Germany

Study in Germany

Softamo Education Group

About Germany

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometers (137,847 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 80.6 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is the major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many cultural, theoretical and technical fields.

Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation.

Germany has the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth-largest by purchasing power parity. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is the second-largest exporter and third-largest importer of goods. It is a developed country with a very high standard of living, featuring comprehensive social security that includes the world’s oldest universal health care system. Germany was a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and has been a member of the euro zone since 1999. Germany is a great power and is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, the OECD and the Council of Europe.

Why Study in Germany?
With its ‘dual education system,’ resting on the principle of ‘unity of learning and research,’ and the emphasis on apprenticeship, the German higher education system has played an important role in shaping an economic environment wherein individual and collective responsibility, practicality and innovation are the drivers of change and progress.

Although the ongoing reforms stemming from the ‘Bologna Declaration’ – aimed primarily at establishing internationally accepted degrees, enhancing the quality of study courses, and increasing employability – are in the process of doing away with stark contrasts that have existed between education systems of the European countries that have adopted it, certain distinctive features of individual systems are bound to remain in place. The German Federal Government, federal states, and higher education institutions are, within the ‘Bologna Process’ context, undertaking the largest higher education reform in decades; there’s a lot to the German higher education system however, that is time-proven to produce excellent results and should stay in place.

The German higher education system is widely regarded as being one of the best in the world; it is fairly diverse, with a variety of institutions that cover a wide range of academic profiles and confer different types of degrees.

As a general rule, German universities are recognized and held in high esteem worldwide – they perform very well in the international university rankings (usually right below the most prestigious American and British universities). One reason why German universities under-perform in rankings, relative to some of their famous American and British counterparts, may be the fact that some of the most famous independent research institutes such as ‘Max Planck,’ ‘Leibniz,’ and ‘Fraunhofer,’ which although embedded within university clusters, are seldom if ever included as integral parts during university rankings.

An important guiding principle of the German education system as a whole, and one in accordance with which individual higher education institutions regulate activities taking place within them, is the principle of ‘The Unity of Learning and Research,’ which is at the core of, what is referred to as the “the dual education system.”

The combining of the theoretical and practical educations (with a strong emphasis on apprenticeship), makes German higher education institutions into settings where teaching and research not only cohabitate, but prop each other up and act synergistically.
ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS
All students from abroad must apply for admission to a German university. This applies to freshmen, postgraduates and doctoral candidates alike. The admissions procedure ensures that applicants fulfil the necessary requirements to study at an institute of higher education.

If you wish to study at a German university, you need a so-called Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), or higher education entrance qualification. This is a secondary school-leaving certificate that corresponds to the German Abitur and entitles you to study.

Students from abroad must apply for admission from the university of their choice. For your application, you will require

for a Bachelor’s degree:
• a school-leaving certificate (also known as “university entrance qualification”, e.g. High School Diploma, Matura, A-Levels, Bachillerato, Atestat, baccalauréat) or
• proof that you have passed the university entrance examination (if required in your home country)

for a Master’s degree and PhD programmes:
• recognition of your university degree from your home country or another country.
• Not all higher education entrance qualifications apply to all study programmes. There is a general qualification (“allgemeine HZB”) which entitles students to study all subjects at universities and universities of applied sciences, and a subject-specific qualification (“fachgebundene HZB”) which entitles students to study certain subjects only.
The Advantages of Studying in Germany
German Universities have had a great allure for students from all over Europe (and beyond) for at least the last couple of centuries. One only need check which universities, up until a hundred years ago, most of the Nobel prize laureates were associated with, and the likes of Heidelberg and Tübingen would figure among the most prominent.

Not that the German universities ever lost the attraction they used to garner in the past, but there has been, in the last few decades marking the current age of globalization, a notable increase in the options available to international students, who now can enroll in studies at universities in many far flung places of the globe.

