Admissions FAQ

Everything you need to know about joining Catalyst

Got a quick question? Below are some quick answers to our most frequently asked questions. We've grouped them by theme, but you can also search by keyword. Jump to our How to apply page if you're looking for course specific application info.

Before applying

When can I visit Catalyst?

Find out when you can visit Catalyst by checking our Events & Open Days page. If you can't make it to Berlin, we have online events available. Schedule a visit by contacting

Where is Catalyst located? How can I get there?

Our campus is located within the Funkhaus complex at Nalepastraße 18, 12459 Berlin-Oberschöneweide. The closest public transport stop is Köpenicker Chaussee/Blockdammweg (accessible with the BVG 21 tram line).

Can I speak to someone for study and application advice?

Yes, you can always contact the Admissions team by email or telephone for a general consultation during office hours: Sign up for Meet the Tutor, to speak directly with a tutor from the course you're interested in and learn more about the curriculum and what it's like to study here. Check our Events & Open Days page for upcoming dates.

When is the next student intake?

Intake for all our courses is once per year. For year-round courses, intake is in mid-September and for our four-week short courses, intake is in the summer (Monday 17 June – Friday 12 July 2024).

Does Catalyst offer any part-time, evening or online courses?

All our courses are full-time, with classes at our campus at Funkhaus. Although it's possible to do our MA programme over two years instead of one, this is even more than a "half-time" commitment as opposed to part-time, in terms of weekly hours.

What's the difference between a HE Certificate, BA (Hons) and MA?

Our 1-year Higher Education Certificate (HE Cert) courses are at the first level of our undergraduate programme, at FHEQ level 4.  In other words, the HE Cert course curriculum is identical to the first year of a 3-year BA (Hons) degree programme in the same subject.

Our 3-year Bachelor of Arts Honours (BA) degree courses span FHEQ levels 4, 5 and 6.

Our Master of Arts (MA) programme is at FHEQ level 7.

What's the difference between undergraduate and graduate/postgraduate education?

Third level (college or university) courses which lead up to a bachelor's degree or lower award upon completion are classified as undergraduate (e.g. BA Degree or HE Certificate). Master's (MA) degree courses are at a higher level then the bachelor's, so they are classified as graduate/postgraduate. High school education is classified as second level.

What are the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) points for Catalyst courses?

Each ECTS credit point equates to a workload of around 25-30 hours of study within a course or study module. Our undergraduate courses are equivalent to 60 ECTS credit points per year, so our 3-year BA graduates will earn 180 ECTS and our 1-year HE Cert graduates will earn 60 ECTS. Our MA programme is equivalent to 90 ECTS points. However, our Summer Short Courses are not accredited on the ECTS framework.

How are Catalyst degree and certificate courses accredited? Are these qualifications recognised internationally?

Our HE Cert, BA (Hons) and MA degree courses are validated by our accrediting partner Plymouth Marjon University in the United Kingdom. Catalyst graduates hold British degrees and certificates with an equivalent status recognised in Germany and the EU, in compliance with the European Diploma Supplement Transcript and related ECTS credit points. Our education framework is fully aligned with the values and regulations of the Bologna Declaration at the Convention for the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region. 

What's the official status of Catalyst in Germany?

Catalyst is a private third level education institute based in Berlin. It is not a German state university or college, but is regulated by the Berliner Hochschulgesetz (BerlHg) and its official status is as a "Bildungsstätte nach §124 BerlHG”. This means that it is registered in the directory of training centres in Berlin and students enrolled on our BA (Hons) and MA programmes can apply for BAföG (German state) funding support. Our full-time BA (Hons) and MA degrees are also registered with the Berlin Senate and students enrolled on them are eligible to apply for student visas.

Entry requirements

What are the language requirements? English or German?

All our courses are taught in English and applicants must demonstrate a level equal to IELTS 6. We do not ask for official exam results, but we will assess the standard of English in your application and support materials. We do not require German language skills.

Is there a minimum or maximum age limit?

We don't have an upper age limit, but you must be aged 18 or turn 18 by 31 December in the same year you would start your studies at Catalyst. If you would still be 17 at the start of the course, we'll need a consent form from either a parent or legal guardian, which we'll request after we offer you a place.

What are the entry requirements for the four-week summer courses?

There are no education requirements for our beginner and open level short courses. However, if you're applying for one of the advanced level courses, you must have previous experience in the subject.

What are education requirements for a BA degree or HE Certificate?

Graduation from high school at a level which would normally permit entry to university in the country where it was gained (e.g. A-Levels in the UK or the Abitur in Germany). We do not require specific subjects or academic streams. If you're in your final year of studies, you can still apply. Instead of your final diploma, you can send us a transcript of either your most recent or predicted grades.

What are education requirements for an MA programme?

You must hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline, with an Honours grade (e.g. 2:1 in the UK university system) or be in the final year of studies for one. 

I don't meet the entry requirements... Can I still apply?

