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Master's Degree in Germany [Guide]

Expatrio 2024-02-15
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Germans value skills above almost everything else, and the nation's universities offer a vast range of subjects, in M.A., M.Sc., and M.Eng. formats. 

This article explains what master programs offer, how to apply, and the various forms you'll encounter.


General Information

Most academic pathways progress from a Bachelor's degree, through to a Masters, and then a Doctorate (or PhD), and German universities generally keep to this rule

More advanced than a Bachelor's, Masters courses are suited to able students who have scored well in Bachelor's examinations and have a strong interest in a particular subject. They also tend to be much more specific than lower level qualifications, providing in-depth knowledge needed to enter many German professions.


What is a Masters degree in Germany?

In Germany, a Masters degree is often a requirement to enter the senior ranks of occupations like accountancy, business management, medicine, teaching, and engineering. A Bachelor's degree is necessary to launch careers in these areas, but it isn't enough. Admission to Masters's programs is usually based on a student's academic performance during their Bachelor's studies, with the final year being of particular importance.

In the past, German Masters were known as a Diplom. However, as European qualifications are harmonized under the Bologna Process, they tend to be referred to as simple Masters degrees these days.


Is a Masters Degree free in Germany?

One of the attractions of studying in Germany is the cost. Many public institutions charge no tuition fees, beyond an administrative fee per semester. This usually amounts to little more than €200.

There are some exceptions. For instance, many business schools charge per semester, and the major state of Baden-Wurttenberg charges tuition fees at all universities.


How many years is a Masters in Germany?

Typically, a course will take 2 years to complete. Part-time options may extend this duration by a year, but Masters rarely take longer than that. Fast-track courses are also possible, and can be completed in one year.

At the end of the course, students will be awarded a grade based on their achievements. A good grade for this course in Germany is 1.0-1.5 (Sehr Gut), while 1.6-2.5 qualifies as Gut.

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Search by city, major, or field of study and find your dream study program in Germany.

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How to Find your Masters

Choosing the right Masters course and location is extremely important

Course quality varies, as do costs, and how welcoming universities are for international students. The search for the perfect Masters's degree in Germany can begin with some general research on potential courses and universities. Narrowing down your choices to a handful of favorites is advisable, as this makes it much easier to apply.

The best starting point when seeking out is Master-and-More. Its site includes a comprehensive search function, listing all of the current German Masters courses. Students can search by subject or location.

The next step is to visit each university's website and check that you satisfy their admission requirements. The vast majority of courses are taught in German, so evidence of proficiency will be necessary. However, some courses are available in English. These are aimed at international students and require no German language skills.

So if you are settled in Berlin, you can easily find a course nearby. Clicking on the course name brings up a host of relevant information, including contact details, eligibility requirements, and what the course entails.


How can I get admission in Germany for a Masters?

To gain admission, students will need to meet eligibility requirements, including achieving the required academic standard at Bachelor's level. If you are coming directly from abroad, double check that your degree matches the standards requested, as this isn't always the case.

Most of this degree courses require a decent level of German, but this isn't as pronounced as it is at Bachelor's level. If you speak good English and moderate German, that may be enough. But if you don't, universities will generally fund immersive German courses as part of the application process.

The actual application process requires filling out an application form, supplying academic credentials, securing letters of recommendation, and possibly providing a CV. All of this can be handled via the Uni-Assist portal, which makes life much easier.

After that, you will need to purchase health insurance and provide evidence of financial security for your student visa. Usually, students do so by opening a "blocked account" - and Expatrio can help out here if you need assistance.

With those foundations in place, you will be able to enrol without any problems and pursue your higher education.


Master of Arts

Master of Arts (M.A.) courses include subjects like literature, history, law, geography, social sciences (in most cases), philosophy, art history, and art and design

The courses tend to be seminar or lecture based, with an emphasis on discussion and argument. Library research and workshops are also major features, but the precise mixture depends on what you study.

Students in Germany will normally have to complete an extended research task in dissertation form, which requires excellent writing skills.

Several career paths could result from an M.A. Teaching is a common destination, as is the Civil Service (Öffentlicher Dienst). Journalism, the law, and marketing are also possibilities.


Master of Science

As the name suggests, a Master of Science (M.Sc.) is different

Possible subjects here include physics, biology, and chemistry, as well as numerous sub-disciplines such as molecular biology, industrial chemistry, and vehicle design.

Computer science courses tend to fall under the M.Sc. category as well. So, if you are thinking about a career in financial data systems, digital security, or video game production, this could be the type of Masters to choose.

M.Sc. courses feature much more lab work and applied sections, and may have work placements included. They lead to careers as diverse as aviation research, working in bank IT, or research teaching at major German universities.

Choose your master studies wisely
If you are concerned about marketing your skills after graduation, take time before applying to find courses that potential employers value. Ask companies for their feedback about subjects and courses, and search the web for student opinions.


Master of Engineering

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) courses are often quite similar to M.Sc. courses in their subject matter and the course structure

They tend to include engineering components, whether that's physical and civil engineering, or digital forms.

There's one major difference, though. M.Eng. courses will generally be closely linked to specific industrial sectors and companies. In Germany, businesses work tightly with universities to train skilled staff, and M. Eng. courses are the preferred way of doing so.

If you work at a major German company, ask about funding opportunities for M.Eng. courses. Companies are usually very happy to fund the upskilling of their staff, often more so than in countries like the UK or USA.

Germany is home to some of the world's most prestigious universities, and its master's degree programs are no exception. In this article, we've explained what you can expect from a German M.A. or M.Sc. course, how to apply, and the various career paths that will be open to you after graduation. We hope you find the information useful and that it helps you make the best decision for your future.

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