German University Key Facts and Unique Aspects

  • Bachelor programs are typically three years, although applied sciences may be four yearsgerman
  • Germany has 429 public universities, which includes
    • Kunstakademie (53): Arts/Visual Arts/Music–35,536 students
    • Fachhochschule (218): Applied Science Universities (Study/practice)–929,241 students
    • Hochschule (106): Research Universities (Theoretical)–1,756,452
  • There are another 110 private universities .  Only seven percent attend private universities, which tend to charge high tuition fees.
  • In all there 19,892 programmes to choose from with
    • 1,953 international in English (Bachelor & Masters)
    • Not sure what you want to study? Try this tool which allows you to enter you primary courses (it is designed for A-Levels, but you can put in your three Higher Levels for IB or Advanced Placement courses).
  • 182 English-language Bachelor programs105 with NO TUITION
  • Limited on-campus housing
    • International office can assist with off-campus housing (Studenten-WG)

Entry requirements

  • Obviously, the German programs require fluency in German. You can take a German Proficiency here.
  • Visa applicants must meet minimum financial standards (€8.700 yr/€733 m) Detailed info: (English)
  • Abitur equivalent IB Diploma (KMK in German!)
    • Two languages at level A or B (German not required!)
      • Language B as continuous foreign language must be HL
        • If Language A is continuous foreign language, then Language B can be SL or HL
      • School Supported Self-Taught (SSST Literature A SL) recognized!
    • **Math or Science (Bio/Chem/Phys) HL
    • ITGS not accepted
    • Minimum of ‘4’ in each course
      • ‘3’ accepted in ONE subject only when student achieves a ‘5’ in another subject at the same or higher level
    • All subjects studied continuously, for two consecutive years
    • DP points converted to German Abitur score
    • More on IB Recognition here.
  • Abitur equivalent DP works for all degree programs
  • See IB Diploma Guide for studying in Germany
  • US High school diploma by itself is not enough:
    • Need SAT or ACT AND
    • AP exam results
  • See NACAC Guide 23 for Germany
  • About 43 percent of all undergraduate study programs have admission restrictions, according to the German Rectors’ Conference (as of November 2018). Learn more here.
  • If your school-leaving certificate is insufficient, you will have to take a qualification assessment examination in Germany called a Fest-stellungsprüfung. You can prepare for this exam by participating in a Studienkolleg (foundation course), offered by German universities. These foundation courses usually run for two semesters. One part of the examination assesses the student’s language skills. However, to even take part in a foundation course, students require a basic understanding of German.
  • Uni-Assist provides processing and evaluation for international student applications to approximately 170 German universities.

Not qualified?

  • Fast Track Bachelor Programme – RWTH
  • *STUDIENKOLLEG: 1-year preparatory course to study specific subjects at university
    • Technical-Kurs; Medical-Kurs; Wirtschaft-Kurs
    • *For students who don’t have Abitur equivalent IB Diploma
    • May require B1/B2 German – check with each Studienkolleg
      • Includes German language preparation
      • Students who pass Studienkolleg do not need C1 test
      • Finishes with ‘Feststellungsprüfung’
        • Direct access to university – except for subjects w/ restricted access (NC)
  • Studieren ohne Abitur
    • Ausbildung (3 years) + Work experience in area of training (3 years)

Cool Country facts

Application process

  • Check individual university websites for application procedure – International Office!
  • German test required for German-language programs (C1)
  • DP results need to be uploaded by July 15
  • Process must be started before, including recognition of DP via the relevant State education authority (Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle)
  • There are two deadlines:
    • Degree programmes beginning in the winter semester: end of May to 15 July
    • Degree programmes beginning in the summer semester: beginning of December to 15 January


Brochures with general information on studying and living in Germany from DAAD in several languages beside English:

  • Destination Germany – A Pocket Guide for International Students
  • Studying in Germany – A Practical Guide for International Students
  • Study and Research in Germany – Weblink Guide for International Students and Researchers
  • Studying in Germany – A Good Choice for Your Child. 15 questions and answers for Parents
  • Time for discovery! – Map of Germany for international students and doctoral candidates
  • The German University System at a Glance
  • Germany’s Universities of Applied Sciences

Download NACAC’s Guide to Applying to Germany

Thanks to the counselors at IS Dussoldorf for sharing their wonderful research.


  • Entering high school: Make sure you are strategic in choosing your courses in the high school.
  • Junior year: Research universities
  • Junior year summer: Visit universities if possible.
  • Senior year: Decide on your universities.

Tuition fees:

  • Average Tuition fees (in US Dollars/year):
    • Citizens: $0
    • International students: 0 except for universities in Baden-Württemberg Euro 3000
  • Scholarships: Bond-free scholarships offered — More information here.
  • Living costs About S$1,300 per month Work Students are allowed to work part time during studies, 120 full days or 240 half days per year
  • Life after studies: After concluding a full time course in Germany, the residence permit can be extended for up to 18 months to find work.
  • Examples for international students

Given below is a list of private universities in Germany and averaged tuition fees they ask for

  • Bard College Berlin – €28,700
  • CODE University of Applied Sciences – €9,800
  • EBC Hochschule – €10,000
  • Friedensau Adventist University – €3,500 (with a range from €1,200 to €4,900)
  • GISMA Business School – €20,000 (with a range from €3,000 to €33,000)
  • Hertie School of Governance – €32,500 (it offers only postgraduate courses)
  • Munich Business School – €24,000
  • SRH Hochschule Berlin – €10,000
  • WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management – €15,000
  • University of Applied Sciences Europe – €1,400

More resources

Podcast from David Hawkins, The University Guy:

Unique aspects

Check out UNESCO’s interactive map

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