Study in Germany
Admissions and tuition fees in Germany
Study in German Universities
Universities in Germany include some of the most prestigious institutions in Western Europe. Its highest ranked in the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings is Technische Universität München (53rd), followed by Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (55th).
Beyond that, every major German city you can think of has at least one ranking university – and with 11 universities in the top 200, and a total of 42 making the rankings overall, you won’t struggle to find a high quality institution. Many of these are newer establishments, which have climbed into the world rankings in no time at all, demonstrating the strength of the German system.
Top it all off with a famously friendly and tolerant population, and decent prospects on graduation, and it’s easy to see why so many international students opt to study in Germany each year.
Universities in Berlin
Cities don’t get much trendier than Berlin, which competes with cities like London and New York in terms of cool. It goes without saying this tolerant, multicultural and creative city is known for being a great place to be as a student – and it helps that it’s famously inexpensive. And like any capital city worth its salt, it has quality institutions to back this up.Universities in Berlin include three within the world's top 250 in the QS World University Rankings:
Universities in Munich
Thanks to Oktoberfest, Munich will forever be associated with beer. But there’s more to this southern city, often voted one of the world’s most liveable cities. For one thing, universities in Munich include two of the world's best: Technische Universität München (ranked 53) and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (60). For another, Munich is a sleek modern financial hub.
The downside of this is that living in Munich can be pricey, but it won’t cost you anything to enjoy the beautiful Bavarian countryside in which the city is built. There’s plenty of history to enjoy too, and no visit to München would be complete without a visit to King Ludwig’s palaces and grottos.
Universities in Heidelberg
Despite being part of one of Germany’s most densely populated areas, Heidelberg manages to retain a certain quaint rustic charm. It is popular with tourists, who come to see its ancient castle and red-roofed town center.Universities in Heidelberg include the famous Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, which is Germany’s oldest (55) and most traditionally prestigious university. Need more proof of its reputation? Well, hopefully the eight Nobel Prize winners who have been through it will go some way towards convincing you...
Universities in Cologne
Cologne is known for its dramatic cathedral, Kölner Dom, and its liberal and tolerant nature. It is peppered with museums and art galleries, does a good line in independent stores, particularly in its Agnesviertel district, and beer halls.
Direct trains run to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, and Luxembourg isn’t too far away either, so it can be a good choice for those who want to get further acquainted with Western Europe. Among universities in Cologne you'll find Universität Köln, ranked 247, which is Germany’s largest and second oldest university.
Universities in Frankfurt am Main
The beating heart of Germany’s financial and business sectors, Frankfurt is also the home of the European Central Bank. Accordingly, its city center is a mass of gleaming skyscrapers, and its airport is the busiest in continental Europe. However, none of this means that it lacks in other characteristics; for instance it is known for offering some of the best nightlife in Germany and hosts a number of colorful festivals throughout the year. What about universities in Frankfurt? Well, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main is ranked 201= in the world, and is particularly strong in social science subjects.
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Admissions and tuition fees in Germany
The fees charged at German universities depend on where you are studying. Universities in most Länder (regions) don’t charge fees, but some do (Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Hamburg – all which are home to popular universities); though at a maximum of €500 (around US$660) a semester, they are hardly the highest.
The application process you have to go through depends on a few factors. If you have a European qualification, such as a baccalaureate or A-levels, then you will only need to prove you can speak German (unless you’re enrolling on a course taught in English) and can apply directly for a university level course.
Students with other qualifications may have to sit the Feststellungsprüfung entrance examination after attending a preparatory Studienkolleg. High-achieving students may be able to bypass this. Your subject will also play a part. For most, you can apply directly to the international office of the university. Alternatively, you can use uni-assist, a centralized admissions portal for international students.
For some subjects, though, there is a nationwide cap on the number of students who can enrol. For these subjects – mostly life sciences – students from the EU (and Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) need to apply through the Foundation of Higher Education Admission. Students from outside of the EU should apply as normal.
German student visas
Requirements for German student visas depend on your country of origin.
Applicants from the EU (and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein):
• Do not need a visa or a residence permit to study in Germany.
• Must get a residence permit from the Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt (registration authority).
• Will need to prove you have or will have enough money for the first year of your stay (€659 – around US$870 – a month) and have purchased statutory health insurance if you’re under 30. Certain countries have bilateral agreements with Germany, which mean that insurance policies in the student’s home country will be applicable in Germany.
• If your course is in German, you will need to prove your proficiency at the application stage, for which a TestDaF or DSH score will be required. If your course is in English, as some are (though mostly at graduate level) then you’ll need to come up with an IELTS or TOEFL score.
Applicants from outside the EU:
• If you are from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland or the US you will not need a visa to enter the country but you will need to register at the local Residents’ Registration Office and the Aliens’ Registration Office (Ausländeramt) in order to obtain a Residence Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).
• If you are from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, San Marino or Taiwan you will only need a visa if you want to work before or after your degree. You will need to apply for a residence permit.
If you are from any other country you will need to obtain a visa from your local German embassy before you enter Germany, as well as a residence permit. Ensure that you apply for a National Visa for the purpose of study rather than a Schengen Visa which will only allow you to stay in Germany for three months.
• In order to get a residence permit you will need to present confirmation that you’ve registered at the Residents’ Registration Office, proof you have health cover (your university will help with this), proof of your financial means (see above), your passport (with visa if you need one) and a tenancy agreement which shows you have found somewhere to live. It will be valid for two years, after which time you must get in renewed.
• To obtain a visa, you will need to present the same list of things as you would for a Residence Permit. You may also have to provide proof that you don’t have a criminal record and are free of certain diseases. The specific list will depend on the embassy.
• The same language requirements apply as specified in the requirements for EU students. You may also need to produce this evidence at the visa stage.