Germany Higher Education

Germany Higher Education


After reunification in 1990, Germany is Europe’s largest country with very large regional differences in both East and West. The differences are seen in many areas, e.g. on wages, which are still somewhat lower in the east than in the west. Reunification has brought prosperity to many, but millions of people have become unemployed. According to countryaah, Germany is a country located in western Europe.

Higher education in Germany

At the Goethe-Institut you can get study guidance. See more about this on the Goethe – Institut’s website.

You can get more information about higher education in Germany at the international offices of educational institutions or at the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). DAAD is also behind another very user-friendly site: Study in Germany. Here you can e.g. look up under all the major cities and find good advice on studies, housing, etc. Also on the website Deutscher Bildungsserver you can find information about education.


The higher education institutions in Germany are collectively called Hochschulen and can be divided into the following four types of institution:

  • Universities. At the University, there are the traditional university subjects as well as the agricultural and forestry master’s programs. You can find an overview of subjects and institutions on Studien- og Berufswahl’s website.
  • Technical universities / colleges. Originally, only technical and scientific subjects were found here, but other subjects are now also offered, e.g. in the humanities and economics. However, the main emphasis is still on the technical disciplines.
  • Vocational colleges. At the Fachhochschulen, a practice-oriented teaching of subjects within e.g. public administration, engineering, business economics and design. The teaching takes place in close contact with local companies, and it is very common to spend two semesters in an internship in a company. Approx. 35% of all graduates with a higher education come from a Fachhochschule.
  • Gesamthochschulen are institutions that have been developed on the basis of a merger between Universitäten, pädagogische Hochschulen, Fachhochschulen and to a certain extent also Kunst- und Musikhochschulen. At Gesamthochschulen, there are many opportunities for subject combinations.
    In Hagen there is a special general university: Remote University. Here there is the possibility of distance learning. As a rule, exams must be taken in Germany, but in some cases one can take exams at the local Goethe-Institut.

Qualifications at higher level:

The following degrees can be obtained at university level in Germany:

  • Diplomprüfung (FH), is a vocational higher education non-university education, which lasts 4-5 years and is taken in, among other things, the engineering educations, social sciences, economics and foreign languages, including the interpreter and translation educations. The diploma gives the right to practice a particular profession and is often required within the business world. A Diplomaxamen from a Fachhochschule is marked with FH, e.g. Diploma-Engineer (FH).
  • Diplomprüfung, which lasts 4-6 years and is taken in, among other things, natural sciences and social sciences. The diploma gives the right to practice a particular profession and is often required within the business world
  • Magister Artium (MA) lasts 4-6 years and is taken in the humanities. Magister Artium usually consists of two major subjects, Hauptfach, or 1 major subject and 2 minor subjects, Nebenfach.
  • State exam, lasts 4-6 years and is taken in subjects such as law, medicine, pharmacy and teacher. Often the Staatsexamen is divided into several phases with an internship period after the first part.
  • Erstes Staatsexamen is a degree in itself and provides direct access to PhD studies.
  • Zweites Staatsexamen is required to practice a number of professions, e.g. the teaching profession. Contains 1-2 years of additional studies and possible internship.
  • Doctorate. The doctoral program is called a Promotional program and is available at the scientific high schools (wissenschaftliche Hochschulen). A Promotional study takes at least 2-4 years. To get a German Doctorate, you must have one of the above exams or a Danish master’s exam. You must find a supervisor professor (Doctoral student) who will approve the chosen topic and supervise during the preparation of the doctoral dissertation (die Dissertation).

In parallel with the traditional degrees, the following degrees have been introduced:

  • Bachelor, 3-4 years.
  • Master, 1-2 years.

Application for higher education

To apply for admission to a higher education in Germany, you must fill out an application form, which is available at the educational institutions.

As in Denmark, there are often more applicants than there are study places, and therefore there is also an entry restriction (numerus clausus) in certain fields of study. If you apply to several Hochschulen with access restrictions, a study place committee will coordinate the applications in such a way that you only receive a message from one institution.

For certain fields of study with nationwide access restrictions (eg medicine, psychology and pharmacy education), there is a coordinated registration office, Zentralstelle für die Vergabe von Studienplätze(ZVS), which publishes an information brochure with an application form twice a year.

Many universities have often set a certain number of study places for foreigners.

Admission requirements

A Danish upper secondary education is usually an admission to higher education in Germany. For quite a few studies (eg art), you must pass an entrance exam before you can apply for a study place.

Language proficiency

German is taught in almost all educations. You must therefore most often be able to document German skills at a certain level.

The most well-known language test is: Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang eller Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache – TestDaF. Among other things. the language test Kleine’s Deutsches Sprachdiplom, can be taken at the Goethe-Institut in Copenhagen. Many German universities also have their own tests for foreign students.

Exchange students who only have to study in Germany ½ -1 years do not usually have to take a language test.

Germany finances intensive summer courses in German for foreign students who are going on study stays in higher education. You can find out more about the courses at the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD).

Many German universities also offer all or part of an education in English. This is especially true of education in the technical, economic and scientific fields.

Application deadlines

You must send your application before 15 July for the start of studies in October and 15 January for the start of studies in April. Many studies only start in October (eg the technical educations). You get answers approx. 6 weeks before the start of the semester.

Recognition of foreign educations in Denmark

If you have completed a publicly recognized education abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education

Facts about Germany

Population: Approx. 82 million. Berlin is the biggest city in Germany with a population of 3,426,465.

Language: German.

Employment: In May 2013, unemployment was 5.3% (Eurostat).

Residence permit: Applied for after 3 months.

Germany Higher Education