Germany is the third most popular destination among international students in the world. More than twelve percent of students at German universities come from abroad. Germany is an attractive place to study and German university degrees are highly respected by employers worldwide.
1. Recognition throughout the world: German higher education is one of the best in the world. Whether it’s cars or education, people everywhere recognise “Made in Germany” as a seal of quality. You can benefit from Germany‘s long and famous university tradition especially in the fields of engineering and science. A German university degree is highly respected by employers around the world.
2. Diverse range of study opportunities: Germany’s higher education system has something for everyone. There are almost 450 state-accredited universities with some 17,500 degree programmes in Germany. German universities offer degree programmes in every possible subject and academic level – be it bachelor’s, master’s, state examinations or doctoral degrees. General universities focus strongly on scientifically oriented study in a wide range of disciplines. Universities of applied science, on the other hand, are very practice-oriented. If you’re more interested in artistic subjects, you can enrol at a college of art, film or music.
3. Academics in English: More and more courses and degree programmes are being offered in English, especially at the master’s degree level. This is good news if you don’t know any German or if your German isn’t good enough yet..
4. Vibrant international student population: Around twelve percent of students at German universities come from foreign countries, just like you. You can make friends from around the world, become acquainted with different countries and expand your horizons. The universities offer support to make your start in Germany as easy as possible. There are many mentoring programmes available, such as “Buddy” and “Tandem”.
5. Very low tuition fees or sometimes no fee at all: Students normally don’t have to pay tuition fees at German universities, and if so, the fees are very low. Most German universities receive considerable financing from the government. Bachelor’s degree programmes are usually tuition-free at public universities. Some master’s degree programmes, however, come with tuition fees, but they’re not as high as in other countries.
6. Affordable living expenses: Compared with other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is reasonable. The cost of food, rent, clothing and cultural activities are equivalent to the EU average. There are also a number of concessions available to students. You can receive reduced prices at theatres, museums, opera houses, cinemas, swimming pools and other institutions.
All you have to do is present your student ID.
7. Availability of many scholarship Programmes: As an international student with outstanding academic achievement, you have good chances of receiving a scholarship to finance your studies in Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is one of the largest scholarship organisations in the world and offers countless scholarship programmes. No matter what your country, subject or status, you’ll find a scholarship that matches your profile and needs in the DAAD scholarship database. And not only does the database contain programmes offered by the DAAD, but also many other organisations in Germany.
8. Safe Country: Germany is a safe country – also on an international scale. The police are reliable and help you in every situation. Whether you live in a big city or in the country, you can move freely day or night without having to take any special precautions.
9. A Diverse Country: Beaches and mountains, medieval city centres and pulsating metropolises, and above all, lots of nature. Germany is a diverse country with many facets! Living in Germany means living in the middle of Europe surrounded by many other countries. Whether you’d like to visit Paris, Prague, Rome or Copenhagen, you have a wide range of destinations at your doorstep. Within a couple of hours by train or plane, you can experience an entirely different culture and language. Weekend trips are no problem and affordable.
10. German language can open many doors: German is one of the ten most spoken languages in the world. Some 185 million people worldwide can speak German. You can still study in Germany even if you don’t know German, but having some knowledge of the language can make everyday life easier and help you make friends faster. Knowing a foreign language also looks great on a résumé! Nobody says that German is an easy language, but there are many ways to learn German – in a course, with a tandem partner or with German flatmates.
The bachelor’s degree is a first-level university qualification which is recognized on the international labour market. In a bachelor’s degree programme, you learn the fundamentals of a specific subject in six to eight semesters. Once you’ve completed the programme, you can either start your professional career or continue studying for the next higher degree: the master’s degree.
In Germany, every university is autonomous. This means that every university / study programme has its own set of criteria for admitting students. So please check the university website, and specifically the programme you are interested in to find out the exact admission requirements. Universities will ask for very good German language skills in case you want to take up a programme / Studienkolleg in German medium. In such case, your knowledge of German needs to be certified through examinations like the TestDaF.
In principle you are eligible to apply for a bachelor programme if you fulfill one of the following criteria:
• Successfully completing the first year of a bachelor programme from a recognized university in India in the relevant subject field.
• Successfully clearing the IIT Joint Entrance Examination for admission to courses in technology and natural sciences.
• Passing the qualification assessment examination in Germany, called Feststellungsprüfung .
