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How Much Does it Cost to Study in Germany?

How Much Does it Cost to Study in Germany? main image

Last year saw the last of Germany’s 16 states abolish tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public German universities. This means that now, both domestic and international undergraduate students at public universities in Germany are able to study in Germany for free, with just a small fee to cover administration and other costs per semester.

These low charges certainly help to make studying in Germany an attractive option for prospective students, with recent higher education data showing it to be the fourth most popular country for international students in the world (after the US, UK and Australia). German universities now also hold some of the lowest education costs in the world, based on countries providing internationally reputed higher education systems.

Based on official figures from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), the average cost of studying in Germany is just US$10,520 (€9,170) per year, breaking down to US$540 (€470) for school fees and US$9,980 (€8,700) for 12 months of living – covering food, transport, accommodation, entertainment, course materials and other necessities.

Bear in mind that these figures are averages, and the amount you pay will fluctuate depending on the length of your program, your level of study, the German state (Länder) you live in and whether your university is private or public. Read on for more precise figures about the costs of studying in Germany for international students.

Cost of living in Germany

While many students are able to study in Germany for free, living expenses are unavoidable. The cost of living in Germany is more expensive in some areas than others (big cities such as Munich as well as cities across western Germany tend to be more expensive), with costs ranging from €350 to €1,000 (~US$482 to US$1,377) per month. Rent will be your largest monthly expense, but is cheaper if you live in a shared flat (average rent of €298/US$340 per month) or a student hall of residence (€240/US$275 per month).

Based on data from the DAAD, other average monthly costs are as follows: €165 (~US$190) for food; €52 (US$60) for clothes; €82 (US$95) for transport; €33 (US$38) for telephone, internet and TV license; €30 (US$35) for work/study materials, and €68 (US$80) for leisure activities.

You won’t need a visa to study in Germany if you’re an EU national or a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Otherwise expect to pay around €60 (US$70) for your student visa, but there are also fee reductions or waivers for Schengen visas. In order to fulfill the visa requirements, you will need to show proof that you have, or have access to, around €8,040 per year (US$9,230) or €670 (US$770) per month to cover your living costs.

For more information on getting a German student visa, see this article.

You will also need health insurance as a pre-condition of registering at a German university. If you’re a resident of a country within the EU or EEA, there should be a social security agreement between your country and Germany. This means that if you have public health insurance, you should be covered in Germany as well (full list here). If your health insurance is not valid in Germany, expect to pay between €80 (US$90) and €160 (US$180) per month to cover this.

Undergraduate costs to study in Germany

Although you can study in Germany for free at public institutions as an undergraduate, there is a charge per semester for enrolment, confirmation and administration – usually between €150 and €250 (US$170-280) depending on the university. There may be an additional charge of around €100 for a “Semesterticket”, which covers public transport expenses for six months. If you exceed the standard period of study by more than four semesters, you may also face a long-term fee charge, which could be as much as €800 (US$920) per semester.

Most universities in Germany are public. Private institutions are usually primarily dependent on tuition fees for their funding (though some also receive support from foundations), and can charge up to €20,000 (US$22,850) per year. The University of Witten-Herdecke, for example, charges around €15,000 (US$17,150) for a degree, but offers flexible finance options, giving students the choice of whether to pay tuition fees from the start or pay a percentage based on income after graduation.

The Federal Student Financial Aid Program (BAföG: Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) is available for German nationals and EU students, and even for foreigners under select conditions. Generally this aid is for those under 30 years old, or under 35 for those studying for a master’s degree. But exceptions can be made depending on circumstance. BAföG offer grants to cover basic living and training costs and also provides an Education Loan program, giving students the opportunity to take out a low-interest loan.

Master’s and postgraduate costs to study in Germany

Master’s degrees at German universities are usually free if they are classed as “consecutive” – i.e. following directly on from a related bachelor’s degree gained in Germany. Again, there is a small charge per semester for enrolment, confirmation and administration, plus a Semesterticket. However, a “non-consecutive” master’s degree, for those who have gained their bachelor’s degree elsewhere in the world, can cost more than €10,000 (US$11,450) per semester, and private German universities can charge up to €30,000 (US$34,300) per year for a master’s degree.

