Studying in Germany

Germany is considered the third preferred destination for international study abroad aspirants, next to the United States and UK. Top-notch quality of education, scientifically oriented courses, nominal or zero tuition fee, and availability of numerous scholarships attract Indian students to pursue their higher education in Germany.

  • Ranked 6th on the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index (HDI), 2014, Germany is the technological hub of Europe
  • A degree from a German university is highly respected by employers worldwide, especially in the fields of science and engineering
  • Approximately 83% of the Indian students opt for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses (master’s and doctorate degrees) in German universities
  • Excellent funding opportunities, availability of well-equipped research facilities at universities, and independent research institutions, along with exceptional research opportunities in German companies make Germany a favourable location for students interested in obtaining a doctorate degree

Germany as a popular tertiary education destination

Germany has more than 400 higher education institutes and they are mainly divided into:

  • universities that are extremely research-oriented; the only universities to award PhDs
  • universities of ‘applied sciences’ (referred to as Fachhochschulen) where the curriculum is focused on imparting practical knowledge, and doctorate degrees are not awarded. Internships and practical semesters form an integral part of their programs
  • colleges of art, film and music that offer instruction in artistic subjects, such as fine arts, acting, dance, industrial and fashion design, graphic art, instrumental music, and singing. Generally, an applicant has to undertake an aptitude test to gain admission in such subjects

Both individual and structured PhD programs are offered by German universities. In individual PhD programs, a single university professor serves as the supervisor, while in the case of structured PhD programs, a team of supervisors advise the student

Roughly 1,600 programs offered by German universities are taught in English

Students generally prefer joining public universities since these are government-funded

About 120 private universities (mostly universities of applied sciences) charge a high tuition fee

Interesting facts about top/renowned universities in Germany

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

  • one of the Germany’s oldest universities, and one of the strongest research institutions in Europe
  • tie-ups with local non-university research institutions and a world-wide network of research and teaching collaborations
  • student exchange programs by virtue of its partnership with more than 400 universities worldwide
  • popular courses: law, medical sciences, and social sciences

Technische Universität München (TUM)

  • 13 departments with about 10% international students
  • 8th rank according to Global Employability University Ranking 2014
  • exchange programs at leading universities and companies in Asia offered by the German Institute of Science and Technology (GIST)-TUM Asia
  • well-established alumni network comprising the best German academicians and top executives of the German industry
  • the first university in Germany to be named 'University of Excellence'
  • popular courses: automotive engineering and mechanical engineering

RWTH Aachen

  • 12th rank for Mechanical Engineering and 30th for Physics in QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015
  • funding worth €180 million received under the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments in Germany to strengthen all departments and promote interdisciplinary and top-level research at the university
  • popular courses: mechanical engineering and automotive engineering

Higher education system in Germany

Course Duration
Undergraduate 3-3.5 years
Masters 2 years
MBA 15-24 months
PhD Minimum 3 years

Admission process

German universities are highly qualitative, and the admission process in these universities is highly stringent. For post graduate programs, strong academic and research background in a relevant field is highly preferred. Students are generally expected to score 75% (aggregate) in their undergraduate degrees.

Also, for its post graduate and doctorate programs, minimum 16 years of education is needed as an entry requirement. A language certificate in German (Goethe Certification) is required, if specified by the university. While most courses are taught in English, proficiency in German language is recommended to manage day-to-day life outside of classrooms.

Cost of Education

Most of the preferred public universities charge zero or nominal tuition fees from international students. Students might have to pay a semester contribution of € 100-€ 500.

Course Approximate cost of tuition every year Living Expenses
Undergraduate Zero tuition fee €8,000-€12,000 per year
Postgraduate Masters Public universities: zero or a nominal tuition fee of €500 Private universities: €5,000-€7,000 per year €8,000-€12,000 per year
Postgraduate MBA Private universities: €30,000-€36,000 per year €8,000-€12,000 per year

€ is Euro; 1 €= 71 INR approximately

  • Numerous scholarships for international students are provided by organizations such as DAAD, Heinrich Boll, KAAD, Erasmus Mundus and many more
  • International students are permitted to work part-time for 120 full days, or 240 half days in a year to manage their living expenses

Post-education career opportunities

  • Post completion of a degree programme from a German university, students are allowed to stay in Germany for 18 months to search for a full-time job
  • The Right of Residence regulation states there is no time restriction on working hours during the job search phase
  • The German Parliament has implemented the European Union (EU) Blue Card, and a new unlimited work and residence permit to grant foreign graduates of German universities unrestricted access to the job market

Germany offers international students a plethora of opportunities to pursue higher education in their desired field at a nominal tuition fee, and thus is a desired destination for several study abroad aspirants from India.

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