Frequently Asked Questions


In recognition of the importance of the global and transnational dimension of social work increasingly discussed with normative references to human rights, the MA-SWHR offers the qualification to cope with the issues and problems linked to the triple mandate of social work – on a local, national and international level.

Graduates will gain a solid understanding of how to implement the idea of human rights into the theory and practice of social work – which includes a research perspective as well as the development and realization of practice projects.

It is a four semester Masters of Arts (MA) with  a total of 120 credits which are assigned according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The ASH is a state-recognized University of Applied Sciences. In the summer of 2016, the MA-SWHR was successfully accredited by the Agency AQAS. Due to the international perspective of the program it is realized in cooperation with other European universities.


It is a four semester Masters of Arts (MA) with a total of 120 credits which are assigned according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The ASH is a state-recognized University of Applied Sciences. In the summer of 2016, the MA-SWHR was successfully accredited by the Agency AQAS. The program is currently in the process of being reaccredited. Due to the international perspective of the program it is realized in cooperation with other European universities. The MA-SWHR-degree does not include a qualification as a state-approved social worker in Germany. In Germany it is mostly common to receive your state-recognition with your bachelor’s degree. For further information on state recognition as a social worker in Berlin see this file.

MA-SWHR is an inter-disciplinary, research based study program, combining international human rights instruments and standards with selected social sciences and the transfer of conceptual knowledge to professional practice. The program’s principal focus is the study of theories and empirical knowledge fundamental for a professional self-conception based on the triple mandate of social work:

  • world society and social development,
  • social problems and human rights violation,
  • international law in a social work perspective,
  • critical social science research.

A secondary focus is on the development of human rights based methods of intervention for different fields of social work. Particular elements of the curriculum will comprise units on:

  • health and human rights,
  • migration and racism,
  • poverty and social exclusion,
  • gender, diversity, and human rights,
  • children’s rights,
  • human rights education,
  • management of change.

This international program is taught in English. It brings together students from various backgrounds and cultures to facilitate a cross-cultural and diverse learning experience. It is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize issues relevant to human rights in social policies, theory, problem areas and spheres of activity of social work and promote a professional practice based on human rights. 

 Our program MA-SWHR is offered once a year, starting each winter semester. It is a study program based on classroom teaching and seminars which also include periods of self-depended learning and e-facilitated study time as well as written assignments. It requires a full-time commitment from students. The standard period of study is 24 months to be completed over four semesters.

The program is organized in a blended learning format. Modules are organized in blocks of in-class teaching at ASH and e-learning either. We strongly recommend students to stay for the e-learning phases in Berlin, as it might be the case that you will have to work in groups with your fellow students. The teaching staff is only partly based in Berlin and Germany. Almost all other professors are permanent staff members at our partner universities in Sweden, Scotland and Slovenija.

In the first two semesters, our program consists of three weeks classroom teaching and two weeks virtual blended e-learning. Following the third semester, students can choose between different elective compulsory classes from the B and C modules that are held in two weeks in-class teaching and one week  e-facilitated teaching.

The fourth semester is dedicated to the conceptualization and realization of a practical or research-based project linked to the issue of social work and human rights, as well as to the elaboration of the master's thesis.

Upon request and if advisable from an academic point of view, the Master thesis can also be postponed to a fifth semester. In either case, the research and writing of the final thesis will be completed over a period of one semester. 


You can find detailed module descriptions as well as a study plan sample in the download section on our website.

The orientation of MA-SWHR is suited to the requirements of the job market. Graduates work in social services, free-lance, in international governmental, non-governmental and private sector organizations, particularly in key roles to achieve social change.

For applicants attempting to work as a social worker in Germany, one must consider the requirements for the State Recognition by the Senate of Berlin (Berliner Senat). Additionally, you shall take into consideration informing yourself about the state regulation of a licensed social worker of your home country, in order to practice as a social worker. German M.A. programs in the field of Social Work usually do not qualify to get the state recognition as social worker in Germany, as it does not replace a B.A. in the field.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to participate in SWHR courses without being enrolled in the program.

The Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences (ASH) is Germany's oldest and largest academic training institution in social work. It is recognized as one of Germany's most research-intensive universities of applied sciences in the social field and is committed to international cooperation. The Alice Salomon University is located in Berlin - a culturally vibrant, cosmopolitan city.


You must have an undergraduate degree, which should be in a relevant discipline, e.g. social work, social sciences, law, humanities or cultural sciences. Additionaly you must prove a minimum of one year of full-time qualified work experience after your first degree in a related field. Furthermore, you are expected to demonstrate adequate training in research skills as well as proficiency in English.

Please refer to this page to learn more about these requirements.



Applicants must prove a minimum of one year (12 months) full-time practical work experience after your first degree related to the field of social work and/or human rights. Your professional experience may be a full-time job, traineeship, internship, etc. in a relevant field such as NGOs, governmental organizations, and or private institutions. Splitting your practical experience to more than one single occupation or employer is also eligible. We highly recommend you having as much practical experience as possible due to the practical approaches and fields within SWHR. In contrast to a consecutive MA-program, SWHR-admission criteria especially focusses on your qualified work experience.

Your work experience should be presented as a schedule filed by your employer, including the name of the organization/employer, your supervisor, a differentiated job description with your personally performed work tasks, the duration of your placement (start and end dates & hours/week), and a signature and stamp of your employer by completion. All documents related to your work experience must either be in German or English, or translated by an official, notarized interpreter.



Applicants must prove at least one year (12 months) of practical experience in a relevant field to social work and human rights in their application. The following list should give applicants a short overview of examples of eligible work experiences of previous successful applications:

GOs: Consulate Employee (Turkey), Assistant in Community Center (Israel), Volunteer at Israeli Society for Autistic Children (Israel)

Health Sector: Assisted Living for Adults with Special Needs (Switzerland), Trauma-informed care assistant (Australia), Project Manager in National Health and Medical Research (Australia), Internship at Centre for the Treatment of Victims of Torture

Education: Program Officer in Women’s Education and Mothering Resource Centre, Out-of-school care, Lecturer in Academic Department for Social Work, UNICEF Project Officer for Early Childhood Education (Egypt)

Law: Legal Adviser in Asylum Law (France), Lawyer

NGOs: Child Protection (UNHCR), Disaster Management Unit at Red Cross (Lebanon), Internship Life Line Germany, Coordinator of Footballers Against Sexual Violence and Aids (Lagos, Nigeria), Volunteer at Katholische Bahnhofmission München

Social Work: Social Worker, Social Welfare Agent (South Korea), Social Development (South Africa), Internship in Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, Behavior Interventionist

You can access our online application form every year between October 15 and March 1, for the cohort starting in the following September. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to accept applications after the deadline. Please check the section "Before your studies"  which documents you need to submit for a complete application.

Your documents (certificates, academic transcript of records, grading, work proof, etc.) have to be submitted in their original language together with a translation in either German or English. Please note that we only accept translations from official authorities / notarized interpreters.

You will receive an update on your application completeness within approx. two to three weeks, assuming you have sent your documents before the 1st of February. Admission mails will be sent approx. six to eight weeks after the application deadline. Around 25 students will be admitted per year. 

Please note that our application form will only be accessible during our application period (October 15 – March 1). However,  if you are experiencing troubles using the online form, here are some frequent difficulties we encountered:

  • After you clicked "send", the following questions appears: "Sind diese Werte richtig?" ("Are these data correct?"). Please click "weiter" ("continue").
  • Make sure you filled out all required fields (marked with *)
  • Other universities you applied for: If you did not apply to another program, please just write "none".
  • Use one of the following internet browsers: Firefox, Safari, Chrome. Mobile Apps might cause further technical issues, so we advise filling out the form using a computer.

If these solutions did not work for you, please copy paste the application form together with your data in the answer sections as word document to:  swhr(at) 

Please be aware, that this way your application process might take longer.

