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Capital Berlin
Population 82,398,326
Area 356,970 sq km
Language German, French
Religion Roman Catholic, Protestant
Continent Europe

On an average 1.8 million students around the world go abroad to attend a university. Nearly one tenth of those students choose to come to Germany. Germany has a lot to offer to foreign students, be they first-year students or postgraduates. Germany’s universities combine age-old traditions with modern technologies. More than 300 universities exist in Germany: from time-honored institutions offering students the classical repertoire of subjects such as Medicine, Law, English and German to innovative new institutions of higher education with inter-disciplinary study programs. To improve the range of opportunities for international students and to met their interests, German universities and colleges have begun to introduce courses with international perspectives. At last students can study for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Germany. English is the language of instruction for the first few semesters in these international courses. Thus the international students can conveniently learn German without their studies getting hampered.


Before you can be admitted to a course of study at a German institution of higher education you will as be required to take the Assessment Test . This requirement will apply as a rule. Admission to the assessment test is only possible for applicants who can prove that they hold a secondary school leaving certificate awarded for 12 years of schooling. Applicants who provide proof of successful participation in the entrance examination for the Indian Institutes of Technology can be admitted direct to higher education study.

Generally, you will need to be proficient in German to be able to study or research effectively in Germany. But German is also an important language in its own right and is spoken by many people. So it’s well worth learning – for example, by attending a summer language course. And, German is definitely not as difficult as popular opinion would have it. Universities and colleges generally require German language certificates, which you can easily gain by taking the appropriate test in your home country.

Before you can embark on your studies at a German institution of higher education you will have to take the DSH – the German language proficiency test. The institutions set and hold these examinations themselves and also arrange the dates. “International degree courses” and some postgraduate courses are an exception to this rule.

You can be exempted from the DSH if you hold a higher education entrance qualification (Arbiter) from a recognized school (in Germany or abroad) at which German was the language of instruction, hold the Goethe-Institute’s minor or major German Language Certificate or advanced level Central Advanced Language Test hold the German Language Certificate, Level II, of the German Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Culture only intend to spend one semester studying in Germany (some institutions even allow 2 semesters without requiring the DSH to be taken).

Test DAFA German language proficiency certificate as required for your studies in Germany can also be obtained in your home country in the form of the so-called Test DAF This language test is held twice a year (in spring and autumn/fall) at certain towns or universities in your country. The Test DAF system offers various proficiency levels. Hence, the language requirements can be adapted to the purpose of the study stay. The respective tests are set and marked in Germany so that all candidates can be sure that they have been treated equally and therefore everybody has the same chance of success. To greatly encourage the influx of international students, a good number of leading German institutions reserve study places for foreign applicants.

Please attend German courses at your own institution of higher education, the Goethe-Institute, or other language schools in your own country so that you will be able to communicate easily in German when you come here.

If you arrive in Germany ready and able to pass the DSH straight away, it will save you a great deal of time, effort, and money. Good language courses can also be found outside the framework of your German higher education institution. The courses offered by adult education centers (Volkshochschule – VHS) or other municipal educational facilities are cheaper than private language schools. German isn’t everything: International degree courses, programs and qualifications To improve the range of opportunities for international study applicants and to meet their interests, .

Studies leading to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree stand out by having course modules, a system of continuous examination and assessment, and a system of credits.

Most of the foreign nationals need to apply directly to the International Office at each individual university or college of their choice Should another office be responsible for handling your applications and other affairs, the International office will inform you accordingly. You can search for the study opportunities online – and can even search for courses with a specific language of instruction at: 

The closing dates for applications to the International offices are usually July 15 for the following winter semester and January 15 for the following summer semester. If your application is late even by one day, it is not going to be processed. 

As soon as you have received your notification of admission and passed the language test, you need to register at your chosen university or college. Please direct your queries to the Registrar’s office (studentensekretariat) in good time so as to wrap up the formalities and paperwork long before the session is due to start.

Your first port of call upon arrival in Germany must necessarily be the International office which will provide you with all the basic information you need to arrange the initial days of your stay in that country. Subsequently you must get yourself registered at the Resident Registration office and finally with the Alien’s Registration Authority


Most foreign students study in Germany without a scholarship or grant. Hence, you are strongly advised to assess your own financial means early and realistically. The German foreign missions or aliens’ registration authorities must be convinced that you have sufficient financial means at your disposal to cover your cost of living for your whole study duration in Germany. The section on Costs, Fees, Scholarships and Funding will give you a breakdown of the cost of living of around DM 1,300 / € 665,- in the old regional states (west) and DM 1,050 / € 537,- in the new regional states (east).

You must not plan on financing your studies by working in Germany. The German authorities adhere strictly to the employment legislation applicable to foreign students in Germany. Any violation may lead to immediate expulsion from Germany. Although students from EU countries may work in Germany, jobs are hard to find.

Scholarship holders and foreign students who are not citizens of an EU country may only earn a kind of pocket-money; such work is carefully monitored.

Please ensure that you give serious consideration to the proof of financial means (for more information visit the “Jobs” page in this section). Living and Studying Costs The standard of living in the Federal Republic of Germany is high and, consequently, so too are the costs and expenses needed to be able to share in that standard. Based on the 1999 index, you should reckon with monthly expenses totaling at least DM 1,300 / € 665 in the old regional states (west) and DM 1,050/ € 537 in the new regional states (east). Your will find that this will allow you only a very modest lifestyle.

