Choosing the right university in Germany as a prospective international student might seem challenging at first, but with the right information, you will get to make your decision in no time. Germany is known as a popular study choice for international students, totalling over 300,000 students from around the world enrolled in higher education institutions in Germany.
There are numerous aspects to be considered when it comes to choosing the right university for you, and one of the most important ones is knowing what your field of interest is or what career you have in mind. You will find this, and more, elaborated in the sections below. Make sure you read thoroughly and make the choice that is right for your aspirations.
Different University Types in Germany
In Germany, there are four different types of higher education institutions you can choose from depending on your preferences.
Here are the different types of universities international students can choose from in Germany:
In Germany, universities are largely focused on theoretical knowledge and pay a lot of attention to research. You can find numerous subjects of study in German universities, including specialised types such as technical universities or colleges of education focused mainly on pedagogy. If you are interested, you may also find universities which are focused on one subject only such as medical universities or universities of sports.
Universities of Applied Science
Unlike German universities, the universities of applied sciences in Germany are mostly focused towards the practical approach of learning. Although they have their share of theory, they are mainly committed to providing hands-on experience. You can find a variety of fields of study in this type of universities, such as technology-related programmes, media, or economy, among others. As a student at one of these universities in Germany, you might get the chance to be part of work placements or largely practice-oriented semesters. So, be prepared!
Art and Music Colleges
Colleges of Art and Music is where artists gather to study subjects like music, architecture, design, and fine arts. It is fair to say that admission to these universities can be quite competitive, and many of them accept only a small limited number of students. To gain admission, applicants must go through an entrance examination, in which they are expected to show good results. Additionally, proof of talent is also required.
What Degree Programme Are You Interested In?
Depending on your earlier education and preference, you may opt for different degree programmes in Germany. But, irrespective of the degree programme you choose, rest assured that Germany has numerous courses and degrees available in almost all fields of study.
Here are the degree programmes offered in Germany:
This is the first higher education degree you get, which outlines your career aspirations. When you get this degree, you will be able to begin pursuing your career goals by entering the labour market. It typically takes 6 semesters to complete this degree. You can choose to study one subject, or two subjects (major/minor), depending on your preferences.
A master’s degree comes after you graduate from your bachelor programme. Students who want to continue their education on their field of study or related field of study, decide to pursue a master’s degree. This is known as a second academic qualification and typically lasts 2-4 semesters.
In Germany, you may also find degree programmes which end with a state examination. This is typically for those who want to study fields like medicine, law, pharmacy, or teaching. When you finish your degree, you are required to enter the first state examination. Afterwards, you will have to go through a period of practical experience, after which you will enter your second (final) state examination. This examination is organized by a government board.
Doctorate Degree – PhD
After you finish your master studies, you may embark on another academic journey, known as a doctorate degree, or PhD. If you want to pursue a doctorate degree, you will have to write a scientific paper, which should be thorough and quite complex. After finishing this research paper, also known as a thesis, you will be awarded a doctorate degree.
A Few Tips to Get You Started
Before you decide which university you want to go to, there are some things you should consider. Although Germany is highly regarded for its academic excellence, some universities might suit your interest better than others. Below you will find a few tips to get you started.
Here’s what you should know when choosing a university in Germany:
1. Decide What Your Career Aspirations Are
Take time to actually think where and how you see yourself in the future. Decide what your career aspirations are, which field of study suits you best, and then it will be easier to find a university that matches your plans for the future.
2. Look at the University Ranking Lists
Check all the major ranking lists online, and see how German universities are ranked. These ranking lists typically provide an overview of the university qualities. Some lists also rank universities based on different fields of study. If you do not know where to start, ranking lists are a good option.
Here’s a list of the top 10 universities for international students in Germany.
3. Compare Course Content
When numerous universities catch your attention, and you do not know which one to apply to, you can choose to compare course content. Find the course you like in each university, and inquire about the curriculum, distribution of credits, and find out whether everything aligns with your interests.
4. Check the Admission Requirements
This is an important part when it comes to choosing a university in Germany. If you do not meet the requirements (such as language proficiency or other listed items) you will not be able to gain admission. Therefore, it is essential that you look at the requirements early on. This will help you make your choice. Find an overall university admission criteria here.
5. Check Employment Opportunities
Many universities in Germany have close links with the industry, which means that employment opportunities can be greater for particular universities. You can either contact the university or check their website for more information.
6. Check Accommodation Options
Find the type of accommodation the university offers and see if it is comfortable enough for you to live in. Although this should not play a great role when it comes to choosing your university, accommodation is pretty important, since you want to be in a safe and comfortable environment. Find more information on student accommodation in Germany here.