People got their German degrees

German Degrees

Germany is one of the finest places in the world to study. With its huge network of universities, laboratories, and research institutes, skill-based economy, and cultural respect for learning, the country is perfectly suited to students who want to develop their skills and careers.

This article looks at German degrees, giving a quick introduction to the options available, and where they could lead.

Degrees in Germany

Germans take university studies extremely seriously

Having the right higher education qualification is a necessary step to almost all high-level careers. At any one time, around 2.7 million students are enrolled at higher education institutions across the country, most of them at the 380 officially accredited universities. And the number is growing quite rapidly, with year-on-year increases of 3% in student numbers.

Universities in Germany offer a range of subjects, from law to agriculture. The country is probably most famous for teaching research-based degrees in the natural sciences and industry, and German science or engineering degrees are respected across the world.

What are the 4 types of degrees?

Students can apply for

  • Bachelor's degrees
  • Masters
  • PhDs
  • work-study qualifications which include a stronger vocational component

No Tuition Fees

Many courses are free of charge, thanks to laws passed in 2014 which removed tuition fees at most public universities.

Common German School Degrees

Before German students enter the university system, they must obtain a certificate called the "Hochschulzugangsberechtigung" (HZB)

The HZB certifies that individuals have completed high school studies to a level required to graduate to higher education. It records both general graduation, along with a detailed breakdown of the student's achievements. So universities find it very useful when admitting applicants.

For most Germans, the HZB translates to an Abitur. This is the qualification that pupils receive when they graduate from the Gymnasium, which is Germany's equivalent of high school.

Not all students will take that route. Others may enter Realschule or Hauptschule, which provide vocation-based education. It's a relatively complex system, but if you want to learn more, our pages on the German school system explain how everything works.

How can I get admission in Germany as an undergraduate?

International students will need to obtain an HZB which is equivalent to the Abitur, and this may mean taking additional German courses before applying.

To find out what is required, contact a university you are interested in attending, and ask for their eligibility requirements. All courses will require you to fill out an application form, and most will require students to provide copies of their certificates, a letter of motivation, and recommendation letters.

Importantly, international students cannot study in Germany without a valid visa. They also need to obtain health insurance and will probably require a blocked account to prove they can support themselves financially.

Common German University Degrees

When the Abitur has been attained, most qualified Germans will move onto degrees

Germany offers a variety of options, including:

Bachelor's degrees - Provide a foundation in academic or practical subjects, which is an essential launchpad for successful careers. Examples include Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degrees. Courses can be studies at purely academic universities, technical universities, or vocational schools, and take 3 years in most cases.

Master's degrees - Build upon the foundation provided by Bachelor's degrees. Masters tend to be more closely linked to career progression, and follow the same division into Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. Like Bachelor's, they are mainly free at public universities, and they tend to take 2 years to complete.

Doctorates - Research based qualifications for advanced students, doctorates entail writing extended dissertations over 2-5 year periods.

Work-Study degrees - A popular German compromise, work-study courses offer placements at companies alongside academic modules, allowing students to earn money, gain experience, and hone their skills.

The DAAD offers an excellent overview of the available courses in Germany, with plenty of English language information for overseas students.

Careers with German degrees

Studying in Germany can open up numerous career opportunities, both in Germany and the wider world

Masters degrees from universities like Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Heidelberg, Berlin Technical University, Chemnitz, and Jacobs University are all internationally respected. And German engineering degrees will impress employers across the globe, no matter where you study for them.

German universities also work closely with German employers to ensure that the country has a steady stream of highly-skilled graduates. For international students, this means that there is a great chance of working for global corporations like BMW, Deutsche Bank, or Siemens.

Big German Companies

Most of those bis German companies will actively seek talented students from around the world to staff German and international operations. They may well offer scholarships in your country, so check company websites and don't be afraid to make contact.

What jobs can you get with a German degree?

The possibilities are vast, but a few options could include:

  • Automobile engineering for Volkswagen or Porsche Systems
  • Engineering for Bosch
  • Financial analytics for Allianz or Deutsche Bank
  • Coding for Germany's thriving Fintech sector

Germany's economy is advanced, and dependent upon skills. So if you work hard, get a relevant degree, and show enthusiasm, all kinds of career opportunities are on the horizon.

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