There’s no denying, however, that an increasing number of young people from all over the world are setting their sights on Germany, as the end destination for the pursuit of their higher education goals (particularly Master and Ph.D. studies).

The reasons for this upsurge in interest are not difficult to find:

No Tuition Fees and Living Costs:

The vast majority of universities and colleges in Germany are state-financed, and as of October 2014 literally free of charge meaning that there are no tuition fees whatsoever charged in all public universities throughout the country. Just as in the past, higher education in Germany has become virtually free again– the tuition fees are entirely waived for all students regarding undergraduate studies.

In the last couple of years, some changes have taken place in this regard; a relatively low tuition fee has been charged (the amount, rarely exceeding €500 per semester, was set by respective Federal States) on the excuse of it being necessary to maintain the facilities and the general quality of services. However even with these tuition fees higher education was still significantly less expensive than in most other developed western countries, and with many student benefits and discounts available across the board, the total living costs for students in Germany can be kept well below €1000 per month.

In 2014 the decision has been made however; tuition fees for undergraduates have been waived making it even more affordable to pursuit a degree in Germany.
Tuition Fees in German Higher Education
It wasn’t before fairly recently – a 2005 federal court ruling paving the way for it – that a number of universities in certain federal states of Germany started charging tuition fees. Higher education had essentially been free in Germany prior to it. The vast majority of German colleges and universities being state-funded, made tuition fees at these institutions highly subsidized; thus, the prevailing practice was to waive them across the board.

But with the advent of legislation permitting them, tuition fees were introduced by a number of federal states (rarely in excess of €500 for a semester – pretty low in comparison to what they are in the U.S. and U.K.) on the justification of them being needed for the maintenance of the university facilities and provision of high quality services.

However, what many refer to as the ‘tuition fee experiment’ seems to have gone wrong; most of the federal states (Länder) that initially opted to charge tuition fees have in the meantime abolished them (primarily, as a consequence of a public outcry against them). As things lately stand, it was only two of the federal states that were still hanging on to them: Lower Saxony and Bavaria; both of these states were however, expected to follow suit and abolish them too, thus turning Germany into somewhat of a ‘contrarian,’ in the face of the global pull towards increasing tuition fees where they are in place, and introducing them where they are not. Tuition fees in the German tertiary education system we’re modest by any stretch; this in conjunction with various student benefits and discounts, significantly reducing the overall cost of living for students which made Germany into one of the prime destinations for international students worldwide. There is a marked increase in the numbers of youths opting for Germany for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies; with supreme quality education at affordable cost, widespread use of the global ‘lingua franca’ – English, and cheap easyJet-like airfares, Germany has never looked so attractive.

As of October 2014 it has been established and officially tuition fees are now abolished throughout the whole country. German students have finally reached their goal with the help of course of the designated institutions providing from now on free higher education for everyone, national and international alike.

Master’s and Ph.D. courses are, however, liable for some additional costs (still, relatively low) which may vary between €650 and several thousand Euros per semester; prospective international postgraduate students are advised to conduct their own research and weigh their options.

Tuition fees a.k.a. Studiengebühren (when they were in place) usually got charged alongside semester contributions a.k.a. Semesterbeitrag (include: administration fee, AstA, ‘Studentenwerk’ services, and the ‘Semesterticket’ i.e. free public transportation around the city) which is still mandatory; in addition, a small enrollment/confirmation fee of €100 is charged, in order to have the student ID issued to a student (the ID provides various concessions e.g. for bank accounts, occasionally phone companies, tickets for cinema, theater, different events etc). Another fee to be reckoned with – in case a student exceeds (by four semesters) the time it normally takes to wrap-up his/her studies – is €500 per semester charged from then on out.


FAQs

  • Why choose Germany to study in as a foreign student?

    Well, for starters, you’ll get first-class education (German universities are among the highest ranking in the world – right below a few of the American Ivy League and prestigious British universities) and a formal degree to show for it, that is recognized all over the world.

