If you are looking for a place to continue your higher education, that is both affordable and recognized worldwide, German universities are definitely worth the consideration. There are public schools in the country that offer programs entirely free of any tuition fees. What’s more? You don’t even have to learn the German language to follow a bachelor’s or master’s program since there are a number of programs and universities to pick from.
The international student population in the country is ever-increasing and it’s definitely a good time to consider enrolling at one of these tuition-free German universities. Here are some of those that are popular picks among international students.
Must-know Facts for Students Planning to Study in Germany
Tuition-Free Learning Opportunities in Germany
Being one of the leading education providers in the world, the German education system is one that is recognized internationally. The perks of studying at a German university aren’t reserved only for the Germans or Europeans. International students from around the world are accepted at public universities in the country where students can study without any tuition fees. This is one reason why Germany remains among the top countries for international students.
There are a number of recognized public universities in the country that offer free education in the sense that students do not have to pay tuition fees during their time following a program here. These universities are scattered across the country including in popular cities like Hamburg, Munich, and Berlin. From these institutions, programs are offered mostly in German, but it’s also not difficult to find a course of your choice offered in English.
Other Costs and Finances
As an international student studying in a German public university, it is highly likely that you are exempted from any tuition fees. However, it is important to know that you might be required to cover other campus-related costs like administration fees, semester fees, and contribution fees which could all be incumbent on the local students as well.
Apart from that, living expenses, costs for books, transportation, accommodation, and utility bills are all in your hands. At the Technical University of Munich, aside from academic costs, an international student, must take into account other living and studying costs. Germany doesn’t restrict international students from being employed part-time for 20 hours a week while classes are in session. This can turn out great if you are planning to bear all these other expenses yourself and make some extra cash at the same time. On the semester breaks there are no restrictions as to how much you can work and get paid in the country.
If the program you’ve selected requires you to pay a tuition fee, you can still make use of scholarship programs to facilitate your financial needs. Scholarships are offered by private, government, and international organizations to help students who might show academic excellence given the necessary support.
- DAAD Scholarships – a German scholarship open to international students planning to follow a program in the country. Students with a good score in their previous qualification are eligible.
- KAAD Scholarships – postgraduate students can be eligible for this scholarship program. Students from developing countries studying in Germany have a higher chance of winning the scholarship.
- TUM Scholarships – there are many different scholarships offered for students at all levels of study at the Technical University of Munich. If you find a program that suits you, you could make use of the scholarship programs offered here.
General Requirements and Admissions Process
Generally, the application form is the first thing to consider when applying to a university abroad. This document which you can find online from most university websites requires your personal profile including information about your desired courses and educational history. Academic transcripts and certificates of your previous qualifications need to be submitted as required by the university. Follow the links below to find more details on applying to a university in Germany.
Moreover, you need to consider language requirements relevant to the program of your choice. There are programs in German universities that are taught entirely in English, which might require you to certify your English language proficiency through tests like IELTS, TOEFL, and Duolingo (DET). Other programs that are taught partially or entirely in German, might require you to take German proficiency tests such as TestDaF and DSH.
Top Tuition-Free Universities in Germany
Getting into a tuition-free university in Germany might take away a lot of the financial burden you might have to bear as an international student otherwise. Here are some top universities in the country that you could apply for.
1. Free University of Berlin
The Free University of Berlin tops most lists of best universities in Germany. It is a public research university that was established in 1948, known for its programs in humanities and political sciences. Its current enrollment total of 36,000+ students has a considerably large percentage of international students with 22% being from outside Germany.
At the Free University of Berlin, no tuition fee is charged almost for all programs except for some graduate and postgraduate programs. Students might be required to incur other costs throughout their semester in addition to their living expenses. Students who receive grants from other organizations are not allowed to work during their time at the University.
2. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich is a university that tops most lists of best universities in Germany. Established in 1472, this public university offers free education for both local and international students. The university is best known for its programs in Arts and Humanities and Physical Sciences which are ranked and recognized internationally.
Being one of the largest universities in the country, almost 17% of the student body in the university is made up of international students. As for the university’s reputation, it is constantly placed high in the most prestigious global rankings. In Europe, the university is hailed as a haven for premier academic and research facilities.
