Germany is rapidly coming up as a popular educational destination for Indian students. Germany boasts of more than 300 universities offering a repository of courses in classical disciplines like law, medicine, engineering and languages to modern technological and inter-disciplinary programs. German universities offer a right mix of study, research and practical experience. Technical University, Munich, University of Freiburg, University of Goettingen, University of Heidelberg and University of Munich are some of the renowned universities in Germany.
Education system in Germany consists of:
1. University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule) which offer degree programs in the field of technology, business and management, social studies, media and design
2. Colleges of Art, Film and Music are state recognized colleges offering courses in painting, design, architecture, directing, music and drama.
3. Colleges of Education are independent institutions providing teacher’s training programs
4. Church-sponsored Colleges – The Catholic and the Protestant Church run institutions of higher education which train students in the fields of Social Work, Nursing and Religious and Parish Education.
5. Private Universities – In the recent years many private colleges and universities have been established in Germany which are funded by the private sector and also receive funds from the government. They offer quality education but cost much higher as compared to state institutions.
6. Vocational Universities – These provide an alternative to studying at a university by offering 2 year diploma courses after High school. The courses are in social sciences, business administration and engineering fields.
The general admission requirements are listed below but depending on the degree program and university in question, additional requirements may also be demanded.
In order to apply as a first year undergraduate, one must possess a recognized secondary school leaving certificate in the absence of which one is required to take the assessment test Feststellungsprüfung. Further, one may have to provide proof of having passed a university entrance exam in your home country, proof of any academic years of study successfully completed in your home country, proof of English language proficiency for International degrees and proof of aptitude subjects like art, design, music and sport. Additionally, universities may require applicants to sit for general academic or scholastic aptitude tests (Eignungsfeststellungsprüfungen) for subjects in strong demand.
For most programs, the candidate must hold a recognized bachelor’s degree with good grades. Some courses may require applicants to hold relevant work experience. Students also have to furnish proof of English Language Proficiency.
Doctoral or PhD
The applicants are first required to find an academic supervisor for their dissertation and a suitable university offering PhD in the particular subject area. Thereafter, they are required to submit a synopsis of their research project, description of previous experience in the research field and curriculum vitae to the dean of the concerned faculty.
The candidates are required to contact the International Office of the university where they wish to apply. The international Office provides the application form to the student which he/she is required to complete and return to the university along with officially authenticated copies of marks sheets and certificates, copy of passport, proof of English proficiency, and other documents as required by the university. The academic year is divided into two semesters or terms. The summer semester usually runs from April to September, the winter semester lasts from October to March. The term dates vary slightly from university to university.
Tuition & Living Costs:
Earlier there used to be no tuition fees in Germany but the scenario has changed drastically over the recent years especially after the ban on tuition fee was lifted by the Constitutional Court of Germany in 2005. Now, depending on the degree program, university and federal state the tuition fee ranges from 500 euros to several thousand euros per semester. The cost of living is high in Germany and ranges between 650 and 1000 euros per month.
Financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships are offered by several organizations for meritorious foreign students. Some of these organizations are German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Heinrich Böll Foundation. The scholarship amount covers tuition and normal living costs. However, these grants are highly competitive.
Candidates from countries outside the European Union applying to study in Germany need a visa. There are three types of visas for international students:
1. Visa for participation in a Language Course – The visa is issued for the duration of the course and cannot be converted into student visa or student applicant visa while staying in Germany.
2. Student applicant visa – this visa is issued for a period of three months and permits students to enter the country before the admission decision by the university or college. The university applicant visa is important for applicants entering the country to seek on spot information about a university or for taking entrance examination.
3. Student Visa for study purposes – This visa is valid for a period of one year and the candidate has to provide proof of admission to a German University or College and financial support for the duration of study.
In order to apply for student visa, the student needs to submit completed application forms along with a valid passport, passport photos, evidence of previous academic performance, proof of financial support for one year and confirmation of admission from the university to German Embassy or Consulate General.
With the enactment of new Immigration Act in 2005, international students who have completed their studies in Germany are encouraged to extend their stay and spend up to one year looking for a job in Germany that is appropriate to their qualifications. Germany also offers (permanent) Settlement Permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) to highly qualified foreigners.