Study in Germany

Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Feb 17, 2022 8:04 PM IST

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    Courses Offered in Germany
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    International Students


Undoubtedly, Germany is one of the most popular destinations for higher education in the world. Every year, German universities claim top positions in the QS World University Rankings. There are over 400 higher learning institutes in Germany. Many of these universities/ institutes offer around 1,000 English-taught study programmes to ensure that international students do not face any difficulty in pursuing various courses in the country.

If you are planning to study in Germany, you can expect world-class education delivered by reputed faculty members and industry leaders. Established among the worlds higher education elites, Germany prides itself on several aspects including low tuition fees (sometimes free as well), extensive financial support, more than 2,000 diverse programmes across 68 subjects, high quality of life and good employment scope after graduation. Of them, the most sought after fields of study include Engineering, Business & Management, Humanities, Mathematics & Computer Science and Physical & Life Sciences.

In the year 2020, the country welcomed a total of 302,157 international students with 20,562 students representing India. Apart from India, other major countries of origin include China, Austria, Russia, Turkey and Cameroon. With 162,392 applications, inbound students in the country mostly enrol themselves in postgraduate courses, compared with 113,730 applications for undergraduate courses.

60% of International Students Want to Remain in Germany After Graduation: Survey Germany 'Becomes 4th Nation with Largest Number of International Degree Students'

International students can also explore a good number of job opportunities after graduation/ post-graduation. With one of the lowest rates of unemployment in Europe, the scope of employment is high for international students who want to settle down in Germany after their studies.

Talking of life in the country in general, located at the heart of Europe with above 83 million people, Germany boasts of a wealth of culture. From nearly 5,000 museums, 8,000 libraries, 44 World Heritage Sites to diverse festivals, exhibitions, among others, the country is filled with excitement and a huge scope for exploration.

Int'l Students in Germany by Field of Study

Admission Process to Study in Germany Student Living Cost in Germany Germany Visa Guide for International Students

Wish to Study in Germany?

COVID-19 Response

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to not just dramatic loss of human life across the world but also posed a risk to the world of education. Adhering to the various safety and health practices put forward by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the German government has also established certain guidelines with respect to current and prospective international students.

  • All students from Covid-19 risk countries, such as India, are required to register on before entering Germany, following which a 10-day home quarantine is compulsory.

  • In order to reduce the quarantine time, one must submit a negative Covid-19 test, taken not earlier than 5 days after arrival, to the local Health Authority. Violation of the same will result in a fine of up to 25,000.

  • All the people in Germany have been advised to follow the necessary public health guidelines including covering of mouth and nose in any public place, quick disposal of used tissues, using sanitiser, avoiding shaking hands and more.

  • If a visa for studies issued by the Embassy or one of Indias German Consulates, has expired during lockdown, one can submit an application to get it reissued through VFS Visa Application Centres in New Delhi by the end of this year. After 2020, a new visa application with all necessary documents should be submitted.

Scholarships for International Students to Study in Germany Job Opportunities in Germany for International Students

Education System in Germany

Offering over 18,000 degrees in different disciplines and fields, Universities in Germany have become a popular choice among international students across the world. Along with the option of choosing from a vast variety of courses and programmes, students will also have the opportunity to choose from different types of Universities. 

German higher education institutes offer programmes at different degree levels including Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate. Some institutes also offer specialised programmes to students as well. In most cases, more and more international students choose German institute due to the quality of education and the minimal tuition fees as well.

International students travelling to Germany choose from a number of programmes, offered at different levels. Among these levels, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate levels are commonly chosen by students from different parts of the globe.


The first level of education that international students can apply to, in Germany, is Bachelors. At this level, students will have numerous choices in disciplines and subjects. Under a bachelors degree, students will receive the basic training and education in the different fields during a span of 6 to 8 semesters.

On completion of the programme, graduates will either be able to start their careers in their respective fields or even pursue higher education, i.e. masters. In Germany, you will be able to pursue programmes in a BA (Bachelor of Arts) for Humanities and Arts field, Bachelors of Science (BS) for more technical and scientific areas of education and B.Eng for engineering studies.


A popular choice among international students is the programmes at the Master’s level. Most students choose Masters level education as a means to increase and expand their knowledge over certain aspects of their respective fields.

