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Study in Germany

Germany boasts high quality universities, affordable tuition fees and a rich cultural landscape. Its efficient public transport systems mean you will be able to explore all corners of the country, and its location in Europe allows you to adventure further afield outside of the classroom.

Why study abroad in Germany

Bordering with 9 other European countries, Germany is a great location for international students. This is, in part, due to how easy it is to explore Europe from Germany. The country is an incredibly popular destination for both undergraduate and postgraduate level studies, and offers many programmes in a wide variety of fields. As well as this, tuition fees are relatively low or even non-existent at some public universities.

Germany’s higher education institutions are split into three main types; Universität (university), Fachhochschule (university of applied sciences) and Kunstschulen, Musikhochschulen, or Filmschulen (colleges of art, music, or film). Universitäts generally focus on research-driven programmes, whereas Fachhochschule offer a more practical approach to subjects.

As it is a European country, Germany follows ECTS and the Bologna Process. This means that the qualifications you gain at a German university will be recognised by universities and future employers throughout Europe. This is useful if you choose to pursue further studies or look for a job in Germany or any other European country.

In the 21st Century, Germany has established itself as a global powerhouse, and has fostered a welcoming and inclusive attitude. It has a strong economy, a universal healthcare system and environmental protection. With a long and established tradition for culture and tourism, Germany has many interesting and historical attractions that are worth paying a visit! Many of the museums and art galleries throughout the country offer reduced prices for students, which is definitely worth taking advantage of.

Germany has many bustling and exciting cities for international students to explore alongside their studies. These are spread throughout the country, and include the capital city Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Frankfurt. For more information about Germany’s best student cities, take a look at our article about the top 8 German student cities.

About Germany

Continent Europe
Language(s) of tuition English, German
Universities on StudyLink 56 universities
Major Student Cities Berlin (capital), Bremen, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart

Highlighted courses in Germany

International Business Management MSc

Gisma University of Applied Sciences Germany

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Responsible Entrepreneurship & Management BA

Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences Germany

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Brand Management - Berlin/Munich MA

Macromedia University of Applied Sciences Germany

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Product Management BA

CODE University of Applied Sciences Germany

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Leisure & Tourism Management BA

EU Business School, Munich Germany

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Software, Data and Technology BSc

Constructor University Germany

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Search for courses in Germany

Common student questions

Are tuition fees in Germany free?

Many public German universities offer their higher education programmes at a very low price for both domestic and international students. This often means that you do not pay any tuition fees, but pay a very small registration fee each semester. Private universities are allowed to set higher tuition fees, so studying at one of these could cost you a lot more.

Find out more about Public vs Private Universities.

Can I move to Germany as an international student?

Germany is a great place to study as an international student, and is very welcoming of the international community. As an international student, you will likely need to obtain a visa in order enrol at a university in Germany. For more information about this, take a look at our German Student Visas page.

Do I need IELTS to attend university in Germany?

If your first language is not English, or you haven’t previously studied in English, you will need to provide evidence of your language proficiency. Most German universities accept an IELTS or TOEFL certificate.

How to apply

Unlike some countries that have a central application system, Germany does not have a unified platform for all universities. Instead, most universities manage their application processes individually. However, for some courses and universities, you might have to use the ‘UniAssist’ platform – a centralised system for evaluating international qualifications.

Once you have chosen the universities and programs you want to apply to, you need to check the admission requirements. Each university and programme could have specific entry requirements. Typical requirements include recognised academic qualifications, language proficiency (German or English depending on your course), and possibly entrance exams or interviews.

As part of your application, you will need to provide certain documents. These commonly include:

  • Academic Certificates – transcripts, diplomas and other relevant documents. If they aren’t in English or German, a certified translation might be required.
  • Language Proficiency Proof – depending on your course, you may need a TestDaF or DSH score or IELTS/TOEFL scores.
  • CV – an updated CV showcasing your academic and professional journey.
  • Letters of Recommendation – generally from your previous educators or professionals in your field of study.
  • Passport-sized Photographs.
  • Copy of Passport or national ID.
  • Proof of Health Insurance – required for your student visa.
  • Proof of Financial Resources – to show that you are able to sustain yourself throughout your studies.

These documents might need to be translated into German, depending on where you choose to study.

Once you have gathered all of the required documents, you can submit your application and wait for your ‘Zulassungsbescheid’ (admission letter), which is essential for taking the next steps, such as applying for a visa.

When your admission letter has arrived, you can move onto the next step of your journey to studying in Germany, and apply for a student visa.

Top tips for a successful application

  • Research Well in Advance – start the application process early. This gives you plenty of time to address any unexpected issues that may arise and feel more relaxed throughout.
  • Meet Language Requirements – if you aren’t already proficient in the language your program is taught in, you might want to consider taking a language course. Some universities will offer these to their incoming international students.
  • Stay Organised – if you are applying to more than one university, keep a separate folder for each application. This allows you to check back over the documents easily, and prevents any unnecessary mix-ups.
  • Engage in Extracurricular Activities – German universities value holistic development. A well rounded profile could set you apart from your peers. However, it’s not all about doing things to look good on your CV, you should also enjoy your activities.
  • Seek Advice – connect with current students or alumni from the universities you are applying to. Their insights can be useful for your application process.
  • Proofread – before submitting your application, ensure that all of your documents are proofread and free from errors. It might be helpful to ask someone else to take a look at your documents as well.
  • Follow Up – after sending your application, it’s recommended that you follow up with the university after a few weeks to ensure that they have received your application. This is also a good time to check to see if they have any further questions, or require any other documents or information.