The Feststellungsprüfung is an examination conducted by universities that assesses your proficiency in subjects that are crucial to your chosen degree programme and also in German language. A foundation course (Studienkolleg) in Germany can help you prepare for this examination. This is a full-time course with about 32 hours of instruction per week and usually takes upto two semesters to complete. The two components of the course are German language and subjects relevant to the study programme you want to register for later. The minimum eligibility criteria for enrolment in a Studienkolleg are a valid school leaving certificate (12th) with relevant subject combination and proficiency in German language (approx. B1 level based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). Your subject knowledge and if applicable German language proficiency will be tested in an entrance exam (Aufnahmeprüfung) by the course coordinators before you enroll yourself in foundation course. On successfully taking the Feststellungsprüfung, which has a written and an oral component, you are eligible to apply for a bachelor degree course. Please remember that success in this examination does not automatically lead to an admission to a university or FH.
The master’s degree is the second-level university qualification offered at German universities. A master’s programme, which takes another two to four semesters, enables you to expand or deepen the knowledge you’ve already gained. Once you’ve earned your master’s degree, you can enter professional life or continue studying to earn the next higher academic degree: the doctorate. The prerequisite for gaining admission to a master’s degree programme is that you have successfully completed a bachelor’s programme (or another programme at an equivalent level).
In Germany, every university is autonomous. This means that every university / study programme has its own set of criteria for admitting students. So please check the university website, and specifically the programe you are interested in to find out the exact admission requirements.
Some generalisation is, however, possible and one can say that as a four-year Bachelor degree holder from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal or Sri Lanka, your degree is treated at parwith a German bachelor degree and most universities will consider you eligible for masters provided you fulfill other criteria. In case you have a three-year Bachelor degree, do get in touch with course coordinator before applying.
Some universities may ask for your TOEFL/IELTS/GRE/GMAT scores, depending upon the subject you choose to study. For example, GMAT may be asked for if you want to study economics or law. Universities will ask for very good German language skills in case you want to take up a programme in German medium. In such case, your knowledge of German needs to be certified through examinations like the TestDaF or DSH.
If you want to work in Germany as a doctor, lawyer, teacher or pharmacist, you will have to pass a state examination. You are allowed to take your First State Examination after completing a study programme in Law, Medicine, Pharmacy or a subject for teacher certification. After that, you begin a professional, practical training period to prepare for the Second State Examination and/or pursue a doctorate. The state examination is not an academic degree – it’s a state-recognised degree. That means that the examination regulations are not determined by the university, but rather the federal states. Furthermore, the examinations are administered by state invigilators. Important – passing the state examination does not guarantee that you’ll get a job! You should inquire in advance whether the German state examination is recognised in your home country.
Doctoral study programmes conclude with the conferral of a doctoral title (PhD). During your studies, you are required to write a research paper (dissertation). The duration of your PhD programme depends on the topic of your research project, but usually takes between two and five years.
In recent years, German universities have worked hard to reform their degree programmes in accordance with the Bologna Process. The new bachelor’s and master’s degree programme have replaced practically all of the traditional “Diplom” and “Magister Artium” programmes. You may encounter these degrees in your search for suitable study opportunities. Both are comparable to a master’s degree.
The “Diplom” is conferred to students who have successfully completed their studies in the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Economics, Social Sciences or artistic disciplines. The “Magister Artium” (M.A.) is usually conferred following completion of study programmes in the humanities.
Like in many other countries international students must have a Master’s Degree, and must have identified a professor in Germany who is willing to act as their doctoral guide.
Cost of studies
In Germany, education is subsidized by the state and therefore state-funded institutions of higher education charge no tuition fee. Thus, in Germany virtually every student gets a scholarship! Ceryain specialised courses and courses offered by private universities can attract fees.
You will need to pay semester contribution of around Euro 50 to 250, depending upon the university and the services or benefits provided. For certain special courses you may need to pay higher fees.
Apart from the tuition fees, if any, you will require about Euro 670 per month for subsistence i.e. housing, food, clothing, study material and other expenses such as health insurance and leisure activities. This amount can vary from city to city, and of course from lifestyle to lifestyle!
Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is quite reasonable. The prices for food, accommodation, clothing, cultural events, etc. are basically in line with the EU average. You will need around 800 euros a month to cover your living expenses. The largest expense is your monthly rent.
You should expect to pay the following expenses during your stay in Germany:
• living expenses (rent, food, clothing, books, telephone, …)
• semester contribution
• health insurance
• possible tuition fees
Students require around 800 euros per month to cover the cost of living in Germany. In large cities, costs can vary considerably depending on where you live. You should plan on spending more on living and studying in Munich than in Leipzig, for example. As a rule, students can live on less money in smaller cities than in larger ones. Naturally, the amount of money you need will ultimately depend on how economically you live.