To pursue a Masters programme in Germany, all aspirants are required to have completed their Bachelor studies in the relevant fields and meet the eligibility criteria for the programme they wish to pursue. In Germany, students aspiring to pursue a programme at the Masters level will be able to do so under a Master of Arts (MA) degree for humanities and social science programmes, a Master of Science (MS) degree for more scientific and technical courses or a Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) degree for more engineering-oriented courses.


The third popular level of education opted by international students in Germany includes PhDs. under a Doctoral programme, applicants will be asked to write a research paper on any specific subject under their respective fields.

In Germany, you will be able to follow one of the two commonly opted Doctorate styles. A traditional style Doctoral programme where you will work on your dissertation alone and will be supervised by a faculty member from the university you choose. Here, you will be required to find a supervisor for your PhD studies beforehand. Another option allows you to pursue your doctorate studies under several supervisors during a fixed period of 3 years.

Also Read: Top Countries Open to International Students' Admission Amid COVID-19

Types of Universities in Germany

There are a few different types of Universities or educational institutions in Germany that offer higher education to international students. Some of these include:

1) Universities:

Universities in Germany are recognised for their part in imparting theoretical knowledge. The course curriculum is highly academic in nature and can include different subject groups as well. Universities are also known as Technical Universities or Technische Universitat. If you are looking to pursue a doctoral degree in Germany, you will probably be directed to these higher education institutions.

2) Universities of Applied Sciences:

Aimed at offering practice-oriented programmes, Universities of Applied Sciences focuses on the practical application of theories rather than the theories themselves. Students are trained to adapt to professional environments. If you wish to study programmes in Technology, Economics, Medicine or Social Work, you will most likely be directed towards the Universities of Applied Sciences. The course curriculum at these universities usually offers a semester or two (depending on the course) completely focusing on job placements and longer projects under different German organisations.

3) Colleges of Art, Film and Music:

For those interested in investing in their artistic side in Germany, Colleges of Arts, Film and Music will be the right choice for you. These colleges will offer higher education programmes in areas such as architecture, journalism, music, visual arts, screenwriting and more. However, unlike other higher education institutions, you will be required to attempt a particular entrance test. It should also be noted that you will be required to have a proficiency in German as most colleges tend to teach in German.

4) Dual Universities:

For those looking to develop their professional skills while studying at a University in Germany, then looking for Dual Universities may be the right option. Here, while studying at a University of Applied Sciences, you can opt for a cooperative study programme that will link your higher education studies to into a more professional training to ease you into your professional career afterwards. You will be able to choose a cooperative study programme from Universities of Applied Sciences, Universities of Cooperative Education and Individual Universities as well.

5) State and Public Universities:

When choosing a university to start your higher education journey, you will have to decide between State, Public, Private and Church-run Universities. While all the universities offer an impeccable education experience with similar quality of education, the majority of the universities in the country are financed by the state. Most students opt for public universities as there is practically no tuition fee. Comparatively, private universities tend to charge a hefty fee for the programmes.

Also Read: Study in Germany: Timeline for Summer Intake 2021

List of German Higher Education Organisations

In Germany, several higher education organisations such as the Ministry of Higher Education, accreditation agencies, university associations, qualification authorities, and other regional, local, national and international higher education-related organisations. These may include the following:

Agency for Quality Assurance through Accreditation of Study Programmes

Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge im Bereich Gesundheit und Soziales

Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst

Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaften, der Informatik, der Naturwissenschaften und der Mathematik

Akkreditierungs-, Certifizierungs- und Qualitätssicherungsinstitut e.V.

Conseil Européen pour les Langues

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Deutschland

Behörde für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Gleichstellung, Hamburg

Deutsch-Französische Hochschule - Université Franco-Allemande

Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation

European Consortium of Innovative Universities

Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst

Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Kultusministerium des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst

Ministerium für Bildung und Kultur, Saarland

Ministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur des Landes Schleswig-Holstein

Wissenschaftsrat, Deutschland

Stiftung zur Akkreditierung von Studiengängen in Deutschland

Thüringer Ministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur

Senatskanzlei Wissenschaft und Forschung, Berlin

TU9 German Institutes of Technology

Note: This list is not exhaustive.

Learn About Admission Requirements Of Top German Universities!