    On top of that, the guiding principle of the German higher education being ‘The Unity of Teaching and Research’ (also the cornerstone of what is referred to as the ‘dual education system’), there is strong emphasis on ‘apprenticeship’ and hands-on involvement on the part of the student, in both the practical application of a large part of what gets learned theoretically and in researching novel ways of problem-solving (at many universities and ‘Fachhochschulen’ access to cutting-edge research facilities is available).

    Finally, Germany is an important country and culture, so every international student stands to benefit greatly from familiarity with it (to say nothing of the ton of fun they are certain to have in the process).

  • What exactly is ‘Studienkolleg’?

    It is a one-year preparatory course which has to be joined by individual candidates who wish to study at a German higher education institution but whose school leaving diploma is deemed insufficient to apply for a degree program.

    The course covers full-time education in the subjects of a degree program as well as the German language, for five days a week. A passing score on the final Assessment Examination qualifies you to apply for a degree program that is suitable for you at any German university.

  • Can I study in Germany in English language?

    Yes. There’s plenty of International Degree Courses taught in English (in the first semesters, at any rate) for students whose command of the German language isn’t sufficiently good to warrant their studying be done entirely in German. Both before and during the program there are German language courses offered. A large number of postgraduate courses (Master’s and Ph.D.) are designed and taught entirely in English.

    Go to https://www.daad.de/deutschland/studienangebote/international-programs/de/ and select “English” from the field “Course Language” to find all programs in English!

  • What exactly are the International Degree Courses?

    International Degree Courses have been introduced by institutions of higher education in Germany with the express aim of facilitating the process whereby international student applicants realize their educational objectives in Germany. The medium of instruction is primarily English, with gradually increasing usage of German.

    These courses, which have been designed to high academic standards and are available to not only international but German students as well, cover both undergraduate (6 to 8 semesters resulting with a Bachelors degree) and postgraduate (3 to 5 semesters resulting with a Masters degree – in some courses, 6 additional semesters lead to a Ph.D.) studies.

  • Is it mandatory for international students to have passed TOEFL or IELTS in order to enroll on a study program that is taught entirely in English?

    Yes, as a general rule, you need TOEFL or IELTS in order to apply for a program that is entirely taught in English at a German university. If, however, you’re applying for a postgraduate program and already hold a Bachelors degree with English as the language of instruction, you do not need TOEFL or IELTS; it goes without saying: no need for TOEFL or IELTS if you’re a native speaker of English.

  • What are the “Fachhochschulen,” and in what way are they different from a University?

    Let’s first mention what they have in common: they both lead to Bachelors and Masters degrees (or their equivalents in Germany). However, ‘Fachhochschulen’ do not award Ph.D. titles; in order to earn a Ph.D. a postgraduate course at a university has to be attended.

    Universities of Applied Sciences (a.k.a. ‘Fachhochschulen’) are so conceived as to maximize the practical utilization of theoretical knowledge; they are suitable for candidates who have no intention of pursuing academic careers, but are rather interested in the acquisition of as much practical experience as possible. Hence, the vast majority of degree programs taught in them are in the fields of engineering and hard sciences; programs in business administration get taught at ‘Fachhochschulen’ too, but to a lesser extent, whereas courses in humanities and social sciences are rarely offered.

  • Is there free access to computer facilities and libraries at German universities?

    As a general rule, all higher education institutions in Germany provide Internet access and set up email accounts for their students. In addition to that, they have libraries and archives that are very well stocked and that supply many of the titles that are mandatory reading for students so they don’t have to buy a lot of the reading material for their study courses.

  • Are there any age limits to apply for postgraduate study programs (Masters and Ph.D.) in Germany?

    No, there are no limitations set on age.

  • Are there deadlines for direct enrollment?

