HGB offers four Diploma degree programmes:

How to apply for a place on a Diploma degree programme (first semester)

Admission requirements

  • Proof of artistic aptitude and
  • Proof of a general or subject-linked higher education entrance qualification. However, applicants may also be admitted to a degree programme if they display a special artistic talent in the entrance exam.
  • Proof of German language skills for foreign applicants if their mother tongue is not German or if they have not obtained their higher education entrance qualification at a German educational institution.

A pre-degree course placement is recommended but is not an admission requirement.

Matriculation obstacles

Matriculation will be denied if the applicant has already spent four semesters studying the chosen subject / a closely related subject at a German university and has not completed any of the course assessments required by the examination regulations.

The application process

Your successful application to the HGB comprises three stages: portfolio pre-selection, entrance examination and admission to studies, which are briefly presented here.

1. Portfolio preselection / portfolio guidelines

The first step in the application process for the first semester of a diploma programme is your registration via an online portal. This will be on 15.12. unlocked. Register here and upload your CV with a photo. The application deadline is February 1.

1.1. Analogously submitted Portfolio (only applies to applications for painting / printmaking!)

The portfolio should contain a free selection of 20 to 30 original, own, subject-related artistic and creative work samples. Thematic specifications are not provided; special interests and skills should become more clear through the individual composition.

The portfolio is to be submitted analogously and should contain original drawings, graphics, colored works, illustrations, etc.

  • Maximum format of the folder including packaging: 75 x 105 cm
  • Minimum format of the folder: no specifications
  • Maximum weight including packaging: 10 kg
  • Rolled and framed works will not be accepted.
  • If the maximum size / maximum weight is exceeded or the packaging is incorrect, acceptance of the portfolio will be refused.
  •  The university also reserves the right to refuse to accept paid programs.
  • Both the folder and the packaging must be labeled with the surname, first name and details of the programme of study, as well as - for applications for a higher semester - the label "Hochschulwechsel".
  • No postage is to be enclosed with the portfolio for the return.
  • The university assumes no liability for loss or damage to the portfolio or the contents of the portfolio.

In the second step, the labels with barcodes for submitting your portfolio with degree-related artistic / creative work are generated. Please print out the label (several times if necessary) and stick it on your portfolio for the Painting / Printmaking programme (if necessary also on the envelope or the packaging of your portfolio for the Painting / Printmaking programme).

After registering online, the portfolio must be sent to the following address between December 15th and February 1st:
Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst
Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
Wächterstraße 11
04107 Leipzig

Shipments received after February 1st can no longer be considered for the procedure.

The application deadline is the final deadline. Since initially only the artistic aptitude for studying at the HGB is checked, you do not have to submit any transcripts of certificates or other application documents with the portfolio.

1.2. Digital Submission of the Portfolio (applies to applications for Book Design / Graphic Design, Photography and Media Art)

For applications for the programme in Book Design/Graphic Design, Photography and Media Art, your work samples must be uploaded exclusively in the online portal. Submitting a conventional analog portfolio or disk is not permitted.

1.2.1. Work samples for the Book Design/Graphic Design

The digital folder should contain a free selection of around 20 to 30 meaningful personal, subject-specific artistic and creative work samples (drawings, illustrations, photographs, collages, analog and digitally designed graphics, book, poster and font drafts) and should be a PDF document uploaded to the online portal.

Thematic specifications are not provided; special interests and skills should become more clear through the individual composition.

The PDF document should not exceed the data volume of 25 MB.

If your PDF document is larger than 25 MB, there are various ways to compress it:
a) If you work with Adobe InDesign, you can select File> Export…> Format: Adobe PDF (interactive) during the export process and set the menu item Compression> Resolution (ppi): 72.
b) If you do not work with Adobe Indesign, you can have the PDF document compressed online, e.g. directly on the Adobe website

1.2.2. Work samples for the photography programme

The selection of the photographs to be submitted is free, but we ask you to send a PDF this year. This can be created entirely digitally, or it can be a digital reproduction of a classic folder, the page size of which must not exceed A2. The file must not exceed a maximum size of 25 MB and must be uploaded to the online portal in due time.

The application should contain several series or groups of works (with brief information on the recording / print technique, size of the work and possibly a brief explanatory text). The works can have specific formats or forms of presentation, such as self-designed books, sketchbooks and notebooks, exhibition views or filmic works (note max. 2 links in PDF or file size). Of course, simple image sequences are also possible without further design.

1.2.3. Work samples for the Media Art programme

In addition to the previous vita, the digital portfolio should contain a sufficient number of work examples, from which the artistic development, personal interests and work priorities emerge. A short letter of motivation should explain why you are interested in studying Media Art. The submitted digital folder as a PDF file can depict media of any kind, for example drawings or photographs, computer work, internet projects as well as documentation or drafts of installations, sculptures or performances. Videos, audio works or other large files and Internet applications in external storage locations should be listed in the PDF as a link. External links should be directly accessible to the Commission without having to log in, and each web address (URL) should be provided with a brief description of the expected content. The digital folder should be uploaded as a collected PDF (max. 25MB).

