Study in Germany

Germany has emerged as an ideal study abroad destination in recent years as it assures world-class education at low tuition fees, hosts popular universities offering a wide range of courses in English and offers excellent student support. While pursuing higher education in Germany, among other things, one can enjoy architecture like Gothic cathedrals, Roman ruins, and Renaissance castles, as well as breathtaking landscapes. Additionally, students can benefit from the excellent transport links to other European countries that give ample options for travelling and sightseeing other popular cities in Europe, broadening the overall study abroad experience.

Important Facts About Germany

  • Most public universities in Germany have embraced tuition-free education in 2014. They all charge a small administrative fee.
  • Education in German Universities is free of cost for both Germans and non-Germans.
  • There are over 400 officially recognized universities in Germany, and they offer more than 17,000 study programs.
  • Every year, more than 5,600 international students complete their doctorate degrees.
  • International students can work part-time during their studies to earn an extra income.
  • Germany is located in the heart of Europe and shares borders with Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, France, Austria and Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The study visa of Germany allows you to travel visa-free anywhere in Schengen Area.

Education System In Germany

Germany is part of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and follows the Bologna Process. There are three higher education levels in Germany.
  • Bachelor’s Programs: They may comprise six to eight semesters lasting up to 4 years. Students can choose Bachelor’s programs in arts, science, and engineering. They can apply for entry-level positions in companies after completing their bachelor’s programs.
  • Masters Programs: These programs comprise three to four semesters and last up to two academic years. Students take masters to improve their knowledge in their field of interest and can apply for senior positions in engineering, business, and accountancy.
  • PhD Programs: These programs usually last two to five years. Students following the traditional model can work and submit their doctorate at their own pace with a chosen supervisor. In this case, they have to find a supervisor on their own. However, students enrolled on a structured PhD program get to work with a group of supervisors who help them with research. In the structured model, students can complete their courses within three years.

Grading System In Germany

German universities assess the academic performance of students through grade point average (GPA) system. If you get grade 1, it means you have successfully cleared 90-100% of the tasks required to complete the course. If you get grade 6, your performance is not satisfied.

GPA Value Description
1 Excellent You completed the course with 90% and 100% marks.
2 Overall Very Good You need to work more in specific areas.
3 Good You have satisfactory marks, there is room for improvement.
4 Adequate  
5 Sufficient You have achieved marks sufficient to pass the exam. But the marks are poor otherwise.
6 Insufficient You do not have sufficient knowledge to clear the exam.
Many German universities use 5-point grading scale to mark achievements of student.
  GPA Value Description
1-1.5 Very good You have completed the exam successfully but some minor improvements may be required in certain areas.
1.6-2.5 Good You have exhibited a decent academic performance in the exam.
2.6-3.5 Satisfactory Your performance was sufficient but improvements are required in many areas.
3.6-4.0 Sufficient You have achieved the minimum score required to pass the exam.
4.1-5 Fail You do not have sufficient marks to pass the exam.
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Types Of Educational Institutes In Germany

  • Universities: They impart theoretical knowledge and emphasize on research. German universities offer courses in a broad range of subjects. Some universities specialize in technology-related subjects and describe themselves as Technische Universität, TU or technical universities. Some universities especially focus on sports and medicine, such as German Sport University Cologne and Hannover Medical School.
  • Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS): They deliver practice-oriented academic education and offer degrees in specific fields such as economics, technology, media, and social media.
  • Colleges of Art and Music: These institutes train young architects, musicians, designers, and fine artists. Students have to demonstrate their special talent during the entrance exam.
  • Universities of Cooperative Education: These institutes offer dual programs which combine vocational training and academic studies. Students generally attend vocational training in the company. It may be an option for people who want to begin their careers early.
  • State-Funded and Private Universities: Many universities as well as colleges in Germany are state-funded as well as funded by the church. There are over 120 private universities in the country. These private universities charge high study fees.

Top Courses to Study in Germany

Popular Universities to Study in Germany

There are more than 400 officially recognized universities in Germany, and 46 of them appeared in QS Top University Rankings 2022/2023. Below given are German universities that appear in the top 200 listings.
University QS Top University Rankings 2022 QS Top University Rankings 2023
Technical University of Munich =50 49
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 63 65
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München 64 59
Freie Universitaet Berlin 127 =118
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin =128 =131
KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 136 =141
Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) 159 158
RWTH Aachen University 165 =147
Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg 172 189
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen =177 169
Technische Universität Dresden =194 200

Popular Universities in Germany That Require No IELTS/TOEFL

Below mentioned are some universities in Germany that require no IELTS and TOEFL. However, checking the university’s website for language proficiency requirements before applying is advisable.

