Baccalaureate Diploma

University Glossary:
This is how to study

Vocational Baccalaureate Diploma: The Subject-linked University Entrance Qualification

The vocational baccalaureate, also known as the subject-linked university entrance qualification, opens many doors, both in academic and professional contexts. But what actually distinguishes it from the general Abitur? And what opportunities does it offer after graduation? This article looks at all the important aspects surrounding the specialized baccalaureate, from prerequisites and fields of study to advantages and disadvantages. Whether you're considering taking this educational path or simply want to learn more about it, you'll find the answers to your questions here.

What is the Vocational Baccalaureate?

The vocational baccalaureate, officially known as the subject-linked university entrance qualification, is one of the educational options available in Germany alongside the general baccalaureate and the general secondary school-leaving certificate. It opens doors to universities of applied sciences and specialized courses of study at universities and also offers entry into qualified professional fields. At a time when education is becoming increasingly complex and diverse, the vocational baccalaureate is an important alternative that is worth taking a closer look at.

This article aims to clarify common questions and uncertainties surrounding the specialized baccalaureate. Many people are faced with the difficult decision of which educational path is the right one. The aim here is to provide assistance by examining the vocational baccalaureate in all its facets. It is about the different forms and specializations, the requirements and the process, and of course also about the career prospects that arise with this degree.

With this article, you get a comprehensive overview of the subject of specialized baccalaureate to make a well-informed decision for their own educational path. Whether it's a course of study, an apprenticeship, or a direct entry into professional life - you'll find out below which doors the specialized baccalaureate can open and what you have to do to get there.

Vocational Baccalaureate vs. High School Diploma: What's the difference?

Before you make a decision about your educational and professional future, it's important to understand the differences between the high school diploma and the specialized baccalaureate. Both degrees open doors, but they lead through different hallways. In this section, we'll clarify what's behind the terms " general university entrance qualification" and "specialized university entrance qualification," what subjects are covered in each, and what options you'll have after graduation. This will help you to better assess which path makes the most sense for your goals.

General university entrance qualification vs. subject-related university entrance qualification

When it comes to the transition from school to college or professional life, many stumble over the terms " high school diploma" and "specialized baccalaureate." What is the difference? The A-levels, i.e. the general university entrance qualification, entitle students to study in all subject areas at all universities. The vocational baccalaureate, the subject-specific university entrance qualification, on the other hand, is more specialized. With it, you can only study in certain fields at universities of applied sciences or partially at universities.

What subjects are covered?

In high school baccalaureate, the focus is on a wide range of subjects and the possibility of a more individual choice of subjects. In the specialized baccalaureate, the focus is more on specific occupational fields or fields of study. This means that teaching is more focused on subject areas such as technology, business, social work or design.

Opportunities after graduation

After graduating from high school, all paths are open to you: You can study at a university, a university of applied sciences or a dual university, or start an apprenticeship. With the vocational baccalaureate, your options are somewhat more limited. As a rule, you can only study at a university of applied sciences in the relevant subject area, or at a university if you meet certain requirements. However, professional opportunities after the vocational baccalaureate are varied and often offer entry into specialized and qualified professional fields.

In short, both the high-school diploma and the specialized baccalaureate have their own advantages and offer different opportunities. Which path is right for you depends on your personal goals and interests.

Comparison between specialized baccalaureate and general diploma

Criterion Vocational Baccalaureate General Baccalaureate
University entrance Universities of applied sciences Universities and technical colleges
Duration Mostly 2 years (after 10th grade) Mostly 3 years (after 10th grade)
Subjects Specialized subjects Wide range of subjects
Practical training Often included Rarely

Requirements for the vocational baccalaureate

A specialized baccalaureate sounds tempting to many, but it's not just a "high school diploma light". It has its own prerequisites and requirements that must be met. In this section, we'll go over the different types of schools that offer a specialized baccalaureate. We also shed light on the necessary qualifications, such as grades and special subject requirements, as well as the duration and process of the Fachabitur. In this way, this section aims to help you determine whether the Fachabitur is the right path for you.

Which types of schools offer the vocational baccalaureate?

The specialized baccalaureate is offered at various types of schools. These include specialized upper secondary schools, vocational upper secondary schools, comprehensive schools and, in some federal states, specialized grammar schools. The choice of school type can depend on your career goal and your previous schooling.

Grade and subject requirements

Specific grade and subject requirements usually apply to the specialized baccalaureate. For example, a certain grade point average in the Secondary School Certificate or a qualifying Secondary School Certificate is often required. In addition, in some cases certain subjects must have been taken or internships completed.

Duration and procedure

A specialized baccalaureate usually takes two years, but can vary depending on the type of school and the federal state. The course is often structured similarly to the general Abitur, but includes more career-related content and internships. In most cases, there is a combination of classroom instruction and practical work phases that prepare you for entry into the professional world or a subject-specific course of study.

Subjects and specializations in the specialized baccalaureate

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the specialized baccalaureate. Subjects and specializations can vary significantly depending on the career or academic path you want to take. In this section, you'll learn more about the mandatory subjects, electives, and practical aspects of the education:

Practical education

An important aspect of the specialized baccalaureate is the practical training, which varies depending on the field. This internship or apprenticeship allows you to gain practical experience in a specific field, which can be beneficial for your later career choice. In some fields, the internship is even a requirement for graduation.