2. Admission to the entrance examination

The respective admissions committee decides on admission to the entrance examination. There are four different, programme-related admission procedures. Applications for admission to various entrance exams - e.g. for Photography and Book Design/Graphic Design - are possible. For these multiple applications, the corresponding number of applications and several digital folders with work samples (e.g. a "folder" with photos for the photography programme and a "folder" with drawings and other graphic work samples for the Book Design/Graphic Design) must be uploaded separately. Please note the conditions on the Painting/Printmaking application.

In February, the admissions commissions decide in a portfolio preselection on admission / non-admission to the entrance exams. All applicants will receive a notification of the result of the portfolio preselection via the online portal. Applicants who were unsuccessful will receive a rejection notice.

If the preselection was successful, you will be admitted to the entrance examination. The examinations usually take place until March 31 of each year and consist of an artistic-practical part with subject-related tasks and an examination interview. The entrance exam can contain digital forms. Applicants who take the Painting/ Printmaking entrance examination cannot have their portfolio back until the beginning of April.

How to apply for admission into an advanced semester (transfer from another university)

Attention! Due to the corona pandemic and the associated extension of the standard period of study by up to 4 semesters, we currently have a particularly high number of students at the HGB. This "wave" is only slowly subsiding due to final examinations. As a small university with a high level of individual support, we are therefore unfortunately not in a position to accept students who transfer from another university at the moment.
The next opportunity to apply for admission to a higher semester of a degree programme at the HGB is for the summer semester 2025.

Admission requirements

Admission into an advanced semester is possible – if the necessary credits from another art degree course at another university are sufficient and if the prospective student passes the entrance exam.

In addition, applicants with a university entrance qualification (Abitur, subject-specific university entrance qualification, a completed degree) and with the skills and knowledge that roughly correspond to parts of a Diploma degree course at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig may also be admitted to a more advanced semester, provided they do correspondingly well in the entrance exam.

We recommend that applicants contact the respective class leader in advance.

The admissions commission decides on the artistic suitability of the applicant based on the samples received in the portfolio. The admission decision and assessment as to which semester the prospective student may start at is down to the examination board and is based on the application documents (application for admission to an advanced semester, proof of credits).

The admission and matriculation guidelines are determined by the examination regulations of the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig.

Attention! Due to the corona pandemic and the associated extension of the standard period of study by up to 4 semesters, we currently have a particularly high number of students at the HGB. This "wave" is only slowly subsiding due to final examinations. As a small university with a high level of individual support, we are therefore unfortunately not in a position to accept students who transfer from another university at the moment.

Your application documents are to be uploaded exclusively in the online portal. There is no need to submit a conventional portfolio or data storage medium.

  • Application period for summersemester 2025: 01.11.–30.11.2024

Applications received after dates mentioned above (11:59 pm) cannot be taken into consideration.

The application needs to include the following documents – without these, the application will fail:

  • A selection of degree course-related / subject-related art and design samples,
  • A personal statement with preferred semester and self-assessment,
  • CV with essential information about education to date and artistic activities,
  • Complete transcript of your university entrance qualification/ graduation certificate / final school report,
  • Proof of study and exam credits already earned and certificates of preliminary, intermediate, and final exams already taken or their recognition,
  • A photograph of yourself.

Admission and matriculation process for international and stateless applicants

In the entrance exam, international and stateless applicants are treated equally to applicants from Germany / EU member states. Certificate transcripts and the necessary proof of language competence only need to be supplied after the prospective students have passed the entrance exam.
Once they have passed the entrance exam, international or stateless applicants need to submit the following documents together with their application for admission:

1.    A higher education entrance qualification (unless the entrance exam results proved “exceptional artistic talent”)
2.    Proof of sufficient German language skills by passing one of the following exams and obtaining the respective certificate:
  • “Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang” (DSH) or
  • “Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache” (TestDaF) achieving at least level 3 in all parts of the test or
  • “telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule” or
  • “Prüfungsteil Deutsch” as part of a prep course
Some international applicants are exempt from having to provide this proof:
  • International applicants whose mother tongue is Ger-man
  • Applicants who completed their university entrance qualification (Abitur, completed professional educa-tion, completed degree course) at a German-language institution
  • Applicants with the diploma “Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz – Stufe II” (DSD II)
  • Applicants with the certificate “Zentrale Ober-stufenprüfung” (ZOP) issued by the Goethe Institute or a Goethe Institute-accredited institution
  • Applicants with a “Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom” or “Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom” language certificate from the Goethe Institute

All certificates need to be submitted as certified transcripts, either in German or in English. If the certificate was issued in another language, please also submit a certified translation. Providing a university entrance qualification is not strictly necessary if the prospective student has passed the entrance exam unusually well and displayed “exceptional artistic talent”.

Refugee applicants who acquired their university entrance qualification in their home country and struggle to provide the necessary certificates may under certain circumstances be given special consideration. The university assesses all certificates based on the resolution issued by the conference of the German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs on 03 December 2015.

Information on university admission for internation students in Germany

Online application

The application process for the first semester of a diploma degree program takes place via an online portal. The portal for your online registration will be activated in the period from 15.12. to 01.02..