Germany is a popular destination for international students seeking higher education. The country offers world-class universities, excellent research opportunities, and a diverse culture that welcomes international students. Germany is also popular among international students for offering tuition-free education. Explore the complete guide to studying in Germany in this section.
Benefits of studying in Germany
Excellent Higher Education System
Germany is home to some of the world’s top-ranked universities, such as the Technical University of Munich, Heidelberg University, and the Humboldt University of Berlin. German universities are renowned for their high-quality education and research programs. Most of these universities are state-funded, so tuition fees are relatively low compared to other countries. This makes studying in Germany an affordable option for international students.
Wide Range of Courses
German universities offer a wide range of courses in various fields, such as engineering, business, humanities, and social sciences. Many of these courses are taught in English, which makes it easier for international students to pursue their education in Germany. The universities also offer specialized courses catering to specific industries’, such as renewable energy and automotive engineering.
Germany is home to many research institutions offering international students research opportunities. These institutions are involved in cutting-edge research in various fields, such as biotechnology, computer science, and materials science. Many of these institutions also offer research-based master’s and doctoral programs, which can be an excellent opportunity for students looking to pursue a research career.
Germany is a multicultural country, and its universities reflect this diversity. International students from all over the world come to study in Germany, making it a great place to meet new people and experience different cultures. The universities also organize various cultural events throughout the year, allowing students to learn about different cultures.
Germany is home to many multinational companies, which offer excellent job opportunities to international students after graduation. The country also has a strong economy and a low unemployment rate, which makes it an attractive place for students looking to start their careers. Many universities also offer career counseling services to help students find employment after graduation.
Studying in Germany can be a fun and exciting experience. The country has a vibrant nightlife and many cultural events throughout the year. The universities also organize various sports and recreational activities, allowing students to stay active and make new friends.
Education system in Germany
The higher education system in Germany is renowned for its academic rigor and world-class institutions.
The two main types of higher education institutions in Germany are universities and universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen). Universities are research-focused and offer a wide range of degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, while universities of applied sciences are more practical and career-focused, offering mainly bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Most undergraduate programs in Germany take three years to complete. The academic year is divided into two semesters, and students are expected to attend lectures, participate in seminars, and complete assignments and exams.
Master’s degree programs in Germany take two years to complete and are either research-focused or application-oriented. To obtain a doctoral degree, students must complete a master’s degree and then enroll in a doctoral program.
In Germany, the government mainly funds higher education, and tuition fees are very low or non-existent, making it an affordable option for students. However, students must pay a semester fee, which covers administrative costs and includes a contribution to student services.
Overall, the higher education system in Germany is highly respected for its academic excellence and research output, and many German universities are ranked among the top universities in the world.
Types of degrees offered in Germany
Bachelor’s degree (Bachelor)
This undergraduate degree usually takes three to four years to complete.
Master’s degree (Master)
This postgraduate degree usually takes two years after a Bachelor’s degree.
Diploma degree (Diplom)
This degree was previously offered in Germany, mainly in technical subjects. It usually takes four to five years to complete and is equivalent to a Master’s degree.
Doctoral degree (Doktor)
This postgraduate degree usually takes three to five years to complete after a Master’s degree.
State Examination (Staatsexamen)
This is a degree offered in fields such as law, medicine, and pharmacy. It is usually required to work in certain professions.
Magister Artium (Magister)
This degree was previously offered in Germany, mostly in humanities and social sciences. It usually takes four to five years to complete and is equivalent to a Master’s degree.
Top study programs offered in Germany
Germany has a reputation for providing high-quality higher education programs, and many excellent study programs are available. Here are some top study programs in Germany for higher education:
2. Computer Science
3. Business and Management of Munich
5. Natural Sciences
6. Arts and Humanities
These are just a few examples of the top study programs in Germany for higher education, but many other excellent programs are available in various fields.
Top Universities/colleges in Germany
Germany has a mix of public and private universities, and there are public-funded private universities as well. 380+ universities offer a plethora of programs for international students.
