Study in Germany

For those who are planning on studying abroad, Germany remains to be one of the popular choices, especially in Europe. As compared to many other countries like UK, the cost of education here is slightly lower but the quality of education is definitely enviable in areas like mechanical engineering, Mathematics, etc. International students are welcome where and can enjoy the cultural diversity along with a glimpse into the German culture. You can learn a new language and gain experience from this interesting country.

Like its rich cultural history, the educational system of Germany too has undergone many changes as reforms happened through the pages of history. Currently there are two main degrees available in Germany - namely Bachelor and Master degree for higher education, which is very much the norm all over the world. Any international student studying here would require the graduate degree Abitur or the advanced technical college entrance qualification. Until a few years back, it was not possible to build a central organization for application and award of university places. As a result, one had to send out separate applications to every university or advanced technical college. Though an attempt to synchronize the same is being made, there’s still a long way to go.

The admission requirements for different universities here are defined on the basis of subjects. One would notice that there are 3 different kinds of advanced colleges or universities in the country. It is possible to get knowledge, both theoretical and practical for subjects like arts, film or music advanced colleges. Then there are the advanced technical colleges that cover mostly scientific and social subjects. Here the main focus is on practical experiences in their education. The final or the third category is referred to as the university. They basically cover all kinds of subjects, keeping in mind both practical experience and the firm theoretical education, for which Germany has been known forever. 

Student Visa in Germany

As an international student one requires an entry visa for Germany depending on where you come from and how long you plan to stay here. The German embassy or German consulate in your home country can guide on the same.

Visa Application Process

  • You should remember to submit your application early enough because the entire processing can take several months. And in case of delay here, you won’t be able to enter the country without a valid visa.
  •  Also, remember as a student that you have to apply for the correct visa! Tourist and language course visas are not the same as a student visa. With the wrong visa you may be forced to leave the country.
  •  You must also plan your trip to Germany with sufficient time in hand so that you can enroll at your university and take care of the administrative obligations. Enrolment is a prerequisite for obtaining the “residence permit for purposes of study”.
  •  Also, another aspect to keep in mind is that you should ensure that your passport is valid for your entire stay! In case your passport expires while you are in Germany, you would have to return to your home country and extend the validity of your passport there.
Remember that there are exceptions to the student visa policies here too. For instance, you don’t need a visa to enter Germany if you are -
  • Citizen of the EU/EEA/EFTA countries
  • A partner or child of an EU/EEA/EFTA national and only if you are travelling together
  • A holder of a Diplomatic, Service or Special Passport from Chad, Ghana, Philippines, Thailand and Turkey
  • A holder of a Diplomatic Passport from Algeria, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Russian Federation, South Africa, Tunisia and Ukraine.
However, once you enter the country, you need to apply for residence or other visa type

There are two types of visas:

Student applicant visa (Visum zur Studienbewerbung)
For those who haven’t received notification of admission to a university or foundation course, they can apply for a separate student visa. It is known as a three-month visa that allows you to meet the requirements for admission to a German university. This visa can be extended to a maximum period of six months. Once you are granted admission the university or foundation course within this period, you may apply for a student visa.

Student visa (Visum zu Studienzwecken)
For those who have already received your notification of admission to university or a foundation course, a student visa should be applied for. Student visas are usually valid for three months. During this period, you have to apply for an extended residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your university town.

Courses to study in Germany


Currently, medicine remains to be one of the most popular courses that you can study as an international student. There are some challenges in the way, but it also offers plenty of job opportunities on completing the course. The norms for studying medicine here are rather strict and governed by rules like Medical Licensure. As per this document “basic knowledge, skills and capabilities in all subjects” that are necessary for an extensive medical treatment of all Germans need to be taught here. Based on this document, entrance exams are created and all students have to reach the nationwide numerus clausus, which is the average degree that has to be reached. University places are provided only to those with the necessary Abitur grades from the “Stiftung fur Hochschulzulassung”.

Another hurdle that the students have to take for getting into the course would be the test for medical studies colloquially called “Medizinertest”. This test is required from some universities, but not for all. On the basis of this test, the students knowledge, experience and general ability to study are tested. Different universities have different norms for this.

On the whole, the medical course is spread over a period of 12 terms and three months (terms in Germany last half a year) and is divided in two parts. These include the pre-clinical part and the clinical part. During the former, the concept is giving necessary knowledge and theoretical backgrounds, for which Germany has always been popular. The next part is focus on the practical application that comes with a one year internship and stressful life of a hospital.

All medical students have to pass through 2 medical exams that include both written and an oral-practical part. For the medical admission and the doctor grade one must complete graduation that lasts for one to two terms in full-time studies. You can also do the same along with normal studies. Depending on whether you go for the Bachelor or the Master programs there are some differences. Some universities do the 2 parts in one study program. Other universities have accepted the Bachelor and Master system and have changed their programs.

