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Studying in Germany | Education Advice

Expatrio 2024-02-26
Studying in Germany


If you would like to study in Europe, there is maybe no better country than Germany. It is one of the top four destinations in the world chosen by international students. With little to no fees for most courses and an affordable cost of living, choosing a German university is an ideal next step for many students.

The high-quality education, excellent job prospects and living in a fascinating country are among the reasons that international students flock to Germany.

Facts and figures on Germany’s higher education system

The higher education system in Germany offers excellent opportunities and globally recognized qualifications. For German people and international students alike, the majority of courses are free of charge at public universities in Germany. It is even possible to study at home for some courses.

More than 13% of all students in this country come from other countries to attend courses at universities and colleges. This makes Germany the fourth most popular country for international students in the world. There are around 400 higher education institutes in 180 locations around the country.

In 2018, Germany had 10 universities in the top 100 ranking in the world and has several featured in the top 20 of Europe. There are over 1,500 university courses available that are taught in English, including bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, PhDs and doctorates. There are also short courses and language courses on offer.

The grading system in German universities works on a scale of 1.0 - 5.0, with 1 being the highest or sehr gut. Visit our page on the German University System for more information on the education system.

Higher Education in Germany

Germany is the most popular non-English-speaking study destination. If you want to join the more than 300k international students in the country, be sure to check out our video!

We tell you the step by step of applying to a German university, clarify if studying in Germany is really free, and give you many more tips.


Fees and affordability for studying in Germany

Thanks to the wide availability of free education in Germany, education can be very affordable for international students. While there are a few fees associated with it, such as university registration fees that are due every semester, there are usually no tuition fees charged. 

The cost of living here as a student is considered affordable compared to other countries in Europe. As of January, 2023, the estimated monthly cost of living for students is set at €934. Students must deposit twelve times this amount in their blocked bank account each year to prove that they can cover their costs while living here.

Students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week, as per national visa regulations. Many students work in bars or cafes, babysit or tutor. Online part-time jobs for students are another option to earn extra money while pursuing their studies.

Visit our Cost of Living in Germany page for more information on the average costs associated with living and studying in Germany.


Get your German student visa

In general, if you are from a non-EU or non-EEA country you will need a student visa to enter Germany if you plan to attend a university or college

For the most up-to-date information on student visa requirements contact the German embassy or consulate in your home country.

It is very important that you apply for the correct type of student visa in enough time before you plan on arriving in Germany. It can take months for a visa application to be processed. Your passport must be valid for your entire stay otherwise you may need to return home to apply for a new one.

While exceptions can apply, student visas usually last for three months. Before this time period ends you will need to apply for a residence permit from the local Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners Office). The permit usually lasts for two years and can be extended as long as you have proof that you have continued your studies appropriately.

The paperwork required for a visa application depends on whether you have been accepted into a university or not, and can include academic qualifications, proof of financial resources in a blocked account, and health insurance coverage. Please visit our Student Visa page for more information on visas for pursuing your higher education in Germany.

Expatrio can help you to open a Blocked Account and get the right Health Insurance coverage for your visa application.

A few steps to your Student Visa

  • Health Insurance

Everyone who comes to Germany for work or studies needs to register for health insurance.

  • Funds

You’ll need to prove you have the funds to cover living costs for one year or the duration of your stay.

  • Visa paperwork

You'll need: passport, biometric photo, certificate of enrollment, proof of: finances, health insurance, and residence; plus the visa application filled out.


5 reasons for studying in Germany (Germany-focus)

Germany is one of the most popular destinations for pursuing higher education. But what makes the country such a good choice for international students?

We listed the five main reasons Germany is an excellent place to study in our video. Check it out! 


Requirements for pursuing higher studies

There are various support and education websites that cover all of the general requirements or entrance qualifications needed to study in Germany, including visas, financing, translations and accommodation. In addition, each course will have certain academic qualification requirements and you may need to take an aptitude or language test.

International students from non-EU or non-EEA countries must apply for a student visa, open a Blocked Account and have suitable Health Insurance.

As with everything else to do with preparing to attend university in Germany, be sure to check all of the specific requirements for your course at least a few months before you plan to start your studies. This will give you enough time to get everything in order, so that the whole process goes smoothly.


Financial Support

There are various options for financial support for international students, including scholarships and grants. Check with the International Office or Studentenwerk (student council) at your university to see which resources you may be eligible for.


Financial Resources

In order to be issued with a student visa, you must be able to prove that you are able to support yourself financially while you are in Germany.

Thanks to the widely available free education in Germany, international students need only show proof of enough money to cover their living costs.

The average cost of living is calculated for the year and international students must deposit this amount into a special type of bank account called a blocked bank account. A maximum of one-twelfth of this amount can be withdrawn each month.

See our Blocked Account page to learn how Expatrio can help you to open one with the lowest fees currently available.


Job market for graduates in Germany

Thanks to the low cost of studying, students can graduate without a mountain of debt. This allows you to concentrate on finding a job you will love, rather than one that simply pays well. The job market for recent graduates has a positive outlook.

There are various sectors with a high demand for qualified candidates, including health care, engineering and IT. If you have been studying in Germany on a student visa or residence permit you can extend your permission to stay in the country for 18 months. This will give you enough time to find a permanent position and you can also work during this time.

See our page about Your Chances after Graduation in Germany to learn more about the future prospects and your career.

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