Best public universities in Germany
- Technical University of Munich (TUM)
- Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
- Freie Universität Berlin
- RWTH Aachen University
- Technische Universität Berlin
- Technische Universität
- Dresden University of Freiburg
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
- Heidelberg University
- Humboldt University Berlin
Best private universities in Germany
- Berlin School of Business and Innovation
- SRH Hochschule Berlin
- WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management
- GISMA Business School
- Witten/Herdecke University
- Bard College of Berlin
- CODE University of Applied Sciences
- Hertie School of Governance
- Munich Business School
- Jacobs University Bremen
Studying in Germany with no tuition-fees
Germany is one of the few countries to offer tuition-free education. Public universities in Germany offer tuition-free education for international and domestic students. Since 2017, only Baden Württemberg state has enforced tuition fees in its public universities.
However, enrolment, administration, and confirmation expenses vary across institutions. Every student must buy a ‘SemesterTicket’ for six months or more, covering public transport expenses. And the bottom line is that the tuition fee is free, but the students must cover other expenses.
|Tuition Fees exempt||Public universities|
|Tuition Fees||Private Universities Public universities in the state of Baden Württemberg|
A step-by-step guide to study in Germany
Germany is one of the few countries where international students can study for free, including undergraduate and postgraduate programs. However, certain costs, such as living expenses and healthcare insurance, are still involved. Here are some steps you can take to study in Germany with no tuition fees:
1. Research universities and programs
Look for universities and programs that match your interests and academic qualifications. Check their admission requirements, deadlines, and language requirements.
2. Learn German
Most undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Germany are taught in German. If you are not a native speaker of German, you will need to demonstrate proficiency in the language. You can take language courses or language exams such as the TestDaF or DSH.
3. Apply to universities
Apply to universities and programs that you are interested in. Follow their application procedures carefully and submit all required documents on time.
4. Apply for scholarships
Various scholarships are available to international students to cover living expenses and healthcare insurance. Check with the universities or look for external scholarship programs.
5. Find accommodation
Look for accommodation options that fit your budget, such as shared apartments, dormitories, or homestays.
6. Apply for a student visa
Once you receive admission to a German university and have proof of financial support, you can apply for a student visa at the German embassy or consulate in your country.
Remember, studying in Germany for free does not mean you won’t have any costs. You will still need to budget for living expenses, health insurance, and other personal expenses.
Requirements to study in Germany
A recognized higher education entrance qualification
This may vary depending on the country you are from, but in general, you must have completed high school or an equivalent level of education recognized in Germany.
German language proficiency
Unless you are enrolled in an English-taught program, you will need to have a certain level of proficiency in German. This is typically proven through language tests such as TestDaF, DSH, or Goethe-Institut exams.
Depending on the program you are applying for, you may need to fulfil certain academic requirements, such as a minimum grade point average (GPA) or specific prerequisite courses.
You must submit proof of sufficient financial resources to cover your living expenses during your studies in Germany. This can be demonstrated through various means, such as a blocked bank account or scholarship.
All students in Germany are required to have health insurance. You can enroll in public health insurance or obtain private health insurance. It’s important to note that the specific requirements may vary depending on the university or program you are applying to. It’s always good to check with the university’s admissions office to ensure you meet all the requirements.
Eligibility requirements for Bachelor’s degree
|Age||Must be at least 18 years old|
|Academics||Must have completed 12th grade|
|Entrance examinations||ACT or SAT (if required by the university)|
|German Language proficiency||DSH, TestDAF, or DSD
(If the program is taught in German)
|English language proficiency||IELTS, TOEF
(If program is taught in English)
Eligibility requirements for Master’s degree
|Age||Must be at least 21 years old|
|Academics||Bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution|
|Entrance examinations||No entrance tests needed|
|German Language proficiency||DSH, TestDAF or DSD
(If the program is taught in German)
|English language proficiency||IELTS, TOEFL
(If program taught in English)
Documents required to study in Germany
German universities require you to take entrance tests such as the ACT and SAT. However, it depends on the universities and varies between institutions.
Academic transcripts are the mark sheets of your 12th-grade and bachelor’s degree. These transcripts
Proof of Language Proficiency
You must submit the language proficiency test scores in German or English based on the language in which the program is taught.
Valid Passport Copies
Apply for a passport well in advance and provide copies when you apply for university admission and a study visa.
Letter of Motivation (LOM)
A letter of motivation (LOM) is like the Statement of Purpose (SOP) as called in other countries. You must demonstrate your purpose to study in Germany and your future goals.
