With more than 409 higher education institutions across the country, Germany provides each student with the possibility to choose more than 14,500 Bachelor and Master degree programmes.
11 out of the 16 states in Germany have no tuition fees at all, while some states require a maximum of only 500€ per year.
All non-EU students need a visa to study in Germany. If you have not yet received a place on a course at a German university, then you will need a student applicant visa (Visum zur Studienbewerbung). If you have obtained a place on a course, then you will need a student visa (Visum zur Stedienbewerbung). For your application you will usually need certificates of prior education, proof of financial resources and proof of language proficiency, amongst other things. Obtaining a visa does not automatically grant you a residence permit, so you will also need to consider this.
The cost of living, on average, is around 700-800€ including rent, food, transport, health insurance, telephone/internet, study materials and leisure activities.
Most universities in Germany are publicly owned, government funded institutions that are free for students. Germany operates within the Bologna system, meaning that higher education is split into Bachelor’s (undergraduate), Master’s and PhD (postgraduate) courses, and universities are also categorized according to discipline – into technical, applied science and arts schools. Master’s programs are either ‘consecutive’, meaning that they lead directly on from a Bachelor’s, or ‘non-consecutive’, meaning that they are separate and usually specialized.
Those studying in Germany can choose between a few types of accommodation. The cheapest housing are student halls operated by Studentenwerk, costing an average of around 240 EUR per month. There is considerable competition for this, so it is best to apply early. The housing offered varies greatly, from rooms with communal facilities to private apartments. Students can also opt to rent private accommodation from a landlord or estate agent. Prices rely heavily on location and quality, but this option is generally more expensive than Studentenwerk.
At public universities there are usually no tuition fees for studying in Germany, regardless of your country of origin or level of study. Students only need to pay an administrative cost of between 60 and 200 EUR. The same goes for Master’s and PhD courses, however ‘non-consecutive’ Master’s courses sometimes charge fees. This does not apply with private universities, which are not government funded and whose fees are not regulated. These courses can cost up to 20,000 EUR per year for Bachelor’s and 30,000 for Master’s.
Foreign students are allowed to stay for a year after graduation, in the event of looking for a job. Germany offer long-term work opportunities for successful students.
There are many reasons to learn the language whilst studying in Germany. German is widely spoken in the EU and internationally, and is also important from a business and trade perspective. It may well be a useful skill to have post-studies! There are English-taught courses in German universities, however if you wish to challenge yourself you can also undertake a half-English, half-German course. There are plenty of language courses available to help you with your learning.
Applications to study in Germany either go straight to the institution of study or through UniAssist, an educational portal that sends applications on to universities. Different universities have different entry requirements, however you will be asked to present a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB) – proof of prior qualification in the form of an exam transcript or high-school diploma. You will usually also need to prove a level of proficiency in the German language (whether or not you are undertaking your studies in German), and possibly proof that you have health insurance in Germany.