Bachelor's degrees are courses that provide a thorough grounding in an area of study, whether that's law, physics, or graphic design
They tend to be required to enter most German professions and are a necessary stepping stone to enter Master's courses.
Is a Bachelor's degree free in Germany?
One of the great things about undergraduate study in Germany is its cost, or the lack of it. Bachelor's courses have no tuition fees in most German states, and all students need to pay the university is a modest semester fee, which covers administrative costs.
Semester fees will usually be around €250 per term - much less than full course fees elsewhere.
However, international students will need to pay tuition fees in Baden-Württemberg, while all students need to pay for living costs. So Bachelor's aren't exactly free, but they do represent excellent value.
What is Diplom in Germany?
When you study for a Bachelor's degree in Germany, it might be referred to as a Diplom. Don't be fooled. There's often very little difference between the two. In the past, Diploms were regularly handed out for humanities subjects. By 2020, as part of the Bologna Reforms, all Bachelor's will have the same title, and have exactly the same standing worldwide.
These reforms are an EU-wide effort to standardize university education, and are having a big effect in Germany, where older degrees are being phased out. In the future, Bachelor's degrees from all EU countries will be comparable, making it easier to use them across the region.
How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in Germany?
The Bologna Reforms have had their biggest impact on the length of Bachelor's degrees (also known as undergraduate degrees) in Germany. Increasingly, degrees will last for 6 semesters (3 years). The exact length of a Bachelor's degree can still vary slightly between 6 and 8 semesters. However, only around 20% of German Bachelor's courses exceed 6 semesters, and this number is likely to become smaller as the reforms take hold.
There are some exceptions. For instance, part-time Bachelor's degrees will extend the period, but in practice, few full time Bachelor's last longer than 3 years.
How to find your Bachelor's Degree
Bachelor's Degrees represent a huge time investment, and a vital part of your career, so choosing the right course is essential. Thankfully, resources are available that make it easy to search through the thousands of Bachelor's courses offered at German universities.
For example, Bachelor-and-More provides a regularly updated database of current courses. You can search by topics and locations, helping to zero in on relevant options.
Things to think about when choosing a Bachelor's Degree
When selecting, think hard about your skills, and what you aim to achieve. Ideally, a Bachelor's degree will be a means to an end, and it should lead to future work and study opportunities.
Academically inclined students may want to choose a university with prestigious research departments so that they can transition seamlessly into an MA. Others will prefer universities with close links to industry or finance, giving them maximum job opportunities.
On a more general level, think about whether you want to study at a big city university, or somewhere more tucked away. Larger cities offer exciting cultural and social experiences, but they can be expensive places to live, and many students can find their vibrancy distracting. So 3 years in a small town can be a good way to build your professional credentials.
How do I get a Bachelor's degree in Germany?
The Bachelor-and-More search engine offers an easy-to-use first step on the road towards getting a Bachelor's degree. When you search for courses, it comes up with a list of possibilities, including the language of instruction, semester fees, and contact details.