For example, Germany’s top-ranked institution, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, lists fees for non-consecutive master’s degrees ranging from €2,050 (US$2,350) per semester for a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering up to €6,000 (US$6,870) per semester for a Master of Science in Health Economics.

At PhD level, tuition is once again free at all universities in Germany – for the first six semesters at least. As at all levels of study, PhD students are also required to make a semester contribution of between €150 (US$170) and €200 (US$230) for administration and other costs.

Scholarships to study in Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service, otherwise known as the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst), provides support for German and international students to gain funding to live and study in Germany for free or at a more affordable cost. DAAD scholarships to study in Germany are offered to German and international students of all levels, as well as academics and researchers. To find relevant scholarships to study in Germany, you can search based on keywords, study level, country of origin and subject.

Another useful resource comes from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research or BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung), which hosts a site dedicated to providing information on scholarships to study in Germany.

You can also check out our own listing of Scholarships to Study in Germany.

Got another question about studying in Germany? We’ve probably already answered it here! If not, please let us know by adding a comment below.

This article was originally published in December 2013. It was updated in February 2015.

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Laura Tucker's profile image
Written by Jane Playdon

Jane Playdon is a TopUniversities.com author and blogger.

194 Comments
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Hey Sabrina

I have funded my block account with the specified amount, please do i have to fund the account again after a year again even if i am engaged in a part time job?

Dear Sabrina, Am new on here but I just graduated from an Agricultural University in Nigeria but i will be so glad if i could pursue my Masters Programme in Germany because i found the place so well coming & i could learn a whole lots..Please Kindly response as soon as possible..Thank u

Dear Sabrina,
I need your help. I was diploma in Bangladesh about electrical department. But now I want to do graduation in Germany. But I for my graduation i cannot afford my tuition fee. And I want to do graduation about digital media. So which university can i trying to admission? Need your help

Hello buddies,i want to know what is the process of getting free education at public univeristies in germany? I Mean ,do public univeristies offer free education to everybody who applies or is there any kind of entry test to decide whom to grant free education ? I am from pakistan and want to apply for BS degree programme in germany, i want to know will they give me free admssion without any test or is there any kind of process or entry test?

Hello madam..! I m aslam from India.. I want to know about the exact cost to study a masters or mba in Germany. Please reply soon

Hi Sabrina my name is Ali...i would to know whether there are courses in universitets, which i can study German, and then take the exam? if they are for free or not and please send me links..

Hello, my name is mali. Im from Iran. I've just finished my master in chemical engineering. I'm looking for master or phd possission in free or low cost universities in Germany. Do I have chance?
Thanks alot

Hi Mali, you can study a PhD in Germany for free but will need to pay tuition fees if you want to study a master's degree. You could also look for a scholarship to help with costs. 

Hello my name is vania, am from Kurdistan,Iraq .. I have just finished Highs cool, and am really interested in Architecture! I would like to study abroad in Germany.. but the problem is I want to study in English not German, is there a university in Germany that is taught by English? How much is it? When should I apply for it? What do I need to prepare? Thank you x

Hi Vania, I've replied to your comment here. :)

Dear sabrina, i am 17 and from India. I want know about what do i need to do to join a bachelors program in a free university in germany.
I will be appearing for Toefl, are there any othe examinations i need to take, and what are the chances of me getting into a good university as an international candidate from India.

Hi Shaikh, our article 'how to apply to study in Germany' goes through each step you need to take to apply for a bachelor's degree. Your high school leaving certificate/diploma should be sufficient, but some students from with qualifications from outside Europe will need to sit the Feststellungsprüfung entrance examination. Hope this helps. 

Hi,

My name is Sean and I am from the UK, hoping to get into a German university to study some area of digital design. I was home-schooled as a child and never finished my studies so I have no degrees or diplomas or certificates. Would there be any way for me to get in to a German university without this?

Thanks,

Sean

Hi, I'm Zaeem from Pakistan. I'm in final year of my Bachelors in Software Engineering (BESE). I wish to study abroad for masters degree with job, so that I don't have to wait after my bachelors is completed. My preference is Germany because of their free education, but if other countries offer same thing then I'm okay with that too, as I cant spend my parents money for further education. So can you please guide me regarding university scholarships and suitable sponsors that can help me grow.

Also I wanted to ask you whether GRE or IELTS is required in my field ?

