Recent years have experienced a sharp increase in the number of international students looking to study in Germany. It’s already surpassed its goal of hosting 350,000 international students by 2020, with a whopping 359,000 international students enrolled in 2017. Factors responsible for this sharp increase include the strong reputation of German universities, living standards and economy, added with the fact that many candidates are able to school for free – although non-EU candidates are now made to pay tuition fees to school in Baden-Württemberg.
While majority of programs are taught in German, there are chances to study in Germany in English, with an increasing selection of English-language programs structures for international students.
English-language programs are before now fairly widespread at master’s level, predominantly within the social sciences and business-related fields. They’re now also becoming more broadly obtainable at undergraduate level – so with a dollop of patience and research, you too might get the opportunity to study in Germany in English.
How to study in Germany in English
Foreign students who do not sprechen Deutsch may find it difficult to acquire the right information on how to study in Germany in English, especially at undergraduate level. Although a lot of students attracted to study in Germany are driven by the free tuition, finding free English-language programs at public institutions is not stress-free. This is due to the fact that the majority of undergraduate programs at German universities are taught in German.
The International Program search tool from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) presently finds 116 bachelor programs taught entirely in English language, many of which have “International” in their name. When the search is narrowed down to display only bachelor’s programs with no tuition fees, only 60 programs are left.
So, you may be required to pay tuition fees at a private university so as to study your desired program in Germany in English. This is not essentially a catastrophe – the fees may still be lesser than those in other famous study destinations.
Another search tool, provided by Study-in.de, presently finds 231 English-taught bachelor’s programs in Germany. Again, some of these are provided by private universities who charge their own fees, many of which are lesser than €10,000 (~US$11,200) each semester.
You can now also effortlessly search for English-taught programs in Germany with this free matching tool, which features over 900 programs in Europe.
As an instance, the private Jacobs University Bremen is the only German institution to feature in the search tools providing an English-taught bachelor program in mathematics, with tuition fees of €20,000 (~US$22,200) each year. The university also provides the only English-taught undergraduate psychology degree program to feature in the search, again at €20,000 each year – although you can study a business management and psychology degree program for free at Furtwangen University.
You’ll notice than some subjects are more often offered in English than others. For example, there are a decent number of English-taught options in subjects like business, English/American studies and engineering.
Other options to study in Germany in English
There are alternative options. For example, the pan-European business school ESCP Europe offers the chance to study in the capital cities of three countries (London, Paris/Madrid and Berlin) on its Bachelor in Management program for €14,000 per year for EU students, or €19,000 (~US$21,280) per year for non-EU students.
ESCP Europe also offers graduate programs taught in English across all five of its European campuses (in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin and Warsaw), including the Master in Management program.
To study in Germany in English for free, you should consider looking beyond the most popular universities in Germany, and give consideration to institutions which are perhaps smaller, specialized or vocational in nature. For instance, you may give consideration to Germany’s Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen), which offer more specialized pathways of learning to create highly skilled graduates in the science and technology sectors. This choice can be good for those who already possess a mapped out career path and wish to acquire practical skills in their field together with a recognized degree.
Before applying, make sure to do some research regarding the institution’s reputation in your chosen field. You should also make sure that the institution provides the appropriate qualifications for your career, as some only provide diplomas, instead of full degrees.
German universities offering undergraduate English-language programs
There are presently only a limited number of undergraduate English-language courses at top German universities. Because of the scarce nature of these programs, if you really wish to study at a foremost university, you may have to be a little bit amenable on your choice of program.
Below is a concise list of the opportunities obtainable for undergraduates to study in English in Germany at universities appearing in the QS World University Rankings®. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and new programs are being developed continuously, so it is crucial to carry out additional research yourself – making use of online searches, rankings, the DAAD, student sites/forums and other organizations providing advice and guidance.
In addition to providing a variety of English-language master’s programs, Universität Freiburg is also one of few universities in Germany to provide a bachelor-level degree program taught in English, permitting international students to enroll for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc), depending on their major. Universität Freiburg has a strong international repute, placed joint 169th in the QS World University Rankings® 2020.
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, at 181st in the world rankings, provides a BSc in Molecular Ecosystem Sciences which is delivered in English. The school also provides a number of international graduate degree programs.
You can enroll for a BA in American Studies and a BSc in International Physics Studies taught in English at Universitat Leipzig, which is presently ranked 531-540 in the world rankings.
All programs are taught in English at this University of Applied Sciences. However, you will need to pay tuition fees of €7,200 (~US$8,050). They provide programs in two faculties, Architecture and Design, and also Business Administration. The English-taught programs are: Master of Business Administration (MBA), MA Interior Design, BA Interior Design, BA Architecture, BA Product Design, BA Graphic Design & Visual Communication as well as BA Business Administration with either focus on International Management and Marketing or Organizational Psychology and Digital Business & Management as a separate program.
A public university with an international orientation, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences offers various English-taught bachelor’s degrees, including International Relations, Sustainable Tourism and Gender Diversity. There are no tuition fees, so students only need to pay the semester fee, which currently amounts to €302.88 (~US$340).
Universities in Germany offering international graduate programs
- Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg – International master’s programs in English
- Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – Graduate ‘English-taught courses’ (ETC)
- Technische Universität München (TUM) – International graduate degree programs in English Language
- Universität Freiburg – English-language master’s programs
- Frankfurt School of Finance & Management – A number of programs delivered in English language
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) – English-language graduate programs
- Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – International master’s degree programs in English language
- Georg-August-Universität Göttingen – International graduate degree programs in English language
- RWTH Aachen University – International master’s programs in English
- Freie Universität Berlin – International master’s programs in English
- Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn – International master’s programs in English
- Universität Hamburg – Bilingual and English-language master’s degree programs
- ESCP Europe – International business and management master’s degree programs in English language (based all over ESCP campuses in Berlin, Madrid, London, Turin, Paris, and Warsaw)
- Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg – A range of master’s programs taught fully or partly in English
Please be aware that this is not an exhaustive list. For the full list of German universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2020, visit this page. You can also find additional information on international graduate degree programs provided at Germany’s foremost institutions on the TU9 website, which has a list of programs obtainable at the nine engineering and technology-focused universities which comprise the TU9 group.
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