The powerhouse of the European economy
Germany is the largest country in Europe by population and German is the most widely spoken language in the European Union. In addition, Germany is the largest economy in Europe. Did you know that Germany’s exports alone generate millions of jobs worldwide either directly or as a by-product?
Unsurprisingly, Germany is also the third most popular destination among international students. The country has an outstanding tradition in education, and some of the most prestigious European universities are located in Germany.
The largest cities in Germany are Berlin (3.3 million), Hamburg (1.7 million) and Munich (1.3 million). However, there are excellent universities and attractive study programs available also in smaller cities and towns around the country.
Higher education in Germany
In Germany the higher education is organised in three types of institutions: universities (universitäten), the universities of applied sciences and technology (hochschulen or fachhochschulen), and arts, film and music colleges. Universities generally focus on theoretical and more traditional academic studies, whereas the universities of applied sciences and various colleges offer more practice-oriented and applied studies.
Most German universities are publicly funded, and do not charge any tuition fees. There are also over a hundred private universities, which charge relatively high tuition fees. The private universities mostly focus on applied sciences, but their degrees are equally recognised by the state.
In most degree programmes in German universities, German is the main language of instruction. Therefore, you usually have to proof your skills of German to be able to gain admission. However, an increasing amount of universities are offering degree programmes also in English. Especially in the fields of business and technology it is relatively easy to find programmes where the studies can be conducted fully in English. Even if you are studying in English, we fully recommend you to enroll to a German language course. Learning the local language is usually the best way to explore the local culture, and it will probably also open doors for your future career!
Student life in Germany
The cost of living in Germany is relatively low when compared to other Western European countries. It’s recommended to budget approximately 800 euros per month for the living costs, but in many parts of the country you can manage with an even lower amount of money. The cost of living also varies depending on the location, and generally living is cheaper in smaller towns. Students also get a lot of discounts in places such as theatres, museums, swimming pools and sports facilities, which gives you good opportunities to save some money.
Even if there are no tuition fees in German public universities, all students have to pay a “semester contribution”, which covers i.e. social services and fees, and in some cases also a public transport ticker. The semester contribution amounts approximately 250 euros, but the cost varies from one university to another.
Travelling around Germany with public transport is easy and convenient, which gives you endless options for discovering new places in your free time. In many states, students also enjoy of notable discounts of the prices of trains tickets. Since Germany is situated in the middle of Europe, it’s also relatively easy and cheap to visit other European countries from there.
How to apply to universities in Germany?
First of all, dive into Study Advisory’s university search and find the perfect university for you! We recommend you to read the reviews from former students, since they give you some inside information on the student life and practical matters in the university. In each of the university profiles, you will also find a link to the university’s own website, where you will find the detailed entry requirements and application dates for each of the study programs.
The education in Germany is regulated by the 16 states, and the universities may have different rules and guidelines regarding admissions and other practical matters. The application and admission procedure also depends on the degree programme, as there is a limited number of places for some subjects on a national level. Therefore, it’s best to check and inquire about the requirements directly from the university you are applying for.
Remember also to check the application times well in advance, as they normally end several months before the start of the semester. Make also sure that you have the certified copies of all the documents you need to send with your application.
In Germany there are numerous institutions offering scholarships to both local and international students. The scholarships can be applied for example from the DAAD, party-affiliated foundations, religious organisations and commercial enterprises. You can find an extensive scholarship database from DAAD’s (German Academic Exchange Service) website. Remember also to check whether you can apply for a scholarship from your own country!
As an international student studying in Germany and not a citizen of European Union, you will most probably need an entry visa for the country. The student visas in Germany are usually valid for three months. During this period, you will need to apply for an extended residence permit, which will allow you to continue your studies in Germany. You can find more detailed information on visas and residence permits on Study in Germany’s official website. Remember also to check the most up-to-date visa requirements from the German embassy or consulate of your own country.
German universities recommended by Study Advisory
University of Würzburg is one of the leading universities in Germany, and has also been ranked excellently on an international level. The academic performance of the university is world-renowned especially in the highly appreciated fields of biology, medicine, physics, and psychology. The charming city of Würzburg is old and young at the same time: it has 1400 years of history, but at the same time the city has one of the highest concentrations of 20 to 30-year-olds in Bavaria.
Koblenz University of Applied Sciences offers a wide range of study programmes in the fields of business administration and engineering. The university has three campuses: Kobenz, Remagen and Höhr-Grentzhausen. Internationality is one of the main priorities of Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, and it maintains over 100 cooperation agreements with universities worldwide.
Bremen University of Applied Sciences, rated excellently by the students on Study Advisory, provides 70 degree courses in areas such as engineering, natural sciences, economics and social sciences. The lovely city of Bremen is an excellent location for your studies in Germany!
Find more universities in Germany with Study Advisory’s University Search!
Did you know this about Germany?
- 86% of adults aged 25–64 have completed at least an upper secondary education (equivalent of a high school diploma). That is well above the EU average of 74.2%.
- It is the fifth largest country in Europe by size, with the largest population in the European Union.
- There are a number of bread museums in Germany. Wanna go already?