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Public Universities in Germany

Expatrio 2024-02-15
Public Universities in Germany


The German education system is one of the best in the world and therefore offers a wide range of excellent universities.

In this article, you will find more information about the public universities in Germany and why they are so well suited for low-cost study (Bachelor's, Master's, one semester, or a whole program) abroad.

Public universities prevail in the German higher education system

The Public universities in Germany are internationally recognized and offer a wide range of programs at all levels, from bachelors to Master's and doctoral degrees. Many students from around the world come to study at these universities, attracted by their university rankings and low tuition fees. The public universities in Germany are particularly well suited for low-cost study abroad, as they offer a wide range of programs and courses taught in English.

Germany's public universities are funded by the state governments, which means that tuition fees are relatively low compared to other countries. In most cases, students only have to pay a small semester fee, which covers the costs of things like student services and public transportation.

Outstanding education

Every year, nearly half a million students graduate from a German public university. Academic competence, personal development, preparation for the job market, social engagement - the successful transfer of this knowledge is based on the commitment and skills of the teaching staff, the use of contemporary teaching and learning methods, and the continuous interest of the universities in ensuring and improving the quality of their study programs.

Excellent science

Knowledge-driven research at public universities in Germany has been a world leader in many fields for decades. Both in the national competition as well as in European comparison and worldwide cooperation, Germany's universities continuously prove their top position. Thus, they produce raw material that a knowledge-based society needs for its development. Germany as a research location is also characterized by a differentiated higher education system and the outstanding achievements of all types of universities, especially in the field of applied science.

Promoting professional development

In the rapidly changing world of work toward the concept of lifelong learning in a constantly changing environment, Germany's public universities make an important contribution: Their dynamically evolving study programs help develop and maintain individual professional qualifications in the long term. This serves the socially central area of education and makes the universities an interesting partner for businesses.

Promotion and integration

Public universities in Germany are places of advancement and integration. Thus, universities support mutual understanding between cultures and religions, promote educational equity through a broad, highly variable range of courses geared to the needs of (international) students and very different educational biographies, and influence with education one of the most important factors for successful cultural, social and political integration.


Can I get free education in Germany?

Public German universities do not charge any tuition fees. With a few exceptions, such as the regulations in Baden-Württemberg and administrative fees in some instances, all programs are tuition-free! Only private universities charge tuition fees.

International students who wish to pursue higher education (e.g., completing a Master's program) at a German university also benefit from the free tuition. It doesn't matter whether you are aiming for whole degree programs, such as a Bachelor's degree or a Master's degree, or whether you only want to study abroad for one or two semesters. Almost all federal states in Germany offer free education for students. As long as you meet the admission requirements of the German government and the individual universities, you can study in Germany for free!

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List of public universities in Germany

There are many well-known universities in popular destinations like Berlin, Cologne, or Munich, where a study abroad program is tuition-free. Larger cities in Germany generally have more universities and study programs, and also the top universities (those that have made it into the international rankings) are often located in a large city.

Still, whether you want to study social sciences, arts, business administration, life sciences, natural sciences, or engineering at a technical university: There are many outstanding study programs in smaller cities and some of the top universities are even located there. Plus, each federal state has its own top-ranked universities, so you are free to choose where you want to study in Germany - all over the country!

TOP free public universities in Germany

Three German universities have made it into the top 100 of the best universities in the world - one even into the top 50. Here you can see where it is best to study in Germany and which city is at the top worldwide.

1300 featured universities were included in the ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds. It evaluates the performance of educational institutions from a total of 97 countries. Germany performs above average in the ranking.

According to the ranking, the Technical University of Munich is the best university in Germany. It was the only institution to make it into the top 50 - exactly 50th place.

The good performance of the TU Munich is mainly due to the factor “reputation among employers.” The university's good reputation among potential employers promises graduates good job opportunities.

Two other German educational institutions made it into the top 100: Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg landed in 63rd place, while Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich came in 64th. LMU, like its city neighbor TMU, achieved very good results in employer reputation.



10 best universities in Germany for studying abroad:

From Universities of Applied sciences to Art Schools - here are our top 10 of the best universities in Germany.

1. Technical University of Munich

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is genuinely one of the best public universities in Germany and the world. It offers a variety of interesting opportunities for talented students. Indeed, among both Bachelor's and Master's students, as well as doctoral students, the university is known for its entrepreneurial and innovative mindset. The university is also one of the most international universities in the country, with nearly one in four students coming from abroad.

2. Ruprecht Karls University of Heidelberg

The university is located in a beautiful student city, making it one of the most popular destinations for international students to study abroad in Germany. The Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University was established in 1388, making it the oldest in the country and one of the most internationally renowned biomedical institutions in Europe.

3. Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

LMU is one of the top-ranked universities overall. With prestigious awards and strong student accreditations, LMU is a university that offers a first-class education and an excellent career platform through its teaching quality and strong alumni network. Founded in 1472, the university has produced 43 Nobel Prize winners (including Max Planck, Otto Hahn, and Wilhelm Rontgen), and it is the university with the most international students, with about 7,500 students from more than 125 countries.

4. Free University of Berlin

The Free University is an internationally oriented top university in Berlin. Many students from 130 countries come here to study, pursue Master's programs, conduct research, teach, and work. Freie Universität is one of eleven colleges and universities in Germany that have been recognized as excellent. It offers more than 180 programs in a broad range of subjects in twelve departments and four central institutes.

5. Humboldt University Berlin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin was founded in 1809, making it the oldest university in Berlin. Today, around 33,700 students study at Humboldt-Universität, including Charité, in a total of 258-degree programs (Bachelor's, Master's, and doctoral). The university's profile is characterized by science, a social and ecological orientation, and a business-oriented focus.

6. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

KIT was founded in 2009 as a cooperation between the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe and the University of Karlsruhe. They aim to be one of the most innovative universities in Germany. Therefore, the university wants to provide technologies for the future of energy, mobility, and information. With a share of more than 20% of foreign scientists, KIT relies on its international connections to attract the best researchers to Germany.

7. Technical University of Berlin

Technische Universität Berlin is a renowned research institution in Berlin. TU Berlin is known throughout the country for its engineering programs and Master's in computer science, economics and management, mathematics, planning, human sciences, process sciences, and its mechanical engineering course. Its seven faculties offer a diverse range of courses, with 40 Bachelor's and 60 Master's programs.

8. RWTH Aachen University

RWTH Aachen offers German- and English-language programs at the Bachelor's and Master's levels. The university is one of Europe's leading scientific institutions and one of the top public universities and it is located in a student city with access to industry and a very strong alumni network.

9. Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg

Albert Ludwigs University is a public university offering the entire spectrum of subjects for a Bachelor's and Master's in the humanities, life sciences, engineering, medicine, and law. Located in Baden-Württemberg, it is internationally recognized as an outstanding university and ensures that its students can participate in the latest scientific developments. Around 15% of students come from abroad to study there for a semester.

10. Eberhard Karls University Tübingen

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen is a prestigious academic institution in Germany in the fields of humanities, natural sciences, and theology. It is located in one of the most traditional German university towns, the city of Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg. The university offers 280 programs at all levels, from Bachelor's to Master's programs and doctoral degrees. As part of the German Excellence Initiative, the university is at the forefront of international academic institutions.

Studying in a public university in Germany is an excellent option for students looking to get a high-quality education at a low cost. The universities listed above are some of the best in the country. If you are interested in studying at a public university in Germany, be sure to research the different programs offered using our Study finder and find the one that is right for you.


Is the public university in Germany for free?

Are free universities in Germany good?

Are private universities in Germany better?



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