Germany’s higher education institutions enjoy an excellent reputation. Teaching and research provide key impulses for innovation and progress. German universities combine research and studies and have been the scene for ground-breaking discoveries such as the printing press, computer and mp3 that have become inseparable parts of our modern lives.
Every year, thousands of international students and scholars choose to study in Germany. There are very good reasons for this. These include among others International Programmes taught in English medium, excellent quality of education, no tuition fees, promising career opportunities and above all the vibrant social and cultural milieu.
There are various kinds of institutions of higher education in Germany. A majority of these belong to either of the following categories:
Universities (including Universities of Technology, abbr. TU) are research-oriented and offer a wide variety of subjects. These can award doctorate degrees.
Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen, abbr. FH), on the other hand, are practice-oriented and offer courses mainly in engineering, business administration, social sciences and design. These have strong links to the industry and offer possibilities like joint supervision of the professor and a company for a master thesis. Fachhochschulen do not award doctorate degrees, however as a master degree holder from a Fachhochschule, one is in principle eligible to apply for PhD at a university.
Your interest and inclination should define which of the two kinds of institutions you choose!
The German answer to this question is: There is no “best university”, neither in one subject and certainly not across all subjects.
Germany offers a multidimensional ranking , considering various criteria that are important from a student’s perspective. For example, student and staff judgments on quality of teaching, atmosphere at the university, library and other equipment, student numbers, average study duration, number of graduations, third party funding etc. You thus get a detailed picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each university on www.university-ranking.de Here you can find your programme by selecting a subject, a university or even a city in Germany!
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.
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 par with 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.
The German academic years is divided into two semesters: Winter semester (October – March) and summer semester (April – September). Accordingly German universities have two intakes. The following timeline refers to courses beginning with the winter semester. In case you find a course that begins with the summer semester, just calculate the months accordingly and proceed!
Let us get into the details now:
Check DAAD calendar for information events.
|January – March||
|March – June||
|Arrive in Germany at least a week before your course begins. Contact the International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) of your university for guidance.|
|Get your residence permit within the first three months of your stay in Germany from the Foreigners’ Registration Office (Auslaenderamt).|
Germany offers numerous International Programmes with English as the sole or primary medium of instruction. But as a student in Germany, your life will not be limited to the university campus. You will surely want to interact with people, do your internships, travel through the country-side and make the best of your time there. This is where knowledge of German will present a great advantage!
Universities offer beginner and well as advanced level courses where you can learn German. You can also start learning the language while you are still in your home country at the Goethe-Instituts (Max-Mueller Bhavan) / Goethe-Zentrums.
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! Certain specialised courses and courses offered by private universities can attract fees.
You will need to pay semester contribution of around Euro 300, 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 860 per month for subsistence i.e. housing, food, clothing, study material and other expenses such as health insurance and leisure activities. Here is a table that shows students’ monthly expenses. The amounts can vary from city to city, and of course from lifestyle to lifestyle!
|Rent and utilities||€ 343|
|Food and Drink||€ 178|
|Learning Materials||€ 22|
|Car and Public Transportation||€ 94|
|Health Insurance, Medical Costs, Medicine||€ 80|
|Telephone, Internet, TV||€ 31|
|Recreation, Culture, Sports||€ 61|
Funding in Germany is available in principle for research and in some cases at the master level. To get a comprehensive overview of various funding possibilities, visit www.funding-guide.de.
As an international student, you are permitted to work for 120 full days or 240 half days in a year. This will help you in getting a bit of extra pocket-money!
After completing your degree in Germany, you can choose from amongst a wide range of options:
You can stay on in the country for up to 18 months to look for a job that is in keeping with your education. Once you find a job, the residence permit issued to you for the purpose of studying, can be converted into a residence permit for taking gainful employment. Germany has always had a very strong industry-academia linkage. A lot of scientific research is funded by the industry as well. During your studies you can get the opportunity to do internships with German companies, which can open new vistas for your professional career.
If you want to know more about universities and student life or read what other international students have to say about Germany, check out the DAAD Young Ambassadors page.
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