Study in Germany


Higher Education System in Germany

The German university system is extremely diverse with over 2 million students enrolled at 380 universities in 175 cities throughout Germany.  There are three different types of universities:

  • Universities for scientifically oriented studies
  • Universities of Applied Sciences for practically oriented studies
  • Colleges of Arts, Film and Music.

German universities offer more than 15,000 degree programmes, including

  • approx. 9,000 undergraduate programmes and
  • approx. 6,000 graduate programmes,

which are mainly conducted in German language, apart from the previously mentioned English taught International Degree Programmes. A complete database of all degree programmes in Germany is available at

Types of Degrees in Germany

Bachelor's degree (BA, BSc)

  • 1st academic degree
  • 6 to 8 semesters (3 to 4 years) of undergraduate study programme

Master's degree (MA, MSc)

  • 2nd academic degree (following successful completion of a Bachelor's)
  • 2 to 4 semesters (1 to 2 years) of advanced study programme

State examination (Staatsexamen)

  • State certificate awarded to medical doctors, pharmacists, lawyers and teachers


  • German academic degree, equivalent to a master's degree, awarded to graduates in the natural sciences, engineering economics and social sciences
  • Most Diplom programmes have been replaced by equivalent Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes.
  • Some engineering programmes offer students a choice between a Diplom-Ingenieur (Dipl. -Ing.) certificate and a Master's degree.


  • Academic degree following an awarded Master's degree, State Examination or Diplom from a university or a university of Applied Sciences
  • 6 to 10 semesters (minimum 3 years) study and research programme and completion of doctoral thesis
  • There are two ways to gain a doctorate, the individual doctoral study and the structured PhD programmes
  1. Individual doctoral study: This is a pathway where one engages in an independent work on a research project of one's choice (dissertation).  Candidates must first convince a professor (doctoral supervisor) of the suitability of his/her qualifications and the research proposal. A letter of confirmation by the academic supervisor is part of the application documents.
  2. Structured PhD programmes: This is a pathway where one participates in programmes which support the advancement of young researchers either through International doctoral programmes (programmes especially tailored to the needs of international doctoral candidates, mostly English taught programmes at universities or research institutes like the Max Planck Institutes or Helmholtz Centres), Graduate schools (permanent university affiliated institutes with mostly English spoken doctoral programmes) or Research training groups (university research programmes of limited duration; dissertations are usually part of an interdisciplinary project carried out by several researchers).

* Webinar on Specialist Medical Training (Residency) in Germany(PdF, 4.0MB, 15.07.2016)