The Admissions Committee makes its decisions based on the following criteria:

Criterion 1: Qualified practical work experience. The type, scope, length, and relevance of the work experience as well as the reflection of the professional activity in written form.
Relevant areas of work include activities at nongovernmental and governmental organizations and private institutions are recognized as relevant areas of work, provided they pertain to are related to one of the fields of social work as a human rights profession (max. 55 points). Please note that without the one year of work experience after the first degree, definitely no admission can be granted!

Criterion 2: Relevance of the qualification of the first professional degree (max. 20 points)

Criterion 3: Letter of motivation stating reasons about the motivation to study, the
expectations, the professional and/or academic visions of the future by the applicant (max. 15 points).

Criterion 4: Academic aptitude and willingness to perform on the basis of two letters of recommendation.
letters of recommendation from the fields of higher education and/or professional practice (max. 10 points).

You will find the formal admission regulations here. Unfortunately, they are written in German language. In case you have any questions about your application, please send us an email.


The Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences has a commitment to offer its students high quality courses at a fair price. As a non-consecutive Master's program students are currently required to pay tuition and registration fees. These non-profitmaking fees are charged to cover both classroom teaching as well as self-paced and online studies.

The tuition fee for full-time degree students is 2,640€ for each of the first three semesters, the fourth and last semester is dedicated to the master thesis and the Human Rights Praxis Project and costs 1,250€.

There is an administrative fee of 300€, which covers admission and registration. Please note: The semester fee can also be paid monthly by arrangement.

Additionally, you can decide to purchase a ticket for Berlin's public transport system (valid for 6 months) that currently costs around 193.80€ for MA-SWHR students. For the cost of living – including rent, food, clothing, laundry, personal hygiene, travel, obligatory health insurance, telephone, leisure activities and other expenses – you should expect at least 900€ per month.

The current fees for the full program are defined of the following:  
After admission, administration fee 300 EUR
1st semester, tuition fee 2,640 EUR
2nd semester, tuition fee 2,640 EUR
3rd semester, tuition fee 2,640 EUR
4th semester, tuition fee 1,250 EUR
Total 9,470 EUR

Unfortunately, our university is not able to grant scholarships. However, there are many organizations where you can apply for funding. You can find an extensive list of institutions with which you can apply for a scholarship here. Keep in mind their application deadlines! 

Living in Germany

After your admission as Master student of Social Work as a Human Rights Profession at Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences (ASH), you will need to plan your stay in Germany, especially if you need a visa. Adapting to life in a foreign country, in a different culture, and in a different academic system is not always easy. We would like to take the chance and help you starting in Germany.


Contact a German Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Regarding any current entry, and residence requirements as soon as possible! It usually might take up to three months or even more to get a visa.

EU-citizens, including EEC countries (Iceland, Great Britain, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Japan, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand) do not require a visa for entering Germany. However, non-EU citizens have to apply for a student residence permit at the Foreigner’s Registration Office upon arrival in Berlin.

Your entry visa cannot be used to obtain a student residence permit in Germany. All prospect students from non-EU countries, thus, have to obtain a student residence permit that allows candidates to study in the Federal Republic of Germany, and to enroll at ASH.

After your admission to our program, and once the admission fee has been paid, you will receive all necessary documents required to apply for a student visa at your local German embassy. If you are experiencing trouble getting a visa, our office will support you getting in contact with the respective authorities.

Please see the information on the process of admission here.


Please see the detailed information on the necessary documents for various institution in Germany via this link.

Before entering Germany, you will need:

  • A valid passport, or European ID-card, valid for the whole duration of your stay in Germany
  • A visa for you, and if applicable all of your family members accompanying you
  • Biometric pass photos will be required for both the Foreigner’s Office and the City Registration
  • Birth certificate(s), marriage certificate, including a German translation
  • Original undergraduate diplomas (Bachelor’s Degree, or other academic degrees), including your records which are needed for your enrollment
  • Blocked bank account, scholarship or other financial proof
  • Health insurance
  • Vaccination certificate, if possible in English or German language
  • If applicable: A medical clearance / certificate detailing previous diseases, and medications
  • If applicable: An international driver’s license, including insurance cards
  • Please check your local embassy for up-to-date information.