This section should give you an overview of the complexity and variety of subjects and specializations in the specialized baccalaureate. Choosing the right subjects and specializations is a crucial step on the way to your dream job or degree.

Possibilities after the vocational baccalaureate

The vocational baccalaureate opens many doors, but which one is right for you? From study options to direct entry into the professional world to the option of catching up on your general high school diploma - the choice is wide. In this section, you'll get an overview of the different paths open to you after you've earned your specialized baccalaureate.

Studies at Colleges and Universities

With a vocational baccalaureate, you generally have access to universities of applied sciences or Colleges throughout Germany. Some universities even open their doors to students with a specialized baccalaureate, as long as the course of study is in line with the selected field of study of the specialized baccalaureate. This gives you a high degree of flexibility in choosing your field of study.

Career entry and training paths

The specialized baccalaureate can also be the direct path to the working world. It prepares you for specific occupational fields and makes you attractive to employers who are looking for specialists in certain areas. In addition, you can also start an apprenticeship and benefit from the higher qualification through the specialized baccalaureate.

Upgrading to the General High School Diploma

If, after completing the specialized baccalaureate, you realize that you would prefer to obtain a general baccalaureate after all, this is possible in many cases. There are special postgraduate programs and courses that allow you to catch up on the necessary subjects and thus obtain the general baccalaureate.

The vocational baccalaureate is therefore by no means a dead end, but offers a wealth of opportunities for your personal and professional development. Depending on your interests and goals, you can shape your further path individually.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Vocational Baccalaureate

The specialized baccalaureate offers some specific advantages, but also comes with limitations that you should consider when deciding whether or not to pursue this type of higher education entrance qualification. In the following, we will go into the advantages and disadvantages to help you choose the educational path that is right for you.

Specialization vs. General Education

A major advantage of the vocational baccalaureate is the specialization in a particular field. If you already know in which field you would like to work or study later, the specialized baccalaureate allows you to prepare intensively for this. The other side of the coin, however, is that you commit yourself at an early stage and the general education offered by the general baccalaureate is less comprehensive.

Flexibility and labor market opportunities

Mit einem Fachabitur hast du oft bessere Chancen auf dem Arbeitsmarkt in deinem spezialisierten Bereich, da du bereits über fundierte Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten verfügst. Dies kann sich auch in einer besseren Vergütung niederschlagen. Jedoch bist du im Vergleich zum allgemeinen Abitur eingeschränkter in der Wahl deiner Berufe und Studienfächer.

Study restrictions

While the Fachabitur gives you access to universities of applied sciences and certain university programs, you are not admitted to all programs at all universities. This can be especially challenging if you want to change your career or academic direction later.

Overall, the Fachabitur is a good choice for those who have a clear idea of their career or academic path early on. However, if you value a broader general education and more flexibility in your choice of studies and careers, the general baccalaureate may be a better option for you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Vocational Baccalaureate compact

Aspect Advantages Disadvantages
Access to higher education Allows access to universities of applied sciences Limited access to universities
Specialization Focused education in specific subject areas Less general education
Duration Often shorter than the General Baccalaureate Sometimes considered less comprehensive
Practical training In many cases inclusive Lower choice of subjects
Flexibility Direct entry into the labor market possible Limitations in the choice of field of study
Labor market opportunities Specialization can be advantageous in certain professions General baccalaureate is preferred in some professions
Cost Often fewer school resources required (e.g., books) Possible cost of special education programs
Internationality Sometimes opportunities for internships abroad Limited opportunities for international study programs


Many questions often arise when it comes to the subject of a vocational baccalaureate. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to such a crucial life decision. We have therefore collected and answered the most frequently asked questions in order to bring clarity to the complex subject of the Fachabitur.

Can I study at a university with the vocational baccalaureate?

With a specialized baccalaureate, you are in principle only eligible to study at a University of Applied Sciences or College. However, there are some universities that offer specialized courses of study, for which you can be admitted with a specialized baccalaureate. In addition, some federal states have special regulations that allow access to universities under certain conditions.

How does the vocational baccalaureate differ from the technical baccalaureate?

The technical baccalaureate is a form of the specialized baccalaureate, but with a focus on technical and scientific subjects. It specifically prepares students for courses of study and careers in these fields and usually also includes practical training components.

Is the vocational baccalaureate easier than the general high school diploma?

The specialized baccalaureate is not necessarily easier, but rather more specialized. The requirements in the specialized subjects can be just as high or even higher than in the general baccalaureate. The main difference lies in the breadth of the education: With the general baccalaureate, you have a broader range of subjects, while with the specialized baccalaureate, you focus on specific areas.

Can I study abroad with a vocational baccalaureate?

This depends on the destination country and the respective university. In the European Union, the Fachabitur is usually recognized, especially if you want to study in a related field. Outside the EU, however, the regulations can vary, and you should inform yourself in advance.

Interested in Business Studies? Request our information material now!

Popular Courses at Munich Business School

Our Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programs will provide you with relevant knowledge and skills you need for a successful career.

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any suggestions or questions about this article? Did you notice something or is there a topic you would like to learn more about in our dictionary? Your feedback is important to us! This helps us to constantly improve our content and deliver exactly what you are interested in.
Contact editorial office

PAGE-TITLE: Vocational Baccalaureate Diploma, Subject-linked University Entrance Qualification