In addition to how easy it is to find work in Germany, the German education system is very popular when it comes to learning German on one of the country's many high-quality language courses. In fact, many British students are leaving their home country to study at both private and public universities in Deutschland.
The education in Germany is top notch and it's hard to find a uni in Germany that isn't highly recommended or doesn't feature highly in the World University Rankings.
Additionally, since Germany and the UK are currently members of the European Union, you currently don't need to get a residence permit or a student visa to study at a German university or higher education establishment.
With this status subject to change in the near future, it mightn't be worth putting off going to a German university if you want to learn the German language and boost your career prospects.
Whether you want to go to a German university for your whole degree course or just part of an Erasmus exchange for an academic year, every applicant will need to prove they have the necessary language skills.
You can sit internationally recognised exams like the TestDaF or the Goethe-Zertifikat provided by the Goethe Institut to prove to your university that your German is good enough.
Living in Germany as an international student can give you the opportunity to go to some of the best schools around as Philipp, a French student of medicine studying in Berlin said in 2014:
“Germany doesn’t require complicated entrance exams like in France. Supply and demand regulates the market for university places. There’s plenty of it. [...] Once you’ve finished your specialisation, it’s very easy to get your degree recognised in the EU.”
Furthermore, the biggest German universities are public and there isn't a tuition fee, even for foreign students.
Here’s our advice for choosing the right university and degree courses depending on your field of study.
Types of Universities in Germany
Before applying to study in Germany, you need to know a few things about the German education system.
When it comes to studying in Germany, there are several types of universities you can go to:
German Universities: Over 1.3 million German and foreign students go to German universities every year. Courses can last between 3 and 8 years. These establishments offer research scholarships for doctorates.
The Fachhochschulen: These applied science institutes offer practical courses in order to prepare students for the working world. There are 2-year courses and master’s level courses. Fachhochschulen graduates tend to easily find a job once they finish their studies. There are currently 500,000 students in Fachhochschulen.
Art, Film, and Music Colleges: 30,000 native and foreign students attend a German “college”. These schools allow students to focus on arts, music, and cinema. There are 3-year courses up to doctorates.
In addition to choosing the type of establishment, you can also choose whether you want to go public or private.
Students at private universities can expect to pay €20,000 a year in tuition fees though scholarships are available. Students can also expect to facilitate their entry into the working world. In fact, large private German universities have very strong links with some of the country’s biggest firms.
Students who go to these renowned universities can expect to command a higher wage when they leave than their public university counterparts.
Find out the advantages of working in Germany. Learn about the German work mentality.
The Best German Universities
In 2016, the education site Top Universities published its QS World University Ranking. The institute based its rankings on the following criteria:
Access to foreign students
Of the 800 best universities in the world, 42 of them are German.
German higher education has an impeccable reputation amongst world universities but this can make it even more difficult to find the right university in Germany for a prospective student.
Choosing the best German university depends on your academic expectations. Here are our choices for the best German universities.
Technical University of Munich
This school founded in 1868 is part of the famous Eliteuniversität (Elite Universities) in Germany which is like the Ivy League or Oxbridge of Germany. There are 30,000 active students.
The Technical University of Munich is a free school and is open to everyone and to be accepted onto a course at the TUM, a foreign student must:
Have passed a higher education entry qualification (like the SAT in the US) or have previously studied in a Studienkollegs, a German prep school which offers admission exams for the universities.
Choose a course in accordance with the qualifications they have from their own country.
Have qualifications (A Levels) that line up with the equivalent German qualifications.
The Technische Universität München is particularly famous for its teachers. Thanks to its teaching, over 70% of foreign students are postgraduates.
You should check out some of the most important German expressions to learn!
The university offers a variety of technical and scientific courses.
Across three campuses (Munich city centre, Garching, and Freising), the students can apply to the following departments:
Electrical and Computer Engineering
The researchers at the Technische Universität München can study natural and hydraulic phenomena. One of the most studied areas is the Sheireik Dam and 20% of the university’s students are foreign.
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich for Social Sciences
Founded in 1472, the LMU is one of Germany’s oldest universities. 34 Nobel Prize winners were taught here. Pope Benedict XVI also studied here!
As one of Germany’s best universities, it welcomes European Union students that meet the following conditions:
Apply before 15 July for winter term
Apply before 15 January for summer term
Prove your level in German with a language certificate
Provide a professional CV
Pass a university entrance exam.
The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich has 35,000 students and 5,000 of them are foreign.
There are no tuition fees but students must pay €52 for the Studentenwerk.
The LMU is famous for its social science research. It’s one of the world’s most famous universities for philosophy.
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich has the following departments:
Catholic and Protestant Theology
Philosophy of Science and Religion
Language and Literature
Thanks to its global reputation, the LMU has been home to famous students like Pope Benedict XVI, the writer Thomas Mann, and the sociologist Max Weber.
You should also find out more about the German attitude to work...
Technical University of Berlin for Engineering
The German capital’s biggest university is also one of Germany’s most international universities. 20% of the Technical University of Berlin’s students are foreigners.
Foreign students wanting to attend the TU Berlin need to:
Pass a recognised German language exam (DSH, Goethe Certificate, TestDaF 4, Deutsche Sprachprüfung II, etc.)
Provide a copy of their British qualifications
Pass a university entrance exam
Provide a professional CV
With 2.9 million books available, the TU Berlin’s library is one of the biggest in Germany.
There are 20,000 students at the university, 4,000 of whom are foreign.
The TU Berlin is specialised in engineering and technology. It also helps students move into the world of professionals.
There are 7 departments at the university:
Maths and Natural Sciences
IT and Electronics
Architecture and Environment
Economics and Management
388 of the university’s professors are foreigners.
The Technische Universität Berlin excels in maths and statistics and has provided a number of Nobel Prize winners including the mathematicians Frank Breisig and Olga Holtz.
You’ll learn to useful German expressions there, too!
University of Constance/Konstanz for Politics
Often nicknamed “Little Harvard” by the German media, the University of Constance/Konstanz is much more modern than its counterparts having been founded in 1996. The students and staff are from 80 different countries and the university administration prides itself on providing an international environment.
So apply to Little Harvard, you have to:
Participate in an exchange programme.
Have a B1 level in German or English.
Pay the signup fee (€400)
Send a copy of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
Tuition is free. For between €280 and €350, foreign students can live on campus in student accommodation and eat in the university cafeteria for between €120 to €250 a month.
It’s one of the world’s most famous universities for politics. Many famous international politicians have taken courses here including Zoran Dindic, the Serbian prime minister, and Asha-Rose Migiro, the former foreign affairs minister of Tanzania.
There are three main departments in the University of Constance/Konstanz:
Law, Economics, and Politics
Students have the opportunity to work with other famous universities like Yale, UC Berkeley, and the University of Zurich
Thanks to the German education system, you’ll be sure to find a university that meets your professional needs!