Why should I study in Germany?

The country of Bach, industry, and football...


Landlocked by nine countries, Germany is situated right in the middle of Europe. More than 80 million people live here – the most populous country in the European Union. From the north and Baltic Sea to the Alps Germany offers a wide variety of landscapes to explore.

The German higher education system

In 2017/18 2.8 million students were enrolled at 428 higher education institutions. The German higher education system is dominated by public universities: Only 7.5 % of all students are studying at one of the 119 private institutions. Germany is one of the most popular destination countries for international students: In 2016 more than 225,000 international students were enrolled at German universities, i.e. 8% of all students at German universities. The larges countries of origin of international degree students are China, the Russian Federation, India, Austria, and France. Germany is also among the most popular destination countries among Erasmus students. Germany has a diversified higher education system with different types of institutions: universities (Universitäten), universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) and art universities (Kunsthochschulen). While all three types are awarding Bachelor and master degrees, only universities (and some art universities) are entitled to award doctorate degrees.

In line with the Bologna Process, the degree-structure is three-tiered for the overwhelming part of subjects/programmes: bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. Furthermore, there are special degrees (‘state license’) for the some regulated professions (for instance, lawyers, pharmacists, medical doctors, teachers).

Germany’s Higher Education System in International Comparison

In this section, we highlight the overall performance of German universities on the institutional level per U-Multirank dimension. The table below shows the national breakdown of German universities and how they stand across the spectrum of above average (receiving a score of ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good)), versus below average (receiving a score of ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak)).

In doing so, U-Multirank offers a clear picture of the country’s strengths and areas for improvement. It becomes apparent that in general Germany’s HEIs perform particularly well in research, international orientation as well as in knowledge transfer. The results of teaching refer to graduation rates and completion time.

National performance: Germany

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 51.5625% 24.21875% Research 24.35129740518962% 56.08782435129741% Knowledge Transfer 37.74834437086093% 49.88962472406181% International Orientation 26.536312849162012% 51.39664804469274% Regional Engagement 36.633663366336634% 35.64356435643565%

Fees & University Entrance Requirements

Germany has a federal higher education system. This means that the 16 states are responsible for higher education; hence regulations on admission and fees vary among them. While there are no tuition fees for EU students, all public universities charge “immatriculation” fees (“Semesterbeitrag”) both for national/EU and international students. They vary between 700 and 1,500 € per year; at most universities including free regional public transport. Only Baden-Württemberg introduced a general tuition fee of 3,000€ per year for Non-EU students. Private universities are free to set their own tuition fees. For more information on financing click here.

Entry requirements If you come from an EU country, from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and have a school-leaving certificate that qualifies you for higher education in your home country, it will usually also allow you to study in Germany. If you come from outside the EU, two or three semesters of study in your home country are often sufficient, depending on where you are from. In artistic subjects, especially talented applicants are sometimes admitted based on work samples or aptitude tests alone. For more information on financing click here.

Student Visa EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are not required to obtain a visa, but simply need to register with the local authorities (Einwohnermeldeamt) within two weeks after their arrival. These authorities will furnish you with a student residence permit. Generally, all non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens must supply documentation on the reasons of their stay, how they plan to support themselves for the duration of their stay as well as their accommodation arrangements in order to obtain a visa. You have to apply for the Visa at the respective German embassy or the respective consulate in your country of origin or residence. Citizens of some select countries may apply for a visa after arrival in Germany, i.e. Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States of America. For more information on financing click here.

Where to study in Germany

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