Top Universities

  • Heidelberg University
  • Rwth Aachen University
  • Lubeck University
  • Witten/Herdecke University
  • Magdeburg University
  • Wurzburg University

Mathematics and Sciences

One of the most sought after subjects by international students in German universities is the broad range of Mathematics and Natural Science degree programs. With new interdisciplinary subjects being added every day, one can find a plethora of opportunities here. Under this category one can study subjects like Physics too for which 31 Germans have already won Nobel Prizes. Some German universities rank in the world top 100 for Physical Sciences like Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) that holds the 19th place globally. The majority of Natural Science and Mathematics degree programs can be availed at the universities here. You can also go for the mono-bachelors or Bachelor's programs in Mathematics, the Natural Sciences and Computer Science that provides qualification in only one subject.

In some universities, you have the option to diversify your academic profile with several subjects. For example, you may study one natural scientific subject with a humanities or social scientific subject. You can also study Biology, Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Computer Science or Geography with the perspective of becoming a teacher. But remember that you must major in at least two teaching subjects at the same time.
Transition from Natural Sciences and Engineering is rather new and with more of multidisciplinary research fields coming up, it has lead to newer degree programmes coming up like Biochemistry, Molecular Life Sciences, Bioinformatics and Genome Research, Biomathematics, Environmental Chemistry, Nanosciences and Geoinformatics. In Germany, you can easily get about 2,500 degree programs in the areas of Natural Science and Mathematics where at least 200 are English-language master's degree programs.

Top Universities

  • University of Bonn
  • Technical University of Berlin    
  • University of Munich
  • Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin
  • RWTH Aachen University


When it comes to engineering, the first few words that come to the mind are electrical engineering, mechanical and plant engineering, etc. which are some of the most important industries in the German economy. There are about 6,390 companies in Germany who employ around 1,000,000 workers – which is way ahead than any other industrial sector. On the revenue front, mechanical and plant engineering is the second largest industrial sector in Germany with revenues of €212 billion in 2014 alone.

If you have a passion for cars and vehicles, then the German mechanical and plant engineering sector would be a great choice, which also accounted for 16 percent of machinery traded worldwide. It remains the leader in this sector followed by US (12.1 percent) and China (11.2 percent) and Japan (11 percent). Mechanical and plant engineering remains to be one of the most innovative industries in Germany, where students can learn in both practical and theoretical set ups while setting standards in developing and applying future technologies.

Top Universities

  • Tu Clausthal
  • Tu Brauenschweig
  • Btu Cottbus
  • Magderburg University
  • Rwth Aachen

Economics and Social Sciences

Being a country with rich diversity on the historical front, both economics and social sciences remain to be popular subjects here. Another reason is that social science is more of theoretical subjects, something that has always been the primary focus of institutions in the country.  The scope in these subjects has steadily broadened in recent years. You can get the “classical” subjects of economics in the standard universities that include - Macroeconomics, Economics and Business Administration. Along with this, other subjects that are coming up really well here include Trade and Service Management, International Sales and Marketing, and Supply Chain Management. On the humanities front, there are subjects like sociology, history, political science, etc. that are popular with both international students and local students. These days one can also get a blend of interdisciplinary subjects at many universities that may include some vocational studies like tourism, healthcare and media along with Economic Law and Economic Psychology, etc.

However, one aspect that all international students must remember her is that they may have to learn German as some universities might not have courses in English. But there are still many choices. Also, you will get hands-on experience by traveling to other countries, interacting with diplomats, etc. along with theoretical knowledge here.

Top Universities

  • B.Sc. Economics- University of Cologne
  • B.Sc. Economics and Management Science- University of Leipzig
  • LL.B. Wirtschaftsrecht- University of Applied Management
  • B.Sc. Wirtschaftsinformatik- AKAD Hochschule Leipzig
  • B.Sc. Applied Economics- Deggendorf Institute of Technology


International students with a knack for art, especially painting, music, etc. can enroll in German art schools as guest students. The procedure means that you can study art here for a year post finishing your bachelors degree. Some institutes like the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, offers students the option to pursue their art careers in tandem with further training. If you want to enrol in a full time course, then you need to have B2 level of German proficiency, but not for all colleges and universities. The creative industry courses include practical knowledge of being a craftsmen or artisans with intensive apprenticeship training programs offered in Germany. The “dual system” offered here for secondary education means that students can pursue either craft or artistic skill and continue with long-term apprenticeships for 2-3 years post leaving school. EU citizens are eligible to apply for apprenticeships in Germany here.

Top Universities

  • The Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin)
  • University of the Arts Bremen
  • Dresden Academy of Fine Arts
  • Frankfurt Staatliche Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste
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