Masters in Germany - Studying for a Master's in Germany

Master’s in Germany – 5 Tips to Get You Started

So you want to earn a Master’s in Germany, study in Germany and learn all about universities in Germany for international students? Then you’re in the right place. Click the highlighted links in the Table of Content to get straight to where you want.

  1. Find English ‘Speaking’ Universities & Scholarships
  2. Earn a Master’s in Germany in English or German
  3. Get Oriented on Universities in Germany for International Master’s Programs
  4. Become an Erasmus‘ Exchange Student for a Master’s in Germany (Europeans Only)
  5. Study in Germany – How to Apply for a Visum, Universities & Rent a Room

1. Find English ‘Speaking’ Universities & Scholarships

How to start? It’s easy. If you want to study as exchange student in Germany you should first go to the website of German Academic Exchange Service abbreviated ‘DAAD‘. There you may learn just about anything on studying in Germany. There’s no better place where else you could get started! And if you know just that you may even skip reading on that post right now, jump over to DAAD’s all-inclusive information package to avoid any overwhelm, and stick with them now and in the future. That sounds a bit like a joke but I’m not joking at all. Sometimes, less is more. And that’s especially true with information. True as long as you’re up for the right information.

Curious what comes next? Alright, keep reading here. Some might have wondered if there’s such a thing as tuition free universities for Master’s programs in Germany. And actually, public universities are of good reputation and make up ~90% of all available universities or universities of applied sciences in Germany. In short, they’re tuition free but rather for Germans. As for international students globally, there are scholarships available – and I cover them in just a moment. Just read on.

European students may click straight through to the Erasmus program information.

International students who want to learn more about available Master’s programs at German universities may start by clicking through to this general search filter. The DAAD lists all opportunities where & what you can study in Germany, and where you won’t need to have some previous knowledge of German, as well.

As for costs, compulsory and higher education is ‘free’ in Germany. That means, public universities only require you an initial fee each semester of few hundreds of Euro to get your data updated and services going, and that’s about it. Those fees won’t cover any salaries, costs for facilities, and so on. Basically, it’s a free access to higher education for Germans.

However, as international student you may cut costs and apply for any of DAAD’s projects, or send a request for more information via DAAD’s contact form related to your country of origin.

Back to opportunities. All sponsored projects that the DAAD is running are listed here. But wait, they’re open to applicants in April, June, and October only. That means, you’ve got about 2 weeks from the 1st until the 15th or so in such a month, and need to apply immediately. Don’t get disappointed because the shown page is only available in German, or some projects are closed. Just keep scrolling until you find a project in English. And just stay tuned until the moment comes when admissions are accepted. Until then, get orientated and even some documents ready on what you might need for your future application to study in Germany.

Alongside start-up fees, you’ll need to pay for a room, see below. And you need pocket money. Rule of thumb: the bigger the cities, the bigger your pockets need to be! So it’s always good to come studying in Germany with a scholarship. Again, it’s the DAAD to provide you with all necessary information. After you’ve informed yourself in the general scholarships information, you may click through to finding scholarships for Master’s programs. There, you’ll learn if submissions from your country are accepted, how much is covered (amount in €), if a German language course is included and so much more. However, I didn’t come across application deadlines.

Practise-oriented alternative scholarship options are scholarships for so-called dual studies to earn a Master’s in Germany. This is a pretty new option of higher education studies, derived from what’s worldwide unique: a formation program for CSE / GCSE-graduates in Germany. So, the dual degree scholarships information for higher education is available via the website on Scholarships for Development.

Basically, these are higher ed Bachelor’s or Master’s programs accompanied with an on-site work commitment in a participating company or corporation. Of course, there are regulations. The company pays the education costs, and in return they raise their own talents – hoping that they’ll climb the ladder for an internal career. I’m not sure if it’s required to even commit oneself for the consecutive 1-2 years.

The fees of private universities to earn a Master’s in Germany exceed limits in comparison to the state-funded or public universites. By the way, this website called Graduateshotline offers test prep materials for university entrance tests common in the U.S.

2. Earn a Master’s in Germany in English or German

The second recommendable resource to learn about Master’s in Germany is the ‘higher ed compass‘ (‘Hochschulkompass’). Why go there?

  • First of all, it’s one of the few public websites where you can choose English as browsing language in their top menu bar.
  • Second, it’s the official website of the German higher education institutions presidents conference (‘HRK‘). That institution calls itself ‘The Voice of Universities’, and that’s what it truly is. You may browse either in English or German and choose the language in the HRK homepage’s top right corner.
  • Third, you can filter right away from the higher ed compass homepage by any category of your choice. Since it’s an official representation of Germany’s higher ed landscape you’ll be provided with almost all necessary information right there. That means you can avoid information overwhelm by sticking to few reliable resources like this one.
  • If you want to earn a Master’s in English you may choose the prefered instruction language in their advanced search modus.

And that’s about it – in English. Click straight to section 3 if you hardly know German. Otherwise, you may also like the next three resources.