A medical insurance for the entire duration of your stay is required for the enrollment at a German university. In fact, we are not allowed to enroll you in our university if there is no proof of a valid health insurance plan. Also, a health insurance plan that covers a minimum of one year is required for getting a residence permit at the Foreigner's Office.

The main aim for being fully insured is your own personal safety so you can see a doctor, or get hospital treatment without having to pay large medical bills by yourself.

Basically, there are two types of health insurance in Germany:

  • Public Health Insurance: "Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung"
  • Private Health Insurance

Health insurance from your home country

Depending on where you come from, the health insurance plan from your home country might cover your stay in Germany, also. This is especially the case for EU citizens who have an EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card). Students with an EHIC card don't have to buy a German health insurance plan due to European social security agreements. You can recognize whether your card is an EHIC card by looking at the backside of your card where the EU logo should be clearly visible. With an EHIC card, Euopean students are allowed to make use of all necessary medical operations and treatments under the same conditions and costs as for German citizens. But be aware that you are not allowed to work in Germany as long as you make use of the European social security agreement. If you want to start working in Germany, you will have to get a German insurance.

Countries that issue EHIC cards are currently: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden Switzerland and United Kingdom. Please make sure to double-check, as social security agreements or EU status may change depending on your home country.

If you come from outside of the EU, it is very unlikely that we or the Foreigner's Office will be allowed to accept your health insurance.

Differences between Public Health Insurance and Private Health Insurance

Germany features a very high level of safety awareness. On the average, a German citizens pays around 2,400 EUR / year for an average of six insurance policies, including private pensions provisions, insurances on households, etc. However, everyone in Germany is subject to social insurance, and all employees in Germany have to contribute to pay into the statuary social security of Germany. So by German law, health insurance is mandatory for every resident, including international students, regardless of their income.

Health care insurance in Germany is carried by insurance providers: "Krankenkasse".

As mentioned above, Public Health Insurance is statutory, meaning that every citizen in Germany is obligated to have this insurance. However, as a student, you are free to choose between a public and an private provider at the beginning of your studies. This decision cannot be reversed until you finished your studies! Once you have a private health insurance plan, you will be unable to change back to the public health care until you start working in Germany.

What is covered by your health insurance plan can vary! Health insurance aims to cover all basic medical needs, including dental care, regular checkups, psychiatric treatment, etc. In contrast, private health insurance can cover more specific medical treatments and methods (although so called "alternative medicine" will most likely be more strictly regulated in Germany in the upcoming years.) Moreover, being privately insured, you can get medical treatment in private hospitals and at private practices.

Rates are very different between providers! For private health insurance, you usually pay much less than for the public insurance when it comes to monthly rates. But be aware: The rates for private health insurance might be lower on a monthly level, but your personal deductible co-payment in case of medical treatment may be much higher than with the public health insurance where - in almost all cases - you will never have to pay more than 10 EUR on your own (for example for hospital treatments, orthoses, etc.).

Rates may vary in relation to your age! If you are 30 years old or older, chances might be that rates for a public health insurance might be very high for you. Also, German Public Health Insurance Companies are not obligated to insure you if you are over 30 years old! In case you are not accepted into the Public Health Insurance program, you have no other option than getting private health insurance. Rates can change slightly each year.

Health insurance for entering Germany

 To enter Germany, even for a three-month visa, you will need to proof that you have a valiud health insurance plan covering your stay / entry to Germany. From our experience, we highly advise you:

  • Do not buy a travel insurance plan that covers the whole duration of your studies! Neither ASH nor the Foreigner's Office will accept travel insurances for a resident permit.
  • If you already know that you want to get private health insurance, Klemmer International offers guest insurances / travel insurances to be changed into normal private health insurance plans, so you don't have to pay double.
  • Research and compare public and private insurance companies yourself. Know what you want from your insurance plan, and that it fits your personal wishes. Make sure that it is a valid policy for a resident permit. Again: Travel insurances cannot be accepted after your three-months entering visa.

