The Choice is Yours
You can pick and choose among 400 state-accredited higher education institutions. And if that weren’t enough, there are over 20,000 courses, most of which are full time.
German higher education institutions
German higher education institutions focus on theoretical knowledge and normally offer lots of different courses. Some specialize in certain subjects and are called a ,university of technology‘ (TU) or ,university of education‘ (PH). Academies of fine arts are for students with special musical or artistic talents. Universities of applied sciences specialize in practical education. Students do internships, longer projects and whole practical semesters at companies. So-called dual studies combine higher education with vocational training.
With so many courses on offer, it can be hard to keep an overview. Various tools can help you make your decision.
In recent years, there has been a reform of courses offered at German institutions of higher education. Previously the main degrees were the ‘diploma’ (Diplom) and M.A. You will still encounter these terms occasionally, but they are increasingly being replaced by bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The main degrees now at German institutions of higher education are:
- state examination
Almost all higher education institutions have an Akademisches Auslandsamt (AAA – foreign students office or international office). It offers guidance to international students about all aspects of staying and studying in Germany.
International Master’s Degrees
The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree is aimed at highly qualified students from around the world. It is offered by a consortium of at least three European institutions of higher education, includes at least two study periods in two different countries and usually lasts two years. It leads to either a joint degree (a single degree certificate issued on behalf of at least two higher education institutions) or multiple degrees (at least two-degree certificates issued by two higher education institutions of the consortium). This programme is supported by the European Commission.
Combining Theory and Practice
One unique aspect of German education is what’s known as ‘dual study’. As a rule, this entails alternating between theoretical phases at an institution of higher education with practical ones at a company. This set-up allows you to combine theory and practice and get vocational training while you are studying. Usually, you will already be earning money and taking your first career step in the German labour market. If you decide to pursue dual study, you need to sign a contract with a company, which will require a German work permit.
You can also study at a German higher education institution without living in Germany by doing a remote degree consisting of digital modules. That makes you independent in terms of time and place from your instructors and allows you to fit your studies around the rest of your life. The internet and digital tools are essential to getting a remote degree, which is essentially a supervised, self-taught course. Attendance requirements are few, primarily kept to weekends and used for exams and instruction sessions. You can find out about the remote degrees on offer at the portal.
You can study full time at more than 420 higher education institutions in Germany. Bachelor’s degrees take a minimum of three years. In the winter semester of 2020-2021, some three million students were enrolled at such institutions in Germany.
2. Check the requirements