A weekly newspaper called ‘Die Zeit’ offers a search funtion on their orientation website for those who want to earn a Master’s in Germany. First, you need to either accept being shown ads or create a free account. Then, their search filter by various categories opens up on the left-hand sidebar. Some previous German is needed to get through the filter options.

Germany’s ‘Masterportal‘. This is an alternative search option provider. Unfortunately, it’s entirely in German. Its international equivalent is focussing on earning a Master’s in the European Union.

Career-orientation Studycheck is another website, e.g. useful for Master’s enrolments. They’ve got a lean filter function, which makes it easier to search by category when you already know some German. If you want to test for free how good your level is check out the Goethe Institut’s free German language assessments.

3. Get Oriented on Universities in Germany for International Master’s Programs

If you prefer to study for a Master’s in Germany in English then, the best resource for foreigners AND Germans who consider studying abroad is the DAAD again. Scroll below for details on the DAAD if you haven’t already done so. There, you’ll also find the admission requirements for your country and if you’re eligible to apply for a degree program of your choice.

If you’re looking for a 2 years Master’s program and university rankings in Germany, there’s a comprehensive private website acting internationally with focus on Master’s programs worldwide – if you don’t mind coming across a couple of blinking ads.

However, you probably visited this website to learn more on how to find tuition free universities in Germany where courses are actually also held in German so you can boost your German language skills. That’s why you need to also get prepared with language studies beforehand, in my eyes. An alternative is to make sure you’ll be living with natives once you’ve moved abroad. Jump straight to section 5.

>> Tipp. Related higher education post here on teachers’ education in Germany.

4. Become an ‘Erasmus‘ Exchange Student for a Master’s in Germany

When I studied at university, I came across a couple of Master’s students from all over Europe. How did they all find their way to Hamburg? It’s easy. They were exchange students of the European ‘Erasmus‘ program. That looks like one of the best options if you’re a European citizen because the participating universities have agreed upon credit acknowledgement to some extend.

That means an Erasmus student is already enrolled in a European university, and then takes a break abroad, for example in Germany. Go directly to more information on studying in Germany for free via ‘Erasmus, available in 7 languages.

For German students who want to go to an Erasmus partner university throughout Europe, again the go-to resource to apply for this scholarship is the DAAD exchange student information, which is currently only available in German. The official site on Erasmus by the European Commission for Germany is available in German with more information.

5. Study in Germany – How to Apply for a Visum, Universities & Rent a Room

On general information on studying in Germany you may also click through some links in the section above. And on studying effectively check a related post.

First of all, to enrol in a Master’s program in Germany you may need a German student visum in some cases, especially when you’re from a country that doesn’t participate in the ‘Schengen‘ free movement contract. However, there’re some additional countries listed in the official website of the Schengen area for exchange students to Germany where students origined from don’t need to apply for a visum – that’s even the case for countries overseas.

A website that does not look official but provides quite an extended collection on information is called Germany-Visa. It informs students about the student visa procedures in Germany, and provides including a German visa application form link in their right sidebar to the German version, or go to the website of Germany’s Department of Foreign Affairs in English to fill in the student visa application form right there.

Once you’ve informed yourself about the migration requirements you may dig into the application process to German universities. Hugh… Where to start first? The websites are many, and so is probably your overwhelm.

Again, you won’t go wrong with the already mentioned DAAD, and they’ve published a guideline on how to apply for German universities – either to study or to do research.

An inofficial website called Top Universities is operating worldwide kind of presents you with a process chart on how to study for a Master’s in Germany what to do first, next, and following in your application to German universities. It’s much less lean but may provide you with additional information, or network opportunities. They also have a community with forum, which you find in the top menu’s right corner. This is certainly a good start to get connected with like-minded aspirants, and it’s free to join 🙂

One word on the costs of studying beyond the information you may find beyond the estimated costs listed in the just mentioned resource. A recent survey published in German (PDF) at the end of September 2020 by the Moses Mendelssohn Institute (MMI) and a website where you can find a room for community living, in German: ‘WG’ / Wohngemeinschaft.

Those two representatives wanted to know how much a room costs on average for students. So, here you are: in Hamburg it’s almost 500€ per month in average, and that’s one of the highest rates all over Germany. In average, a student room in a shared flat costs ~400€, according to the findings of this survey. I’ve not digged deeper on the survey setup, for example if it is based on random choices or not. However, this is just to give you an idea of current pricing of rooms.

Those who plan to study in Germany and save on costs of renting a room, you need to go through the Studentenwerk Deutschland. They connect you to their studentdorms for international students. This opportunity is awesome just because you’ll be mixed with German native speakers while at the same time you find yourself alongside other international students. Like-minded adventurers or opportunity seekers in shoes like yours. Don’t forget to also check out the first link in section 4. The DAAD’s page has a sidebar on the left, where there’s also a topic ‘renting a room’.

Study in Germany – Earn a Master’s Degree – Learn German – Get Moving.

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