3. Technical University of Munich
The British Magazine “Times Higher Education” ranked the Technical University of Munich as one of the best universities in Germany and the EU. The university thus becomes part of the top 30 universities in the world for the second consecutive time this year. This institution has a significant reputation for its teaching and research facilities, especially in medicine, applied sciences, and engineering. The old-standing university is affiliated with international academic agents like EuroTech and EUA ensuring that their education meets global industry standards.
In some departments of this university, there are more international students than locals. Most programs here are also either entirely free of charge or require a very small contribution. On the college website, you will find a number of courses that are taught in English and German.
4. Humboldt University of Berlin
This free public research university based in Berlin, Germany is yet another prestigious university in the country. Founded in 1810, Humboldt University of Berlin has become the 6th best university in the country, having been ranked #120 in the QS World Rankings of 2024.
International students benefit from the free education provided at this university. This public university offers courses in business administration, art, philosophy, and sociology that are entirely conducted in the English medium. This means, that regardless of whatever program you choose to follow here, you are sure to find that it is accepted across the world.
5. RWTH Aachen University
With a large student body of over 44,000 students, of which over a fifth are international students, this public university is one of the biggest in Germany. It provides tuition-free education across disciplines, with mathematics, natural sciences, and information technology being some of them that the university is most renowned for.
Apart from being very competitive to get into, the university makes it a bit challenging for international students with most programs offered in German. It is important that you are aware of the German language requirements prior to applying for a program of your choice. Master’s and doctoral programs offered here are mostly in English.
6. University of Bonn
Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn, is a public institution that is considered among the top 10 universities in Germany. It is one of the largest academic institutions in Germany that boasts a significant number of international students. The university is known for its excellence in transdisciplinary research areas.
The University of Bonn has seven faculties, with most programs offered entirely in English. However, for the few that are offered in German, you might have to prove your proficiency in the language. Most undergraduate programs offered here are also entirely free of charge, except for a small monthly contributory fee which also students have to pay.
7. Georg August University of Göttingen
This university, more commonly known as Georgia Augusta, was originally established in 1734 by King George II of Great Britain. Today, the university is known for its programs in Natural and Life Sciences while it also offers an array of other courses across disciplines. All these programs are offered entirely tuition-free, apart from a very small semester fee.
All Bachelor’s programs at the Georg August University are taught in the German language, for which you might need a language proficiency certificate. All master’s programs and more than half the Ph.D. programs at this university are conducted entirely in English.
8. University of Hamburg
Yet another institute that is popular among international students, the University of Hamburg is one of the prestigious universities in the country especially known for its Arts and Humanities and Physical Science programs. Over 12% of the current 30,000+ students in the school are international students.
Being part of the ERASMUS program, students at this university can choose to study at partner universities across the country for a semester or two. As a student here you wouldn’t have to incur any tuition fees except for a minimal semesterly contribution.
9. University of Cologne
The University of Cologne is a cosmopolitan university that was established in the year 1798. It is not only one of the oldest universities in the country but also one of the largest with over 35,000 students enrolled there. Almost a fifth of the student body in the institution are international students.
The university has a diverse range of courses to pick from from its six faculties. No tuition fee is charged at the University of Cologne except for a yearly social contribution fee of around € 250.
10. Goethe University Frankfurt
Goethe University is one of the largest universities in Europe that offers over 200 degree programs in all traditional subject areas. Each semester a significant number of applicants are turned down at this university, owing to the competition, likely because of its prestige and free tuition.
Even though most programs are taught in languages other than English, according to the university website, students aren’t required to prove their proficiency in any language but are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the respective languages.
Germany is a popular study destination for international students especially because it offers high-standard education that is reputable worldwide and free of any tuition fees. This article listed some of the most popular universities the Germany that you need to consider for your higher studies.
We hope that this article on the tuition-free universities in Germany for international students gave you the necessary information you needed to know. Head on over to our Germany Scholarships Page for more details about studying in Germany – from the different universities to the numerous scholarship opportunities!