Education system in Baden-Württemberg

Last Updated on September 24, 2023

Now there are many options for accessing higher education, and it’s good to know about them in advance, especially when you have to choose a school after primary school. Let’s see education system in Baden-Württemberg.

In Germany, each federal state itself determines how its children should study. At first I wanted to make a general overview, but it very quickly turned into a huge lump with sticking out legs of numerous features of this or that land, in which one could get lost already in the first two paragraphs. So let’s go by each federal state separately.

Gymnasium. First year
Secondary school in Berlin – Brandenburg
Rheinland Pfalz education system
Secondary schools in Schleswig Holstein
Secondary schools in Bavaria
4th grade. Gymnasium or Realschule?
German primary school. Deutsch in grades 3-4
Stuttgart What to see
Lake Constance map of attractions

Education system in Baden-Württemberg – Scheme

Schulsystem in Baden-Württemberg / Education system in Baden Württemberg

Types of certificates

Hauptschulabschluss – certificate after 9 years of school

mittleren Bildungsabschluss = Realschulabschluss – certificate, which is obtained after 10 years of school in different types of schools or in vocational schools after passing the exam

Fachschulreife = mittleren Bildungsabschluss + basic vocational education

Fachhochschulreife – certificate for admission to institutes (higher education, but not universities or institutes equivalent to universities).
Available after Berufsschule, Berufskolleg, Fachschule, Berufsfachschule  with a profession (Berufsabschlusses), berufliches Gymnasium or in the case of interrupted studies in the second stage at an upper secondary school with professional experience.

Fachgebundene Hochschulreife – certificate for admission to any university, but for certain professions. Received after Berufsoberschule

allgemeine Hochschulreife – certificate for admission to any university. Received upon successful Abitur after gymnasiums, the second (gymnasium) stage of Gemeinschaftsschule, Berufliche Gymnasiums

How long do the children have to attend the school

After elementary school, the student has to attend secondary school in form of Werkrealschule/Hauptschule, Realschule, Gemeinschaftsschule or Gymnasium within five years (Sekundarstufe I).

After this, the Berufsschulpflicht begins. This obligation can be fulfilled in the form of attendance at the listed schools, as well as Berufsschule or Vorqualifizierungsjahr Arbeit/Beruf, Berufsfachschule, Berufskolleg, berufliches Gymnasium.

The obligation may be terminated after the age of 18 if the student is not bound by a learning contract.


Secondary schools in Baden-Württemberg – Sekundarstufe 1

Types of secondary schools in Baden-Württemberg: Haupt/Werkrealschule, Realschule, Gemeinschaftschule, Gesamtschule, Gymnasium.

1. Hauptschule / Werkrealschule

Werkrealschule – this is a specific rebranding of the Hauptschule in Baden-Württemberg, which was arranged after a wave of criticism against the Hauptschule passed. Most of the Hauptschule were renamed Werkrealschule with the addition of class 10. Only very small schools that cannot afford 10th grade have remained unnamed.

At school they study mathematics, German, English, nature-technic, history-society, music-sport-kunst, religion, economics-work-health. Plus, after grade 7, they need to choose an obligatory additional block from natural science-technic, or economic, or social subjects.

But the main attention is paid to vocational guidance and preparation for vocational education. In the upper grades, the school works in conjunction with vocational schools.

Target certificate of this school – Hauptschulabschluss. It is received after the 9th or 10th grade.

Further studies are most often at the Berufsschule.

After the 10th grade, you can also get a Werkrealschulabschluss, which is equal to the certificate of a real school and makes it possible to enter the same place where real school students can go.

2. Real school

Grades 5-6 in a real school serve for preparation and orientation. Not selten the real school students learn in one classes with students of Werkrealschule up to 7. grade.

After the 6th grade, the levels are distributed according to grades: some of the children study with a focus on the basic level of Hauptschulabschluss, and some – on the average level of Realschulabschluss. Transitions back and forth are possible during the 7th and 8th grades.

In Baden-Württemberg, subjects in real school are combined into the EWG (geography, science, society) and NWA (physics, biology, chemistry) blocks. From the 7th grade, students must choose additional classes from the Technique-Man-Environment block or French.

In the 9th grade, you can get a Hauptschulabschluss.

In a real school, they study for 6 years (Grade 10) before receiving the Realschulabschluss.

Realschulabschluss allows you to:

  • start dual education and more chances to get a place in training in a more prestigious profession
  • attend Berufsfachschule, Berufskolleg
  • attend berufliches Gymnasium (marks level)
  • go to the upper level of education in the gymnasium, if it meets the conditions (marks level)

3. Gemeinschaftschule

This type of school emerged after criticism of segregated education, which greatly impairs the chances of children who for some reason do not get into real schools or Gymnasiums to receive an education that matches their abilities.

Lessons in the unified schools are held at three different levels (for the Hauptschulabschluss, for the Realschulabschluss and for the Abitur). If there are enough pupils in the school, classes of the upper level of the gymnasium can be organized there.

Different subjects may be taught to the student at different levels according to his abilities, except for the exams classes and the upper level of the gymnasium.

In the certificates they do not give marks, only a detailed description. Marks can be added at the request of the parents. In a Gemeinschaftsschule there are no repeaters.

The school is open to teachers of all niveaus, and there are usually two teachers per class.
Gemeinschaftsschule – are full-day schools.

4. Allgemein bildende Gymnasium

Gymnasiums involve the deepest education.

