Higher Education in Germany

Updated on
September 20, 2022

When wishing to study for an advanced degree, there are now many flexible options for you to do so when living in Germany. There is the ability to study for an advanced degree in a conventional campus setting; in the comfort of your own home via e-learning and with both full and part time options available to earn a higher education in Germany.

In Germany there are many opportunities to study for an advanced degree, professional qualification or vocational certificate. Places in which to study include Universities; colleges; private Universities and colleges; cooperative Universities and many schools. Degrees can also be purchased via accessing e-learning modules.

Below the various options that are available with regards to accessing higher education Germany will be discussed.

Private Schools

There are thousands of private schools in Germany. Each will have their own specific requirements for being able to enrol on a specific course or module of learning. Private schools are open to all candidates and offer degrees as well as professional and vocational qualifications.

State Run Schools

State run schools are available to all nationalities. The only stipulation is that the candidate meets the specific entry requirements and that foreign students have the necessary visa, residence permit and basic German language skills.


There are over 100 Universities known as Universität in Germany.165 of these specialise in Applied Science known as Fachhochschulen, and 50 are geared towards the arts, music and film. The vast majority of these courses are taught in English.

Subjects taught at Universität

Teaching focusses upon that of general education, with students attending for a period of three to six years. Professional studies that include medicine, law and dentistry all require government licensing. Any subject that is related to the world of technology is taught at theTechnische Universität.

Masters Degree

When attending a Universität students are able to gain a bachelor's degree within three or four years. A Masters degree can also be obtained within five or six years. A one-tier year program is also available, that enables students to gain a Masters degree.

The Universität Access Process

The access process in itself can be slightly stressful. This is due to the fact that there are restricted places, especially for new students. Most courses also only start once per year and foreign students who wish to study in Germany may also face some difficulty as foreign qualifications and credentials can be difficult to transfer across to the German higher education system. Many foreign students will therefore have to start afresh.


The Fachhochschulen involves four years of study which will then lead to either a Bachelor's degree or a Diploma in Higher Education. Students are also able to enrol in a variety of vocational courses. Emphasis is very much upon technology, business, the social sciences and design technology. Master's degrees are also offered at many institutions. Medicine and law cannot be studied at the Fachhochschulen and a PhD cannot be gained. However on completion of study, students may apply to other institutions to pursue their doctoral studies.

Art, Music and Film Colleges - The Kunst, Musik-und Filmhochschule

These collages offer the standard equivalent of education, but all subjects are centred around the Arts. Within Germany there are 53 state run Kunst, Musik-und Filmhochschule that require students to sit an entrance exam. There are 23 music colleges with over one third of the student population comprising of foreign students.


Universities of Cooperative Education (Berufsakademie) are not traditionally regarded as providing higher education from a state run perspective, but many of their applied science programmes are seen as compatible to those of the Universität and will offer Bachelor degrees. Theory and vocational studies are also often blended into the learning structure. Often the cooperations offer a specialist area of study that focusses very much upon business, technology and social sciences. Many students have a trainee position in their chosen career path and job prospects for graduates is very good.

International Cooperation

Some international institutions have close ties with Germany's state institutions. One example is that of Duke University having close links with Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. Some of these international institutions are also business divisions of large German state universities, such as Dresden International University that is linked to Technische Universität Dresden. This joint venture is beneficial to both parties as well as students.

Private Colleges

There are many private schools in Germany that offer a wide range of courses that lead to degrees and professional qualifications. They usually charge a tuition fee that can cost from 1,800 to 4,700 euros a semester. Many of these institutions have close links to industry, with many of them having state licenses that enable them to offer a one or two year program of study leading to a vocational degree qualification.

Details of the state higher education sector are available as printed brochures in English, French and Spanish from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). The leaflet entitled: Studying in Germany - Information for foreigners on university services / on Fachhochschule studies/ on studies at colleges of art and music; explains the many different levels of higher education that can be studied. Additional information can be found at the DAAD website: www.daad.de/en/.

Information regarding studying at private universities can be found at: www.private-hochschulen.net (in German language only).

Additional Resources

The best online resource with regards to an overview of higher education in Germany can be found at: iwww.hochschulekompass.de

Here you will find information about all higher education Germany institutions. The information provided covers undergraduate and postgraduate studies; international cooperation agreements and higher education schools.

It is also strongly recommended that the chosen University or college should be contacted directly in order to gain further information about the specific application process.

Finally another highly recommended resource for information on studying in Germany can be found at: www.studienwahl.de. This site has been translated into English and covers all aspects of higher education study in Germany.

Higher education in Germany - Study at Home, University, College or School and Gain a Degree, Professional Qualification or Vocational Certificate.

Get Connected With The Right Health Insurance Provider
Get your free Quote today!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
arrow up