State-maintained institutions of higher education in Germany do not charge tuition fees.

However, there are several costs, listed below, which arise through studying. Each university has a Studentenewrk, a student services organization, which provides social facilities, such as the student refectory, cafes, student halls of residence and sports facilities. All students pay social contributions for the use of these facilities. At present this amounts to between DM 35 / € 18 and DM 90 / € 46 per semester.

Some higher education institutions also collect a payment of up to around DM 180 / € 92, depending on the respective town, for the so-called Semester Ticket, which entitles students to free-of-charge use of local public transport in and around their university town for six months.

Over and above these costs, the regional states of Berlin and Baden-Württemberg have additionally introduced a so-called administration fee or respectively registration fee. This amounts to DM 100 / € 51 per semester (as per 2000).

All students are entitled to compulsory statutory health insurance cover until completion of their 14th full semester, but only up to a maximum age of 30.

If you meet these timing conditions, this has the positive consequence that the statutory health insurance funds must insure you at student rates. Apart from a minor personal contribution (excess) which you must pay, this health insurance covers medical fees for visiting a doctor, hospital expenses, and any prescribed medication. The student rates for statutory health insurance currently amount to about DM 550/ € 281 per semester (six months). This sum already includes the premium for nursing care insurance which has been introduced in Germany. You must pay your premiums to the health insurance fund before registering at your higher education institution.

If you are older than 30 years of age on the date of arrival in Germany, you are strongly advised to insure yourself with a private health insurance company, since medical fees and hospital expenses are very high in Germany.

If you require an entry visa, the local German embassy or consulate will advise you of whether or not you must take a medical test in your home country, i.e. present a health certificate.

Germany’s legislation on foreigners does not prescribe a medical test by a German physician. If you wish to extend your residence permit in Germany, then you will find that the individual federal regional states differ in their regulations regarding health tests. The state aliens’ registration authority at your place of study will be able to provide information on this aspect. Accident Insurance All students are insured against accidents at, on their way to or from their university by the statutory accident insurance scheme.

You can turn to the foreign student office for information on additional accident insurance coverage.

Study Materials Further costs arise, for example, for the purchase of books and study materials. Depending on the discipline studied, these can easily amount to between DM 450 / € 230 and DM 600 / € 307 and more per semester. Furthermore, most degree courses today are inconceivable without the use of a personal computer (PC). However, if you do not have your own PC at your disposal, most faculties, schools and departments, or the computer centre, will have a pool of university computers which you could use.

German institutions of higher education generally do not themselves award any scholarships. There are, however, several scholarship awarding organizations. The most extensive scholarship program is that offered by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).

However, only advanced students may apply for DAAD-scholarships, or depending on country of origin and subject, in some cases only graduates.

Other scholarship awarding institutions have varying conditions, for example, regarding country of origin, subject, previous study achievements, duration of support, etc. Support for a full study program, that is from the first semester to completion of studies, is not possible through the DAAD and is also extremely rare among other scholarship organizations. Scholarships are primarily awarded on the basis of achievement criteria. The applicant’s financial circumstances only play a subordinate role. The German foreign diplomatic missions and other German representatives abroad such DAAD-foreign language assistants (Lektors), lecturers and professors placed on assignment abroad by the DAAD and the DAAD’s offices abroad will provide information on the possibilities of gaining a scholarship



As a rule of thumb: around 660 euro per month is required for a course of study in Germany. The cost of living is relatively high in Germany – 660 euro allows a modest lifestyle and no more. The important aspect in any case is to maintain fixed costs, e.g. rent, as low as possible. Living in Germany is not cheap and an economically priced room, possibly in a student dormitory, can ease some of the financial


Looking for accommodation costs much in terms of time and temper. And so it’s a good idea to do this well in time. You should preferably obtain information before travel, in order to obtain cheap accommodation.


A German ends up paying half of his wages towards rent. If you don’t want to trust your luck, you can consider several possibilities in looking for accommodation. Newspapers and Notice-boards Offers of accommodation are available in local newspapers, usually in the Wednesday and weekend editions. You can also advertise that you’re looking for a room. Classified newspapers specialize in advertisements. You could also find accommodation at your university. The “notice-boards” are usually crammed with offers of accommodation..

For those who arrive in Germany alone, flat sharing in so-called “WGs” (Wohngemeinschaften), is a good way to get to meet people.

Shared-living Centers, University residences, Estate agents Many university cities have shared-living centers (Mitwohnzentrale) which help you find accommodation for limited periods on a commission basis. University residences also provide accommodation. Anyone looking for a flat through an estate agent must bear one thing in mind: two months’ rent as advance is usually required. That is a lot of money and is not worthwhile, particularly for a short stay. But if you’d rather deal with an an estate agent, it’s important to remember that the agent should be a member of the Ring of German Estate Agents (RDM). Student Dormitories The rooms here are indeed often very small, but on the other hand the cheapest available. Many dormitories now have bigger rooms and even offers for couples. The student services furnish addresses and information on the admission procedure for the student dormitories