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Undergraduate Studies in Germany

Germany is a highly-ranked and very popular study destination for international students because of its research community shaped by German universities and world-class education. Germany stands as a promising location for overseas education in terms of offering quality of education at an affordable price for international students, low living costs, and availability of scholarships. Also, it offers a practice-oriented education.

The top 5 universities in Germany according to the 2023 QS World University Rankings are:

Technical University of Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians University, University of Heidelberg, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University.

German universities are grouped into two categories.

a.) Universities/ Technical Universities:

The term “Universität” or university is used for research universities that offer a broad range of subjects (like arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, economics and business administration, law, medicine). These universities mainly teach theoretical knowledge and emphasize research. Technical Universities (Technische Universität, TU) is a subpart of Universities that offer specialized courses focused on engineering disciplines, with the spectrum ranging from architecture to industrial engineering. The engineering sciences are their specialist area: be it mechanical engineering, civil engineering, metallurgy or materials science – in these disciplines they are first-class.The universities of technology have the right to award doctorates. Example- Technical University of Munich.

b.) Universities of Applied Sciences

Universities of Applied Sciences have a practice-oriented academic approach. They focus more on professional application than on theory. Their range of subjects comprises specific fields such as technology, economics, social work or media. In the practical phases, students at universities of applied sciences complete work placements, longer project phases or entire practical semesters, often in businesses. The Universities of Applied Sciences can only award students with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

Example: Berlin School of Economics and Law, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.

What undergraduate courses are available in Germany?

International students can have their pick from the 178 bachelors degree programs offered in English. These programs range from STEM programs to Fine Arts and Humanities degree programs.

Do I need to know German to study in German Universities?

International students who have just completed their 10+2 and wish to study in Germany need to have a B1 level of German proficiency to enroll in a Studienkolleg. A Studienkolleg is a foundation course that students need to complete to give the “Feststellungsprüfung” (university qualification exam). Students enrolled in a Studienkolleg can only take the subject combination they had during their high school. The number of Studienkollegs in English medium is low. One example of an English taught Studienkolleg is The Freshman Programme of FH Aachen, Foundation year at Jacobs university. After completing the Studienkolleg and passing the Feststellungsprüfung the students can then apply to the university.

There are some exceptions to this rule.

a.) Completing IB, GCE or similar internationally recognised examination with the requisite subject combination.

b.) Getting a rank in IIT Joint Entrance Examination (Advance) for admission to courses in technology and natural sciences.

c.) Successful completion of one academic year at a higher education institution in the home country in the relevant subject field.

Do I need to take an English language proficiency test?

English language proficiency tests are a must for the international students who wish to study in German Universities.There are no exceptions to this rule.

English proficiency tests like TOEFL, PTE, Cambridge English Test and IELTS exams are widely accepted by German universities. Universities require a minimum score for these tests.

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Technical University of Munich requires language skills at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for their bachelor’s degree in Aerospace.

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences requires English language skills at level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for their bsc in Mechanical Engineering.

What are the costs?

International students from Non EU/ EEA countries are required to pay the tuition fees.

a.) Public universities: There are many state-funded universities in Germany which are tuition free for students. One example of a state-funded university which charges no tuition fees: Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace from the Technical University Munich. TUM just charges approx.145 EUR per semester as an enrollment fee.

b.) Private Universities: Private universities in Germany charge high tuition fees. So, the maximum cost for 3 years of study could be as high as 60,000 EUR (approx USD 64,956 as per 2023). One example of a private university: University of Europe for Applied Sciences.

What are the application deadlines?

Germany has two intakes: the Winter intake and the Spring intake. International students from non EU/ EEA countries who are still pursuing their high school are unable to apply to Germany for the Spring intake as they require their final high school results to apply. So they should apply for the Winter intake after receiving their high school results. Students who have completed their high school last year can apply for the spring intake.


Application Deadline

Winter Intake (September/ October)

Mid July

Spring Intake (March/ April)

Mid January

What documents do I require?

a.) An officially certified copy of your higher education entrance qualification (Xth and XIIth grade).

b.) An overview of your subjects and grades (with official translation).

c.) Certified copies of language certificates.

Do I need to submit my documents separately to each university or is there a common portal?

In Germany there is a common portal for international students. This portal is called uni.assist. You need to submit all your documents just once.

Applying directly through the college website- Some universities require students to apply directly through their university portal.

The application fee for the evaluation of your Educational certificates and the checking of further Admission criteria by uni-assist costs 75 EUR for your first desired course of study in an application semester. Each additional desired course of study in the same semester costs 30 EUR.

What are the opportunities of higher education in Germany?

After graduating with a bachelor degree from Germany, international students will have all the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in a globalized world. The vast practical experience you gained during your studies, will support you in starting your professional career.

A Master’s programme enables you to gain advanced knowledge and engage in experience-based learning. There are more than 1200 English-language Masters degrees to choose from.The specialized knowledge and experience you will gain in a Master are assets in the job market that help you climb the career ladder. The skills and experiences you obtained through your studies, internships, and study-related secondary jobs are your currency in a rapidly evolving labor market.

Prestigious research organizations, universities and industry collaborate across many sectors, not only enabling the German economy to remain innovative and competitive, but enabling you, as a phd graduate, to find jobs and fellowships in cutting-edge research projects.

What are the job opportunities?

German universities, non-university research institutes and companies offer young international researchers excellent opportunities to gain research experience and qualify for the next step up the career ladder.

When it comes to education and job placement, Germany is Europe’s powerhouse due to its great economy, good universities and niche as well as large very successful companies. While there are many well known multinational companies like SAP, BMW, DHL etc you can also look for work in local german companies.

German universities combine research and studies and have been the scene for ground-breaking discoveries such as the printing press, computer and mp3 that have become an inseparable part of our modern lives. They offer excellent quality of education, low or no tuition fees, career opportunities after graduation and above all social security, making Germany a wonderful place to study.

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About the Author: 

Shubhi Joshi is an Editor at Scholarly. She has a B.A. in English and a M.A. from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. She has an interest in history and current affairs. An avid blogger, Shubhi loves to write about higher education and self-improvement.

Scholarly helps ambitious international students locate the right universities and courses to pursue their education. We provide college credit courses and research papers to students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop and present their best version to their dream university. Our recommendations are based on the student’s field of interest, academic performance, financial resources and career plans. We provide test preparation classes from the best teachers to help improve scores and thus the prospects for admission. We also assist students with their visa and loan applications to reduce the anxiety associated with international education.

For additional questions about international education, choice of majors, university selection or admission strategies please visit the Questions section of our website.

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