Study in Germany: Colleges, Courses, Fees & Accommodation

Overview

Germany - situated in Western Europe - is the world's most popular non-Anglophone study destination. Due to its high academic level and tuition-free public universities, Germany has become the most sought-after destination for higher education.

Why Germany

Academic Excellence 

Germany is ranked #3 in the world for higher education. Germany is recognized as a global leader in various industrial and technological sectors. Students are guaranteed to receive the highest standard of STEM education combined with world-class research opportunities. The country has been an epicenter for the industrial revolution, some of the greatest inventions that changed the world - the Printing Press, Diesel Engine, and Television X-ray Generator took place in Germany.  

Low/No Tuition Fees 

Studying abroad for higher education can be an expensive affair but this is not the same case when one chooses Germany as his/her study abroad destination. In October 2014, a decision that came into power stated that all international students attending a public university in Germany would be free from paying tuition fees.

The diversity 

German government offers a wide variety of scholarships for international students and actively tries to attract students. In fact, Germany is the third most popular destination for US students seeking a Master's abroad, meaning you'll be surrounded by similarly-minded peers. Germany is also a multilingual country - almost two-thirds of all Germans speak English or at least understand enough to get around. Germany also ranks among the top 25 LGBTQ+ friendly countries.

Admissions

The admission process differs from college to college, but the following documents remain/general requirements remain staple for admission to higher education in Canada. The admission process differs from college to college, but the following documents remain staple for admission to higher education in Germany 

To study in Germany, students will need a ‘Hochschulzugangsberechtigung’ ‘HZB’ - which is a school-leaving qualification. Before applying to university, students should check that their home-country school-leaving qualification is recognized by the German higher education system. 

In Germany, almost all undergraduate programs are taught in German. So, if students plan to attend a UG program, they will have to submit a German language proficiency test score.

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Proof of English proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS)

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GMAT/GRE for postgraduate programs

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Letters of recommendation

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Statement of purpose

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Academic transcripts

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Copy of a valid passport

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Universities

Germany has been ranked as the best place to study abroad in Europe and third in the world. Based on official recordings in 2018, Germany has 429 public higher education institutions of which 106 are universities, some of these universities are also the oldest in Europe and have been consistently ranked among the world’s best universities.

Three of these universities - Technical University of Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians University and Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg rank among the top 100 QS World University Rankings. Additionally, Munich and Berlin are ranked in the top 10 best cities in the world for higher education.

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Technical University of Munich

Munich, Bavaria

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Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Munich, Bavaria

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University of Bonn

Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia

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Courses

Germany is a country that thrives on science and technology. Germany has invested heavily in technical/engineering universities and the nation’s engineering programs are immensely valued all over the world. Germany has emerged as the global leader in STEM programs which are combined with cutting-edge research facilities.

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Finances

Germany treats education as a right and not a commodity that one has to purchase therefore in 2014, the Government approved a decision to abolish international fees in public universities. Germany believes that free access to education ensures economic growth and welfare for the greater population.

While there usually aren’t any tuition fees at public universities, students normally have to pay something called a “Semesterbeitrag” (semester fee)  or “administrative fee”. A small amount: often around 300 or 400 euros for the whole semester. This then also covers a public transport ticket for your city and sometimes even the surrounding areas

Semester fee of top-ranking German universities.

University

Semesterbeitrag

Ludwig Maximilian University

€244/year

Technical University of Munich

€144/year

University of Heidelberg

€364/year

Humboldt University Berlin

€620/year

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 

€1500/year

Cost of living while studying in Germany 

Expenses

Average Cost

Rent and Utilities 

300 to 500 €

Food and Drink

200 to 250 €

Health Insurance

100 €

Phone and Internet

50 €

Miscellaneous Expenses

50 to 100 €

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Scholarships

Almost all publicly funded German universities provide tuition-free education for international students, except for niche or specialized educational programs.

International students only have to pay nominal semester, administrative, and related fees at public universities. Scholarships would be the icing on the cake, scholarships would cover some parts of the living costs and other miscellaneous expenses.

  • DAAD Scholarships programs 

  • Heinrich Böll Foundation Scholarships in Germany

  • DeutschlandStipendium National Scholarship Programme

  • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Scholarships in Germany for International Students

  • Erasmus Scholarship Programs in Germany

  • The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Scholarship

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Accommodation

The most affordable housing options for international students, in fact, on average 40% of all international students in Germany live in students halls of residence. These types of Accommodation are generally situated in the vicinity of the university. The average cost is around €250 per month, but the cost will also depend on the location, size, and other amenities.


Students interested in securing accommodation in student halls of residence should apply as soon as they receive their acceptance letter from the university. There will be a deadline for application, and the spots are limited. To register for a place in these halls, students must contact Studentenwerk (Student Services Organization).

