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Bachelor's Degree in Germany

Every great thinker, politician, lawyer, computer programmer, or doctor has to start somewhere. And in an academic sense, the starting point is always a Bachelor's Degree. German Bachelor's are a launchpad to tackle Master's and PhDs, or to enter major engineering companies. But how do they work, and which one should you choose?

This article looks at the various kinds of Bachelor's degrees, and offers a few handy ideas about how to make a selection.

General Information

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.

Applying for a Bachelor

The search function also links to application forms for each course - the next stage in obtaining a Bachelor's. Take care when assembling all of the documents you need, as one mistake can render an application null and void.

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Arts courses (usually shortened to B.A.) include a wide range of the humanities

Possible options include social sciences, German and German literature, history, geography, and law.

This might sound like they are quite academic, but that's not always the case. German universities offer many applied BAs, including subjects like product design, tourism management, business administration, and even film directing.

These courses will usually suit creative students with a love of culture, and often involve the completion of in-depth written research projects (dissertations). They will be ideal for people who enjoy writing and debate, and can lead to careers as diverse as business management, journalism, and politics.

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science degrees are usually shortened to B.Sc

As the name suggests, these courses tend to be focused tightly around the sciences, and they benefit from Germany's world-class research universities.

Subjects covered by B.Sc courses include chemistry, biology, and physics, as well as computer science related courses. So, if you want to work in network management or cyber-security, a B.Sc will be essential.

Many B.Sc courses are looser regarding German language competence than other Bachelor's. So if you aren't confident in speaking German, they may be a better option.

Bachelor of Engineering

Finally, Bachelor of Engineering degrees are usually shortened to B.Eng

In these cases, students generally study with particular careers in mind, and these careers are usually based around practical skills.

For example, B.Eng courses in Germany could include physical and computer engineering, or industrial design and engineering. They will often be connected to certain companies, and many B.Eng students will have their studies funded by sponsors.

These courses tend to feature extensive work experience, allowing students a taste of German professional life. And the skills provided are transferable to countries across the world.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Germany's MBBS is the country's primary medical qualification

But it's not just prized within German borders. The MBBS has a solid international reputation, making it highly desirable anywhere in the world.

Stretching across 6 years in most cases, the MBBS includes both theoretical and hands-on clinical experience, providing one of the best foundations for a medical career a young doctor could hope for.

Courses tend to be excellent value, without sacrificing teaching quality or the standard of facilities. And both domestic and international students receive the same access to German hospitals and clinics, ensuring that they will leave university with the credentials and experience required to launch a successful medical career.

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