Like in any foreign country, language, environment, mentality and perhaps also the climate may be different from what you are used to. As a welcoming gesture MA-SWHR Program Assistants will hand out a Welcome Package with necessary information about Berlin at the beginning of your studies.

  • Currency: Euro is the only valid currency in Germany; a EUR is made up of 100 Cents. The banknotes in circulation are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 EUR, the coins comprise 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 Cents as well as 1 and 2 EUR
  • Cash: You will need money the moment you arrive. You can bring any amount of German or foreign currency into Germany - but remember to check on your own country's foreign exchange regulations. Currency exchange offices are open at airports and main railway stations in the evening and at weekends. Once here, you can change large-denomination Euro notes acquired in your home country into coinage or you can cash traveler’s checks. You need cash to make telephone calls, deposit luggage, pay taxis, or buy bus tickets. Be aware that cash is still the most prominent way of paying and that not all supermarkets and/or restaurants will accept credit cards. Banks are open from Monday to Friday from approx. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Afternoon opening hours differ but, in most cases, banks remain open shorter on Fridays until approx. 3 p.m. You can also change money at many larger post offices.
  • First stay: If you need a hotel room for the first night(s) MA-SWHR Management can help you find and contact a hostel or hotel for your first night. You may also want to check out, airbnb, or other private housing websites that offer short-term accomodation for new arrivals
  • Public transport: Germany has a well-developed, though relatively expensive public transport network. Over greater distances, it is most common to travel on the German Railways (“Deutsche Bahn”). But there are also bus services like Flixbus, Megabus etc. that offer transport from Berlin to several cities in Germany and neighboring countries. In towns and cities, suburban trains, buses, trams, the underground, and taxis are the usual means of transportation.
  • Local public transportation: Berlin has an excellent network of public transport that reaches every corner of the city and the surrounding areas. U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn (suburban and interurban trains) are the best ways of getting around; there are also regional trains, buses, comfortable new trams in the east of the city and ferries. One type of ticket is valid on all forms of transport. The system is efficient but, given continued construction around the city, delays and schedule changes may occur. You might want to download a public transport app to your smartphone (or use its website in order to search for transport connections quickly and get informed about schedule changes. Berlin is very bicycle friendly, and it is a good way to get to know the city - there are specially marked bike lanes everywhere. There are also plenty of bike rental shops. Walking is another good way to get around - the historic center of Berlin is surprisingly compact and is best explored on foot.

In Germany, campus universities are very uncommon, and Alice Salomon University is no exception to this. Thus, unfortunately we cannot offer you any accommodation via the university. As an enrolled student you can, however, apply for a place in various student residence halls, organized by the student union “studierendenWERK Berlin” all over Berlin. Finding private accommodation in a shared apartment or a single apartment can be challenging if you are new, since rent prices have been significantly increasing over the last years.

Student residence halls of studierendenWERK

The student residence halls (dorms) are controlled by the studierendenWERK BERLIN (student union). Only registered students can apply for a place in a student residence hall. If you get in touch with the student union early, your chances for a placement increase. Please note that you need to be enrolled in order to be able to sign up for accommodation.

We have made very good experiences with the house ‘Victor Jara’ near our University at Oberfeldstraße 131. It is located in a quiet green area and is pretty affordable in comparison to other properties in Berlin.

Have a look at their website and check out the housing section. There is a variety of housing possibilities in student residences. However, the waiting lists for the more central ones can be pretty long.