Hi Zaeem, I'm afraid masters degrees are usually not free for students who have completed their bachelor's degree outside of Germany (as explained in the article above). You can find other low cost study abroad options in our article 'where can you study abroad for free?'. You can also browse a list of scholarships for engineering students here. You will need to have the IELTS or another English language test if you want to study in English, but you may not need to provide this if you've previously studied in English. Whether or not you need the GRE depends on the university.

hello
my name is dictom from Nigeria, although residing in doha,Qatar. i am planning to study in Germany hopefully next academic section, but i have few questions which i will like to ask,
(1) how many weeks does it take to gain admission/process visa?
(2) which english universities offers tuition free in Hospitality management?
(3) as an international student, is it compulsory that i must undergo a german class during my studies ?

Hello,

Can I study at master's degree for lower tuition fee by having interval (in terms of years) between bachelor's (which I'll obtain in Germany) and master's degree? Will it be counted as "consecutive" ?

Best wishes.

Hi Doniyor, you may well be able to return to university after an interval and study a consecutive master's degree, in which case your chosen master's degree will need to be continuing your studies in a course which is relevant to what you studied at bachelor's level. Consecutive master's degrees are intended for students to continue along a continuous academic pathway, so you may need to check with your chosen university whether an interval between studies would affect your chances of being admitted into a consecutive master's degree. Hope this is helpful. :)

Hi Sabrina, you've been very helpful in the discussions here and I thank you for that. I have another question though the I can't find any answer yet. What if both I and my husband will study, can we bring our kids with us? and how much do we need to prepare for each of them and how about their studies, will it be free as well? They are in elementary and secondary levels, my eldest is post secondary (16 yrs old). Thank you

Hi Jossel, your children can join you, as long as you're able to support both yourself and them without needing any assistance of public funds. Your children can study for free at state schools. You can find more information here. :)

I am from India and want to pursue Mba from Germany. which colleges have good placement record and what is the total cost of study in germany with and without hostek facility. Can the job be found easily after the completionof MBA.
I have done B. Tech in Electronics and communication engineering with 66.6% and having 3 years of experience.

Hi Pawan, Germany is ranked as one of the top 10 countries worldwide for MBA job availability. The total cost will vary depending on where you study - you can use our course finder to search for more affordable programs. To find out more about studying an MBA in Germany, check out our sister site, TopMBA.com. :)

I am planning to do B.sc Environmental Science from Germany and then Master also.Can we get job there after our study and for how long?

Hello, if you're from an EU country you have free access to the German job market, and graduates from other countries can extend their residence permit for up to 18 months after they finish university to look for employment. If you gain work in Germany within this time you should make sure that you extend your visa, residence or work permit to ensure you are living in the country legally. Hope this helps!

Can you guys explain me what does consecutive and nonconsecutive mean !!!

Hi Khider, as explained in the article above, a consective master's degree follows directly on from a related bachelor’s degree gained in Germany, whilst a non-consecutive master's degree means you have studied your bachelor's degree elsewhere in the world. 

Hi
I'm Just wondering about the possibility of doing PhD in biotechnology in Germany by depending on my Own family financial aid not by gaining scholarship or salary from supervisor, so what the procedure i have to take to get offer and permission from admission office and etc?
Sincerely.

greetings , i am jayashree doing my bachelors degree in physics in india . i see that the basic criteria for studying in most of the other countries is a 4yr degree programme but the degree that i am pursuing is a 3yrs programme . what should i do in order to meet the requirements for studying in germany (i would like to pursue my masters in germany) kindly help!!

Hi Jayashree, please take a look at our article on how to apply for a masters in Germany. You can find more advice in our complete guide on studying abroad in Germany. Hope this helps! 

Hi,
I am looking for masters in embedded systems in Germany
I had a score of 6.92 CGPA in b.tech
I have certified diploma on embedded systems
Can I get good colleges in Germany for pursuing masters

Hi Reyno, we don't currenly rank embedded systems, but you may like to take a look at our rankings by subject for computer science and information systems, with the results narrowed down to show only universities in Germany. Hope this helps.