Curriculum in Germany

Undergraduate Education in Germany:

Most Bachelor’s degrees in Germany take three to four years to complete. They are usually taught in the German language although a growing number of courses are currently offered with English as the medium of instruction.

Medical Education: Degrees would last for as long as 6 years and 3 months leading to a German state exam. Medical institutes in Germany usually do not offer scholarships, have very competitive admission and demanding training. It is recommended only for those who have an outstanding academic record.

Law:  Courses leading to the German state exam create lawyers, judges and prosecutors in Germany according to German law. Education is offered only in the German language and the courses are designed with rigorous work which has led to high failure rates. It is not recommended for international students.

Journalism/Mass Communication: Delivered in the English language, these courses are aimed at the understanding of media, its role in a given society and how it a part of political sciences. It will involve a lot of practical training and collaboration with leading journalists in the country. It is considered unrealistic for international students who do not have a good command of the German language.

Education/Social Work: Subjects associated with this area of study are closely related to German society, culture and law which demand practical work with clients.

All Subjects: Students may find undergraduate courses at universities along with at universities of applied sciences. While universities of applied sciences offer excellent training for leading positions in the corporate sector, traditional universities offer a stronger emphasis on theoretical knowledge.

Postgraduate Education in Germany:

The standard period of study for a Master’s degree is usually two to four semesters. It serves to enhance knowledge in a particular field from a prior undergraduate degree or to specialise in a particular area of study. Postgraduate courses in Germany prepare students for academic work at an institution of higher education wherein opting for a doctoral degree is also possible.

German Master’s degree may broadly be classified into consecutive and non-consecutive. The former follows directly from a related undergraduate degree (for instance MSc in Chemistry from BSc in Chemistry). A non-consecutive master’s degree refers to a more specialised subject area that may require practical or professional experience along with an undergraduate degree.

Pursuing a Master’s degree at a Research university would involve a lot of core seminars and lectures, paired with practical work in a lab or by self-study or reading. A more oriented program at a university of applied sciences might include hands-on training and/or workshops by industry experts.

A program at a German College of Art, Film and Music will focus on the development of practical skills and proficiencies in the area.

Doctoral Education in Germany:

Doctoral studies at German universities require students to write a complete scientific research paper on a specific subject, known as a thesis. The duration of one’s doctoral research would depend on the research topic, at the end of which a PhD is awarded.

It may either be based on the traditional model or the structured model. The traditional model refers to free, self-determined work on a thesis, supervised by a professor which will last for around two to five years.

A structured doctorate is often limited to three years with fixed working periods and several supervising researchers.

Grading Scale in Germany

All German universities (except for law schools) grade students on a scale of 1 to 5: Refer to the table below for a clear idea of the same:

Grade Range




Sehr Gut (Very Good/Excellent)

Exceptional achievement


Gut (Good)

Above-average achievement


Befriedigend (Satisfactory)

Acceptable achievement


Ausreichend (Sufficient)

The lowest level of achievement at which a qualification can still be awarded

Why Study in Germany?

Choosing Germany as your study abroad destination can be as a result of many different factors. Some of these factors may include practically free higher education, globally recognised programmes, plenty of work opportunities for international students and other factors. Here, we shall discuss what makes Germany a brilliant study abroad destination for you.

  • Minimal or No Tuition Fees: Most State-run or public universities in Germany offer education to students free of charge, practically. Apart from a few administrative charges, students do not have to pay any tuition fees. However, Private universities may charge their students a tuition fee according to the degree, even so, tuition fees charged are comparatively cheaper than most other EU states.

  • Variety of Options: German Higher education institutions offer international students a variety of options in terms of the degrees and courses available. Most of the courses offered by the institutions are taught in English, therefore, international students need not be proficient in the German language.

  • Globally-Recognised Programmes: Studying a programme offered by a German Higher Education Institution is recognised by Universities and Organisations across the world. Therefore, graduating from a German institution will help your future prospects in your respective fields.

  • Comparatively Inexpensive Living: Among the many EU states, the cost of living in Germany is comparatively inexpensive. With amenities such as public transport, shared accommodation and much more, Germany becomes an affordable option for international students.