Flat rental comprises the largest portion of one’s monthly expenditures. However, rental prices in Germany vary greatly. Depending on where your university is located, you will pay between 210 and 360 euros per month for an accommodation. The rental prices in some large cities, such as Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt am Main, are much higher in comparison. If you are looking to live cheaply, it might be a good idea to take a room in a student hall of residence or ashared flat (WG).
Students are eligible for numerous price concessions. By presenting your student ID at the ticket counter, you can receive concessions on entrance fees to theatres, museums, opera houses, cinemas, public swimming pools and other cultural venues.
All university students are required to pay a “semester contribution”. It costs about 250 euros on average, but can vary depending on the university and the services it includes.
One part of the semester contribution covers social services and fees. This helps finance, for example, the student dining halls, student halls of residence, athletic facilities and administrative services. This social contribution can cost up to 100 euros.
In some states students are charged an extra administrative fee which can range from 50 to 75 euros per semester.
The semester contribution at many universities also includes the cost of a public transport ticket. With your “semester ticket”, you can use all modes of public transportation in and around your university town for half a year at no charge. Depending on the city and the range of the ticket, the ticket can cost between 25 and 160 euros per semester.
If your health insurance cover at home is not recognised in Germany, you will have to take out an insurance policy here. Public health insurance providers offer policies to students for around 80 euros a month – that is, as long as you are still under 30 and haven’t studied longer than 14 semesters. After that, your premium automatically increases to 160 euros per month or more.
Rent and utilities € 298
Food and drink € 165
Clothing € 52
Learning materials € 30
Car and public transportation € 82
Health insurance, medical costs, medicine € 66
Telephone, internet, TV € 33
Recreation, culture, sports € 68
Total € 794
Working while studying
International students from non-European nations may work 120 full days or 240 half days per year. If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at the university, it’s usually no problem to exceed the 120-day limit. However, you are obliged to inform the Alien Registration Office if you do. The employment laws pertaining to international students are very stringent. If you violate them, you could be expelled from the country.
Working post studies
With a degree from a German university, international graduates have numerous job opportunities on the German job market. Students from non-EU countries are allowed to remain in Germany for the purpose of looking for employment for a maximum of 18 months after graduating. These 18 months pass quicker than you think, so it’s important to start job hunting during the final semester of your degree, or at the latest “four months before finishing your studies,” advises Maria-Theresia Jansen from the “Agentur für Arbeit” job agency in Bonn. As a member of a team of careers advisers specialising in academic professions, she has spent the last 30 years helping international graduates gain a foothold in the German employment market.
While you’re looking for full-time employment, you’re allowed to work as much as you like: According to the Right of Residence regulation, there are no time restrictions on working during the job search phase.
Admission to programmes in Germany are granted on the basis of previous academic record. However, for some management courses a GMAT is required, and some engineering programmes require a GRE score. You will need to check the requirements of the university you are applying to. The TOEFL is a standard test required for programmes that have English as a medium of instruction.
You have to apply for admission directly to the universities. Application forms can be requested from the International offices of universities. The filled applications have to be sent back to the university along with documents required to be attached. The attached documents must normally be authenticated copies of your certificates. You will also have to include authenticated copies of certificates confirming your knowledge of German, if required.
The Winter semester starts in October and the Summer semester starts in April. The application deadline is 15th July for the Winter semester and 15th January for the Summer semester.
Visa information for students
STEP 1: Choose your university in Germany : In many Indian cities, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) provides – free of cost – counselling on universities for students who want to study in Germany.
STEP 2: Start with the enrollment process : For enrollment at the university, you will require certified copies of your academic mark sheets and certificates. You can obtain these certified copies at the German Missions. Please schedule your appointment here
STEP 3: Open your blocked account: As part of your student visa application, you are required to provide proof of sufficient funds to cover your living costs in Germany. One option to fulfil this requirement would be to open a blocked account at a bank in Germany or at a branch of Kotak Mahindra Bank in India. Please note that the process for the opening of a blocked account takes around 4 – 6 weeks. You are therefore advised to open the blocked account well in advance.
STEP 4: As soon as you have received the admission letter from your German university, please prepare the necessary documentation for your visa application.
STEP 5: Kindly procure photos which meet biometric photos requirements
STEP 6: Please fill out the Application form for National Visa print it out, sign it and submit it along with the other documents. To complete your documentation, please print out the declaration and sign it:
STEP 7: Now, schedule an appointment for your visa interview at your German Mission.
STEP 8: Shortly before your appointment, please verify the current exchange rate for your visa fee on this website and obtain the Demand Draft. The visa fee has to be paid by Demand Draft at the time of the visa interview. Demand Drafts with incorrect amounts will not be accepted. Fees cannot be paid in cash. Please note that the fee is not refundable, even when the visa is rejected.