Germany has become one of the leading study destinations for foreign learners due to the country’s cultural diversity, high quality of life, historical relevance, world-class institutions, excellent higher education system, and booming economy.

Several well-known universities in Germany, especially private institutions, require international students to pay tuition fees, which can be quite heavy to bear. But what if you can study in the country for free? If you’re interested, keep reading this article, as it will offer valuable insight into how you can study in Germany for free.

How to Study in Germany for Free

1. Compile and Submit the Admission Documents

To study for free in Germany, you must first compile and submit documents such as academic transcripts, signed application forms, financial documents showing your ability to cover expenses, and a passport photograph, which the university will require if you are interested in gaining admission. The institution will use the documents to gain insight into your academic qualifications, achievements, and background.

Besides the standard admission documents, the university may request supplemental documents like ACT scores, language proficiency documents, health insurance, and visa requirements. The additional documents may be used not just to evaluate your acceptance into the university but also your eligibility for scholarships or financial aid.

2. Submit Applications for Scholarships

One of the best ways to deal with the burden of paying tuition fees is to apply for and receive a scholarship in Germany. Scholarships will significantly eliminate or reduce tuition fees and take care of any financial responsibility you must meet.

To enjoy a 100% tuition waiver, applying for a fully funded scholarship covering all your education expenses is best. The Erasmus Mundus Scholarships are one good example. These fully funded scholarships are highly competitive, so if you do not get one, you can always apply for partial scholarships.

3. Apply to Universities with Affordable to Free Tuition Fees

Enrolling in a German university with affordable or no tuition fees is a practical approach to accessing quality education while minimizing academic expenses. While affordable institutions may not eliminate tuition fees (unlike tuition-free universities), the reduced cost compared to many other institutions can create a sense of affordability, making the educational experience almost feel like it comes at no significant expense.

Examples of affordable universities in Germany are the University of Stuttgart and the Technical University of Munich. The University of Stuttgart charges €1,500 per semester in tuition fees, and the Technical University of Munich requires international students to pay a minimum of €2,000 in tuition fees.

Tuition-free Options for Bachelor’s Studies in Germany

Several German universities provide tuition-free bachelor’s degree programs, which offer opportunities for international students to study for free in Germany. Some institutions that have free tuition for undergraduates are the University of Bonn and Goethe University Frankfurt.

Besides going to tuition-free universities, international students studying for a bachelor’s degree may apply for fully funded scholarships from external organizations, like the DAAD Scholarships.

Tuition-free Options for Master’s Studies in Germany

Germany is committed to providing students access to quality education without feeling financially stressed. Thus, there are many universities, such as the Free University of Berlin and the University of Bonn, that offer tuition-free master’s programs. Enrolling in these programs means you only have to worry about semester and living fees.

Besides tuition-free institutions, there are various scholarship opportunities provided by schools and organizations to financially aid master’s students. These scholarships, which play an essential role in fostering an inclusive education environment, include the HZDR Summer Student Program, which covers costs for lectures, accommodation, transportation, and even daily living expenses. There are more similar offers, though, and you may contact your target institution for such information.

Tuition-free Options for Ph.D. Studies in Germany

International students have the opportunity to study Ph.D. programs for free in Germany, as most institutions offer tuition-free doctorate programs. This allows students to focus on their research without financial concerns, which would, hopefully, encourage innovation and productivity.

Besides enrolling in tuition-free institutions, you may apply for scholarships like the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management Doctoral Tuition Waivers and DLR-DAAD Research Fellowships. Not only would these offers waive your tuition fees, but they may also cover your living and other study expenses.

FAQs: Studying in Germany as an International Student

Are there Opportunities for International Students to Study in Germany for Free?

Yes, there are opportunities for international students to study in Germany for free. Securing tuition-free university education in Germany can be achieved by attending public universities in specific areas. Some cities, such as Baden-Württemberg, require public universities to charge tuition fees to international students, while some cities, like Berlin, have public schools that maintain a tuition-free policy.

Additionally, Ph.D. students in Germany, regardless of area, are exempted from paying tuition fees. Thus, the country is an attractive option for those pursuing advanced research. Alternatively, students may apply for funding or financial aid like the DAAD scholarships. These scholarship offers may cover partial tuition fees to fees and living expenses.

How Much is the Annual Academic Cost in Germany?

The annual academic cost of studying in Germany depends on the region, the institution type, and the study level. Generally, public universities tuition fees are more affordable than private universities. Tuition fees at public universities typically range between €0 (free) and €3,500 per semester, while private universities may charge between €10,000 and €20,000 annually.

Additionally, living expenses should be considered, averaging a minimum of €850 per month or approximately €10,236 per year. Beyond tuition and living expenses, additional study-related expenses like study materials, semester fees, and health insurance, must be anticipated. These supplementary costs usually fall between €500 to €1000 annually.

Remarkable opportunities await international students who study for free in Germany. Several universities in the country offer tuition-free education or generous scholarships that allow students to receive quality training with minimal financial burden.


We hope this article has encouraged you to study in Germany for free! If you’re looking for ideas on programs to pursue, check out these Open Courses in the country. And for more articles about studying in this European powerhouse, head on over to the Study in Germany Page!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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  1. Richmond adu kofi March 19, 2024 9:38 pm - Reply

    If you have overstayed in an European country and you want to apply for a school in a different European country. Will it be possible?

    • Hyun Lee March 29, 2024 1:13 pm - Reply

      I have no clue. I think that’s something that you should ask the embassy about.

  2. Anita Abena Agyeiwah Frempong June 5, 2024 5:30 pm - Reply

    Is scholarship available for masters in Communication?

    • Hyun Lee June 15, 2024 6:18 pm - Reply

      Hello, for Germany, Master’s is free in public universities. So, that’s essentially a free tuition scholarship.

  3. Shumaim Fatima June 9, 2024 4:18 am - Reply

    Could you please guide me on the grades and other requirements needed to qualify for the fully funded scholarships?

    • Hyun Lee June 15, 2024 6:30 pm - Reply

      Hello, there’s no specific requirements that will make you automatically receive a scholarship. It is a combination of multiple aspects and will depend on the scholarship as well as the applicant pool of when you apply. For scholarships, a good place to start is best scholarships in Germany article.

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