Studying in Germany Culture & Education

Studying in Germany

Explore Germany as an Education destination

Germany is fast emerging as an attractive destination for Indian students who want to pursue their higher education abroad. Germany with its famed technological prowess and booming economy is a major hub for engineering and technical education. Robust and growing economic and business links between India and Germany have added extra sheen to already attractive and affordable education which Germany offers through its vast network of public and private universities and technical institutes.

Quality, availability of desired courses, repute of institutes and cost are the major parameters through which students desirous to pursue education abroad whittle down choice of institute to enrol themselves.On all these counts, Germany scores reasonably high.

All German universities more or less follow uniform criteria and requirements for admissions. However, depending on the course structure and university-specific requirements some may need specific skill-sets, which may be accessed from websites of the concerned institutes or universities.

A primer for students seeking to enrol themselves at the undergraduate or postgraduate level in Germany is as below:

Undergraduate studies

The medium of instruction for undergraduate courses is mainly German, though a few private universities do offer courses in English. However, only a few courses are offered in English.

German students undergo schooling for 13 years before being admitted to undergraduate programmes in universities. Indian students who have completed 12 years of school education in India have to undertake one-year Bridge programme (Studienkolleg) before being enrolled in undergraduate courses in Germany.The eligibility for Studienkolleg is an excellent academic record up to Senior Secondary Level (10 + 2) and preferably basic knowledge of the German language.

On completion of the bridge program students have to undergo an assessment test to get admission to undergraduate programmes in German Universities/institutes. Students who have cleared the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) or students who have successfully completed one year of undergraduate studies in India are exempt from both bridge course and assessment test and directly seek admission to undergraduate courses. However, they have to prove proficiency in the German language.

In a nutshell students are eligible to apply for an undergraduate programme if they fulfill one of the following criteria:

i. If applying after 10+2 examination in India, getting admitted to one year bridge program (Studienkolleg) and thereafter clearing the qualification Feststellungspruefung (assessment examination).

ii) May apply directly for the undergraduate course in technology and natural sciences, if passed the IIT Joint Entrance Examination; and

iii) May apply directly for the undergraduate courses in same stream if successfully completed first year of a bachelors programme from a recognized university in India in the relevant subject field.

Success in Feststellungspruefung (assessment exam)which has written and oral components, allows students to be eligible for admission to undergraduate courses in German universities. Please note that success in Feststellungspruefung does not automatically lead to an admission, it makes you eligible for admission.

To sum up, students who have completed their education upto Senior Secondary Level (10 + 2) and wish to seek admission in Germany have to apply for admission to the Bridging program / Foundation program (Studienkolleg) with the respective University and qualify the assessment test (Feststellungspruefung). Thereafter they can apply for admission to the undergraduate programme.

Post Graduate Studies

The process of admission to post graduate courses is much simpler.The number of postgraduate degree programmes being offered in English is fairly large and an overwhelming majority of Indian students currently in Germany are pursuing their postgraduate or doctorate studies in Germany.

Eligibility: A valid three/four years Bachelors degree from a recognized university in the home country. The transcripts should contain all the courses taken and the marks secured in each of these courses and it should be attested by the registrar of the university.

Other requirements:

English Language Proficiency: As a part of Language requirement, most of the universities accept TOEFL/IELTS scores as reference. Some other universities may opt for GRE scores. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score varies from 71 to 81, IELTS 6.0 and above. There are no GRE/GMAT cut-offs. A good GRE/GMAT score always maximizes chances of getting through any university.Exemptions from GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/IELTS are allowed for students from native English speaking countries.

German Language Proficiency: Knowledge of German language is an optional criterion for admission to post graduate courses in most of the cases. Nevertheless, possessing rudimentary German language skills before coming to Germany is an added advantage. Daily life in Germany (especially in non-metro cities and towns) demands basic German language proficiency. Universities offering master programmes in part German/part English would require a minimum of A2/B1 level German language skills from a recognized institute.

Letters of Recommendation: Normally an applicant requires three recommendation letters to apply to any German institute, though most of the Universities insist on only two, one from the Professor/Lecturer and another from the superior in the company (if applicant has some work experience). These recommendation letters are to be confidential i.e. the content should not be known to the applicant.The recommender must seal and sign the recommendation letter, put it inside an envelope, paste it, seal and sign on the envelope too, so that the applicant is not able to read the content.

Statement of Purpose / Letter of Motivation: A Statement of Purpose is the most important document in the application packet. It should clearly describe the motivation for the application, reasoning on why the applicant aspires to obtain his degree from that particular university and how would it help him build a strong career with the offered degree program. It should include goals and expectations of the aspirant to pursue his/her degree in the respective universities. Some universities require these SOPs to be "hand written".

Curriculum Vitae (CV): Curriculum Vitae should include the personal details of the applicant, his educational qualification & background, contact information, projects, technical abilities etc. Europass format of CV is considered to be the generic format across universities in Germany.

Cost factor

In Germany, the tuition fees are quite low compared to other countries and some universities do not charge any tuition fees. Most German universities are financed by the state government. Every federal state can decide for its own, if it has enough money to abolish tuition fees or if it needs additional fees. The federal states of Bayern, Hamburg, Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen charge tuition fees. These are obligatory for most students and account for a total of about 500 Euros per semester. All other federal states either do not charge tuition fees or charge fees for long-term students and for a second degree. However, it may be noted that though the tuition fee is highly subsidized, the cost of living in Germany is high. Depending upon the location of the university, the cost of living may vary from 500€ to 650€ a month. The annual cost of pursuing education at a state university would be approximately 10,000 to 14,000€ inclusive of living expenses. Those who want to study at private universities have to factor-in much higher tuition fees. The private universities are financed only from tuition fees and may charge up to 20,000 Euros per year.

More detailed information can be accessed from the following websites:

Culture & Education