  •   Braunschweig University of Technology (TU Braunschweig)
  •    University of Kaiserslautern
  •    Freie University of Berlin
  •    University of Giessen
  •     University of Siegen
  •     University of Koblenz and Landau
  •     Esslingen University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Esslingen)

These universities accept the alternative scores of the following exams:

  • Cambridge English Certificates or Cambridge English Qualifications
  • TOEIC
  • Medium of Instruction (MOI) certificate issued by your previous study organization
  • Duolingo

Popular Cost Effective Universities in Germany

Most German universities are state-funded and have abolished tuition fees for state and international students in 2014. However, in 2017, the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg introduced tuition fees of €1,500 per semester/ €3,000 per year for Bachelor’s, Master’s, Diploma, and Degree programs. These tuition fees are significantly lower than other public universities in Germany, which may charge up to €20,000 per year. The tuition fees for master’s at private universities may be up to €30,000 depending on the chosen course. Below mentioned are some of the popular, affordable universities in Germany that have a low fee structure:

  • Technical University of Munich  The Technical University of Munich
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich   Ludwig Maximilians University
  • Heidelberg University  Heidelberg University
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)  Karlsruher Institute of Technology
  • Humboldt University Berlin  Humboldt University of Berlin
  •     Technical University of Berlin
  •      Georg-Augusta University of Göttingen
  •     University of Hamburg
  •     University of Stuttgart
  •     Darmstadt University of Technology (TU Darmstadt)
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Admission Process to Study in Germany

Applying to German institutions is easy, although it will require careful planning.

Step 1: Choose the desired university

You can check the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) database to see 2000 programs offered across German universities. Many of these programs are offered in English. There may be fewer choices for undergraduate studies, because most courses require German language proficiency.

Step 2: Check the admission requirements

Indian students and other international students applying to German universities must possess Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), which is an entrance qualification for higher education. You need to check if the chosen university recognizes the current qualifications. Also, check if you possess the required level of language proficiency.

Step 3: Organize your finances

A student must show proof of sufficient finances to cover their tuition fees and living costs in Germany. 

Step 4: Apply and Wait for the Letter of Acceptance!

Students can use the website www.uni-assist.de, a centralized admissions portal by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to apply to universities. However, many German universities do not use this portal. In this case, you can apply directly on the university website. Once you submit the application, it may take several weeks before you receive your letter of acceptance.

Step 5: Purchase the Health Insurance

A student must buy health insurance to cover their healthcare costs during the study period. Health insurance is one of the mandatory requirements for a student visa and residence permit in Germany.

Application Documents Required To Study In Germany

The admission criteria across German universities may vary, but students are generally required to submit the following documents.

Eligibility Criteria To Study In Germany

For UG Courses in German Universities

It is essential to meet all the eligibility requirements for the UG Courses before applying to a German university.  

  • A student must be 18+ years at the time of application.
  • A student must possess a higher secondary certificate.
  • All undergraduate courses in Germany are taught in German. So, students need to submit German language tests and certificates like TestDaF (TDN 3, 4 or 5) (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache), DSH II or III (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang), Goethe-Zertifikat C2, telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule (The European Language Certificate), and DSD II (Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe II).

For PG Courses in German Universities  

 It is essential to meet all the eligibility requirements for the PG courses before applying at a German university.

  • Students must possess a Bachelor’s degree lasting 3 years or more or a workload of 180 ECTS.
  • The field of study of master’s must be related to the bachelor’s degree. However, exceptions may occur for MBAs and so on.
  • Students must possess English or German language certificates, which are recognized in Germany. TOEFL and IELTS are two common English language certificates accepted at most German universities. Students can also submit alternative English language test scores. Similarly, they can submit the German test scores of TestDaF (TDN 3, 4 or 5) (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache), DSH II or III (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang), Goethe-Zertifikat C2, telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule (The European Language Certificate), and DSD II (Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe II).
  • Students applying for non-consecutive master’s programs like Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Public Policy may be required to submit the details of practical work experience.

