Germany is the third most popular destination among international students in the world. More than twelve percent of students at German universities come from abroad – just like you. Germany is an attractive place to study and German university degrees are highly respected by employers worldwide.
German universities offer excellent teaching and research, ranking among the best in the world. You will earn an internationally renowned degree, giving you excellent prospects on the global labour market.
Geared to practice
German universities provide outstanding academic programmes, while universities of applied sciences offer a range of attractive, practice-oriented options. Many study programmes combine theory and practice. This will greatly facilitate your career start.
In Germany, you can make the most of yourself. Here you can develop your intellectual abilities and personal skills freely and reach your full potential. If you are out to achieve great things, you will find determination, motivation and commitment open many doors – both during your studies and after your studies.
In comparison with other countries, Germany is a safe country. In town or in the countryside, by day or by night, you can move around freely here. Germany offers economic and political stability, which makes it an ideal place for you to study.
Discover the beauty and diversity Germany has to offer! When you take time off from your studies, there are 1001 ways of finding out more about your host country. For example, you can go to a museum, a cinema or a theatre, you can sit in a beer garden, you can go for a walk on a beach, you can swim in a lake, climb a mountain or visit an old castle.
What’s it like to live and study in Germany? Well, for one thing, you would probably be studying at a university which is among the best, not only in Europe, but the world, with top-notch infrastructure and equipment; there would most likely be a great library to do research for your assignments, as well as a comfortable place to study in peace. Also, the German higher education system has undergone a dramatic internationalization, which means that you will get the chance to meet and study with people from all over the world.
Germany is an economic superpower that has become a very attractive place for students all over the world to pursue their studies, and ranks right after the United States and Great Britain in that respect. Many German universities are in the top 100 world rankings, having both tradition and excellence in teaching, and where many Nobel laureates have studied; so there isn’t a doubt that you will receive extraordinary education. Studying in Germany is amazing, easy and loads of fun.
Going to a new place always means adjusting and learning about that country and its culture. It is helpful to prepare yourself before going abroad, for the new things you will encounter, by consulting books, websites and forums as well as getting recommendations from friends that have been there before. To gain a good personal experience of Germany, you have to submerge yourself in its culture, by getting to know and spending as much time as you can with Germans around you, be it students or locals.
There is no shortage of student clubs and activities on and off campus, so if you are interested in activities like e.g. hiking or chess or whatever in your home country, you can continue pursuing the same interests and engage in the same activities and make new friends and learn German in the process. You may have heard that the Germans are somewhat reserved in their interactions with others, and there may be some truth to it, but mostly in the case of the elders and dwellers of smaller towns. But in larger cities and places with a lot of young people, you’ll find out that they are friendly and accepting of students from abroad.
Be sure to address the elderly with “Sie,” which is the formal “you” to show respect and call your professors by their last name; you can of course call your colleagues and friends by their first names and use “du” if you speak German. Germans value punctuality very much so be in time.
The best part: there are universities in both large cities or quaint towns – whatever suits your personality and needs. Whether you enjoy going out a lot and partying, or have a more chilled lifestyle you’ll have options.
Cost of living in Germany depends on the place you will be studying at and your lifestyle, but generally the basic expenses (such as accommodation, study materials, transportation, food etc.) is close to the European Union average – around €750 a month. Getting a student card is recommended since you will get discounts at museums, theatres, cinema, public swimming pools and many other places so make sure you make the most of your student status as much as you can.
You can work part-time and earn extra money on the side to support your lifestyle while studying. If you are a national of an EU member country or a national of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, then you have unlimited access to the job market, just as Germans. Beware that if you work more than 20 hours during a week you will have to pay into social security.
If you come from a country not mentioned above, you only have the right to work for 90 full days or 180 half-days a year and if you wish to work more than that, you need to get a work permit. Internships are regarded as work hours too – even the unpaid ones – so please be mindful not to work more than you are allowed to, so you don’t risk trouble with the authorities or worse still – get expelled from Germany. Labour laws are very strict in Germany, so make sure to respect them.
Transportation is not a problem since there are trams, buses and trains in almost all the regions of Germany. A common transportation ticket among students is the “Semesterticket” which allows you to use any public transportation at a discount price for a full semester.
Since some universities and campuses are located in suburbs away from the city centre, you can save a lot with a single transportation pass. Riding a bike is a common choice among students too, you can get almost anywhere on a bike and thus cut the transportation expenses as well as get some exercise.
According to German law everybody studying in a state-recognized college or university has to have health insurance to qualify for enrollment, thus one of the prerequisites to getting admitted into a university is to have proper health insurance.
Make sure you submit an insurance certificate (called “Krankenversicherungnachweis” in German) at the admissions office before the beginning of your term. Guest researchers, students in language courses as well as students over 30 years old need to get insured from private companies. The health insurance plans MAWISTA Student and MAWISTA Science are specially customized for international students, language students (e.g. in preparation of a language test), guest scientists, scholarship holders and internship students in Germany.
- a valid passport
the confirmation of application from the university (applicant visa) or the notice of admission from the university (student visa)
- evidence of previous qualifications and work experience
- proof of adequate funds for living expenses (proof of financial resources)
- health insurance coverage
Visa processing time
For visa varies from 4- 6 working weeks.
