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.
How is studying in Germany?
More than 13% of all students in Germany 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.
Fees and affordability for studying in Germany
Thanks to the wide availability of free education in Germany, studying can be very affordable for international students. While there are a few fees associated with studying, such as university registration fees that are due every semester, there are usually no tuition fees charged.
What are the costs of studying in Germany?
The cost of living in Germany as a student is considered affordable compared to other countries in Europe. As of 2020, the estimated monthly cost of living for students is set at €853. Students must deposit twelve times this amount in their blocked bank account each year to prove that they can cover their costs while in Germany.
Students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week, as per 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 studying.
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 in Germany 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 (Alien Registration 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 bank account and health insurance coverage.
Please visit our Student Visa page for more information on visas for studying in Germany.
Expatrio can help you to open a blocked bank account and get the right health insurance coverage for your visa application.