Germany’s Higher Education System


Education is not centrally organised in Germany. All 16 German states have their own higher education laws and regulations. German institutions of higher education are also very independent. From admission to application deadlines, much is decided by the individual university or college. That is why it is important always to find out which rules apply at the university of your choice.

Types of Universities

In Germany, you can choose between different state and private higher education institutions. There are universities, universities of applied sciences and schools of art, film and music. Selecting the right one depends, amongst other things, on what you want to study. All institutions are comparable in terms of quality.

More than 400 state-recognised institutions of higher education can be found across Germany. Together, they offer some 20,000 different study programmes. You can find out all about the study opportunities in Germany via the . You can attend a German higher education institution:

  • To study for a bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • To spend a semester or year abroad
  • After completing your first degree course
  • To study for a doctorate

The following types of higher education institutions exist in Germany:


Do you want to know how a university measures up in the subject of your choice? Click here to go to .

These degrees can be acquired in Germany

Every study programme is linked to a particular type of qualification. When you decide on your course, you are also deciding on the qualification that you hope to attain. German higher education institutions offer many types of courses and qualifications.

Subject groups

Here you can find information about the various subject groups on offer at German higher education institutions and the career opportunities open to you after completing your studies.

International Programmes database

In the DAAD International Programmes database you can find bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral study programmes that are internationally oriented and internationally accredited. 

Check out the

International Programmes

Many German higher education institutions also offer international programmes. There are four reasons for a study programme to be qualified as international:

  • if it is taught in English (or another language apart from German) and/or you do not have to have a high proficiency in German.
  • if it is a double degree programme; i. e. you receive a degree from both the German university and a second institution, which, together, jointly host the study programme.
  • if it offers subject supervision or extracurricular services explicitly for international students, e. g. your university might offer a Welcome Week or a Buddy Programme for international students etc
  • if there are specific international elements in the study programme, e. g. aspects of the curriculum are explicitly international, or the course involves times spent studying abroad etc.