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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.

Laura Tucker's profile image
Written by Jane Playdon

Jane Playdon is a author and blogger.

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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

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,, 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.

Hi Anirban, you can find out more about masters degrees in Germany here, and we have also have an article with information on PhDs in Germany. You may be able to study a PhD without doing a masters via a fast track program which will involve sitting an exam and perhaps attending an interview. PhDs in Germany are free but we have a list of scholarships to study in Germany here. Hope this helps.

Hello, I'm from New Zealand but i'm currently living in Asia and i'm also only 17 so still trying to figure out the future. I'm quite keen of moving to Germany to study architecture for both my bachelor's degree and my masters. I am an EU citizen due to my English heritage would this help?
What i'm really worried about is how much it will cost me to live and study in Germany for 5 years and hopefully end my study with out a large debt hanging over my head. and wither or not it is difficult to be accepted to a German university.
I also don't know any German.
Any help you guys could give me will be greatly appreciated.

Hi Benyarmin, don't worry! As stated in the article, your tuition will be free, but to help with living costs you might like to apply for a scholarship. You also don't need to know German to study in Germany - please take a look at our article on studying in English in Germany to find out more. You might also like to have a look at our rankings by subject for architecture, with the results narrowed down to see only German universities. Hope this helps.

Hello, I'm a Moroccan student studying for a bachelor's degree in computer science in a Moroccan university. I'm very perplexed as to should I keep studying here and get my degree then continue studying in Germany, or to go now and start over and get a bachelor in Germany. I have limited resources but I have become aware that there is work available there for students to help themselves, I'm not sure however if one can manage to balance between school and work? Is it fairly possible to enroll in a German university after getting a bachelor's here or are the requirements too high maybe? Also I was wondering if scholarships are easy to find for someone like me and in my area of study (c.s)? Thanks!

Hi Sabrina,

Just required to sought some information regarding studying in Germany.

I`m a Management and Business Computing Bsc. (hons) graduate from Pakistan, focused on Business/IT, Management Information Systems, Digital & Design related areas for my Masters.

It would be really thoughtful of you if you can suggest relevant universities, preferably the top public/private universities that are free or economical. While suggestions for the fees attached university is also appreciated, particularity focused on Business & IT.

Secondly, i would like to inquire if students after graduating with masters are allowed to stay and find work, later acquiring on to blue card.

Thirdly, is part time work or full time work with studies allowed, if yes, is it possible to support myself on that earning only.

Thank you and looking forward to your rejoinder.

Hi Sherry. I'd suggest taking a look at the newly released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016. This will help you identify the top universities in Germany for the areas you're interested in. For more information about studying and working in Germany, take a look at our guide.

I`m from Afghanistan, i have studied my bachelors in B.A Political science from Delhi university India. I want to do my Masters in International relation or anything related to this field. I want to do master (free) or low cost from Germany.

My brother have finished his 12th , he wanted to study his bachelor in business or economics. (free) or low cost from Germany.
Can Anyone suggest me universities and info's.

Hi Abdullah, I'm afraid masters degrees in Germany are not usually free unless you previously studied your undergraduate degree in the country - but you may be able to find a scholarship to help lower your overall costs.  Your brother can study his bachelor's degree for free at any public university in Germany - here are the top universities for his subject and the top universities for your subject, with the results narrowed down to see only German universities. To find out more about studying in Germany, please take a look at our complete guide. Hope this helps! 

Hi Sabrina, I'm interested if there are any kinds of scholarship programs that help you pay your living expenses in Germany, like for example i'm interested in studying medicine for bachelor's degree and i know that it doesn't cost that much, but when you sum it up with other expenses it gets pretty expensive

hi sabrina i am from Pakistan i have recently completed MBA (banking & finance) my CGPA is 3.7. I want to do master or phD in finance (free) from Germany. Can u suggest Universities and their criteria?

