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The Staatsexamen is a German government licensing examination that future doctors, teachers, pharmacists, food chemists,[1] psychotherapists and jurists (i.e., lawyers, judges, tax advisors, public prosecutors, civil-law notaries[2]) have to pass to be allowed to work in their profession. The examination is generally organized by government examination agencies which are under the authority of the responsible ministry. These agencies create examination commissions which consist of members of the examination agency, university professors and/or representatives from the professions.[3] The Staatsexamen is legally equivalent to a Master's degree.

Students usually study at university for 4–6 years before they take the first Staatsexamen. Afterwards teachers and jurists go on to work in their future jobs in a practical phase of two to three years. Then they are allowed to take the second Staatsexamen, which amongst others tests their professional skills in their respective jobs.

In medicine, the Staatsexamen (Ärztliche Prüfung, or physician exam) consists of three parts as of 2013. The first part is taken after the first two years of the six-year medical degree, i.e., after the basic sciences part of the degree (somewhat similar to U.S. pre-med) whereas the second part is taken after the fifth year of studies. Following a practical year, the third part follows at the end of the six-year medical degree.

In pharmacy, the Staatsexamen (Pharmazeutische Prüfung, or pharmaceutical exam) consists of three parts. The first part is taken after the first two years of the four-year pharmacy degree, the second part at the end of the four-year pharmacy degree, and the third part after the so-called Praktisches Jahr (practical year) that prospective pharmacists have to take after graduation.

In some cases, the second Staatsexamen can be a substitute for a doctorate when it comes to applying for certain jobs at a university (i.e., Akademischer Rat).


  1. ^ "Lebensmittelchemie (Staatsexamen)". Goethe University Frankfurt (in German). Retrieved 5 January 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Bundesnotarkammer - Über die Notare - Berufsziel Notar". Bundesnotarkammer (in German). Retrieved 5 January 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Bachelor's, Diplom, State Examination & Co". Free University of Berlin (in German). Retrieved 15 September 2009. [dead link]