For entry to a HE Cert or BA (Hons) course, it may be possible to admit you through a non-standard access route. Contact the Admissions team for advice, telling us a little bit about your background and we'll be happy to discuss options with you:

MA applicants who do not meet our minimum education requirement, but have acquired equivalent professional experience may be assessed on the strength of a professional CV and portfolio, which must demonstrate a solid background in artistic practice and research.

Is it possible to apply for advanced entry directly into 2nd year?

If there's space in the course and your previous education matches up to our curriculum, it might be possible. Contact the Admissions team for advice:

Application process

Where can I submit my application?

Applications for entry to our courses in 2024 is now open. All applications must be submitted digitally through our online application portal. There you must complete the application form and attach a statement of motivation. If you're applying for a year-round course, you'll also need to submit evidence of your educational background and a portfolio or audition tape. MA applicants need to include a project proposal too. For a detailed overview of the application process, including deadlines and course-specific requirements, please visit our How to Apply guide.

When is the application deadline?

All deadlines are listed in our How to apply guide.

Do you accept late applications?

We only accept late applications from those who do not need a student visa to enter Germany. If we still have places left on your chosen course, we can accept late applications from June 2024 onwards. If the course is full, you will be added to a waiting list.

Is there an entrance exam?


How can I apply for a Summer Short Course?

The Summer Short Course application form is just one page. You must submit your personal and contact details, as well as a short statement of motivation (250-300 words). If you're applying for one of our intermediate or advanced level summer courses, be sure to tell us about your previous experience with the subject and related software, if relevant.

What application materials are required for a BA or HE Cert course?

Here's the checklist for BA/HE Cert applications:

✔ Name and address of the education institution where you studied at the highest level
✔ Name of the study programme and/or qualification you worked towards there
✔ Date when the qualification was or will be completed
✔ List of any other courses, internships or training programmes which you would like to share
✔ PDF file: education qualification/transcripts and CV (for applicants over 21 who did not complete high school and would like to be assessed on life experience)
✔ Portfolio: links to view work online + short text description
✔ Personal introduction: link to view/listen online (2-3 minutes) or PDF file for written statement (500 words)

For more detailed information, visit our How to Apply guide.

What application materials are required for an MA course?

Here's the checklist for MA applications:

✔ Name and address of the education institution where you studied at the highest level
✔ Name of the study programme and/or qualification you worked towards there
✔ Date when the qualification was or will be completed
✔ List of any other courses, internships or training programmes which you would like to share
✔ PDF file: education qualification/transcripts and/or CV + two professional references (this is required for applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree or are not in their final year of study for one, who wish to be assessed on the basis of equivalent professional experience)
✔ Portfolio: links to view work online + short text description
✔ Project Proposal: text ready to be copy & pasted into the application form

For more detailed information, visit our How to Apply guide.

What do you want to see in a portfolio?

The portfolio requirements are different for each course. You can find detailed guidelines in our How to Apply guide.

I don’t have a portfolio or much experience. Can I still apply for a year-round course?

For Acting, you don't need a portfolio at all. Just record an audition tape from one of our selected monologues (which you can request from our Admissions team).
For other undergraduate courses, you might be able to enrol in one of our Summer Short Courses to gain beginner experience instead. This is not possible for all undergraduate courses though, so contact our Admissions team for further information: Tell us the Catalyst course you're interested in and your previous experience, so that we can advise you.

For the MA programme, we cannot accept applications without a portfolio.

What if I am interested in two different courses? Should I apply to both?

If you are interested in a four-week Summer Short Course and a year-round course (HE Cert, BA or MA degree), then you can submit two applications, one for each course. However, if you can't decide between two summer courses or two year-round courses, we recommend applying for your top preference. When you're filling in the application form, mention that you are also interested in the other course too. Then if we can't offer you a place on your preferred course, we might be able to offer you a place on the other course.

As our courses are full-time, it's not possible to do two at the same time. If you really can't decide though and you'd like some more information about the courses, feel welcome to contact the Admissions team for advice:

Does Catalyst offer special arrangements for students with refugee status?

Yes, each year we allocate a number of places with free fees to students who have refugee status in Germany. If you have this status, then we encourage you to apply for a fees exemption. Contact the Admissions team for more information:

When will I find out if I've got a place on the course?

It depends on the course and when you applied. Scroll down to the "Admissions timeline" on our How to Apply guide.

Fees and funding

Is there an application fee?

No. It's free to submit an application.

How much are the course fees at Catalyst?

Check our Course fees page to find an overview of all fees and payment options.  For each course there is an annual Enrolment Fee (to confirm your place) and an annual Tuition Fee. For our year-round courses, you can pay the Tuition Fee either in one payment or in ten instalments spread out over the academic year.

When do I have to pay my fees?

You need to pay your first Enrolment Fee within 14 days of receiving the official offering of study from us. Your Tuition Fee will be due later in the year. You can find more information on our Course fees page.

