Admission Requirements for Master’s programs in Germany – With 45 universities currently listed in the QS World University Rankings (one of the most trusted annual publication of university rankings in the world), Germany enjoys the reputation of being within the world’s higher education elite. While 8 of these listed institutions appeared in the global top 150 in 2019, 30 ranked amongst the top 500 in the world. This makes it a great choice for students who wish to pursue their post-graduate education from globally appreciated institutions,many of which Germany has to offer.
This article illustrates the post-graduate degree system, the eligibility conditions and admission requirements for master’s programs in Germany.
Read articles – Germany Student visa & German Universities
Admission Requirements for Master’s programs in Germany – Post-Graduate Degree System
Post-graduate education in Germany follows a common European format wherein the master’s degrees are known as a ‘second cycle’ qualification, with the first cycle being the bachelor’s degree. Most of the degrees at the master’s level are taught courses and students need to complete a series of academic modules and course components followed by an independent dissertation or project. German master’s programs last for 2 years or 2-4 semesters of study.
German master’s degrees are divided into 2 main classifications:
- Consecutive: These degrees follow a related undergraduate degree directly. For example, an MSc in Chemistry can be done only after a BSc in Chemistry or another closely-related field. These courses usually do not charge a tuition fee.
- Non-Consecutive: These degrees focus on highly specific subject areas and require professional experience in the subject field along with an undergraduate degree. These courses require the students to pay a tuition fee.
Most of the degrees at the master’s level in Germany are classified as consecutive programs and will require a related bachelor’s degree for admission.
For details on UG and PG course programs in Germany, visit our Germany study abroad page.
Admission Requirements for Master’s programs in Germany – Institutions Providing Master’s Degrees
There are 4 types of institutions that grant master’s degrees in Germany:
- Research Universities – These institutions provide facilities and academic expertise to award students with degrees like master’s and PhD. Most of the research universities are publicly administered.
- Technical Universities – These are a subgroup of research universities as their focus is on science, technology and engineering research disciplines.
- Universities of Applied Sciences – These focus more on engineering, business and social sciences. In many cases they are partnered with professional or commercial organizations. In most cases, these universities are privately run institutions.
- Colleges of Art, Film and Music – These offer specialised instructions in creative disciplines and can be a part of both Research Universities or Universities of Applied Sciences.
The table given below lists all the top German universities according to the QS Global Rankings that offer Master’s degrees:
LIST OF TOP GERMAN INSTITUTES OFFERING MASTER’S PROGRAMS
QS Global Ranking
Technical University of Munich
TUM is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, and strong connections with employers and scientific institutes worldwide. They offer a wide range of master’s programs and enrol 42,000 students yearly, 32% of which come from abroad.
LUM Munich is a popular destination for international students as it offers a number of master’s programs that are taught entirely in English. The total student strength of the university remains at 51,000 students approx., out of which 15% are international students.
The Heidelberg University offers 80 different master’s degrees and programs in a wide array of subjects.The university data shows that the total enrollment for winter session (2018-19) was just above 29200, out of which 5400 were international students.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology offers over 50 master’s degrees in subjects like chemical engineering and process engineering, food chemistry, technical engineering etc. It is currently home to 25,892 students out of which more than 4,000 are international students. .
Freie Universität Berlin
The majority of master’s and doctoral programs are taught entirely in English which makes FUB an attractive destination for international students. It currently has 33,000 enrolled students out of which 13% are international students in undergraduate programs and 27% in post-graduate programs.
Admission Requirements for Master’s Programs in Germany – What is required to enrolled into MS programs?
To enrol in a master’s program in Germany you will need a suitable bachelor’s degree which doesn’t have to be awarded in Germany, however, it does need to be recognised by the German university you choose to apply to. Universities have varied requirements for admissions depending upon the courses you are going for. The following is a list of common documents that are required by almost all institutions that offer master’s degrees in Germany:
- A recognized 4-year bachelor’s degree (Students with a 3-year degree need to contact the university directly to find out whether their degrees are relevant or not)
- Academic transcripts
- English language proficiency tests (TOEFL, IELTS etc. where applicable)
- GMAT, GRE and other course-relevant test scores
- Work experience certificates (where applicable)
- Recommendation letters
- German language proficiency (Certain universities may ask students to show proof of German proficiency. TestDaF is generally the most common test that is recognized by a majority of institutions)
Please note: The official German government website contains information on 1000+ courses available at the post-graduate level that are taught entirely in English. You can visit the link and find the exact admission requirements for every university that offers a master’s degree.
For top course details in Germany, read MS in Germany article here.
