The process of applying for a German university course varies slightly from course to course. However, the process will generally go something like this.
Choose a university and a study program
Firstly, applicants have to know what they wish to study, and where they would like to do so.
What can I study in Germany? Well, there are plenty of possibilities. German universities are among the best in the world for certain subjects, such as natural sciences (LMU Munich), physics (Heidelberg), and the humanities (Freiburg).
Tip: If you're unsure about where to study, check out international rankings, 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) but there may be entrance examinations or interviews.
Check the Requirements
German universities don't have one system for applications, and 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 involved in overseas applications, and no-one wants to spend time applying for courses that aren't appropriate for their skills or needs.
The most important restriction for most international applicants regards language. German universities offer a mix of exclusively German language courses and courses incorporating English instruction.
If you don't have a good grasp of German, it's important to find universities that let you study in Germany 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.