    The entrance application must be submitted by January 15 each year for the summer semester (beginning on April 1) and by July 15 for the winter semester (beginning on October 1). Students from outside Germany now have the opportunity to apply to several universities with only one set of documents through the Application Services for International Students (assist). assist will check that all necessary documents have been included and that they meet the necessary formal requirements, and will then forward them on to the respective universities.

  • Who does the assessment and recognition of foreign earned degrees in Germany?

    As a general rule, the assessment of degrees and academic credits for admission purposes is the responsibility of universities. In assessing foreign higher education qualifications and degrees, the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) of the Conference of German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) assists with provision of recommendations that are country-specific.

    Pursuant to ‘The Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act of 2012,’ the certification authorities of the federal state of residence (or the state in which he/she intends to reside) of the applicant are responsible for the recognition of foreign higher education and degrees earned for the purpose of enrolling on an advanced study program.

  • What tuition fees do higher education institutions charge in Germany?

    Even in the last few years tuition fees were pretty much a non-issue in German higher education since they were ridiculously low compared to other developed countries. Also only two out of the 16 federal states (Bavaria and Lower Saxony) used to allow their higher education institutions to charge tuition fees – and when they did, they charged up to €500 per semester. As of October 2014, Germany decided to waive tuition fees in all of the provinces making higher education literally free of charge.

    Postgraduate courses (Master’s and Ph.D.) however, are liable for some extra costs, varying between €650 and a few thousand Euros per semester; it is advised that prospective foreign postgraduate students do their due diligence.

  • Do I need a lot of money to finance my stay in Germany?

    The fact that there are no tuition fees mustn’t lead you jump to the conclusion that studying in Germany will be cheap. Yes, there are creative and commonsensical ways to significantly reduce your overall cost of life there, but first and foremost you need to realistically assess the resources at your disposal – take good stock of yourself financially. Don’t delude yourself thinking that working part time while studying in Germany, will take care of all your financial worries, as that’s highly unlikely to be the case – your student visa and residence permit entitle you to 120 full (or 240 half) days of work only. A scholarship and/or support by a sponsor (parent, relative, etc) may be necessary, in which case the sponsor has to explicitly state their intention of supporting you. For more information please read: The Cost of Living as an International Student in Germany!

  • What are good places, other than universities, to apply for a scholarship if I want to study in Germany?

    • A good place to start out is the German Research Foundation http://www.dfg.de/en/index.html

    • Also, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)https://www.daad.de/deutschland/stipendium/datenbank/en/12359-finding-scholarships/

    Apart from offering scholarship programs they also give advice on almost everything related to studying in Germany.

    You can find more information here!

  • Will I be allowed to work while studying in Germany?

    A foreign (not a citizen of an EU or EEA member country – with the exception of Bulgaria and Romania which face restrictions until 2014) student studying full-time in Germany is legally allowed to work a maximum of 120 full (or 240 half) days within a year, without having to obtain a permission from German employment authorities.

    The legally allowed number of working days (half days) for foreign students also includes voluntary work placements, regardless of whether the placement is paid or unpaid. Also, foreign students face an additional restriction: while working the legally allowed number of days (or half days), they cannot be self-employed or work on a freelance basis. You can find more information here!

  • Can my spouse/husband who will accompany me in Germany work too?

    Spouses/Husbands accompanying foreign students may, under certain conditions, be permitted to work. If you are planning on having your husband or wife accompany you during your studies in Germany and hope they’ll be allowed to work, they must fully disclose their intention to work when applying for the visa.

  • Will I be liable to pay taxes in Germany?

    It is the amount of money you’ve earned working as well as the duration of your stay in Germany, that determine whether you have to pay taxes or not. You are exempt from having to pay taxes if your stay in Germany doesn’t exceed six months and/or if you haven’t made more than €450 per month (considered to be income from a so-called ‘mini-job’ and therefore tax and pension contribution exempt) working in Germany.

