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A popular study destination

Germany is a very popular destination for students from all over the world – and the range of foreign-language and international study courses is growing.
Beliebtes Studienland
© Sina Ettmer/

Germany is the most popular non-English-speaking host country for international students. After the USA, the UK and Australia, Germany comes fourth worldwide in terms of numbers of enrolled foreign students. More than 302,000 students at institutions of higher education in Germany gained their high school diplomas abroad. Today, more than twice as many foreign students attend German universities than did in 1996, with the largest numbers coming from China, India and Syria.

Diverse offering, no study fees

At the same time, German universities have substantially expanded their range of foreign-language and international study courses: More than 1,600 courses are now taught in English and approximately 750 courses offer international dual qualifications. For international PhD students, the sheer variety of structured doctorate study offerings is particularly attractive. The fact that most courses are tuition-free is another advantage of German universities.

Around three quarters of foreign students study at mainline universities, while a quarter study at universities of applied sciences, primarily for a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree. The most popular subjects are the different branches of engineering, followed by law, economics and the social sciences.

Students from the Asia-Pacific region formed the largest group of foreign students in 2019 with 30 percent. The regions of west Europe, North Africa and the Near East (each with around 18 percent) are also strongly represented. The primary reasons behind choosing to study in Germany are the quality of life and the expectation of improved job prospects.

In 2019, around 91 percent of foreign students planned to gain a degree in Germany. Almost 38 percent of graduates was awarded a Bachelor’s degree that year, with about the same percentage acquiring a Master’s.