Tuition fees and living costs

Germany uses the Euro (€) as its currency.

Public universities in Germany have not charged tuition fees for undergraduate students, including international students, since they were abolished in 2014. Students are required to pay a nominal semester or registration fee, which normally ranges from €150 to €300. This covers student services, public transportation tickets, and other benefits.

Private universities and some specialised courses (such as graduate courses) do charge tuition fees, especially for international students. The fees can range from €3,000 to €20,000 per year, depending on the course you choose and university you study at.

There are several aspects of living costs you will need to consider as an international student:

  • Accommodation – rent can be a large monthly expense. Student shared accommodation tends to be the cheapest option, and can cost between €200 and €400 per month. Private accommodation can range from €300 to €700 per month, depending on the city you are living in.
  • Food and Groceries – students can expect to spend around €200 to €250 per month on groceries. Making use of university catering options can help keep the cost down, whilst eating out at restaurants will make your food expenses add up quickly.
  • Transport – many universities include public transportation tickets in their semester fee. This allows students to travel within the city and wider region freely. Otherwise, monthly tickets can range between €25 and €75. Germany values its younger citizens, and offers generous student discounts for public transport, as well as other things.
  • Leisure – activities like going to the cinema, sightseeing, travelling, and other hobbies can cost more, but student discounts are very common in Germany. Make sure you check to see if you are eligible for any discounts.

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone in Germany, and is crucial for international students to ensure that they can access required health services. There are two types of health insurance available:

  • Public health insurance – costs for students under the age of 30 of before the 14th semester of study are roughly €80 to €100 per month.
  • Private health insurance – costs can vary, but some plans start from around €30 per month for basic coverage. It’s important to check the benefits, terms and conditions for each private plan.

Additional Expenses

As well as tuition fees, living costs and administration costs, you also need to consider any additional costs that come along with studying abroad in Germany as an international student. These can include:

  • Books and study materials – depending on your course, you might need to allocate between €20 and €50 per month.
  • TV and radio licence fee – if you have a television, radio or computer with internet access, you might have to pay a broadcasting licence fee of around €18 per month.

While the cost of studying in Germany is substantially lower than in many other countries, especially considering the extremely low tuition fees at public universities, living expenses can vary depending on your lifestyle and city of residence. Cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg or Frankfurt are generally more expensive than smaller cities such as Hannover, Stuttgart, Bremen or Dortmund.

It’s also worth noting that international students are allowed to work part-time, which can help offset some living expenses. On a student visa, students from the EU/EEA can work unlimited hours, while non EU/EEA students can work 120 full days or 240 half days in a year.

Student visa

International students who want to study in Germany will need to get a valid student visa or residence permit. If you are from an EU/EEA country (or Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein), you are exempt from this and do not need a visa.

For more information about applying for a student visa or residence permit, see our Germany Student Visa Guide.

Language requirements

The official language of Germany is German.

For many international students, the idea of studying abroad in Germany can be exciting yet daunting, especially considering the language barrier. However, Germany’s dedication to global education and welcoming international students means that there has been an increase in English taught programmes.

Here is what you should know about English taught programs in Germany:

  • Bachelors Degrees – whilst there are plenty of degrees taught in English, they are fewer in number. Most of these programs are in fields such as business, engineering and the sciences.
  • Masters and Research Degrees – there is a wider range of programmes at the masters and doctoral levels. Many universities offer English taught options in a variety of fields, such as the humanities, STEM, business and social sciences.
  • Course Directories – platforms like DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) have comprehensive databases where students can search for English taught courses across different German universities.

Language Proficiency Proof

If you choose to study in English, but it isn’t your first language, you will likely be required to prove your language proficiency. There are several tests that are accepted by most German universities, the most common are the IELTS and TOEFL.

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) – universities typically ask for a score of 6.0 or 6.5 or above for most programmes. However, you should always check the specific requirements for each course.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – the required scores vary, but most programmes ask for a score of at least 80 (internet based test).
  • Other English Certificates – some universities might also accept other English certifications such as Cambridge Advanced or Pearson Test of English.

Exceptions

If you come from a country where English is the official or national language, or you’ve competed prior education in English, some universities may not require you to prove your language proficiency. However, this isn’t universal, and you should always make sure to check the requirements for each individual programme.

Where to Take the Tests

Both IELTS and TOEFL are globally recognised tests with centres around the world, as well as offering online testing:

  • IELTS is managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English. You can find test centres in most major cities worldwide. The British Council’s website provides information about test dates, locations, and registration.
  • TOEFL is managed by ETS (Educational Testing Service). You can register for the test, choose your location, and find dates on their website.

Consideration of German Language Skills

Whilst it is possible to study in Germany in English, having basic German skills is highly advantageous:

  • Daily Life – while many Germans speak English, especially in larger cities, knowing German can make daily tasks and socialising easier.
  • Part-time Jobs – if you want to work whilst you are studying (if permitted on your visa), some jobs might require basic German proficiency.
  • German Language Courses – many universities offer preparatory courses in the German language for international students. These are often free, and can be useful if you plan to stay in Germany for work or further studies.

Studying abroad in Germany in English is not only feasible, but is also increasingly common given Germany’s push to attract international talent. However, ensuring you meet the language proficiency requirements is crucial to ensure that you can gain admission to a university. Additionally, even if your programme is taught in English, embracing and immersing yourself in the German language can enrich your experience and open more doors for your future.

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