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This will depend on your study level, country of origin, and which state you study in. Tuition fees at all public universities were originally axed in 2014 completely, but it’s been announced that universities in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg will reintroduce tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students, commencing from autumn 2017. The fees will be set at €1,500 per semester – therefore coming to €3,000 per year. Students obtaining a second degree will pay a reduced rate of €650 per semester, or €1300 per year.
To study abroad in Germany you need to hold a higher education entrance qualification or Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB). This qualification can come in many formats, particularly for international students who have gained their school-leaving qualifications in a different country. For prospective undergraduate students, a high-school diploma, school-leaving certificate or university entrance exam result is usually sufficient.
Students need to provide an undergraduate degree certificate. Usually, if your qualification would allow you entry into higher education in your home country, it will also be sufficient to allow you to apply to German universities. If you find that your qualification is not recognized, you are also able to take a preparatory course at a Studienkolleg before taking a compulsory assessment test known as a Feststellungprüfung. This assessment will cover areas that are relevant to the program you wish to study and will prepare you for university.
If you wish to undertake a program being taught in German (the teaching language of most undergraduate programs in Germany), you will also need to prove your German proficiency. In addition to German-language proficiency and an entrance qualification, you may also need to meet the specific entry requirements of your chosen university program. These requirements depend on the reputation of the school and of the program, and can be found by looking at the program information in the university’s prospectus or online.
The language of instruction at most universities in Germany is German. All students undertaking a German-taught program will need to be able to demonstrate a firm knowledge of the language, either by means of a language test result or by taking a preparatory course. Accepted proficiency tests are the DSH (German Language University Entrance Examination for International Applicants), TestDaF (Test of German as a Foreign Language), GDS (Goethe Institut German Language Diploma). If you are only studying in Germany for one or two semesters you may not need to provide this evidence.
If you have a limited knowledge of German, you could consider taking an English-language program. There are a growing number of English-taught programs at universities in Germany, particularly at postgraduate level. If you are a non-native English speaker, you may be required to provide proof of your English-language proficiency with a TOEFL or IELTS result. If your chosen school requires this, they will list proof of English-language proficiency as an entry requirement. However, even if you do a study in Germany in English, it’s advisable to learn the basics of the German language to enable you to communicate more effectively with the local residents.
While all degree programs in Germany lead to a recognized bachelor’s or master’s qualification (or the German equivalent), there are some institutions, named Fachhochschule, which are more geared towards practical learning. Fachhochschulen or universities of applied sciences, typically offer degrees in fields such as engineering, natural science and business administration. Attending a university of applied science may give you a closer relationship with industry contacts and offer more opportunity for practical learning, including internships. If you wish to pursue an academic career, on the other hand, Fachhochschule may not be the best option, as there is less focus on theoretical work and they do not award PhDs.
Although tuition fees in Germany are non-existent at public universities, you still need to consider how you’ll cover living costs. If you don’t have a sponsor or supporting a family member, there are countless opportunities to gain scholarships to cover these costs. Scholarships to study in Germany can be obtained in several ways. The German government offers some funding to international students through the DAAD or the European Commission’s Erasmus+ scheme, but many opportunities are offered independently by German universities or external funding bodies. Browse the funding options on your chosen university’s website to see if they offer any international scholarships –these are often awarded based on merit, the subject of study and/or country of origin.
Yes, you can. If you are a full-time EU or EEA student (or from Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland) there are no restrictions on where or when you can work. If you are a full-time student from outside of the EU, you will be limited to working up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year before you must apply for a work permit. Upon gaining paid work in Germany you should contact the German employment office to learn about the legal conditions.
Yes. After completing your studies in Germany as an international student, you’re able to apply for a residence permit to stay in the country and seek work for an additional period of 18 months. If you gain work in Germany within this time you should make sure that you extend your visa, residence or work permit to ensure you are living in the country legally.