Off-campus

In Germany, there are two types of monthly rent: Kaltmiete and Warmmiete. The first is known as ‘basic rent,’ which is the rent paid for the apartment with no additional costs included. ‘Warmmiete’ is the basic rent plus additional costs for various amenities such as gas, electricity, water, property taxes, and waste disposal services.

Shared Accommodation

Flatshares (also known as Wohngemeinschaft - WG), are another common form of accommodation for international students. The principle is that a flat is shared by several people. Each student has his/ her own room while the bathroom and kitchen are used jointly. Students also share the rents among themselves, which significantly reduce the cost of living in Germany. Depending on the city, the cost of shared apartments varies from 150 to 450 euros per month.

Visa

A European citizen, who wants to study and live in Germany would enjoy and practice the same rights as a German citizen and EU/EFTA citizen regarding free entry, and opportunities to study and work in Germany. 

However, non-European students who want to study in German would have to apply for German Study Visa. 

Types of German Student Visa 

Schengen Visa: The most popular form of visa granted for international students and is valid for a stay of 90 days to six months period. Students who are opting for short-term programs such as foundation courses, language courses etc. can submit the application for Schengen Visa. 

National Visa: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programs are classified under long-term study programs and hence, a national visa is required to pursue such programs. The validity of a National Visa is 3 months to one year but can be extended in cases of exceptional circumstances. 

Student Visa: 

  1. General Student Visa: Granted to those students who fulfill these criteria - 

Received admission letter from a German university for the pursuit of master’s, doctoral or postdoctoral level degree programs

Received a full scholarship for higher studies in a recognized German institution.

  1. Prospective Student Visa: If students are waiting for admission from a recognized university in Germany or due to appear for an entrance examination, they are permitted to apply for a Prospective Student Visa. The validity period is of 3 months and can be extended to six months.

passport.svg Copy of valid Passport visa documents.svg Financial Documents i20.svg Form I-20 ds160.svg Copy of DS-160 sevis fee receipt.svg SEVIS Fee Receipt

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Careers

Part-time work opportunities

Students hailing from the European Union can practice and enjoy unrestricted access to the German labor markets and have the same right as a German citizen.

Restricted Working Hours: However, international students hailing from non-EU countries are allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year. These students are not allowed to be self-employed or work as freelancers. 

Special Permission: If students want to work for more than the allowed hours, they will need permission from the Agentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) and the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Office). 

Taxation: International students who earn up to 450 EUR per month are exempted from paying tax. However, if they earn more than 450 EUR, they will need a tax number and a certain amount will be deducted from their wages every month. 

Places where International students studying in Germany can look for a part-time jobs. 

  • University Bulletin Board

  • University Career Centres

  • Online job portals

  • Friends and fellow students

Full-time Work Opportunity / Post-Study Work Opportunity 

International students (Non-EU and EEA students) who wish to stay in Germany for employment opportunities need to apply for Post-Study Work Visa. Students need to extend their resident permit by 18 months in order to get employed related to their field of study. 

Students need to provide the following documents to Registration Office for the extension of their residence permit. 

  1. Passport

  2. Certificate of completion of their studies from a recognised German Higher Education University

  3. Proof of financial support for the next 18 months

  4. Proof of Health Insurance

After finding a job students can apply for an EU Blue Card - a card which will enable students to live and work in any EU state.

In case, an international student wants to stay in Germany and become a permanent resident, they need to apply for a ‘settlement permit’ two years after receiving the EU Blue Card. 

Germany has become a dream destination for future prospects for students from STEM backgrounds. The country boasts of having one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe - 6.3%.

The German economy is the fourth-largest in the world with a GDP of $4.0 trillion. Germany’s major industries are car manufacture, machinery, household equipment, and chemicals. Some of the biggest employers in German universities include Volkswagen, BMW, Bosch, Deloitte and more.

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FAQ's

Germany offers tuition-free higher education to all international students irrespective of their nationality. In 2014, a law was passed that abolished the tuition fee from all public universities in Germany. Germany treats education as a right and not a commodity that one has to purchase. In Germany, there are around 300 public universities which offer more than 1000 programs. However, students have to pay something called a “Semesterbeitrag” (semester fee)  or “administrative fee”, a small amount of around 300-400 EUR per semester.

The answer to this question depends on which program and university a student is opting for. It’s recommended to learn the basics of the German language to enable students to communicate more effectively with the local residents. Earlier, most undergraduate programs in Germany were offered solely in the German language, so international students have to prove their German language proficiency with tests like TestDAF and DSH. However, in recent years many universities in Germany are offering English-taught programs for every discipline.

The main reason of Germany being a global leader in engineering and technology is its Dual Education System. The dual education/apprenticeship system is a well-regarded system where students learn through a combination of ‘on-the-job’ training and in the classroom. Typically students will spend 70% of their time in the workplace and 30% at the university. Germany is home to 80 Nobel laureates including Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Robert Koch, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Harald zur Hausen for their contribution in the field of science and technology.

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English language proficiency test

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Admission test for graduates

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