They have profiles (usually two different):

  • linguistic (new languages)
  • old languages (humanist)
  • natural science
  • computer science
  • art
  • music
  • sport

Aufbauform – gymnasium to transfer from a real school from 7th or 10th grade. In Ba-Wü, this is a boarding school from the 7th grade for talented children in sports, art or music and one gymnasium for the hearing impaired

There are classes for gifted children at 15 gymnasiums. They accept on the basis of tests. These classes are distinguished by the fact that the program is completed at an accelerated pace, and the freed time is occupied by the development of personality, social competencies, etc.

70 gymnasiums offer the possibility of bilingual education in German-English, 17 – German-French, 1 – German-Italian.

The gymnasium ends with the Abiturprüfung. Successful completion of the Abiturprüfung gives the allgemeine Hochschulreife and the opportunity to enter the university.

If the student interrupted their studies or did not pass the exam, then a Fachhochschulreife certificate can be requested if a two-year Berufsausbildung, a one-year practicum or a one-year social / environmental year (freiwilliges soziales oder okologisches Jahr) has been completed. Fachhochschulreife entitles you to study at Fachhochschulen throughout Germany (except Bavaria and Saxony).

At the end of grade 10, students receive the Realschulabschluss.

Do you have any more questions? Use comments ⇓ or private communication form

Sekundarstufe 2 and vocational training

Secondary level 2 also includes the upper level of Gymnasium or Gesamtschaftsschule.

1. Vocational schools – Berufsschule, Berufsfachschule

Before the vocational school, you can pass the Vorqualifizierungsjahr Arbeit / Beruf (VAB), Berufseinstigsjahr (BEJ) or the dual Ausbildungsvorbereitung (AVdual). These forms prepare for vocational training and help with career choice.

Berufsschule – this is a dual form of education: most of time are in production and the least at school.

Depending on the initial certificate, the duration of study, the chosen profession, additional courses completed upon completion, you can get


mittlerer Bildungsabschluss

and even Fachhochschulreife.

Berufsfachschulen – it is a professional non-dual school. In such schools, you can study, for example, as an ergotherapist, nursing, paramedic, physiotherapist, assistant in technical professions, social assistant.

Depending on the profession, the initial requirements for the certificate and the duration of schooling, you can get

mittlerer Bildungsabschluss (as after real school)

or Fachschulreife.

2. Berufliches Gymnasium

Berufliche Gymnasien are designed for those who are interested in a particular area of knowledge. The second stage in them lasts 3 years, unlike most ordinary gymnasiums, which study for 2 years.

You can enter after 7. grade and after 10. grade.

After 10th grade they take:
– with Realschulabschluss,
– or after successfully passing the exam after grade 10 in Hauptschule (Werkrealschule),
– or with Fachschulreife.
These students must have a certain level of marks in German, mathematics, a foreign language

– students after the 10th grade of an 8-year- or after 11th grade of a 9-year-gymnasium

Professional gymnasiums give allgemeinen Hochschulreife, that is, the opportunity to enter any university.

Baden-Württemberg has the following types:

– agrarian
– biotechnological
– food
– society and health
– technic (Mechatronik, Gestaltungs- and Medientechnik, Informationstechnik, Technik and Management, Umwelttechnik)
– economic (Wirtschaft, Internationale Wirtschaft, Finanzmanagement)

6-year Berufliche Gymnasiums take students from gymnasiums, real schools and even Werkrealschule after the 7th grade. However, students of the Werkrealschule must take an exam, students of real schools must have good marks or pass an exam, and students of a gymnasium need only a certificate with a transfer.

There are types
– ecomonic (6WG),
– technic (6TG)
– food, social and health (6ESG)
After grade 10, these types are additionally divided into those indicated for a 3-year Berufliche Gymnasium.

3. Professional development, additional training

Berufsaufbauschule – accept with
Hauptschulabschluss + either a Berufsschule certificate, or a 1-year Berufsfachschule, or a successful Ausbildungsberuf, or a 4-year practice with good references.

This is a one-year school, after which they receive Fachschulreife.

Fachschule – one- or two-year schools for advanced training.
Directions: agricultural, design, technology, ecology

Berufskolleg gives those who have a mittlerer Bildungsabschluss a full vocational education

A lot of practice is expected.
Directions: technology, economics and management, social pedagogy, health and care, housekeeping

Received Berufsabschluss

or Fachhochschulreife.

“Second way” – Zweiter Bildungsweg

For those who want to get a higher level certificate after having worked for some years.


Directions: technology, economics, social.

Come with mittleren Bildungsabschluss, completed vocational education (Berufsausbildung). Requires a certain level of grades

The training lasts 2 years, at the end you can get


or Fachgebundene Hochschulreife


Evening gymnasium for working people with the opportunity to receive

allgemeiner, fachgebundene Hochschulreife

or Fachhochschulreife.


Three-year school with a Hochschulreife for the temporarily unemployed.

Einjahriges Berufskolleg zum Erwerb der Fachhochschulreife (1BKFH)

Gives a certificate for admission to the Fachhochschule.


Paid 2-3 year evening school with Mittlerer Bildungsabschluss

All posts about #school in Germany

Do you enjoy the site without cookies and maybe without ads? This means that I work for you at my own expense.
Perhaps you would like to support my work here.
Cookie settings change: round sign bottom left

Leave a comment

Email is not compulsory