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Master Studies in Germany


Germany’s higher education institutions enjoy an excellent reputation. Teaching and research provide key impulses for innovation and progress. German universities combine research and studies and have been the scene for ground-breaking discoveries such as the printing press, computer and mp3 that have become an inseparable part of our modern lives.


Every year, thousands of young men and woman from abroad decide to begin or continue studying at a German university. There are very good reasons for this, which include among others International degree Programmes (IDP) taught in English medium, excellent quality of education, low or no tuition fees, career opportunities after graduation and above all social security.

What is the German university system like?

There are mainly two types of institutions of higher education in Germany. Your interest and inclination should define which of the two kinds of institutions you choose!

Universities (including Universities of Technology, abbr. TU) are research-oriented and offer a wide variety of subjects. These can award doctorate degrees.

Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen, abbr. FH), on the other hand, are practice-oriented and offer courses mainly in engineering, business administration, social sciences and design. These have strong links to the industry and offer possibilities like joint supervision of the professor and a company for a master thesis. Fachhochschulen do not award doctorate degrees, however as a master degree holder from a Fachhochschule, one is in principle eligible to apply for PhD at a university.

Which is the best university in Germany?

The German answer to this question is: There is no "best university", neither in one subject and certainly not across all subjects. What Germany offers instead is a multidimensional ranking , considering various criteria like student and staff judgments on quality of teaching, atmosphere at the university, library and other equipment, student numbers, average study duration, number of graduations, third party funding etc. Several tables based on these considerations give you a detailed picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each university on DAAD-CHE Ranking. Here you can find your programme by selecting a subject, a university or even a city in Germany!

What kind of master programmes does Germany offer?

There is wide range of study programmes with

  1. English as the sole or primary medium of instruction, called International Degree Programmes (IDPs). A database of such programmes is available here.
  2. German as medium of instruction. A comprehensive database of all study programme in Germany is available here.

Am I eligible to apply for a masters degree course?


In Germany, every university is autonomous. This means that every university / study programme has its own set of criteria for admitting students. So please check the university website, and specifically the programe you are interested in to find out the exact admission requirements. Some generalisation is, however, possible and one can say that as a bachelor degree holder from India, your degree is treated at par with a German bachelor degree and most universities will consider you eligible for masters provided you fulfill other criteria. Some universities may ask for your TOEFL/IELTS/GRE/GMAT scores, depending upon the subject you choose to study. For example, GMAT may be asked for if you want to study economics or law. Universities will ask for very good German language skills in case you want to take up a programme in German medium. In such case, your knowledge of German needs to be certified through examinations like the TestDaF or DSH.

How do I go about applying?

January - March

  1. Contact the selected university. This will be your most important source of information as far as exact details about eligibility, course duration, fee, application procedure etc. are concerned.
  2. Check the application deadline for courses chosen!

March - June

  1. Send the application packet.
    The website of the course / university you have chosen will carry details about application procedure to be followed. Accordingly, send your application either to the university or to UNI-ASSIST.
    UNI-ASSIST is a body that accepts your application, screens it and forwards it to its member universities of your choice against payment. The fee for applying to one university through UNI-ASSIST is 55 Euro and then 15 Euro for every additional university. Member universities of UNI-ASSIST often do not entertain direct applications. So please check well before you send in your papers.
  2. If you have chosen a university that is not a member of UNI-ASSIST, send your application directly.
    Application forms and other relevant material can be downloaded from the internet.
  3. Make sure you have a valid passport!

July

  1. Apply for a student visa as soon as you have the admission letter, as the procedure can take around two months. The German Embassy and the Consulates require proof of funding for the first year of studies. To find out where you should apply for a visa, the website of the German Embassy in your country.
  2. Apply for a place in a hostel. In some cases the International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) of the university will help you.

September - October

  1. Arrive in Germany at least a week before your course begins.
  2. Contact the International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) of your university for guidance

October - December

  1. Get your residence permit within the first three months of your stay in Germany from the Foreigners' Registration Office (Auslaenderamt).

As you can make out, this timeline refers to courses beginning with the winter semester (October – March). In case you find a course that begins with the summer semester (April – September), just calculate the months accordingly and proceed!

Here we would like to reiterate that you should necessarily check the website of / contact the chosen university for exact course details.

Do I need to know German?

As you have already read, Germany offers numerous International Degree Programmes (IDPs) with English as the sole or primary medium of instruction. But as a student in Germany, your life will not be limited to the university campus. You will surely want to interact with people, travel through the country-side and make the best of your time there. This is where knowledge of German will present a great advantage! Universities offer beginner and well as advanced level courses where you can learn German. But you can start learning the language while you are still in your home country at the Goethe-Institut (Max Mueller Bhavan) / Goethe-Zentrum.

What kind of budget should I have in my mind?

In Germany, education is subsidized by the state and therefore most of the institutions of higher education charge no or very little tuition fee – to the tune of 500 Euro per semester. Thus, in Germany virtually every student gets a scholarship! However, you will need to pay semester contribution ranging from Euro 50 to 250, depending upon the university and the services or benefits provided. For certain special courses you may need to pay higher fees. Apart from the tuition fees, if any, you will require about Euro 740 per month for subsistence i.e. housing, food, clothing, study material and other expenses such as health insurance and leisure activities. This amount can vary from city to city, and of course from lifestyle to lifestyle!

Are there any scholarships available?

Funding in Germany is available in principle for research and in some cases at the master level. Check Scholarship & Funding for current offers by DAAD. To get a comprehensive overview of various funding possibilities, click here.

Can I work in Germany – as a student and later as a professional?

As an international student, you are permitted to work for 120 full days or 240 half days in a year. This will help you in getting a bit of extra pocket-money! After completing your degree in Germany, you can stay on in the country for up to 1.5 years to look for a job that is in keeping with your education. Once you find a job, the residence permit issued to you for the purpose of studying, can be converted into a residence permit for taking gainful employment. Germany has always had a very strong industry-academia linkage. A lot of scientific research is funded by the industry as well. During your studies you can get the opportunity to do internships with German companies, which can open new vistas for your professional career.