Which are the best universities in Germany for international students? Is Germany the best place to pursue your study abroad ambitions? Let’s find out.
When you think of studying abroad, Germany always features among the best international study destinations globally. With over 400 globally recognized universities offering more than 15,000 study programs, it’s evident why the country has become so popular for international students.
In fact, the country surpassed its goal of 350,000 new foreign students, three years in advance, in 2017.
However, with so many great universities available, finding the ideal university is never easy for students wishing to study in Germany. That’s why we’ve compiled this list for you. It lists some of the best universities in Germany for international students and the reasons why.
Browse through and see which one best fits your preferences and education goals.
Show Table of Contents
- Top Universities in Germany for International Students
- 1. Technical University of Munich
- 2. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
- 3. University of Freiburg
- 4. Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
- 5. Hochschule Furtwangen University
- 6. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
- 7. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- 8. Humboldt University of Berlin
- 9. University of Tübingen
- 10. Free University of Berlin
- 11. Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin)
- 12. RWTH Aachen University
- 13. Schiller International University
- Free University Germany
Top Universities in Germany for International Students
1. Technical University of Munich
This public research university is not only among the top universities in Germany but also in Europe at large. For any international student thinking of studying in Germany, TUM ought to be at the top of your priority list. It is popular for its commitment to teaching, research, and talent promotion.
The university has over 42,000 students in all its 15 faculties. And of these, 32% are international students. Therefore, when we say that German universities are home to international students, we seriously mean that.
The Technical University of Munich always appears ahead of the pack whenever teaching excellence is mentioned. In fact, it was among the very first German universities to acquire the “University of Excellence” title. It also ranks position 55 globally, according to the QS World University Rankings.
You can choose TUM if you are aspiring to pursue any of these degree programs and more.
- Computer science
- Construction geo environment
- Mechanical engineering
Browse for all the degree programs that the university offers here.
2. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Another great university in Munich, Germany! The university hosts around 17% (5,822) of international students in its various degree programs. And it offers numerous scholarships for these foreign students.
LMU, as its popularly known, was established in 1472 and has since become one of the top universities in Germany for international students. Initially, it was located in Ingolstadt but was later moved to Munich.
Its prestigious degree programs, plus the high number of international students enrolling each year, put it at the top of the list. And in terms of faculties, LMU boasts 20 of them.
Some of the major degree programs here include:
- Veterinary Medicine
- Business Administration
- Catholic Theology, etc.
3. University of Freiburg
Founded in 1457, the University of Freiburg is the 5th oldest university in Germany. And, being around for over 450 years, it has immensely grown in terms of research and teaching excellence. This has made it one of the most prestigious universities in Europe.
While it started with just 4 faculties, the university now has 11 faculties, focusing in:
- Environmental science, etc.
One unique thing about this university is that it borders Switzerland and France, a place considered to have the most sunlight in the entire country. So, if you are from a warm climatic region, this one would favor you immensely.
The university hosts over 3,000 international students, accounting for around 21% of the entire student population.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Baden-Wurttemberg
4. Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
Heidelberg University was established in 1386, making it the oldest university in Germany. It is also among the few universities of its era that are still operational.
Currently, this university boasts 12 faculties that offer undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral degree programs.
According to the QS world university rankings, the university ranked 66th globally in 2020. It also appears among the top 10 universities in terms of faculty, and student ratio. It focuses on around 100 disciplines, including:
- Modern languages
- Physics and Astronomy, etc.
Browse here for the comprehensive list of degree programs the university offers. The best thing about the university is that it’s known to offer equal opportunities for all individuals. This means that whatever your educational ambitions are, you can achieve them here.
Choosing the right university is the first step toward a successful career in the future.
See Related: Best Time to Visit Regensburg
5. Hochschule Furtwangen University
While it’s not among the biggest universities in the country, it certainly is one of the best universities in Germany for international students. In fact, one survey ranked HFU as the best university when it comes to international students’ satisfaction.
The university, whose 16% of the population comprises international students, defies its small size to appear top of the list of Germany’s most respected universities.
This small university is based in Baden-Württemberg and mainly focuses on applied sciences. And it boasts over 100 partner universities.
The institution offers 36 undergraduates, 24 master’s, and 9 Ph.D. degree programs. Some of the most popular programs here include:
- Advanced Precision Engineering
- Applied Biology
- Applied Health Sciences
- Biomedical Engineering
- Applied Health Promotion
Get the full list of the programs you can apply for here.
See related: 14 Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Hamburg, Germany.
6. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
At position 107 globally, KIT has so much to offer international students. Its engineering and technology programs are some of the features that make this university in Karlsruhe so famous.
The institution is committed to finding ways to solve the biggest of society’s challenges through research.
As of 2018, 6 Nobel prize laureates were proud alumni of this university. Even more, many other great inventors and entrepreneurs like Heinrich Hertz and Karl Friedrich Benz also passed through the institution.
The university is known to offer research-based programs that prepare students for the hard world ahead, instilling qualities that help them become responsible societal leaders. If you are planning to enroll in a course at this university, here are some of the major options:
- Chemistry and Biosciences
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- Civil Engineering
- Economics, Business, and Management
Browse for more degree programs here
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Frankfurt
7. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
If your heart is more inclined to medicine, then Charité seems like the ideal option. First, it’s among the largest university hospitals in Europe. Second, it’s affiliated with other top universities in Germany like the Free University of Berlin and Humboldt University.
And that’s not all; it has numerous CRCs (Collaborative Research Centers) of the German Research Foundation. This makes it one of the most research-intensive universities in the world.
