How unis pick medical students is partly unconstitutional, judges rule

How unis pick medical students is partly unconstitutional, judges rule
Medical students at the Martin Luther University in Halle. Photo: DPA.
The highest court in Germany ruled in Karlsruhe on Tuesday that the procedure for allocating study positions in the subject area of human medicine is partially incompatible with the Basic Law.

Judges in the Constitutional Court said that the selection procedure for medical students violates their right to equal opportunities amongst peers and goes against some areas of the Basic Law.

The ruling means that, by the end of 2019, the federal and state governments will have to regulate the selection criteria for medical students as well as their school leaving qualifications.

The judges added that among other things, aptitude interviews at universities throughout Germany must take place in a “standardized and structured form.”

Candidates must be treated equally even if study spots are limited, according to the ruling.

The court’s decision applies to four courses of study: human, dental and veterinary medicine as well as in pharmacy.

The federal judges came to their decision after judges in an administrative court in North Rhine-Westphalia submitted two cases to them involving candidates who had not received places in human medicine.

Despite having obtained additional training and earning respective final grades of 2.0 and 2.6, the prospective students were not admitted onto their programme of choice.

Those without top Abitur scores currently have to wait longer than the entire standard period of study (14 semesters) for a study place in medicine, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Though the allocation of spots in medical studies in Germany is significantly based on one’s grades, an applicant may also have to write tests or complete interviews with an institution.

Applicants can also improve their chances of being selected with additional qualifications.