    If your annual gross income is less than €8,130 you will get all the taxes you paid refunded back to you at the end of the year when you file your tax return with tax authorities.

  • Do I have to open a German bank account?

    It would be recommendable to open a German bank account because if you are going to rent a flat or if you are going to apply for an insurance you have to provide the bank details so that they would be able to debit the money because it is not possible to pay it cash. If you have a credit card of course you can also use it but cash cards are more common.

  • Can I bring my spouse and children to Germany while I am studying over there?

    If you have a residence permit in Germany and if the duration of your stay is expected to be longer than one year, than family reunification is possible. However, in order for them to join you in Germany, you have to be able to support them without burdening social assistance in any way.

  • Do I need a student visa to study in Germany?

    That depends on what your nationality is; citizens of EU or EEA member countries do not need a visa – only a valid ID card (once they settle and find a place to live in, they only have to register with the local authorities at the city they’ll be studying in – the ‘Einwohnermeldeamt’ – get the certificate confirming they have the right to reside in Germany, and they’re good to go).

    Even if you’re a national of a country the passport-holders of which don’t need a visa to enter Germany and stay for up to 90 days, you have to exit the country after 90 days just as anyone who has entered on a Schengen visa has to, unless you are a citizen of a small number of countries (Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea and the United States of America) who can apply for a residence permit within three months of entry.

    (For information pertaining to your nationality check http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/EN/EinreiseUndAufenthalt/StaatenlisteVisumpflicht_node.html)

    So, if you’re not a national of an EU or EEA member country (or of any of the above-mentioned countries the citizens of which can apply for a residence permit while still in Germany) than you need to be issued a national type visa before leaving for Germany if your intention is to stay there for longer than three months.

    You apply for a student visa well in advance of planned departure for Germany at the German embassy or consulate general in your country.

  • What documents do I need when I apply for a student visa?

    You have to inquire at the German embassy or consulate general in your country in order to be certain; usually the following documents need to be submitted:

    • proof of your previous studies (and a higher education entrance qualification recognized in Germany),

    • proof of admission from your university (or confirmation that you are soon to receive a letter of admission),

    • proof of your health insurance coverage,

    • proof of possessing sufficient financial resources (income or assets of roughly €8000 per year) and

    • proof of your language skills in German (or plans to attend a language course while in Germany).

  • If I have proof of admission from a German university providing full scholarship, is it necessary that I produce other financial proof in order to obtain the student visa?

    As a general rule, a full scholarship is sufficient financial proof in order to apply for a visa; whether the embassy requires additional proof or not, depends on your country of nationality.

  • If my study program will be taught entirely in English, is it still necessary for me – in order to be issued a visa – to produce proof of sufficient German language skills?

    No, if the exclusive language of instruction will be English you don’t need to know the German language; however, a little knowledge of German will take you a long way in your everyday life as a student.

  • Once I complete my studies at a German higher education institution and therefore the reason why I got issued the student visa ceases to exist, do I have to leave the country immediately?

    Not necessarily, it’s possible to extend your student visa for one year, after completing your Bachelor’s degree.

  • How can I get the residence permit?

    Persons who are coming to Germany with a visa and who intend to stay for a longer period in Germany have to have a residence permit. The responsible authority therefore is the foreign office. For the residence permit you need a certificate of the enrollment from the university, the registration from the authorities, a proof of financing and a valid health insurance contract. A residence permit for the purpose of studying is issued for a period of two years and have to be extended before the two years run out. When you are going to extend your visa you always have to show them a valid insurance contract.

  • What is the typical path to a Ph.D. in Germany in a nutshell?

    Assuming the degree currently held qualifies him/her for a doctoral program in Germany, the typical path a candidate would have to follow to a doctorate, in a nutshell, would be as follows: once the area of study is selected, the candidate needs to find an academic supervisor/mentor a.k.a. the “Doktorvater” or “Doktormutter” in German, who will guide the doctoral candidate through the research phase leading to the writing of his/her dissertation.

