What is UNIcert®?

UNIcert® has been an internationally protected trademark in the field of education since 1992 under the auspices of the Working Group of Language Centres (AKS) and designates an task-based, university-related training and certification system for foreign languages at German universities.

Currently, around 50 German as well as four foreign universities are accredited for UNIcert®.

UNIcert® enables cross-institutional language training through the mutual guaranteed recognition of certificates among accredited universities. Here, language training is inseparably linked to the certification of language skills. This means that a UNIcert® examination without prior language training within the UNIcert® programme is not possible. The recognition of a general UNIcert®-framework across languages allows for more transparency and a higher degree of standardized lesson and test content. As course and examination content directly refer to university contexts, UNIcert® -courses are clearly distinguished from the language courses offered by private providers, to the advantage of the students.

Levels of the UNIcert®-language-training

The UNIcert® training and certification system comprises a total of five levels which build on each other and are oriented towards levels A2 to C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). At the levels UNIcert® II to UNIcert® IV, an additional distinction can be made between a general language and a technical language training line.

  • UNIcert® Basis (propaedeutic preliminary stage) - is oriented towards A2
  • UNIcert® I - is oriented towards B1
  • UNIcert® II - is oriented towards B2
  • UNIcert® III - is oriented towards C1
  • UNIcert® IV - is oriented towards C2

UNIcert® programme at the Leibniz Language Centre

The Leibniz Language Centre currently offers students at Leibniz Universität Hannover UNIcert® training and certification in eleven foreign languages and at a total of 22 levels. The selection of these languages is closely related to the focus regions of Leibniz Universität Hannover. Which courses are accredited for UNIcert® training can be found on the pages for the respective languages. In addition, a complete catalogue is available for download as a PDF document.

Scope and duration of a UNIcert®-language-training

The amount of language training may vary between languages and UNIcert® levels. For languages whose acquisition is more time-intensive from experience (for example, due to learning a new writing system), a higher number of semester hours per week (SWS) must be assumed. The following table shows the number of hours for the languages and UNIcert® levels offered at the Leibniz Language Centre.

Language Level SWS SWS total  
Chinese Basis 16 16 cumulative
German as a foreign language Basis 8 8 cumulative
German as a foreign language   I Basis + 8 16 cumulative
German as a foreign language   II I + 8 24 cumulative
English II (gen.) I + 8 20 cobinative
English II (spez.) I + 8 20 cumulative
English III II + 8 28 combinative
French Basis 8 8 cumulative
French I Basis + 8 16 cumulative
Italian Basis 8 8 cumulative
Italian I Basis + 4 12 cumulative
Japanese Basis 16 16 cumulative
Portuguese Basis 8 8 cumulative
Portuguese   I Basis + 4 12 cumulative
Russian Basis 16 16 cumulative
Swedish Basis 8 4 cumulative
Swedish I Basis + 4 12 cumulative
Spanish Basis 8 8 cumulative
Spanish   I Basis + 8 16 cumulative
Spanish   II I + 8 24 cumulative
Turkish Basis 8 8 cumulative
Turkish I (gen./HL) Basis + 4 12 cumulative
Turkish II (HL) I + 8 20 cumulative

Scope of the UNIcert®-tests

At the Leibniz Language Centre, the acquisition of UNIcert® certificates is exclusively cumulative/combinative. This means that the examination achievements that must be acquired to obtain a level certificate can be collected through successful participation in the end-of-semester examinations ("Schein") in the courses specially accredited for the UNIcert® training programme. There are two main points to bear in mind:

Firstly, all relevant skills must be covered by the cumulatively/combinative acquired examination credits. This means that examination performances must be submitted in

  • reading comprehension,
  • listening comprehension,
  • written expression, and
  • oral expression

All four skills are weighted equally. The certificate grade is thus the arithmetic mean of the four individual assessments. Information on this can be obtained from the respective course instructor. Secondly, the period between the first and the last examination performance acquired should not exceed a period of three years.

More detailed information can be found in the  LLC's UNIcert® regulations of the Leibniz Language Centre. As soon as all requirements for obtaining a UNIcert® level certificate have been fulfilled, an  certification application can be submitted to the UNIcert® examination board. 

Transfers into the training programme

A transfer into the training programme is generally possible. However, certain requirements must be met.

Transfer to German (as foreign language), English and Spanish

In German (as a foreign language), English and Spanish, a placement test must be taken before selecting a suitable language course. Only the result from the respective course registration phase entitles the student to course access and lateral entry into the UNIcert® program. If an applicant wishes to acquire a UNIcert® certifacte at that level, they need to have completed at least 50% of the course requirements at the Leibniz Language Centre prior to the certification application.

Example: A student wishes to complete a Spanish certificate at UNIcert® -level I (equivalent to CEFR-level B1). The placement test has shown that the student has already acquired a B1-level. Hence, the student does not need to complete the normally required 8 hours per week. The student now needs to complete at least 2 hours per semester at the Leibniz Language Centre of the total 4 hours per semester in order to apply for a certificate at level UNIcert® I. It should be noted that accredited courses may only be attended to the extent advertised. Students may not partake in “half a course” to complete the requirements.

Tranfers to all other languages

For all other languages student may transfer into the training programme with a proof/certificate of their level or after having taken a placement test. These proofs/certificates may be:

  • certificates from previously taken courses at the Leibniz Language Centre
  • certificates from UNIcert®-accredited courses at the Leibniz Language Centre (not older than two years)
  • certificates from other UNIcert®-accredited universities and colleges
  • placement test with a result just below the UNIcert® course to be taken (not older than six months)

For the third, fourth and fifth option, the UNIcert® audit committee (option 3) or the coordination of the respective language (option 4) needs to verify the proofs and decide in the individual case. Students do not own the right to have other previously acquired certificates/levels accredited. Further details are regulated by the LLC's UNIcert® regulations. (§7.2 to 7.7).

We compiled a list with suitable online placement tests from external providers.

Costs of the training and certification

Participation in a UNIcert® accredited course is free of charge for students of Leibniz University Hannover. Course participation involves the acquisition of a certificate. A distinction is made here between two types of certificate: a certificate of attendance and a certificate of achievement. For the subsequent application for the issue of a UNIcert® certificate, the submission of corresponding certificates of achievement is obligatory. An administrative fee is charged for the issuing of a UNIcert® certificate, the amount of which can be found in the fee schedule of the Leibniz Language Centre in its most current version. 


Where is UNIcert® recognized?

There is an agreement between the accredited UNIcert® institutions for mutual recognition within the framework of the training and certification system. Currently, around 50 educational institutions in Germany and four more in (neighbouring) countries are accredited for UNIcert® (as of August 2019).

However, there is no obligation for recognition among the institutions within the framework of language-based university admission. Whether UNIcert® is accepted as a suitable language certificate in the context of an application for a place at university can be enquired about at the respective university.

Application for a UNIcert®-Certificate

As soon as you have cumulatively collected all the required credits from accredited UNIcert® courses in accordance with the currently valid  UNIcert® training and testing regulations of the Leibniz Language Centre, you can have your acquired university-specific language skills confirmed by a corresponding UNIcert® level certificate.