Germany is a top destination for international students intending to study abroad. The country has some of the best universities in Europe.
Germany's tuition-free education system for post-secondary courses in a public-funded institution provides an opportunity for international students to obtain high standard higher education.
The reasons are many why Germany is such a great choice as your subsequent study abroad destination.
The German government offers free or subsidized degree courses. Students will also find that Germany is more affordable than most other European countries, with average living costs running at approximately EUR. 500 per month.
The education system in Germany is one of the best in Europe, and the post-secondary level education is accessible to international students as well.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about studying in Germany, including how to plan your degree path, choose an area of study, and what life is like as a student here.
What is Free Education in Germany?
Public universities in Germany offer free education to all local and international students.
That means students outside the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) can also study in public universities without paying tuition fees.
German federal government regulates the number of seats available per year for international students, and funding to universities depends on the number of applicants they accept.
Fees exist only in one state, but these are also regulated and generally cheaper than in other European countries.
The Cost of Studying in Germany?
Public universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees from non-EU international students for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
Some recognized organizations offer international students having excellent academic backgrounds, including the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (DAAD) and the Hertie Foundation.
How Do I Study at a University in Germany?
One should meet three main requirements to study in a public university in Germany:
- Should be secondary education completed with at least 50% marks.
- Must be able to provide the required level of language skills or a commitment to do that.
- You should be able to maintain yourself while in Germany.
Your first step is to decide on the area of study you want to pursue at university. A Bachelor's degree takes three years to complete, while a Master's degree lasts for two years.
Ph.D. degrees usually last around four years, depending on the subject you choose. A Doctorate isn't necessary to find work in Germany; however, it will be helpful if you want to pursue an academic career.
There are different types of universities in Germany: Universities (Universitäten) are higher education institutions that award academic degrees up to Ph.D.
They offer theoretical and research-based degree courses. Technical Universities (Universitäten) also award academic degrees through Ph.D., but they focus more on practical science applications, such as engineering or the sciences.
Academies of art are similar to universities, but they focus on fine art and other creative subjects.
International schools, which prepare students for higher education in Germany or abroad, are another form of tertiary education in Germany.
The next step is to decide what area you want to study at university.
There are many different courses available in Germany, and it's possible to learn anything from business administration to fashion design.
Universities often have Diploma or Magister programs that combine Bachelor and Master degrees.
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How do I Choose my Desired Field of Study in Germany?
When choosing your major (Fachrichtung), your first step should be contacting the university department (Fachbereich) directly and asking for advice.
The next step is to find out about entry requirements: Some degrees need specific qualifications or a certain grade point average (Note: German grades are on a scale of 1-6, with one as the best).
Remember that your Fachserie (primary subject) is your overall grade point average in German education.
How Much Does it Cost to Study at a German University?
Public universities in Germany started offering free education. Since 2014 for students from within the EU/EEA and Switzerland to pursue an undergraduate and postgraduate degree.
How Do I Apply to Go to University in Germany?
There are three main stages to applying to study at a university in Germany:
- Ensure you fulfill the entry requirements and include your Fachserie (primary subject) when completing an application.
- Ask for advice from the university department to see if there are specific entrance exams or tests, such as the Feststellungsprüfung.
- Apply directly to the appropriate institution by sending documents including your CV, academic records and certificates, passport/ID photos, and possibly a cover letter.
Make sure you apply for the right course: Some courses may require specific exams and grades in school subjects (such as physics or mathematics), while others state-specific grade point averages on their websites.
Check the language requirements if your university requires proficiency in German or English - you may do this by taking a language test like the DSH (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang) or TestAS.
How Do I Apply for University in Germany as an International Student?
When applying, international students will need to provide:
- Academic records and certificates.
- Transcripts of grades.
- Passport size photo.
- Cover letter.
- Proof of language skills.
Can I Work Part-time While I Study?
Yes, but students should make sure studying does not affect their ability to work part-time.
The law states that students must take a break from studies for at least two months during the year.
What's the Difference Between Public and Private Universities?
Generally speaking, public universities are cheaper for students because they don't have to pay tuition fees.
They typically offer more courses and career opportunities because they are often less focused on research than private universities.
Private universities also offer more short courses and workshops, making them popular with international students looking to improve their German.
Some of these courses may not lead to academic credit, so students need to check with the university before enrolling.
How Can I Find Out More About Studying in Germany?
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the leading portal for international students studying at a university in Germany.
It offers advice on academic preparatory programs, visa requirements, and funding opportunities.
The German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) has information on finding a course or program at a German university, living costs, and academics.
What Else do I Need to Prepare?
One should start learning the language before applying but make sure it is advanced (B2).
You can take a language test such as Deutschtest für den Hochschulzugang (TestAS) or Studienprüfung Deutsch als Fremdsprache (DSH) to show the university how far you've come.
Your local Goethe Institute can help with this, and there are also language courses offered at universities such as Deutsche Welle and IELTS.
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The German higher education system is one of the most popular and respected in Europe.
It offers a wide variety of courses, including those taught entirely in English for international students.
As an individual who wants to study abroad, you have many options for looking at a university in Germany.
But first, you need to decide if public or private universities are best suited for your ambitions as well as your budget.
In addition, there can be some confusion about what type of degree program would work best with your interests and goals (e.g., Fachrichtung).
We hope this blog post has been informative on how to go about applying for a place at a German University, so make sure to read through all our posts before you decide.
There are many different universities with different courses and programs, so you should research which ones offer what you want to study.
Once you have a list of potential universities, read through their entry requirements and language skills websites.
Then go for it – don't be afraid to ask questions about the application process and how much studying at a university in Germany will cost!
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