A Good Opportunity: Further Education in Germany
A wide variety of study and research opportunities await you in Germany. German institutions of higher education enjoy an excellent reputation around the world, providing stimuli for innovation and progress that are significant even on the international level. This makes Germany one of the most popular destinations for international students.
Admission to a German institution of higher education
Anyone wishing to study at one of Germany’s roughly 400 institutions of higher education must possess a qualification entitling them to study. Not all school qualifications are sufficient for studying in Germany. To check whether or not a particular qualification is recognised in Germany, please refer to daad.de. If your qualification is insufficient for you to be admitted into a programme of study, you will have to pass an assessment test (the “Feststellungsprüfung”), which you can prepare for by way of a one-year preparatory course (www.studienkollegs.de/en/).
There are different ways to apply to a German institution of higher education. Your particular options depend on the area of study and which country you come from. Many institutions of higher education work together with uni-assist, a central service point supporting international students in applying for a place at a university in Germany.
Anyone choosing one of the more than 1,000 international bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programmes must have a strong grasp of the English language. Those choosing a German-language programme of study generally must provide evidence of a solid grasp of the German language.
The different types of higher-education institution
In Germany, there are three different types of higher-education institution: traditional universities for distinctly academic studies; universities of applied sciences for studies with a greater practical focus; and art, film and music schools for artistic studies. Most German institutions of higher education are state-funded. There are also privately supported institutions and others that are financed by the Catholic or Protestant Church. German institutions of higher education offer programmes of study suitable to all interests and academic levels. All together, there are over 16,000 programmes available. A database containing all of these programmes is available at www.hochschulkompass.de/en.html. Another database containing over 1,000 international bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programmes – most of them conducted in English – can be accessed at www.daad.de/deutschland/studienangebote/international-programs/en/.
By the way: Many international students wish to benefit from the academic quality and reputation of a foreign institution of higher education – but without having to leave their country. This sector of the academic market is growing, and the demand for "local" educational options is showing dynamic growth. In cooperation with partner institutions – predominantly in Asia, Central Europe and Eastern Europe – German institutions of higher education offer numerous German programmes of study in other countries. Binational institutions have also been established, such as German University in Cairo (GUC) and German Jordanian University (GJU), as well as offshoots and extensions of German institutions – such as GuTECH Oman, an institute connected to RWTH Aachen.
The increasingly popular dual programme of study and vocational training is not a pure programme of higher education in the traditional sense, since prospective students must also apply – as with an apprenticeship – directly to companies cooperating with the higher-education institution. Successful applicants complete alternating periods of practical training in a company and periods of theoretical study at an institution of higher education or a university of cooperative education. As a rule, the qualification obtained corresponds to a bachelor’s degree combined with a vocational qualification.
The cost of studying
Most German institutions of higher education are state-funded. For bachelor’s and many master’s degree programmes in these institutions, tuition fees either are not charged or amount to no more than €500 per semester. However, certain master’s programmes can have considerably higher tuition fees. Certain privately funded institutions also charge much higher tuition fees. All students at institions of higher education must pay a minor semester fee, part of which covers social facilities provided by the university and, in many cases, a ticket for the local transport network.
International students can apply to many institutions for a scholarship. The scholarship database of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a convenient way to search for various scholarships online. The database not only includes DAAD scholarships, but also those of other funding agencies.
Information on this portal
Informationen im Web
German courses in Germany (German, English, Spanish, French and other languages)
International Placement Service (ZAV)
Informations about studying in Germany (German, English)
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Further information on the admission to German universities and on visas for foreign students (German, English)
Information about the acceptation of foreign educational achievements (German)
The university application service for international students (German, English, Spanish, French, Russian)
Higher Education Compass
Information on Germany’s higher education institutions and on the range of studies (German, English)
Preparatory courses (German, English)
DAAD: German Academic Exchange Service
DAAD brochures and magazines about study and research in Germany (German, English, Spanish)
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Scholarships data bank of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (German)