Intakes In Germany

There are two intakes in Germany – Summer Intake and Winter Intake

  • Winter Intake: This is the primary intake in Germany and most universities offer a broad range of courses during this time. This intake starts in September/October and ends in March. Here is the timeline for this intake.
    • January: Research on courses and universities as per your career goals. Shortlist 8-10 universities in Germany and check their websites to see application requirements, course structure, due dates, and other information. If they meet your criteria, download their brochures, understand the fee structure, analyze your finance options, and so on.
    • April – June: Appear for language proficiency tests and entrance exams. Sometimes, you may be required to retake the exams to meet the admission standards. So, plan accordingly and retake the exams.
    • May – June: Prepare all necessary documents at least a month before the deadline for application. You can start preparing the statement of purpose, motivation letter, create letters of recommendation, and so on. Start applying if all these documents are already in place.
    • July – August: Revert on acceptance letters and appear for video interview if required. Pay confirmation fees to the university.
    • August – September: Start the visa process after receiving the acceptance letter. Organize your funds by applying for bank loans and scholarships.
    • September: Book tickets and get ready to start your semester in Germany.

Summer Intake: This is the secondary intake in Germany and students who miss applying for the winter intake can go for this intake. However, there are few courses available at the universities for this intake. It starts in April and ends in August.

  • April: Research courses and universities as per your career goals. Shortlist 8-10 universities in Germany and check their websites to see application requirements, course structure, due dates, and other information. If they meet your criteria, download their brochures, understand the fee structure, analyze your finance options, and so on.
  • August – September: Appear for language proficiency tests and entrance exams. Sometimes, you may be required to retake the exams to meet the admission standards. So, plan accordingly and retake the exams.
  • October – December: Prepare all necessary documents at least a month before the deadline for application. You can start preparing statement of purpose, motivation letter, create letters of recommendation, and so on. Start applying if all these documents are already in place.
  • December – January: Revert on acceptance letters and appear for video interview if required. Pay confirmation fees to the university.
  • January – February: Start the visa process after receiving the acceptance letter. Organize your funds by applying for bank loans and scholarships.
  • March – April: Book tickets and get ready to start your semester in Germany.

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Cost of Education in Germany

Most universities in Germany are state-funded and assure high-quality education. They charge minimal fees to Indian students. Below is the average cost of studying in the country.
Types of Expenses (Annual) Expenses in Euro (€)
Tuition Fees (Public Universities)  €1500 for bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs  
Tuition Fees ( Private Universities) €26,000 - €40,000 for bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. Programs in business and management and engineering are the most expensive.  
Costs of Accommodation €760 / month

Types Of Student Visas In Germany

There are three types of student visas in Germany

  • German Student Visa: This is the most important student visa for international students who have been accepted in one of the German universities for full-time university studies or to apply for a Foundation course.
  • German Student Applicant Visa: If you want to apply for the university in person, then you may need this visa. This visa is only suited for the university application process and doesn’t allow you to study at any university.
  • German Language Course Visa: This visa is required to study a language course in Germany.

How To Apply For A German Student Visa

Here is a step-by-step process to apply for a German student visa.

  • Locate the nearest German Consulate or Embassy in your country.
  • Indian students can check the https://india.diplo.de/in-en/service/studentvisa/2004346 website to see the application requirements and set up a visa interview.
  • Set up the visa appointment at the embassy.
  • Carry all necessary documents during the visa interview. Make the visa application fee payment at the time of the interview.

Before appearing for the visa interview, you must prepare 2 sets of the following documents.

Best Student Cities In Germany

Some of the best cities to study in Germany for International students are:

Munich

Berlin

Stuttgart

Frankfurt

Dresden

Aachen

Bonn

Hamburg

Cologne

Leipzig

Exams to Study in Germany

In Germany, bachelor programs are offered in German language, however, most international courses are offered in English language. Depending on your chosen course, you can submit the results of either of the following language proficiency tests:

German:

  • TestDaF (TDN 3, 4 or 5) (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache),
  • DSD II (Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe II)
  • DSH II or III (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang)
  • Goethe-Zertifikat C2 level
  • telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule (The European Language Certificate)

English

  • Educational Certificate of an English-Speaking School
  • IELTS
  • TOEFL iBT
  • Cambridge English Certificate

