How to prepare
The application process for German university courses varies slightly from course to course. However, the process will generally go something like this:
Choose your university and study program
Firstly, you should know what you would like to study, and where you would like to do so.
What can I study in Germany? Germany has more than 20,000 higher education study programs, so you have plenty of choice.
German universities are among the best in the world for certain subjects, such as natural sciences (LMU Munich), physics (Heidelberg), and the humanities (Freiburg).
Germany is home to excellent technical universities, universities of applied sciences, and much more. Three of Germany's universities are in the top 50 of the 2024 worldwide rankings, and another 5 are within the top 100. So no matter your choice, you can be confident in the quality of education you will receive.
Tip: If you're unsure about where to study, check out our list of universities, and choose a German institution that ranks well for your favorite subject.
All German degree courses will have some form of admission restrictions (or numerus clausus). The best institutions are quite strict about enforcing quality standards for applicants, but if you meet the academic level demanded, there's no discrimination against international students.
Restrictions vary, but will typically require a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (or equivalent). There may also be other entrance examinations and interviews.
Check the Requirements
German universities don't have one system for applications, and admission requirements differ between courses. This means that you'll need to check every website or prospectus carefully to understand the admission rules.
There may be hefty amounts of paperwork and translations involved in overseas applications, and no-one wants to spend time applying for courses that aren't appropriate for their skills or needs. So make sure you do your research.
The most important restriction for most international applicants is regarding language. German universities offer a mix of exclusively German language courses and courses incorporating English teaching.
There are many programs that are taught in English. If you don't have a good grasp of German, it's important to find universities that let you study in English. However, it's still advisable to learn some German as part of the application process.
Which university in Germany is the best for international students?
Finally, some German universities are known for being more suitable for international students. For instance, the University of Heidelberg actively seeks international applicants and has strong support systems to help with housing, finances, and teaching.