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Study in Germany: primary, secondary, higher education for foreign students


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Germany is the most popular country in continental Europe for students, Germany offers free tuition at the best universities in the country. Consider the main nuances of admission to educational institutions in Germany.

How to study in Germany for free?

  • Higher education in Germany is free for everyone, including foreigners. State universities provide places that are funded from the budget, students only pay an annual fee in the region of 500 euros. An exception is the state of Baden-Württemberg - here you will not be able to study for free at state universities.
  • The high competition for places and the reputation of state universities entails a strict selection of applicants, especially for the faculties of medicine and law. The competition for places can be up to 20 people per budget place.
  • Most bachelor's programs are held in German, the opposite is the case in master's programs - there are much more English-language courses.
  • Most universities do not provide scholarships to undergraduate students.
  • To qualify for a budget place, students must complete 2 years at an university or 1 year at a bachelor's degree, as well as complete a one-year Studienkolleg preparatory program.

Requirements for admission to universities in Germany

  • Certificate of Completed Secondary Education (German Abitur , British A-Levels , IB )
  • Certificate of proficiency in German / English TestDaF , Goethe Zertifikat, IELTS
  • For foreign students after the end of grade 11, additional training is required to make up for the lack of one academic year - Studienkolleg or International Foundation
  • Bank certificate of financial solvency
  • Due to the difference in educational systems, some universities require students to study abroad for 1-2 semesters, but not all institutions pay attention to this.

Preparatory Programs

Foreign students will not be able to enter German universities right after school - the difference is in school curricula: German children study in schools for 1-2 years longer. To raise knowledge to the required level, students can unlearn at a domestic university or choose one of the training programs. On prestigious courses, you can improve your language skills to the required level. For students, the requirements for admission to a university are more loyal - at the time of submission of documents, a language certificate with a level of at least A2 is required. 

Preparing for university at Studienkollegs

  • A prerequisite for admission to German universities is training in special preparatory institutions - Studienkollegs
  • Duration of training is 1 year. Studienkollegs does not have to study full-time all the time: you can prepare yourself, and at Studienkolleg you can pass exams and get a certificate
  • The training program is an in-depth study of 5-7 main subjects of the school curriculum + an intensive course of the German language (28-32 hours per week).

Studienkollegs training directions:

  • Medicine, biology, pharmaceuticals
  • Economics and Social Sciences
  • Mathematics, natural and technical sciences
  • Humanities, German Studies
  • Linguistic directions
  • Engineering specialties
  • Design and visual arts
  • Sociology.

International Foundation, University Pathway

International Foundation, University Pathway - international training programs. The purpose of the programs is similar to Studienkolleg. The duration of the course will be about 1 year, during which students will study specialized areas and improve their language, as a result, the chances of admission increase. The cost of the courses is from 5000 euros for 36 weeks. Where can you go:

International Baccalaureate, A-Level for foreign students after grade 10

Private schools in Germany offer training in international programs, their diplomas are highly regarded around the world and are accepted by almost any university in the world. The term of study is 2 years, students from 16 years old (who have completed grade 10) are accepted. Cost: from 6590 € per term. Schools with International Baccalaureate:

German schools and colleges with GCSE and A-level:

Das Deutsche Abitur after grade 11

German program: Students receive a matriculation certificate after finishing 13th grade. The certificate perfectly demonstrates academic background and a high level of knowledge of German. Abitur lasts two years, at the end of the program, students will have compulsory exams (at least 4 in basic subjects and several in optional).

List of schools offering Abitur:

Higher education in Germany for foreign students

The German higher education system is distinguished by a variety of institutions. You can distinguish:

  • Classical universities
  • Applied universities
  • Private higher education institutions.

The strongest areas in German universities:

  • Engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Industrial engineering
  • Natural science disciplines
  • Computer science
  • Business Economics
  • Economic informatics
  • Enterprise management.

On admission, most universities do not require entrance exams, with the exception of some areas, which are the most difficult to enter:

  • Medicine
  • Right
  • Journalism
  • Psychology.

Top universities in Germany

Financial support for students

  • DAAD, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst is the largest and most famous scholarship fund, annually the organization issues hundreds of scholarships to international students. A monthly stipend of 750 euros per month is enough for living and studying
  • Deutschlandstipendium - financial aid in the amount of 300 euros is given to students who are active in social and political life
  • Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung - the foundation grants scholarships to undergraduates and postgraduates who know German well
  • Rosa-Luxembourg-Stiftung - the fund gives out 750 euros per month to undergraduates and graduate students with an active citizenship.

Tuition fees and additional costs

  • Summer language camp = 1000 € -1200 € per week
  • Language school = 320 € -370 € per week
  • Secondary education = from 20,000 € per year
  • Pre-university preparation = from 700 € to 11,000 € per year
  • Undergraduate = free or from 15,000 € per year (commerce)
  • Study materials = 59 € per semester
  • Meals = 160 € -200 € per week
  • Accommodation = 300 € -750 € per month
  • Cellular = from 10 € per month
  • Transport = from 30 € per month or 210 € per year
  • Insurance = from 60 € per month.

Tuition fees per semester in the federal states of Germany (state universities)

Baden-Württemberg

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 1775 €
  • Administrative fee = 83 €.

Bavaria

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 0 €.

Berlin

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 59 €.

Brandenburg

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 60 €.

Bremen

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 59 €.

Hamburg

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 59 €.

Hesse

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 59 €.

Lower saxony

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 89 €.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 59 €.

North Rhine-Westphalia

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 0 €.

Rhineland-Palatinate

  • Undergraduate = 0 €
  • Master's degree = 769 €
  • Doctorate = established by the university
  • Administrative fee = 0 €.

Saar

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 59 €.

Saxony

  • Undergraduate = established by the university
  • Master's degree = established by the university
  • Doctorate = established by the university
  • Administrative fee = 30 € -178 €.

Saxony-Anhalt

  • Undergraduate = 0 €
  • Master = up to 592 €
  • Doctorate = established by the university
  • Administrative fee = set by the university.

Schleswig-Holstein

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 0 €.

Thuringia

  • Bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies = 0 €
  • Administrative fee = 59 €.
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