Colourful, international, diverse: Germany’s student landscape truly has a lot to offer. If you want to study in Germany you can choose from among 415 universities. Basically, there are three kinds: applicants who consider themselves scientific and analytical normally choose one of the 106 universities, while those with stronger practical skills find a suitable course at one of the 207 universities of applied sciences. And for students with creative talents there are 51 universities specializing in film, art or music. Moreover, there are six teacher-training colleges, 16 theological colleges and 29 public administration colleges. Together they offer some 18,000 courses, of which about 1,400 have an international focus and are held in a foreign language.
Word has spread among the world student community that Germany is a great place to study. After the United States and Great Britain, Germany is the most popular choice. In a global comparison of universities four German universities ranked in the top 100 in 2015, and seven made it to the top 200. The universities of the “excellence initiative” are the lighthouses of the university scene. Graduates of German universities are very sought after by employers, especially the scientists, engineers, and doctors among them.
Those that do not speak much German generally manage well with English in everyday life as many people speak the language. However, apart from the international courses, German is often used in lectures and seminars. This means you need to prove you have a good knowledge of German to be admitted to certain subjects. Which is why many students from abroad first take a preparatory or intensive language course at a university. Good German courses abroad are also offered by the 159 Goethe Institutes in 98 countries.
Provided you pass the relevant exams you will be entitled to use the title Bachelor or Master at the end of your studies. A Bachelor’s course generally lasts three years and is modular in structure. For a Master’s degree you have to study an additional two to four semesters. Incidentally, in Germany an academic year consists of two semesters. The degrees are recognised internationally. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) means qualifications within the European Union education system are readily comparable. This makes things easier should you move to another university. And for those with greater academic ambitions there are attractive options for doing a PhD.
There is a clear emphasis on internationality at German universities as increasing numbers of young people are flocking to Germany to study. Of the 2.7 million students in 2014 around 301,300 were foreign students. Today, every German university has an International Office. The latter provides students from abroad with tips and information on such important topics as residence requirements, accommodation, and life in Germany. Moreover, German students are cosmopolitan and keen to spend time abroad. Since 2013 the number of students going abroad to study for a semester or do an internship has risen from 32 to 37 percent. In particular the EU’s Erasmus+ programme helps many students gain an international perspective. If you are interested in studying in Germany you can contact DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. It coordinates exchanges between students and academics, is committed to the internationalisation of universities, and awards many interesting scholarships.
Germany has an excellent education system in which it invests heavily. The amount rose to a good 120 billion Euros in 2014. By contrast, studying in Germany is not too expensive. And typically students attending state universities must not pay fees.