    There are different ways of going about finding an academic supervisor in Germany: either through personal contacts your professors may have in Germany or through online research of various scientific publications, e.g. http://www.hochschulkompass.de/en/

    Once an academic supervisor is found, the doctoral candidate has to enroll at a university program for several semesters, where he/she will be gaining scientific experience and working as an assistant, all the while researching and writing the dissertation.

    Another increasingly popular (especially among foreign students) way to earn a Ph.D. in Germany is through one of the so-called ‘structured doctoral programs,’ wherein a team of professors supervises a group of doctoral candidates.

  • Which qualification do I need to present to be admitted for Ph.D. Programmes?

    If you wish to gain a Ph.D. in Germany, then you definitely need to hold a university degree which is equivalent to a degree gained at a German university. Equivalency is decided by the university in question and you should contact your chosen institution directly.

    You can find more information at http://www.hochschulkompass.de/en/doctoral-studies.html

  • How can I gain a doctorate in Germany?

    As soon as you have chosen a topic area, you need to find a professor, who will act as your academic supervisor. Once you have an academic supervisor for your doctoral thesis, you will be required to enroll at the relevant university for a number of semesters and attend certain courses. Please inquire as soon as possible, whether the degree you currently hold is qualified for a doctoral program.

    German universities are increasingly creating special programs for foreign doctoral candidates which have been specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of international applicants. These special measures primarily involve preparation, guidance-counselling and the provision of favorable research conditions. Not only can the thesis often be written in English or another world language, but study-integrated German language courses also help students overcome the language barrier. Such program includes:

    • PhD support programs,
    • Binational doctoral arrangement,
    • Graduate Schools.
    Information on these programs as well as the addresses of all HEI and all doctoral programs and doctorates can be found on the following website: www.higher-education-compass.de

  • What are the admission/enrollment criteria at German universities and other higher education institutions?

    In Germany, a prerequisite (and also the traditional route) to enrollment into a tertiary level education institution (university, university of applied sciences a.k.a. ‘Fachhoschule,’ college of art and music, etc) is a passing score on the final examination whereby a certificate called the ‘Abitur’ (or Fachabitur) is obtained. As a general rule, Abitur – formally enabling students to attend a university – is necessary for enrollment into most universities, but exceptions to this rule are not infrequent (one of the alternative routes is a passing score on the ‘Begabtenprüfung’ a.k.a. ‘the aptitude test’).

    As an international student, however, you need to apply well in advance in order for the International Students Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) to consider your application – including previous academic record – and determine whether it meets all admission requirements; for this purpose you will need to produce proof of completion of secondary education (e.g. high school diploma, ‘Matura,’ ‘A-Levels,’ or if required in your country, proof of having passed a university entrance examination) that is an equivalent of Abitur.

    As to whether your high school diploma gets accepted for purposes of studying in Germany, depends on what country it was issued in; if your high school diploma was issued in a EU or EEA member country, then it is accepted for direct application at a university, otherwise you may have to undergo (again depending on the country of issuance of your high school diploma) a ‘Feststellungsprüfung’ assessment examination, after having attended a Studienkolleg (preparatory course). For further details go to https://www.daad.de/deutschland/nach-deutschland/voraussetzungen/en/6017-university-admission-and-requirements/?id=1&ebene=1 Certain universities of applied sciences a.k.a. ‘Fachhoschulen,’ may require that you complete a working internship prior to enrolling.

    In order to be admitted to a post-graduate (Master’s or Ph.D.) program, a formal recognition of your university degree is required, from your home country or another country.

  • Do all of my documents, enclosed in the application I’m sending in, have to be originals/certified or can they be copies instead?

    As a general rule, you only send certified documents; certain additional documents, however, such as proof of internship, etc. are exempt from that rule.

  • Will my school-leaving qualification be recognised?

