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Studying in Germany will put students at the heart of Europe. With its relatively low tuition fees, it is one of the most popular countries worldwide for international students to study in after the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

Home to one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, not only will Germany boost your language skills, it is renowned for its talented writers, musicians and book lovers and it’s unbeatable museums and festivals. Rest assured there will never be a dull moment in this exciting country.

The education system in Germany

There are nearly 400 officially recognised universities and institutions in Germany that offer more than 15,000 programmes of study and degree courses.

In Germany institutions are referred to as Hochschule, which covers:

  • Universities (Universitäten) – these focus on a strong research element.
  • Technical Universities – with a strong emphasis on engineering and technology degree courses.
  • Colleges of Art, Film and Music – which require special admission, usually via an entrance examination or admission tests.
  • Universities of Applied Sciences – perfect for students who prefer a practical approach to theoretical study.

There are 16 federal states in Germany and they all have their own government and higher education laws. If you apply for more than one university in the country, they could have different rules as the German education system isn’t centralised or consistent throughout. It is wise for students to check each of their desired institutions thoroughly beforehand.

What do I need to get into a university in Germany?

Students wishing to study in Germany will need a higher education entrance qualification, named Abitur. This is a school leaving certificate or equivalent, and to check if you have the right qualifications students should first contact the international office at their chosen university.

Undergraduate degree courses generally ask for four A-levels with one including a second language and another focusing on natural science or mathematics. Again, contact desired institutions for the right information for you application.

If students wish to study degree courses in German they will need to sit an exam to prove they are comfortable and adequate enough to understand the course. There are two tests that students may take:

  • The German Language University Entrance Examination (DSH), this is only administered at German Universities and it tests your proficiency for university study.
  • Test of German as a Foreign Language (TestDAF), this is held six times a year in test centres all over the world. Time and money can be saved by taking the test in your home country.

Certain universities may offer TestDAF whilst other institutions offer DSH, both are recognised at all universities in the country. An examination fee must be paid when registering for TestDAF and the fee differs in each country. In Germany, the test can cost between 150 to 175 Euros, and the cost of DSH differs in each university. International degree courses are also taught in English but students should research before application.

How much will it cost me to study in Germany?

Germany’s institutions of higher education are either private or public. The majority of institutions are public, these are funded by the government and some offer low or even free tuition. Private universities will charge higher fees for the programmes however, it is good to know that EU citizens will pay the same as German nationals for their tuition fees.

Will I get funding to study in Germany?

Germany has substantial funding options for students that are seeking support during their time of study. Scholarships and programmes can be diverse and are offered by many institutions of the German higher education system. Students should contact the international office or funding/financial department in their chosen German university to see what they are eligible for. For more information on funding visit here (DAAD – Scholarship Database).

Will I need a student visa to study in Germany?

EU nationals can live and study in Germany if they are enrolled at an approved university or other educational institution. They must have enough money (from any source) to support themselves as well as health insurance cover, EHIC cards are sufficient however we do advise obtaining extra health cover on top of this. Some countries require you to register at a local authority after three months, more information can be found here (Europa – Rights, Conditions and Formalities) and here (Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany – Study and Scientific Research ).

For more information about working in Germany students can look here (work in Germany).

Cost of Living

Part of the process for planning to study abroad includes an understanding of the living costs in your chosen country. We have compiled a list of everyday items in Germany and their average price to get you started below.

Dining out: 8.00 Euros per meal

McDonalds: 6.95 Euros per meal

Beer: 3.00 Euros per pint

Coke: 1.94 Euros per can

Water: 1.65 Euros per bottle

Milk: 0.37 Euros per pint

Bread: 1.40 Euros per loaf

Bus ticket: 2.50 Euros one way

Bus Ticket: 64.00 Euros monthly

Utilities: 208.00 Euros per month

Internet: 22.00 Euros per month

Cinema: 9.00 Euros per ticket

Rent: 551.00 Euros per month