Admission Requirements for Master’s Programs in Germany – Restricted Applications
Certain postgraduate programs offered by German institutions are subject to something called ‘numerus clausus’ which means ‘restricted number’. These restrictions are placed on courses that are extremely popular and especially those that lead to professions in fields like medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, architecture etc. where the number of applicants is greater than the number of open seats in the university. The numerus clausus status limits the number of candidates in a certain course at a university to prevent overcrowding. In this case, the universities simply get more selective based on the grades of the students.
When you contact your university to begin your application process, you will be informed whether your chosen course falls under the numerus clausus restrictions or not.
Admission Requirements for Master’s Programs in Germany – Tuition Fees and Cost of Living
A majority of higher education institutions in Germany are directly funded by the state. Bachelor’s courses generally have no tuition fees for international students, as do most master’s courses at state higher educational institutions or public universities. The Federal State of Baden-Württemberg has however decided to charge international students a pre decided tuition fees of EUR 1,500 per semester for degree programs at all levels from the 2017-18 winter semester. On the other hand, private institutions may demand a substantial fees for their degree programs.
All students at higher educational institutions in Germany have to pay a mandatory semester contribution which averages around EUR 280 per month. This covers your contribution towards the student body government and other student services.
Living expenses for students in Germany are significantly lower compared to countries like Denmark, Luxembourg or Switzerland, but still higher than countries like Poland, Czech Republic or Italy. The list below breaks down the average monthly living expenses of a student in Germany:
- Rent (Utility costs included) – EUR 320
- Food – EUR 170
- Clothing – EUR 40
- Transportation – EUR 90
- Health Insurance, Doctor’s Fees – EUR 80
- Internet, Phone bills – EUR 30
- Stationary – EUR 20
- Recreation – EUR 60
Admission Requirements for Master’s Programs in Germany– Visa Requirements
Indian students require a visa to enter and stay in Germany for the duration of their courses. Depending on the duration of your stay you may be issued with a Schengen visa or a national visa. The Schengen visa is valid for a short visit of up to 3 months for holidays, language courses and cannot be extended. The national visa is intended for longer study visits by students looking to finish their higher-level education in Germany.
If you have already been accepted to a higher education institution, you can apply for a student visa. If you are still waiting for the letter of acceptance or still have to sit for an entrance examination, you should be applying for a ‘prospective student visa’. Prospective student visas are valid for 3 months and can be extended by 6 months if you are accepted to a higher education institution or enrol in a foundation course or a preparatory German language course within this period. The following documents are usually required when applying for a student visa:
- Valid passport
- Proof of funds
- Proof of health insurance
- Records of previous study and language skills
- A letter of acceptance from your higher education institution (if applying for a student visa)
- Recognised higher education entrance qualification (if applying for a prospective student visa)
- A health certificates
NOTE: Visas can take months to get issued, so apply early even if you haven’t received the confirmation of acceptance from an institution. You can apply for a prospective student visa and convert it to a residence permit for studying once you are in Germany. However, a tourist visa cannot be converted to a student visa later on.
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Admission Requirements for Master’s Programs in Germany – FAQs
Q. How do I choose a university in Germany for a master’s program?
A. There are various categories of institutions in Germany that offer post-graduate degree programs. German universities that are research-oriented, offer a wide variety of subjects to choose from. They can also offer doctorate degrees. On the other hand, Universities of Applied Sciences are practice-oriented and offer courses in engineering, business administration, social sciences and design. They help their students with strong links to industries which allow for easier access to jobs after the duration of the course.
Q. Which is the best university in Germany?
A. Germany’s highest-ranked university in the QS World University Rankings for 2019 is Technische Universität München which was ranked 61st in the world, closely followed by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Most major German cities that you can think of has at least one university ranked among the world’s best. A total of 13 German universities made to the world’s top 250, and 30 were included within the world’s top 500.
Q. What are the eligibility criteria for a Master’s degree course?
Every university in Germany is autonomous which means that they each have their own set of eligibility criteria for granting admissions. Please check the relevant course and institute websites before applying to find the exact requirements. Some generalisation is possible as a 4-year bachelor’s degree holder from India can apply to most universities as the degree is recognized, but other criteria may differ from one institution to another.
Q. What is a ‘numerus clausus’?
A. A ‘numerus clausus’ means restricted application which is applicable to certain post-graduate programs in Germany. These are for courses which are so popular that the number of students applying to these courses is significantly bigger than the number of seats available in the university. Some of the courses that come under numerus clausus are medicine, veterinary sciences, pharmacy and architecture.
Q. Is it expensive to live in Germany for international students?
The average cost of living in Germany averages around to EUR 830 per month, which includes everything from rent, food, transport and other costs. Compared to other European countries like Switzerland, it is pretty low. Since most public universities are funded by the government, tuition fees are negligible for students. However, recent changes in policies mean that international students studying in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg will have to pay tuition fees of EUR 1,500 per semester.