But why is it ideal for international students? Well, as you have seen, the institution offers the best environment for research. So, if you are looking for the best, this institution is your answer.
Also, the university student population already comprises 20% of international students. This means that international students already love it here. Therefore, you’ll just be joining the long list of satisfied students.
Traditionally, the university only trained doctors and dentists. But, this has since changed, with the university including more degree programs in Health sciences. It also offers 11 Master’s degree programs aimed at preparing students to take up managerial roles in the health sector.
Some of the major degree programs in Charité include:
- Health Sciences
- Nursing Care
- Applied Midwifery Science
- Maters is Public Health, etc.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Berlin
8. Humboldt University of Berlin
With around 5,610 international students, this university certainly features among the best universities in Germany for international students. In addition, over 18% of the university’s academic staff are also from outside Germany. This means that it favors both international students and staff members.
Humboldt University of Berlin’s reputation precedes it, with its over 420 dedicated professors and around 1,900 assistants.
All these ensure that the students receive the best level of education possible, offering the best kickstart to promising careers. Most of the students who pass through this university come out more than prepared to face the job market and change the world.
Top degree programs include:
- Linguistics and Culture
- Life Sciences
- Mathematics and Natural Sciences
The institution is also one of the best tuition-free universities for foreign students in Germany. Therefore, if your dream is to study abroad but have minimal resources, you can register with Humboldt University here.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Berlin, Germany
9. University of Tübingen
As you might have already realized, there’s no shortage of good universities for international students in Germany. And, the University of Tübingen joins our list of the top German universities.
Firstly, it was established a few centuries ago (in 1477), making it one of Germany’s oldest universities. Also, it’s among the popular public universities in Germany that have been awarded the German Excellence Universities title.
Around 14% of this university’s population comprises international students. And, it has campuses spread throughout the town, making it easier for students to enroll in a campus that favors their location of residence. The University of Tübingen has seven faculties and is ideal for students wishing to pursue a degree in:
- Theology (Catholic and Protestant)
Get the full list of degree programs at the University of Tübingen here.
10. Free University of Berlin
Just as the name goes, this is among the best universities in Germany, which also doesn’t charge tuition fees. Therefore, if you are in search of institutions that offer free education for international students in Germany, you’ve got a great pick here.
Of course, there are several other institutions that do the same, but this one is among the best. That’s why its international student population is a staggering 27% in graduate programs and 13% in undergraduate programs.
In addition, the university has been a leading institution in teaching and science since 2007. In fact, it has been ranked as the 10th top university in Germany.
The university has 11 departments that include:
- Biology & Chemistry
- Earth Sciences
- History & Cultural Studies,
- Veterinary Medicine, etc.
So, if you wish to be part of the 22% of international students enjoying free education in one of the top universities in Germany, it might be the right time to register. However, you should note that despite offering free-tuition programs, you will contribute around $313. This will cover various expenses, including:
- Registration fee
- Student union
- Student support service
- Transportation tickets
See related: Best Restaurants in Berlin, Germany
11. Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin)
This is another great public research university located in Berlin, Germany. The university is known for its internationally competitive degree programs that fully equip students to face the international job market and make a difference.
As with other top universities in the country, excellence and quality are the core drivers of the institution. In addition, the students enjoy learning in a comfortable, diverse environment that brings the best out of them.
TU’s top degree programs include:
- BSc in Architecture,
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil Engineering,
- Process Sciences
- Economics & Management
- Mathematics & Natural Sciences
The university determines your admission eligibility by checking your secondary school grades. These admissions are available in Summer and Winter, with international students being allowed to apply during any intake.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Mannheim, Germany
12. RWTH Aachen University
Since its establishment in 1870, this university has grown to acquire a spot among Germany’s biggest public higher education institutions. Currently, RWTH Aachen University has over 45,000 students, with around 23% being international students.
The university is ranked number eight in the country and the largest in applied sciences. Its prestigious programs, including Architecture, Mathematics, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Business, Economics, etc., plays a major role in this.
Also, it offers tuition-free programs, which favor both local and international students. You only need to pay around 500 Euros per semester. However, you should note that this money does not include what you need to have a comfortable student life in Aachen.
If you are looking for a university that will mold your career and equip you with skills to solve the most pressing societal issues, this is the place.
From their quality research and teaching techniques to their wide connection with various industries, you are sure to have all it takes to face the world by the end of the program.
13. Schiller International University
Last but obviously not least on our list of best universities in Germany for international students is the Schiller International University. This university started in 1964, catering to Americans who wished to study abroad in Germany.
However, it now welcomes students from every part of the world and has campuses across Europe and the US. While the original campus (also the largest) is in Heidelberg, the main campus is based in Florida.
It is one of the best study-abroad universities, especially since Germany is quite inexpensive when it comes to quality studies. It doesn’t discriminate between local students and international ones in their tuition fee structure. They both pay the same amount of fees.
Also, the numerous programs that this university offers have also been a key attraction for many international students. And, all their classes, despite the campus, are conducted in English.
Free University Germany
With so many Colleges offering free tuition programs in Germany, this question is quite common – are Colleges in Germany free?
Well, there are a dozen universities that don’t charge even a dime in tuition fees in Germany. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t pay anything. Each university requires you to pay a small amount of money to cater to the administrative costs (like registration) and transport.
This means that, in essence, college education in Germany is free. Anything you pay to the university doesn’t go to the tuition fee.
One thing to note, though, free tuition programs are not available in private universities. If you want it free, enroll in any of the public universities we have listed above.
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.
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