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Basic Information about Germany
Germany lies in the center of Europe. It is the largest member state of the European Union, with over 82 million inhabitants. Cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Stuttgart and many others are renowned for their cultural diversity, vibrant lifestyle and historic heritage. Museums, concert halls, theatres, opera houses, galleries, cinemas… – the wide range of cultural activities offers something for everybody. And a trip across Germany is a journey through just about every cultural epoch.

Germany ranks 1st in Europe for the highest number of newly registered patents, and it ranks 2nd in the world, after the USA. Germany is the largest economy in the European Union and the 3rd largest in the world.

The most widely spoken mother tongue in Europe is German.

Germany is home to some of the world’s leading companies in many areas, such as information technology, health care, biotechnology and the automotive industry, making it the world’s leading export nation.

Did you know that:

  • around 10% of all Nobel Prizes ever awarded went to German scientists; for instance, a total of 28 German researchers received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 24 in Physics, and 15 in Medicine?
  • more than 300,000 people in Germany earn their living as musicians, performing artists, and specialists in the arts?
  • there are around 6,000 museums in Germany?
  • the athletic shoe was invented in 1920 by the German Adolf (“Adi”) Dassler, the founder of adidas.
  • no other national soccer team made it to the World Cup Final as many times as Germany?
  • the Computer was invented in Germany? German inventor and engineer Konrad Ernst Otto Zuse developed the first modern computer called ‘Z3’ in 1941.
  • And many more to say…

The Higher Education System

Germany has a long tradition of academic excellence in education, science and research.

Today, about 250,000 foreigners are studying in Germany, making it the 3rd most popular host country for international students after the USA and UK.

There is hardly another country in the world that boasts such a density of higher education institutions: More than 370 universities, universities of applied sciences as well as colleges of art and music cover over 400 disciplines and, thus, offer the possibility of pursuing almost any specialization or research project you may have in mind.Many German universities offer courses that are taught in English and lead to international degrees, such as Bachelor, Master or PhD.

German universities combine theoretical learning with practical application, often in an interdisciplinary environment. In addition, many universities cooperate closely with multinational companies as well as with other research institutes in Germany and abroad.

With over 350 research institutes, Germany offers all students, scientists, doctoral and post-doctoral candidates one of the finest academic environments available in the world today.

Prominent fields of study popular with foreign students include: Engineering Sciences, Natural Sciences, Economics and Business Administration, as well as degrees in the Arts, Music, Architecture and Design.

Tuition fees at public German universities are very moderate. For most universities, only a small administrative fee is levied. Some charge tuition fees of ca. EUR 500 per semester. Living expenses amount to around EUR 650-700 per month, depending on the region.

German education system
In accordance with the German Constitution, competence for school and culture has been given to the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. The organisation and the educational aims of all forms of schooling are committed to the educational laws of these 16 federal states. Each school describes its own aims, main focuses and types of organisation for its education work based on its education order and existing frames and curricula in a school program.

The resulting differences in the educational regimes are based on arbitrary traditions and political/ideological orientations.

Universal access to public education is the norm in Germany. Admission to public-sector primary and secondary schools is available free of charge; no fees are charged for enrolment or for report cards.

German schooling comprises nine years of compulsory education. Children start school at the age of six and attend primary school (Grundschule) for four years before proceeding through a variety of secondary schools: Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium.

Hauptschule, grades 5 to 10, is compulsory.

Realschule (sometimes called intermediate school) covers grades 5 through 10 and is halfway in difficulty between a Hauptschule and a Gymnasium. The children learn an additional foreign language, shorthand, word processing, and book-keeping, and acquire some computer skills. Graduates earn a Mittlere Reife certificate. Some proceed to a Fachoberschule (a higher technical school) or a Fachgymnasium (a specialized high school or grammar school) for the next stage of secondary education.

Gymnasium (sometimes called high school or grammar school), comprising both the lower and upper secondary level, covers grades 5 to 13. The standard Gymnasium provides an intensive general education. As a rule, students switch to a Gymnasium after attending four years of primary school, and attend grades 5 through grades 12 or 13. Upon graduation they receive a certificate (Abitur) which allows entry to all higher level academic studies (Allgemeine Hochschulreife).