  • Globally Ranked Universities: Germany is one of the top countries with Universities that are highly ranked in some of the top-ranking institutions. 10 Universities in the country are ranked within the top 200 universities in the world by the QS Rankings. Institutions such as Technische Universitat Munchen, Humboldt University of Berlin, Freie Universitat Berlin and more.

Also Read: Top Universities Abroad to Study Physics and Astronomy

On-Campus Student Life, Athletics & Extra-Curricular Activities at German Universities

Germany attracts international students from all across the world due to several reasons including excellence in research and teaching, job opportunities, safe and economically stable location, close links between theory and practice, beautiful landscape, a wide range of courses as well as a great campus life experience. German universities have a multicultural environment where an international student is likely to meet mates of several nationalities including Portuguese, French, Lithuanian, Turkish, and many more.  

While many may believe language could be a barrier at German universities, professors do speak fluent English and have advanced proficiency in the language. In general, as well, most German people will be able to interact with you in English although not fluently.

Universities in Germany focus on going beyond classroom learning and organising several events where students are encouraged to join clubs, engage in sports and attend student parties.

Playing sports in Germany means a number of classes based on any sport that one may be interested in. These may include sports such as fencing, soccer, argentine tango, yoga, swimming, basketball as well as ultimate frisbee, pole dance and bouldering that are not really popular in the country.

Extracurricular activities play a huge role in Germany’s university culture. Students can participate in a wide range of groups that are closely associated with not only academic subjects but also political parties, music, athletics, theatre, foreign languages and more.

Cost of Studying in Germany

As stated above, Germany is a relatively inexpensive country to live in and pursue higher education. With the option of choosing between public and private universities, the following table will provide you with an understanding of what your daily or monthly expenses would look like.

Tuition Fees

Accommodation Costs (monthly)

Living Expenses (monthly)

Overall Costs (monthly)

Public Universities - €250 - €300

Private Universities - €20,000 - €35,000

€300 - €700

€350 - €900

€750 - €1715

Want to Know More Details?

FAQs on Study in Germany in 2023

What are the best places in Germany to study?

Some of the best places to study in Germany for an international student include Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Dresden and many more. These places are not just great tourist attractions but are also home to some of the best universities in Germany and the world.

What degrees can I get from German universities?

German universities offer a range of degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as doctoral degrees. You can earn degrees such as BA, B.Sc/BS, B.Eng at the undergraduate level and MA, MSc/MS, M.Eng, MBA at the graduate level.

Are all universities in Germany free of cost for international students?

No. While all public universities across Germany officially removed all tuition costs, even for international students, private higher education institutions still charge tuition costs, however, they are still comparatively cheaper than other universities in the EU. It should be noted that students will still be required to pay administrative fees that usually does not go over 250 euros per semester.

What are the most popular courses in Germany?

With over 2,000 diverse programmes under 68 subjects, some of the highly popular courses in Germany that international students have chosen include Engineering, Business and Management, Humanities, Mathematics and Computer Science and Physical and Life Science, and many more.

How good is the student life in Germany?

With world-renowned universities and courses, student life in Germany boasts of great student life, as students can balance their studies and daily life equally without being stressed out. With numerous locations to explore, Germany can be a great study destination for those looking to earn a highly valuable qualification while also enjoying their stay in the process.

How long does medical education in Germany take?

Generally, most medical courses at the undergraduate level offered in Germany take around 6 years and 3 months to be completed, which then leads to a German state exam.

How many semesters is undergraduate study in Germany?

In general, depending on the programme you have chosen to study in Germany, your course will require you to clear 6-8 semesters, i.e. averaging 2 semesters per year.

Do I need to learn the German Language to study in Germany?

No, if you have a good grasp of the English language and can valid proof of the same, you can pass by without having any grasp of the German language. However, it is still advisable to at least have the basic knowledge and understanding of the German language, so that you can still go by daily interactions with the local community.

What type of higher education institutions in Germany can I apply to?

International students have the option of choosing from Universities - also known as Technical Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences, Colleges of Art, Film and Music, Dual Universities and State and Public Universities.

Why should I study in Germany?

Excluding the free public universities, even for international students, and being an elite among the different study abroad destinations, Germany has been home to some of the best universities in the world, that offer a sea of courses, 18,000 different disciplines and fields of study to choose from.

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