    In order to be allowed to study in Germany, you need a ‘Hochschulzugangsberechtigung’ (university entrance entitlement): this simply means a school-leaving qualification that entitles you to study at university. In Germany, this is the ‘Allgemeine Hochschulreife’ (Abitur) or ‘Fachhochschulreife’. So how do you find out if your qualification is also recognised? On the Anabin website (only in German) you can select both your homeland and the qualification you have obtained. When you have entered this information, you will receive a detailed explanation of whether or not your qualification is adequate for direct university entrance.

  • What exactly do I need for the enrollment at a university?

    • You have to show them a valid insurance in Germany (Mawista Student and Mawista Science are accepted by all universities),
    • You have to show them the notification of admission,
    • You have to have a receipt of the payment to the student organization,
    • You have to give them a passport picture,
    • You have to show them your passport with the valid visa.

  • What exactly is a Studentenwerk?

    Studentenwerk is an organisation which acts in the interest of the students of each particular region in Germany. Each German region has its own studentwnwerk, but they cooperate closely on the national level.Studentenwerke generally organize and run cafeterias, restaurants, housing units, the BAföG for the government, and even psychological and low level health services.

    Some regions and universities mandate a certain yearly fee by each student for the studentenwerk, making it legally a very close cooperation between the semi-independent organisation and the local governments.

  • Can I do a “Dual Studium” as a foreigner?

    Most universities in Germany offer the so called “Duales Studium”. This special way of studying makes it possible for students to study theory at a traditional university and at the same time practice what they have learned at companies who partner with the university or program. Depending on you visa you will most likely be able as a foreigner to work only 120 days out of the year. As long as this is in agreement with your university’s program you can participate in the highly successful Dual Studium program.

  • Will my driver’s license be valid in Germany

    As a general rule, the validity of foreign driver’s licenses is limited to six months. If, as a full-time student you claim residence in Germany, and after six months your driver’s license expires, the only way for you to continue to drive legally would be to transfer your license. Whether the transferring of your license requires you to undergo the theoretical and driving tests administered by driving schools, depends on the country of issuance of your driver’s license (find out what regulations apply to your home country by contacting the local dept. of motor vehicles/driver’s licenses).

    For the purpose of transferring your driver’s license in Germany you will need to produce the following:
    • Your original driver’s license (has to still be valid),
    • Passport-size photograph of you,
    • Proof of residency in Germany and
    • Your passport or ID card.

  • Which are the best universities for my field of study?

    Each year, the Center for Higher Education Development (CHE) publishes Germany’s most comprehensive ranking of higher education institutions. This multidimensional ranking uses up to 40 different indicators to provide a differentiated and detailed view of the strengths and weaknesses of German higher education by subject areas. This is complemented by a research ranking published every fall to provide specific information on the research contribution of German higher education institutions. On the CHE website you can find out what the top-ranked German universities are in every subject area.

  • What are the requirements for getting a PhD in Germany?

    The most important formal requirement is a very good university degree that is recognised in Germany. Generally, your degree must be equivalent to a master’s degree, awarded after at least eight semesters of university study. There is one exception: Especially qualified international applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree may be admitted to a doctoral programme in what is called a “fast track programme”. In such cases, applicants are usually required to pass an examination.

    Each German university is responsible for admitting candidates to its PhD programmes and recognising prior academic achievement. This is why candidates must apply directly to the Dean’s Office or the faculty’s doctoral committee to have their past degrees recognised. In certain cases, admission to a PhD programme is determined by an additional examination which assesses whether the candidate’s knowledge is equivalent to that of a holder of a degree from Germany.

    You can obtain more information from the professors who are responsible for the subject in question. It may also be helpful – and in some cases, necessary – to include letters of recommendation from your university professors at home. Source: DAAD!

  • Do I have to open a German bank account?