Hi Faiza, please take a look at our rankings by subject for accounting and finance, with the results narrowed down to see only German universities. You can find general information on the entry requirements of PhDs in Germany in this article, but to find the exact entry requirements you should check the official website/s of the institution/s you're interested in. Hope this helps! 

Hello Sabrina ^^ I need your help and if you help me I will be very pleased of that :3
I want to study abroad "English language and literature" for free...I know,it's impisossible to study for free on this faculty but...who knows,maybe somewhere it is for free...please,if you know any university which has this faculty for free,let me know about that.. any place in europe or in the USA

Hi Gvantsa, what level of study are you pursuing? You can study in Germany for free at undergraduate and PhD level, and you can read about other affordable study destinations in our article 'Where can you study abroad for free?'. Tuition is not going to be free in the US, but you could try to find a scholarship - we have scholarship listings for both Europe and the US. Hope this helps!


Could you please assist with details on Germany medical schools on:
1. How to apply as a foreign applicant
2. When do you apply?
3. What are the entry qualifications for an MBCHB degree?
4. What is the cost structure?
5. Is there a Germany universities agent in Zimbabwe?

hi i am a bangladeshi.want to pursur phd in economics in any country.plz inform me which country will siutable for me at minimum cost europe

Hello, Germany is an example of a country in which you can study your PhD for free, and you can read about other affordable study destinations in Europe here. You might also like to check out our list of scholarships to study in Europe. Hope this helps! 

Hi Sabrina,
I am Egyptian, I have bachelor of Engineering 2011 in Egypt.
However I have shifted my career from 3 years into teaching Mathematics.
I want to complete my education but in education field.
So, what do recommend for me?

I am pursuing my bachelors degree in English (Hons.) form DU, India. I am interested in PG in Mass Communication & Media Studies. Can u suggest Universities/Colleges and their criteria ?

Hi Sanchit! I can't recommend any particular universities, but here are our rankings by subject for communication and media studies, with the results narrowed down to see only German universities. To find out the general requirements of graduate study in Germany, please take a look at this article. Hope this is helpful. 

i want to learn computer science and engineering for free or at very low cost
which university would suggest me...
? plz reply me

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

Hello Sabrina. I'm Ademola from Nigeria. I'll like to study in countries like Germany, Finland, Austria etc. however , i am financially restricted. how do i go about it?

Hi Ademola, all of the countries you mentioned are actually discussed in our article 'where can you study abroad for free?' as being affordable study destinations. You might like to look for a scholarship to help you study abroad - here's our list of scholarships to study in Europe. Hope this helps! 

Hi ms Sabrina, i want to continuous my studies of Music in Germany, im finished 2 years ago a degree in de conservatory of music of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
i would like to know if its possible to apply for a bachelor of music in a public university.
thank you!

Hi Benjamin, I don't see why not! Please take a look at our article on how to apply to study in Germany. :) 

hi ms sabrina, i want to study mechanical engr in Germany and i read in one of your blog that some universities in germany do not offer masters degree, so am asking to know if does universities are public university or not ?

Hi, I already study my career in Spain, and I wanted to do a masters degree in HHRR in Germany. Could you tell what universities are the cheapest? and how much would it cost? thank you!

Hi Ms Sabrina,I only can speak english and mandarin,must be know Deutsch ?am 22 years old ,Thanks and God bless

Hi Mary, you don't need to know German - you can study in English in Germany at any study level, but bachelor's degrees in English are quite hard to find. 

Hi Ms Sabrina,This is Noted,Thanks for your information

Hi,my name is Mary ,am from china,I finished my College (2years) on 9/2014,Now am work,but I still want to go to school to study ,my family is not rich ,can you provide me sone suggests?thanks and god bless

Hi Mary, what level would you like to study at? If you're studying at bachelors/PhD level, tuition in Germany is free, but you could still look for a scholarship to help with living costs and/or studying at master's level. To find out more about studying in Germany, please take a look at our complete guide. Hope this helps!

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