Letter of recommendation (LOR)
An LOR is a letter that you get from your teacher, principle or professor that he/she recommends you study at a German university.
Top Cities in Germany for higher studies
There are 16 federal states in Germany, with the capital as Berlin. You can consider these top cities for you studying in Germany.
|Berlin||Freie Universitäet Berlin
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Technische Universität Berlin
|Stuttgart||University of Stuttgart
University of Hohenheim
Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences
|Frankfurt||Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Goethe University Frankfurt
Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences
|Dresden||Dresden University of Technology
Dresden University of Applied Sciences
Dresden Academy of Fine Arts
|Munich||Technical University of Munich
Technische Universität Hamburg
Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg
German university intakes
There are two intakes offered at German universities such as summer intake and winter intake. While other countries such as Canada, the UK, and Australia offer three intakes in a year, German universities offer two intakes. When most students get admitted, winter intake is considered a primary intake in Germany.
Summer intake (April – May)
Even though the summer intake is a minor intake in German universities, it still has its own benefits. The summer intake starts from April -May, and you must start planning a year in advance.
Pros: Low competition for admissions
Cons: Lesser programs and scholarships offered
Winter intake (September – October)
The winter intake is considered the primary intake in German universities and is chosen by most international students. The winter intake begins in September- October of every year.
Pros: All programs and scholarships offered
Cons: More competing for admissions
Part-time work options in Germany
Germany allows international students to work part-time jobs like every other study-abroad destination. Some popular part-time jobs are waiter, academic assistant, tutor, etc.
|Work duration||Day limit|
|Full day work||120 days/year|
|Half day work||240 days/year|
Post-study work permit
As an international student in Germany, you can get employed and work after graduation. The first step is to apply for a Job seeker visa with a validity of 18 months.
Post your employment, you must apply for a temporary Employment residence permit or the EU blue card to work in Canada.
|Type of permits||Validity|
|Job Seekers permit||18 months|
|EU Blue card||4-years|
|Employment residence permit||4-years|
Cost of living and tuition fees in Germany
Germany is a popular destination for students worldwide due to its high-quality education, excellent research facilities, and thriving job market. However, it is important to consider the cost of living and tuition fees when planning to study in Germany.
Cost of Living
Larger cities such as Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg are more expensive than smaller cities or towns. However, compared to many other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is relatively affordable.
On average, a student in Germany will need around €850-€1,000 per month to cover basic expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and leisure activities.
In Germany, except for public universities and universities in Baden Württemberg, you won’t be charged tuition fees for undergraduate programs. On average, tuition fees range from €1,500 to €5,000 per year.
Life in Germany
Living in Germany as an international student can also be a significant cultural adjustment. Germans have a distinct culture, which can differ from what students are used to. From food to social customs, international students may need time to adapt. However, Germany is a welcoming and inclusive country, and students can benefit from the opportunity to experience different cultures and perspectives.
Although many universities offer courses in English, learning the German language can be helpful for everyday life, making friends, and job opportunities after graduation. Despite these challenges, studying in Germany can be a life-changing experience.
Becoming a permanent resident in Germany after studies?
A Settlement Permit offers you Permanent Residence status in Germany. After graduation, you must have worked in Germany for at least 2-years under work permits, such as
- Employment Residence Permit
- EU blue card
With sufficient work experience, apply for the Settlement Permit (Permanent Residence).
After obtaining a PR Visa in Germany, you can proceed with Naturalization (become a German Citizen) with 8 years of living and working in Germany.
|Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4|
|Extend your Residence Permit as you graduate||Work in Germany for at least 2-years with a Residence permit or EU Blue card||Apply for Settlement Permit which is Permanent Residence Permit||After 8-years in Germany, apply for a Naturalization (German Citizenship)|
Eligibility requirements for a Germany PR after graduation
- Must have worked for a valid German employer for 2 years post-graduation.
- Submit B1 level certificate for German language proficiency.
- Submit proof of contribution to the Statutory Pension Insurance Fund
- Documents establishing proof of financial stability, housing, education in Germany, etc.
German universities offer excellent education and research opportunities, a multicultural environment, and great job opportunities after graduation. If you are considering studying abroad, Germany should be on your list of options.
CanApprove services for studying in Germany
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