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Undergraduation in Germany

Germany is the most popular non-English speaking study abroad destinations for students world-wide. In the beginning of 2013, around 280,000 international students were studying in German institutions. The number of Indian students seeking admission in German universities has registered an increase of 114% between 2008 and 2013.

Quality of education

Many German cities boast of hosting at least one university that is ranked among the world’s best higher education institutions. In fact, 17 German universities feature among the top 250 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15. The pedagogy in Germany gives utmost importance to research or application-based education, and is the country’s unique selling proposition for students inclined towards a rigorous academic program.

Undergraduate education structure

  • The duration of an undergraduate course is three to three and a half years, with some courses requiring an internship
  • The degrees awarded are Bachelor of Arts/Science/Engineering
  • Courses typically comprise a core program with modules that can either be interdisciplinary or related to the core program
  • In most institutions, the academic performance is usually measured by grade points on a 5-point scale (1 being the highest and 5 the lowest). However, some of the universities measure grade points on a 6-point scale (1 being the highest and 6 the lowest)
  • A module or a course with 10 credits under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) would typically have a workload of about 30 working hours
  • Credits can be transferred to other universities within the European Union
  • Most courses allow the study of only one subject, however, in a double bachelor’s degree, two majors or one major and one minor can be pursued
  • Applying with an undecided major is not allowed

Admission process

Top institutes in Germany require:

  • minimum 13 years of education
  • minimum IELTS score of 6.5
  • excellent academic scores (75% and above)
  • proficiency in German language (B1 level, roughly equating to about 600 hours of study)

Students from countries such as India who have had 12 years of schooling can apply in case they fulfill any one of the following conditions:

  • undertaken and passed a one-year bridge program followed by an assessment test called Feststellungsprüfung

Institutions usually do not require SAT/essays/resume

There are two intakes: winter semester (beginning in October), and summer semester (beginning in April); the winter semester is the preferred intake since it offers a greater number of options and courses

Popular courses for Indian students


  • A combination of theoretical knowledge with practical experience that is delivered through an application-based curriculum including projects, industrial training, semester thesis, and often compulsory internships (locally or abroad)
  • Mechanical, automotive, civil, and electrical engineering are very popular. Unique options such as architectural, engine building or plastic engineering are also available


  • Studies of both pure and applied mathematics are accompanied by a very strong research component
  • Programs at the Berlin Mathematical School and TU Darmstadt’s ‘Mathematics with Computer Science BS/Diplom’ are offered exclusively in English
  • Undergraduate degrees can be followed by master’s degrees and PhD, as Germany offers several funded research opportunities as well as exchange programs and scholarships

Natural Sciences

  • All natural sciences courses in Germany are a blend of theory and practicum in ample proportions
  • Computer Science is the most popular subject in this category; Many students also choose Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Earth Sciences
  • Students can initially conduct independent projects, and mainstream cum collaborative research later

Interesting facts about top/renowned universities in Germany

Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)

  • top-ranked institution in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15
  • courses in individual disciplines such as arts, natural and social sciences, law, interdisciplinary studies, and medicine offered

fields of research focus include:

  • self-regulation and regulation: individuals and organizations
  • cultural dynamics in globalized worlds
  • molecular and cellular basis of life
  • structure and pattern formation in the material world

RWTH Aachen University

  • largest Technical University, and most famous internationally for its engineering courses and state-of-the-art facilities
  • ranked in the top 50 in the world by QS University Rankings 2015 for Mechanical Engineering (no. 12), Physics (no. 30), Chemistry (no. 40)

Technical University Munich [Technische Universität München (TUM)]

  • 98% of 160 courses at TUM are bachelor’s and master’s programs
  • double degree programs offered in collaboration with more than 20 universities and has established partnerships with about 170 universities globally
  • natural sciences, engineering, medical and life sciences are most sought-after courses

Cost of education

Popular Courses Tuition Fees Per Year Living Expenses
Undergraduate (All Courses) 0 €8000 – €12,000 per year

€ is Euro; 1 €= 71 INR approximately

Post-education options

Completion of academic programs in German universities is normally followed by internships in top multinational corporations that can ultimately lead to placements. Students are also allowed to live in Germany for up to 18 months after their course is over to search for employment. Once a job is assured, the permit issued for the purpose of studying is converted into a residence permit.

To conclude, a German undergraduate education offers a high quality of academic and practical exposure, extensive financial support for international students, and good employment prospects. Opting to study in Germany that houses a sizeable Indian undergraduate student population in the world is a decision that merits thought.

  • completed their first year of bachelor’s degree from a renowned Indian university
  • successfully cleared the IIT-JEE for technology and natural sciences courses

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