Does Catalyst offer any scholarship or bursary programmes? 

Unfortunately we do not have any scholarship or bursary programmes for incoming students. As we are a private institution, we do not receive any government subsidies and depend on fees to deliver our education. However, we do offer a number of study spots with a fees exemption to students who have refugee status in Germany. If you have this status, then we encourage you to apply for a fees exemption. Contact the Admissions team for more information:

Are Catalyst courses eligible for BAföG (German state) funding?

Our 3-year BA and MA programmes are eligible (but our HE Cert and Summer Short Courses are not). Find out if you are eligible and how to apply via the STW Berlin guide to student finance.

Where can I find out about other funding opportunities?

We have compiled a list of funding bodies that have supported Catalyst students in the past in our Funding your studies guide. However, there could be other opportunities out there and we encourage you to do your own research too. For undergraduate students, funding is often dependent on where you come from (i.e. an organisation in your home country is most likely to support you).

International students

When should I submit my application?

Visit this website to find out your country's visa requirements.

If you will need a student visa to enter Germany, then we strongly recommend you apply by 29 March 2024. The application process for visas takes several months and you can only begin this process after you are enrolled on the course. Apply for the course as early as possible to allow plenty of time for this process.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens do not need a student visa. Citizens of Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino, UK or USA can enter Germany without a visa, but will then need to apply for a residence permit at the local German foreigners office in order to stay in Germany longer than 90 days. We strongly recommend that these students apply to Catalyst by our priority deadline (5 April 2024) for your best chances of securing a spot on your chosen course. You have up until our final deadline (31 May 2024) to apply for your chosen course, although we cannot guarantee there will still be places available. If the course is full, you will be added to a waiting list.

Do I need a visa or residency permit to live and study in Germany?

It depends on your passport and the agreements made between the government of your country and the government of Germany. The Visa Navigator of the Federal Foreign Office will help you to find out your country's visa requirements.

Which Catalyst courses are eligible for student visas in Germany? 

Our BA (Hons) and full-time MA programmes are registered with the Berlin Senate and students enrolled on them are eligible to apply for student visas in Germany. Our HE Cert and four-week Summer Short Courses are not eligible for student visas. However, if you're coming to Berlin for a Summer Short Course, you may be able to travel with a tourist visa.

Will Catalyst apply for a student visa on my behalf?

As a small school, we do not have a designated visa department, so you will need to navigate the visa process independently. You'll find the most up-to-date and accurate information about the requirements for a residency permit or visa application on the website of your local German embassy/consulate. Once you're officially enrolled as a Catalyst student, we will provide you with all the documentation usually required by the consulates for a student visa application (including proof of enrolment, statements of the course level, our school status and language requirements). You'll receive this by email after you have paid your enrolment fee. 

Is it possible to come to Catalyst for one semester, as an exchange student?

No, as our courses do not have an exchange element. Catalyst is not a member of the Erasmus network or other international exchange programmes.

After enrolment

Will you help me find accommodation in Berlin?

We don't have student dorms, so we can't place you in an apartment, but as soon as you've officially enrolled as a Catalyst student, you can register for student accommodation offered by STW Berlin and we'll also share discount and reservation codes for local accommodation providers in the city. In the meantime, we have lots of helpful advice  and tips in our Moving to Berlin guide.

When will I receive my timetable?

Your personal timetable will depend on which class group you have been placed in and you'll receive it by email a few weeks before your course begins. Timetables will change throughout the year, depending on the study modules and are subject to change.

I've been accepted to a course but I can't start this year. Can I come next year?

Contact the Admissions team as soon as possible:

I'm enrolled in a course but my arrival in Berlin is delayed. Can I join late?

Contact the Admissions team as soon as possible:

Other questions

I'm a family member of a future student. Can I contact you on their behalf?

We understand that you want to support your family member and we're happy to share general information about our school and advice about the move to Berlin. However, we cannot share any personal information about an individual student or their application, for privacy and student safety reasons. You are still welcome to contact us though and we'll do our best to answer your questions:

I'm paying the course fees on behalf of a student. Can I contact you about when and how to make the payment?

Of course. Please note, however, that any offer of study or student contract is made between Catalyst and the individual student, and will be sent to them by email. If you have questions about how and when to make a payment, we recommend checking in with the student first, as they may have already received the instructions. You are still welcome to contact us for general advice:

Does Catalyst use the services of education recruitment agents?

No, we do not work with education recruitment agents, as we prefer to communicate with potential students directly. Course applications must be completed and submitted by the individual who wishes to study in Catalyst, and should not be done with the assistance or facilitation of a third party.

Does Catalyst share my data or information about me to third parties?

The information you share with us in your application is only used for the purposes of assessment and admission to our institute. We treat your data with confidentiality, in compliance with EU data protection regulations. Read our Privacy Policy for more details.

Where can I find the Catalyst Terms & Conditions?

Our Terms and Conditions are posted on our website.