Much of what you may or may not know about Germany is detailed in our guide to study in Germany. For example, did you know that higher education in Germany is entirely cost-free? Read our guide to find out more hidden gems.

A quick intro to Germany
Culture and people
Cost of living
German Education
    Tuition fees
    Universities in Germany
    Top 10 Universities in Germany
    Admission requirements
    Student pass and visa
Application process
Spare time

 

A quick intro to Germany

Map of Germany

The fourth largest economy in the world, Germany stands as the second most favourable country for expats to live in, with Berlin being ranked amongst the top 10 student cities in the world by QS Rankings. A quality lifestyle is almost promised to most students who decide to study there, but what makes Germany all the more attractive is the cost-free education available in the country--not only for German or EU students, but incoming international students as well.

Amongst many other things, what Germany is perhaps most known for is its annual Oktoberfest in Munich, aka the world’s biggest folk festival. Life in Germany is sure to be a pleasure, with a subsidised yet world-class education, a promising future of employment, innumerable forms of entertainment, whether it be festivals or travelling, among other exciting activities, and an all-around good quality of life.

German, while the national language of the country and vehemently promoted through the language of education in several universities, is the most spoken European language throughout the continent. However, potential students need not worry, since Germany, too, offers several programmes in English as well, for those who are not proficient in German.

 

Culture and people

Culture in Germany is present at an entirely other level, with more cultural activities, festivals, as well as places to visit than any other country in the world. Museums, theatres, orchestras and libraries make Germany an extremely cultured place, with the country often being known as ‘the land of poets and thinkers,’ having been the origin country of historical greats like Bach, Beethoven and Goethe among many others.

Germans tend to enjoy drinking beer quite a bit, hence making the activity popular in the country. Home to rich, delicious and substantial food, Germany is a delight for the taste buds of most food lovers. Food has always been a major part of German culture and even the well-known German fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, makes reference to food such as apple strudels, varieties of sausages, sour and pickled roast, candies, and soft pretzels.

 

Cost of living

Compared with other European countries, the cost of living and studying in Germany is reasonable. Living in Germany is exciting since many international students will find themselves living in a country surrounded with many other countries such as France, Italy and Denmark--a wide range of destinations to conquer in their free time. The comparatively low cost of living in Germany, coupled with tuition-free education, would make studying in Germany an ideal investment for most students, at times even costing lesser than the process of attaining a local degree.

Description Cost in EUR (per month) Cost in US$ (per month)
Accommodation 470 - 647 528 - 726
Transportation (one way ticket) 2.70 3.03
Food (one meal) 7 - 20 8 - 22
Movie ticket (one ticket) 10 11.22
Mobile Internet/package 33 37
Beer (domestic 0.5 lt bottle) 3 3.37
Clothes (1 pair of Levi's jeans) 76.15 85.46
Recreation 68 76

 

Education in Germany

Studying in Germany is never a problem for foreigners as most of their courses and degree programmes are being offered in English. Furthermore, international students can choose any course of their liking since the universities offer a wide range of disciplines including science, arts, music and even technical courses.

 

Tuition fees

The lack of tuition fees in Germany amongst everything else the country has to offer is what piques the interest of large numbers or international students to enroll in German universities. Whether it be pre-university courses, diplomas, bachelor’s or master's degrees, all are offered completely free of cost in Germany- the only obstacle students tend to come across is the language courses are taught in.

However, private universities in Germany are funded by students’ tuition fees, which can at times amount to the usual 20,000 euros anually.

 

Universities in Germany

Aside from attracting the world’s foodies, Germany is a sweet honey pot for international students as its university degrees are highly respected by employers worldwide. There are about 450 state-accredited universities with some 17,500 degree programmes in Germany. Its universities offer degree programmes in every possible subject and academic level--bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees.

All undergraduate programmes are entirely cost-free--only a few postgraduate programmes may require you to pay a fee. Apart from tuition fee, students are simply needed to pay a minimal amount of fee for administration purposes, their university’s student union, and the usual books required for modules studied.

 

Top 10 Universities in Germany

To date, the country has 206,986 international students enrolled in its universities. Top German universities include Technische Universitat Muchen ranked 60th in the world, Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat Heidelberg ranked 66th in the world, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Muchen ranked 75th in the world, with 16 universities altogether appearing in the top 250 in the world. Listed below you will find the top 10 universities in Germany.

Top ten unis in Germany

 

Admission requirements

Generally, prospective students are only required to submit their certificate and transcript of their highest education and their language proficiency. If the intended course the student is applying for is in English, proficiency in the German language is not needed, although you may be asked to take the IELTS or TOEFL English language test.  However, if--since most courses in Germany are taught in German--the student is applying for a German-taught course, they must take a language test, or enrol in a preparatory course lasting a year. Once your proficiency in German is proven, you may enrol in your intended course.

As for proof of your highest education, if you have obtained results of an European qualification such as the A-levels, you do not need to take any further steps. However, if your qualifications are from elsewhere in the world, you may be asked to sit for a Feststellungsprufung entrance exam, after having gone through the Studienkolleg.

Once your previous education standard is proven and you are certified in the language course needed, applications can be made through the university itself, or the German Academic Exchange Service’s (DAAD) uni-assist, meant for the very purpose of enrolling international students to German universities.

 

Student pass and visa

Upon acceptance from your German university the process whereby you will obtain a student visa largely depends on your country of residence. If you are required to obtain a visa and residence permit for Germany before arrival, this procedure is usually done through the embassy, where you would be required to provide (depending on the embassy):

  • Proof of registration at Residents’ Registration Office
  • Health coverage
  • Proof of financial resources for throughout your period of study
  • Proof of accommodation confirmation in Germany
  • Proof of non-existent criminal record

You must ensure that the visa you have obtained is a National visa instead of a Schengen Visa, in order to allow you to stay in the country for more than three months.

Upon arrival in Germany, all students from all nationalities must register themselves at the local Residents’ Registration Office, and only then begin their studies in Germany.  

 

Application process

While your specific application process will primarily depend on your nationality, your overall journey of studying in Germany will be as follows:

Germany Journey

 

Spare time

In Germany, you are likely never to run out of options for recreation and entertainment in your spare time. Creativity is encouraged in Germany, in whatever form, may it be music, writing, or the fine arts- and you would find much inspiration in the country as well. In cities in Germany, such as Berlin and Munich amongst several others, the possibilities are endless, and often enough you would find yourself caught up in the seasonal festivities, such as during the Christmas season or Oktoberfest.

Exploring Germany is a must while residing in the country as well, whether the vibrant cities with their operas, theatres and museums, the fairytale-like castles such as Castle Neuschwanstein, or driving down from Germany’s ‘Romantic Road,’ etc.