Not allowed on student VISA
Immigration on Arrival
Your passport will be checked when you arrive at the airport to make sure you’re allowed to come into the country. It must be valid for the whole of your stay.
- Free University of Berlin
- Humboldt University Berlin
- Ludwig Maximilian University
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
- Technical University of Berlin
- Technical University of Munich
- University of Freiburg
- University of Heidelberg
- University of Konstanz
- University of Tübingen
Government-funded scholarships to study in Germany
DAAD Scholarships – The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers many scholarships for international students to study in Germany at various degree levels. Click the link to view the DAAD scholarships database.
Erasmus+ – The largest provider of scholarships for study in the EU, Erasmus+ is led by the European Commission, funding international students to study in Europe. It provides grants towards living costs when participating in an exchange program to study in Europe.
Non-government scholarships to study in Germany
Alfred Töpfer Foundation – Scholarships for students from Europe (excluding Germany), Israel and Turkey who are seeking a degree (excluding bachelor’s degrees) in a field related to culture, social sciences, the arts, architecture, or agriculture and forestry. Applications are not currently open; check back at the end of 2017 for the next round of applications.
Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellowship – Fellowship sponsored by the Einstein Foundation for postdoctoral research at a university in Berlin. You can find out more about studying a PhD in Germany here.
Heinrich Böll Scholarships for International Students – Scholarships for international students at master’s or PhD level wishing to study in Germany at an accredited institution.
Humboldt Research Fellowships for Postdoctoral Researchers – Postdoctoral scholarships for scientists and scholars of any subject and nationality. Students from developing and emerging countries may be eligible to apply for a Georg Forster Fellowship.
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Scholarships – Monthly master’s and PhD scholarships are available for international applicants under 30 who have completed a university degree in their home country. You’ll need to provide evidence of an above-average academic performance, have been actively involved in voluntary work for the benefit of society in your home country, and have an interest in political issues.
Kurt Hansen Science Scholarships – Science scholarships to study in Germany, funded by the Bayer Foundation and open to students who are training to become educators in the field of science.
Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowships (IIF) for Developing Countries – Postdoctoral research scholarships for international students wishing to study in Germany. Funded by the European Commission. More scholarships for students from developing countries are available here.
Mawista Scholarship – Scholarships for those studying abroad while taking care of a child, including those pursuing study in Germany.
Deutschland Stipendium – Merit-based scholarships of €300 a month are available to highly talented students enrolled at German universities. Nationality and personal income do not affect your chances of being considered.
The Helmholtz Association – Annual fellowships are available for doctoral and postdoctoral students from around the world, giving them the opportunity to do paid research at a Helmholtz center in Germany.
University-specific scholarships to study in Germany
Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) – Opportunities for pre-doctoral, PhD and postdoctoral students to study in Germany at the University of Bremen.
DRD Scholarships for Sub-Saharan Africans – Merit-based scholarships for students from developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa pursuing a master’s degree in development studies, public administration and development management at Ruhr-University Bochum. Program twinned with UWC in South Africa. More scholarships for African students are available here.
Frankfurt School of Finance and Management Doctoral Tuition Waivers – 10 tuition waiver scholarships for doctoral students studying an English-language program at Frankfurt within finance, accounting, mathematics and business administration.
FRIAS Cofund Fellowship Programme for International Researchers – German scholarships for international students to study at Universität Freiburg on a research-level program.
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences Masters Scholarships – Scholarships for international students (for all subjects excluding design, public health and public management) enrolled on a master’s program at the university.
HHL International MSc Scholarship for Effective and Responsible Leadership – Scholarship opportunities to study management at master’s level at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management.
Humboldt University International Research Fellowships – Research fellowship opportunities for international students pursuing research in history, anthropology, law, sociology, political science, geography, economics or area studies at Humboldt University. Look out for the latest round of applications here.
International Doctoral Positions at Graduate School of East and Southeast European Studies – Scholarships to study at graduate level within Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich or Universität Regensburg as a research fellow of East and Southeast European Studies.
International PhD Fellowships at Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics – Scholarships for international students at PhD level to study at Universität Hamburg within the fields of physics or chemistry.
KAAD Scholarships for Developing Countries – A scheme offering scholarships for international students from developing countries (in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America) to study at a German university at master’s or PhD level. Candidates must possess German-language skills and be of Catholic-Christian denomination.
Kofi Annan MBA Scholarships for Developing Country Students – Scholarships for up to five international students from developing countries to study a full-time, one-year MBA at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin.
Ulm University Scholarships for International Students – Need-based scholarships for international students nearing graduation at Ulm University. Funding offered for one semester only.
Universität Hamburg Merit Scholarships – Scholarships for all outstanding international students (of all degree levels and subjects) who have been enrolled in their program for at least two semesters. These scholarships also consider applicants’ financial need, and you should be prepared to get involved with the internationalization of Universität Hamburg.
RWTH Aachen University scholarships – Funding opportunities for international and home students at RWTH Aachen University.