Standardized test requirements

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
  • TestAS

Government and Non-government Scholarships To Study In Germany

There are various scholarships that students can apply for to cover their tuition costs and living costs in Germany.
Scholarship Name Description
DAAD WISE The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers these scholarships to students to pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs in Germany
Erasmus+ This scholarship is awarded by the European Commission and covers living costs when participating in an exchange program. 
Heinrich Böll Foundation Scholarships in Germany The Heinrich Böll Foundation awards approximately 1200 scholarships annually to students to pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs in Germany. Non-EU students receive € 850 per month for tuition fees and additional charges. PhD students may receive €1200 per month for tuition fees and mobility allowances.
DeutschlandStipendium National Scholarship Programme This scholarship program provides financial support to high-achieving students from India and other countries. The scholarship is modelled on the principle of public-private partnership. Businesses, private individuals, and foundations sponsor €150 per month and the Federal Government provides €150. In total, €300 per month is offered to top-class talent. Students are awarded these scholarships by universities.  
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Scholarships Students interested in politics can apply for these scholarships. This scholarship is offered to students who want to complete undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the country.
The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Scholarship This scholarship is provided to students who are pursuing a doctorate at a state-funded or recognized university of applied sciences. Excellent German language skills is one of the key eligibility requirements for this scholarship.

Types Of German Post-Study Visa

  • Indian students can apply for a post-study work permit of 18 months to look for a job matching their skills. Here are the type of post-study work visas they can apply for.
  • Temporary Residence Permit (while seeking a job): This work permit allows university graduates to work part-time or full-time in the country without any additional formalities. Students must apply for this visa while they are in the university.
  • Job Seeker Visa: This visa is more appropriate for students who have returned to their home countries after studies and wish to come to Germany for career opportunities. The visa is issued for a short time of six months.
  • Temporary Residence Permit: As soon as the student finds a job corresponding with educational qualifications, they can apply for a temporary residence permit or EU Blue Card.
  • German Residence Permit: This allows Indian students and other foreign nationals to live in the country for the period indicated in their employment contract. The residence permit can be extended as many times as required. 
  • EU Blue Card: This card allows highly skilled Indian students and other foreign nationals to work in Germany and other EU states. Graduates from STEM or IT fields can apply for this card.\
  • Temporary Residence Permit (self-employment): Any non-EU student who wishes to start a business in Germany after graduation can apply for this visa.
  • Permanent Residence Permit: This allows foreign nationals to come and settle in Germany. It allows them to work and live in the country with their families without any restrictions. Students who have held temporary residence permit for at least two years can apply for this permit.

On-Campus And Off-Campus Jobs In Germany

Types of part-time jobs in Germany:

On-Campus Part-Time Jobs

  1.     Library Supervisor
  2.     Research Assistant
  3.     Tutoring Assistant or Tutor

Off-Campus Part-Time Jobs

  1.     Work at Trade Fair
  2.     Small jobs in the Media sector
  3.     Bartending
  4.     Cashier
  5.     Babysitter
  6.     Waiter or Waitress
  7.     Courier Services

Popular Career Prospects For International Students In Germany

Listed below are a few starting salaries of jobs related to the popular fields of study.
Job Description Average Annual Salary (Euros)
Sales Expert €88,001 to €115,709
Healthcare Professionals €14,280 to €204,000
Scientific Researchers (Biotechnology and Neuroscience) €50,000 to €91,000
IT Professionals and Data Scientist €38,000 to €64,000
Engineer €52,000 to €90,000
Finance and Accounting Professionals €118,000 to €300,000
Teaching Professionals €49,000 to €61,000

Frequently Asked Questions On Studying In Germany

Students can look for jobs at portals like Expatica or EURES, public job portals and recruitment agencies.

Germany’s high-paying industries include engineering, banking and financial services, IT and computer science, business management, automotive, engineering and telecom.

Yes, non-EU/EEA students can work in Germany with their studies for 120 full days or 240 half days per year. 

Students can earn up to €450 per month on student jobs, and they don’t have to pay any tax for earning up to this amount. 

If you possess a residence permit and the duration of your studies is expected to be more than a year, then you can bring your family. However, you may be required to showcase your financial adeptness to support your family in the country without burdening the social services system.

No, you may not be required to submit German language proficiency certificates in this case. However, a working knowledge of the German language will help you in a big way.

Duales Studium is a program where Indian students can study theories at a university and practice them at companies that have partnered with these universities for skill development. German study visa allows students to work 120 days a year when the semester is in progress. Leveraging this, a student can be part of Duales Studium program.

TU9, established in 2003, is the union of nine leading Institutes of Technology in Germany.

  1.     TU Berlin
  2.     TU Braunschweig
  3.     RWTH Aachen University
  4.     TU Darmstadt
  5.     TU Dresden
  6.     Leibniz Universität Hannover
  7.     Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  8.     TU München
  9.     University of Stuttgart

No, there is no age limit to study in Germany. The country is also known to have a reputation for having the continent’s oldest graduates (on average, 28 years old).

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