Private housing

We strongly recommend you to start looking for accommodation as soon as possible and definitely before the beginning of your stay in Germany. If alone, you can easily live for a short time in a hostel or perhaps with friends or acquaintances. Finding a flat share or single apartment is usually significantly faster if you can rely on a personal network in Berlin. We highly advise you to reach out to your colleagues at SWHR, and ask them to update you on new housing opportunities they have heard of. However, supply and demand, particularly in cities with a large population of students, varies considerably in the course of the year. At the beginning of a term, i.e. in March/ April or September/ October, there is always a big demand for accommodation.

Costs for housing in Berlin may range from Euro 300 (room in a shared apartment) to Euro 700 for a studio apartment, or room. This – of course – depends, in particular, on the type of accommodation required by MA-SWHR students: furnished or at least partly-furnished apartments rented at short notice and for relatively short periods.

For students, there are several online platforms for finding accommodation: - easy to use – non-commercial database – easy to use – only in German

You should also check out Facebook groups that focus on housing in Berlin. These also include groups for people with special interest, background or identity (such as queer housing, housing for trans_ people, POC, etc.)

For more information, please also check our International Office's website on accommodation.

As the capital of Germany, Berlin offers a broad variety of different libraries. You will get a detailed manual for the library usage in the welcome package and there will be a day trip arranged and conducted by the Program Assistants in order to introduce the most important libraries to you during our introduction week. Each university (FU and HU) has their own libraries which are open to all students. Also, the ASH library is located in the main building.

Libraries that you will want to know for starting your studies are:

Jakob-und-Wilhlem-Grimm-Zentrum (main library of Humboldt University)
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1-3, 10177 Berlin
Opening hours:
Mo - Fri 8 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Sat/ Sun: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m

Staatsbibliothek (called the „StaBi“) House 1
Unter den Linden 8, 10117 Berlin
Opening hours:
Mo - Fri 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sa. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Staatsbibliothek (called the „StaBi“) House 2
Potsdamer Str. 33, 10785 Berlin
(U/S Potsdamer Platz)
Opening hours:
Mo - Fri 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sa. 10 a.m - 7 p.m.

Amerika Gedenk Bibliothek („AGB“)
Blücherplatz 1
10961 Berlin
(U-Hallesches Tor)
90226-105 (information)
Opening hours:
Mo - Fri 10 p.m. - 20 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Ibero- Amerikanisches Institut
Potsdamer Straße 37
10785 Berlin
(S- Bahn Potsdamer Platz)
Opening Hours:
Mo-Fri 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sa. 9 a.m. – 13 p.m.

Although our program and your administration is conducted in English at MA-SWHR, everyday life in Berlin is definitely easier with some German basic language knowledge.

Each year, we will offer free German language courses throughout the semester. We highly recommend you taking part. We will inform you on the class schedules beforehand in a timely manner. Furthermore, there are also language courses in English, Spanish, and Turkish every semester at ASH.

Please consider that the MA-SWHR is a full-time study program that requires a full-time commitment from all students and that it might be difficult to work beside your studies.

However, of course we understand the necessity to secure your income while studying, and thus, we would like to shortly advise you on work-related issues in the following:

EU-citizens don’t need a work permit. However, please keep in mind that you are not allowed to work in Germany if you don’t have a German health insurance plan. As long as you are using your EU home countries health insurance plan, you may not start working. Moreover, you will be required to have a valid residence permit for Germany. Click here for more information on working as an EU-citizen and student.

International students have the opportunity to work 90 days full-time, or 180 days part-time (4 hours a day) in one year without a work permit.

Different agencies and platforms negotiate jobs between students and employers in Berlin. The majority of these jobs are temporary jobs (store rooms, drivers, construction help, catering). Besides, at the beginning and end of each semester, there might be job opportunities as student assistant at Berlin universities. The average salary for these temporary jobs is between the statuary minimum wage (as of January 2021 that is 9.50 €/hour) to 12.50 €/hour.

In case you want to apply for an internship during your studies, feel free to reach out to us in case a letter of support is needed. We can also advise you on internship opportunities at our office.

For Further Questions

For Further Questions:

We urge you to read the details carefully. However, do not hesitate to contact us for any further questions via the following e-mail address:  swhr(at)

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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