In the upper level of the Gymnasium, the Gymnasiale Oberstufe, students are no longer taught in fixed class units. In grades 12 and 13, pupils follow courses in their elected subjects instead of being taught in the class unit. The range of courses offered is, as a rule, divided into basic courses (Grundkurse) and intensive courses (Leistungskurse, comparable to British A-level courses).

Depending on its educational policy, an individual state may also offer education in Gesamtschulen (comprehensive schools), which provide a broader range of educational opportunities for students than the traditional Gymnasium. The Gesamtschule features an all-inclusive curriculum for students aged ten to eighteen, including significant freedom to choose coursework. Some Gesamtschulen have been established as all-day schools, unlike the Gymnasium, which is a part-day school with extensive homework assignments. All children of compulsory school age are taught in parallel classes (“streams”), depending on their particular abilities. Children can easily advance from one stream to another as they improve.

Tuition fees and living costs
German universities charge only very moderate tuition fees or even no tuition fees at all. What is more, international students are subject to the same fees as German students. Where fees are charged, they currently range from 450 Euro – 850 Euro per semester which means that a full Bachelor’s programme often costs as little as Euro 3800. A Master’s degree frequently costs no more than Euro 2500 and at PhD level there are generally no fees at all. As for the living costs, on average students will need about 700 to cover their cost of living.


Scholarships are primarily managed by the German Academic Exchange Service / Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and other public foundations.

DAAD offers more than 200 programmes, which range from short-term exchanges for research or teaching purposes through to doctoral scholarships lasting several years. If you are interested in studying in Germany and if you are looking for financial support, we strongly recommend that you reach our counselor who would assist you to find all the information on available scholarships and also details of German foundations (section Study & Research in Germany). Our aim is to make it easier for those interested in studying in Germany as well as those providing assistance and advice in ESC’s office to find details of existing grant programmes and to guarantee that the information about these programmes is always up to date.


Germany is a great destination for international students and offers :

  • High quality university education
  • Accessibility for international applicants
  • A safe and welcoming environment
  • High living standards
  • Excellent employment prospects

The normal duration of a Mter program in Germany is three to four semesters. Germany has many well known universities with a very high reputation in the field of engineering.

The normal duration of a Mter program in Germany is three to four semesters. Germany has many well known universities with a very high reputation in the field of engineering.


“Hochschule” is the generic term used to refer to any institutions of the German higher education system.

A “Universität” is a doctorate-granting institution. After completing an intermediate examination,Universität students work towards the final examination, leading to a “Diplom”, “Magister Artium”, or the “Staatsexamen”, depending on the area of study. A “Promotion” (PhD) can follow.

Originally, a “Technische Universität” restricted its teaching to technical and engineering disciplines.. Nevertheless, the focus of their activities continues to be directed towards engineering and science.

A “Fachhochschule” is an institution with emphasis on professional and practical training in a specialized area.

Which are the intakes in Germany ?

There are 2 intakes for admission in Germany Universities. The main intake is called winter, starts in September and the second intake is called summer which starts in March.

Institutions of higher education in Germany usually do not charge any tuition fees. But education policy in Germany is increasingly seeking to change this. A number of states now charge tuition fees for students who study for considerably longer than the stipulated period for course completion .
Apart from the relatively low semester fees (generally no more than 100-200 euros) for some Universities, students at German universities are not required to pay from their own pockets at any time.

It is not necessary to learn German language as universities in Germany also provide education in English. If the course is in English, then proof of proficiency in English –IELTS 6.5 is needed.

This is also possible. The same applies as for a transfer to another academic institution within Germany: you apply to the other academic institution with your transcript. It is best if you transfer when you have completed one segment of your studies – that is, when you have received your bachelor’s degree.

During your studies in Germany you are generally allowed to do 120 full days or 240 half-days of paid work and take small student jobs. In exceptional circumstances your local foreigner’s office may impose further restrictions.

Whether or not you need German skills in your job depends on your post and your employer. Whatever the case, it is extremely helpful for everyday life, as well as for an active social life, to learn some basic German. Experience shows that language level B2 is a good starting basis. In any case, learning German is not so very hard and what’s more, there are plenty of ways of getting help.

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