    It would be recommendable to open a German bank account because if you are going to rent a flat or if you are going to apply for an insurance you have to provide the bank details so that they would be able to debit the money because it is not possible to pay it cash. If you have a credit card of course you can also use it but cash cards are more common.

  • What kind of insurance do I need to matriculate at a university?

    In Germany there are two kinds of health insurance, the public insurance and the private one. Without an insurance it is not possible for you to matriculate at a university. Up to the age of 30 years or until your 14thterm of study you normally have to be insured over a public insurance company. But you also have the possibility to exempt yourself from the public insurance company if you would like to be insured over a private insurance. For getting this exemption you will have to go directly to the public insurance company before you are going to matriculate yourself at the university. But please note, if you exempt yourself from the public insurance company you can´t be insured over them as long as you are a student. The product Mawista Studentis a perfect choice for foreign students in Germany!

  • How can I find a flat in Germany?

    If you would like to register for a room or an apartment in the student accommodation you should contact your local Studentenwerk directly. On their website you can also find the offers of accommodation, information on the prices and also for the furnishing. The offers are varied and range from simple rooms to flats for couples, for students with children and also for students with disabilities. The furnished rooms are mostly equipped with a writing desk, a bed, a wardrobe and shelving. But pillows, blankets, bedding and towels are not provided. But this can be bought or rented as well. If possible do not arrive at the weekend or late at night, in case there is no other choice you have to inform the Studentenwerk so that you can discuss with them where you can get the keys from. If you still don´t have a flat after your arrival in Germany, please go as soon as possible to the Studentwerk they often have an emergency accommodation available at the beginning of term.

  • How can I get the residence permit?

    Persons who are coming to Germany with a visa and who intend to stay for a longer period in Germany have to have a residence permit. The responsible authority therefore is the foreign office. For the residence permit you need a certificate of the enrollment from the university, the registration from the authorities, a proof of financing and a valid health insurance contract. A residence permit for the purpose of studying is issued for a period of two years and have to be extended before the two years run out. When you are going to extend your visa you always have to show them a valid insurance contract.

  • Can I bring my spouse and children to Germany while I am studying over there?

    If you have a residence permit in Germany and if the duration of your stay is expected to be longer than one year, than family reunification is possible. However, in order for them to join you in Germany, you have to be able to support them without burdening social assistance in any way.

  • Will my driver’s license be valid in Germany?

    As a general rule, the validity of foreign driver’s licenses is limited to six months. If, as a full-time student you claim residence in Germany, and after six months your driver’s license expires, the only way for you to continue to drive legally would be to transfer your license. Whether the transferring of your license requires you to undergo the theoretical and driving tests administered by driving schools, depends on the country of issuance of your driver’s license (find out what regulations apply to your home country by contacting the local dept. of motor vehicles/driver’s licenses).

    For the purpose of transferring your driver’s license in Germany you will need to produce the following:

    • Your original driver’s license (has to still be valid),
    • Passport-size photograph of you,
    • Proof of residency in Germany and
    • Your passport or ID card.

  • Will I be allowed to bring my pet to Germany?

    If you absolutely have to, you can bring your pet to Germany, as long as you can prove that the animal has been duly vaccinated against rabies (30 days at least prior to crossing the border to enter Germany, but not date back more than 1 year for dogs and six months for cats).

    You also have to reckon with a tax being levied for dogs, to be paid after you’ve registered the animal with local authorities.

  • Is it easy to travel around the country in Germany – how mobile can I expect to be?

    It is fairly easy; although you don’t need a car to get around in Germany – owing to its outstanding public transportation network – driving on German autobahns is sheer pleasure. On the other hand, the ICE high-speed trains, Deutsche Bahn AG, the suburban S-Bahn network, tram and subway lines cover together the entire territory of Germany. Domestic flights between all major cities are also available and are increasingly being used. Buss and taxi services are also readily available. For those who enjoy cycling, special cycling lanes and suitable places for parking are widespread.

Softamo Education Group