Infinite Possibilities: The German Higher Education System

Last updated on 20 May 2024
Infinite Possibilities: The German Higher Education System

Image and Video Source: 'Study in Germany' Channel on Youtube

By Rebecca Isjwara

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It’s a public secret is that the Germans are perfectionists, and their education system is no different. Driven by their high success standards, they strive to provide the best education no matter what discipline or area students would like to focus in. Courses offered are also very diverse—there are more than 18,000 different majors and just about 10% of them (1,800) are conducted in English.

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Germany has around 400 higher education institutes, which could be categorised in three different categories: universities (Universitäten), universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen), and universities of art or music (Kunst- und Musikhochschulen). Universities are the most diverse group and usually host various academic departments. Students enrolled in universities will be taught the fundamentals of research, which would be useful when embarking on further study degrees that are half-theoretical half-research. Universities of applied sciences center around engineering, technical discipline, business, design areas, and social affairs. Universities of applied sciences focus heavily on research, emphasising application of theories and classroom knowledge in real world settings. One common task for students to take up is joining an industrial project, where they could learn and execute an idea in a real-life situation. Lastly, the universities of art or music center is self-explanatory as they center around arts and music. Possible fields of study include architecture, film-making, and communications.

Popular University in Germany: Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. Do you have questions about studying in this university? Would you like to ask directly to the university's representative? Join Webinar Series - Study in Germany!

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Most universities (over 90%) in Germany are run by the state, meaning that they are public institutions. The education bureau in Germany pays a lot of attention to the quality of the institutions they run and work hard to standardise by creating tests, examinations, and curriculum that is constant across the nation.

Germany also offers a variety of degree options. In the past, most people would go through a long process of obtaining a higher education degree, but Germany has adopted the European Higher Education Area three cycle degree system. This means that you can pursue a bachelor’s, a master’s, or even a post-doctorate degree in most universities. One of the reasons Germany is shifting in this direction is to push for international mobility, be it for the Germans or incoming internationals.

Although most universities conduct their classes in German, a lot of people would find it beneficial. It is pretty much mandatory for everyone to pick up the language when enrolled in a local university, and that benefits the new incoming student as well since they leave with an additional language skill under their belt.

Oddly enough, some Germans could not care less about university rankings, as most universities provide a relatively standardised yet good quality of education. This does not mean that lower-ranked universities are easier to go through, either—since the qualities of the universities are so comparable to each other, going to one instead of the other does not make much of a difference.

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