Germany is one of the most popular countries for study abroad, and with good reason. In fact, it has been cited as one of the most supportive countries for international students. For one, it tends to be a very inexpensive country to study abroad in, as overseas students pay the same tuition fees as local students, and many universities do not charge any tuition fees at all.
Furthermore, English is becoming more and more common as the primary language for courses in Germany universities across the country, to the point where it is possible to earn your entire degree or complete your entire course in Germany without having to take a single class in German. However, if you are a student of German, there are still plenty of classes offered in the local language. You can even find programs specific to German language immersion if you're up for it!
There are hundreds of universities in Germany, located across the country, and more than 10 of them rank in the top 200 worldwide. Wherever you want to study abroad in Germany, and whatever you want to study, you can likely find a university that is a good fit. To help you out in your selection, here's a list of eight of the best universities in Germany for international students.
Universities in Berlin
Berlin is home to some of the greatest universities in all of Europe, and students who study abroad in Berlin can take advantage of a wide variety of different course options. Many courses here can be taught in English as well as German, which is good news for our friends who don't sprechen Deutsch!
Free University of Berlin
A top-ranking research university and the largest of four research universities in Berlin, Freie Universitat Berlin expects one-third of its student population to consist of overseas students in the future. The university ranked 87th on the QS World University Rankings last year, and it is particularly strong in arts and humanities and social sciences. The university has branch offices in the United States, Belgium, Russia, China, Egypt, and India, allowing it to form strong partnerships with many universities and better serve students from those countries.
Humbolt University of Berlin
More than 10% of the student population of Humboldt University, one of the oldest universities in Berlin, consists of international students. It ranked 99th in the world in 2012-13 in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking. Humboldt is a hardcore research university with opportunities to work with world renowned faculty in fields such as the history of science, quantitative economics, and climate and sustainability research. Students interested in scientific research are highly encouraged to apply.
Suggested Study Abroad Programs in Berlin:
- API at Humboldt
- Globalinks at Freie Universitat
- IES Abroad at Humboldt University
- API at Freie Universitat
- Eurocentres German Language Programs
Universities in Munich
As the largest city in the state of Bavaria, Munich (or Munchen as the locals call it!) is a city enriched in German culture and history (and cream filled donuts!). Studying abroad in Munich is an easy choice considering the number of German universities for international students there.
Technical University Munich
Germany's highest ranking university, Technische Universitat Munchen, or TUM, comes in 53rd on the World University Rankings, just above Heidelberg University. It excels in the more technical disciplines, like engineering. The university host some 5,000 international students, making up about 16% of its student population. Because of the university's strength in research and engineering, it has partnerships with a number of prestigious universities, including U.S. schools such as MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Georgia Tech. The university also has strong partnerships across Europe and Asia.
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
One of Germany's oldest universities, LMU ranks 60th in the QS World University Rankings, just below rivals TUM and Heidelberg. Almost 15% of its student population is international students. The university offers more than 100 areas of study, and an increasingly large number of its classes are offered in English to cater to international students, particularly in the fields of business, management, psychology, and physics.
Suggested Study Abroad Programs in Munich:
- Globalinks at LMU
- Exchange at TUM
- Direct Enrollment at TUM
- Wayne State at LMU
- Greenheart German Programs in Munich
Universities in Smaller German Cities
Baden-Wurttemberg, a state located in southwest Germany, is a popular destination for international students due to its highly renowned universities and its beautiful landscapes. As universities here are in smaller cities with less expats, students in this area are often looking for a more immersive study abroad experience.
Founded in 1386 and ranking 55th in the World University Rankings, Heidelberg University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Western Europe. It performs best in the sciences. More than 20% of the student body consists of international students from around 130 countries. Also, more than one-third of its doctoral students are international students. One thing to note, though, is that many of the university's classes are in German, so make sure to pack that German-English Dictionary if you decide to study here.
Schiller International University
Schiller International University is a true international university, with campuses in the US and Europe. The main campus is actually in Florida, but the first and largest campus is in Heidelberg, Germany and originally began as a study abroad program in Germany for Americans. It now serves students from over 100 countries. Many study abroad programs utilize the university because it is accredited in the United States and based on the American system of education. All classes on all campuses are taught in English. The programs on offer are generally more career-based, including two-year and four-year programs.
Hochschule Furtwangen University
HFU is a small university located in Baden-Wurttemberg, focused on the applied sciences. Despite its size, its International Business Management program is ranked second in the country, and it is well known for its computer science and engineering programs. most favorably with its competitors. The university, which is comprised of about 13% international students, ranked first among all universities in Germany in one survey of international student satisfaction, and it has more than 100 partner universities.
University of Freiburg
With 16% of its student body coming from 120 nations besides Germany, University of Freiburg in Baden-Wurttemberg aims to please international students. The university also offers popular intensive German language courses at its Language Teaching Center, which draws students from more than 50 countries during semester breaks to learn German. The Global Studies Program, a distinguished international master's program in English, is also a big draw for international students.
Suggested Study Abroad Programs in Smaller German Cities:
- CEPA at Heidelberg University
- USAC at Leuphana University
- IES Abroad at University of Freiburg
- CCIS at Schiller International
- Eurocentres German Language Programs
Germany has been cited as one of the most supportive countries for international students. For one, it tends to be a very inexpensive country to study abroad in, as overseas students pay the same tuition fees as local students, and many universities do not charge any tuition fees at all.
Now that you've got some ideas, get started applying! Whether you choose to go with a study abroad program or to directly enroll yourself, whether you go for a semester or for your entire degree, you're sure to have an amazing experience studying at any of the above universities. You'll receive an excellent education while being immersed in German culture, and having a ton of international students from around the world to hang out with a well! What more could you ask for?