Hi, does anyone suggest me the universities of Germany which offers MBA and Engineering at the same place

Hi, it is pleased to meet everyone here. I'm Aaron Teheni, I'm from the Philippines and I already finished college last April 2015 with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. I'm not happy with my degree I'd finished, I still struggle to find a job related to IT Software and I want to take History related degree because this is what I really want to pursue. I choose Germany because I heard about free study and I'm interested to move and study there. For now, I also struggle to find income to move to Germany because we a financial problem and I'm still unemployed. Please, anyone can suggest me to overcome this problems and how I can achieve to study in Germany with my desired degree? Thank you and Have a nice day.

Hi Aaron, you might like to apply for a scholarship to help you to study abroad in Germany - we have a list of these here. Good luck! 

hello mam, I need some help.I'm from India. I'm about to complete
my bachelor's degree in pharmacy. Now I'm planning
for master's degree in Germany,Norway, Netherlands
etc. plz let me know about the fee structure &
expenses to live in these countries.. kindly do the
needful.

Hi Rakesh, you can find out the average tuition fees and living costs to study in various European countries in our article 'how much does it cost to study in Europe?' Hope this helps.

I have completed BBA in 2012 from India and after completing BBA I'm working in BPO sectore since December, 2012 to till now. So I have near about 3 years and 5 months of Job experience as a Agent Level not in Managerial level. I want to do MBA in Marketing/ Business Management from Germany. So if you help me out about some good university in Germany for MBA  with free tuition fees or lowest tuitions fees and scholarship. Coz  I am from middle class family and I will be really appreciate to you for your suggestion . Thanks in advance

Hi Snehasis. I'd recommend visiting our sister site, TopMBA.com, which is dedicated to providing information and advice about MBAs. You'll find some information about scholarships to study an MBA in Germany here, and you could also apply for an exclusive QS Scholarship if you attend the QS World MBA Tour.

Greetings Sabrina, I'm a US citizen that has his Associate's Degree from a Community College and was wondering if there was a way for me to work towards my Bachelor's Degree in Germany? Would I have to start from the bottom and retake all classes or is there a possibility that my credits are transferable?

Hi Artur, I'd advise you to contact the German institution/s you're interested in to see if they'll accept your associate's degree for transfer in Germany. 

Hi,am Kenny from Nigeria.....I just join yesterday..... i did my web programming and developing in Kenya and i will like to do my master in software engineering in Germany.....but am financially low what help can u do for me....thanks waiting for your reply.....

Hi Kenny, please have a look at our articles listing scholarships to study in Germany and scholarships for engineering students. Hope this helps!

Hi sabrina. I'm from India and I am intrested in becoming a pilot. So will I be able to get a low cost flight school? And what will be my total expenses? Thank you for your help.

hi sabrina .i am from india. i want to do my bachelor degree in germany , bachelor degree in astronomy and physics. but when i see cost of living and fees in germany it is high for me . is there is any way to get this expenditure . i am a excellent student here in india but i don't know german. please help me how to get expenditure and fees so that there is no bank loan over me .

Hi Prashant, you might like to apply for a scholarship to help with living costs - these can be hard to find, but are not unheard of. Please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in Germany and scholarships for Indian students. Hope this helps!

Hello Sabrina. I just joined this forum and I am glad to see that you are responding promptly to people's comments.
I am a graduate from Pakistan and done my BBA Honours in Marketing. I want to pursue free education in Germany for my post graduation. I wanted to ask, that would I be able to find masters programs to be completed in 1 year in Germany for the January intake of 2017?

Hi Shameen, and welcome! I'm afraid masters degrees in Germany aren't usually free, but you may be able to find a scholarship. Most masters degrees in Germany last two years, but you may be able to find a one-year program - you could use the DAAD's program finder to search for this. Hope this helps!

hi ... my name is Mehrdad and i am from Iran . i am studying for bachelor degree and i intend to study in Germany to obtain my master degree. i study mechanical engineering. i wonder if i start working in Germany 20 hours per week, how much of the costs of the tuition i can cover?

Hi Mehrdad, I'm afraid working part time to fund your studies in Germany is not likely to be feasible. You may like to consider alternative sources of funding, such as a scholarship - we have a list of scholarships to study in Germany here. :)

Hello Im from India , i am currently studying Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical engg from India and want to do my Masters from Germany ,what are the prospective courses , can I directly do my phD from germany without doing masters , what will be the cost and what are the good universities , what to do for scholarships and what exams do I need to give.