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.
In 2020/21 2.9 million students were enrolled at 423 higher education institutions. The German higher education system is dominated by public universities: Only 8% of all students are studying at one of the 108 private institutions. Germany is one of the most popular destination countries for international students: In 2019/20 more than 320,000 international students were enrolled at German universities. 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 some regulated professions (for instance, lawyers, pharmacists, medical doctors, teachers).
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 international orientation, research as well as in knowledge transfer. The results of teaching refer to graduation rates and completion time.
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. These consist of an administrative fee up to 75€, a fee for the “Studentenwerk” between 50 and 80€ and for many universities a semester ticket, which costs between 150 and 200€. 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.
Reference year(s): 2020/2021
In this section we highlight the fees for studying in Germany. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.
In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in Germany. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances. How these terms are defined, are outlined below:
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 entry requirements, please click here.
No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in Germany. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.
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 visa requirements, please click here.