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How Much Does it Cost to Study in Germany?

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

In 2014, Germany’s 16 states abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public German universities. This means that currently both domestic and international undergraduates at public universities in Germany can study for free, with just a small fee to cover administration and other costs per semester.

This good fortune may not last however. In autumn 2017 the south-west state of Baden-Württemberg reintroduced tuition fees for non-EU students, and it’s possible other states will follow suit in the coming years. Non-EU students in Baden-Württemberg must now pay tuition fees of €3,000 (~US$3,500) per year, while those gaining a second degree pay a reduced fee of €1,300 (~US$1,600) per year.

For now, the low fees certainly help to make studying in Germany an attractive option for prospective students, and the country has previously been ranked as the fourth most popular destination for international students in the world (after the US, UK and Australia).

Cost of living in Germany

While many students can study in Germany for free, living expenses are unavoidable. The cost of living in Germany is more expensive in some areas than others – Munich, for example, is considered the most expensive German city to live in, with living costs averaging about €12,000 (~US$13,900) per year. By comparison, the average annual living costs in Germany are around €10,200 (~US$11,800).

Rent will be your largest monthly expense, though this is cheaper if you live in a shared flat (average rent of €280/~US$340 per month) or a student hall of residence (€234/~US$290 per month).

Based on data from DAAD, other average monthly costs are as follows:

  • €168 (~US$205) for food
  • €42 (~US$52) for clothes
  • €94 (~US$115) for transport
  • €31 (~US$38) for telephone, internet and TV license
  • €20 (~US$25) for work/study materials
  • €61 (~US$75) for leisure activities

To find living expenses for specific cities in Germany (and compare them to the average costs in your home city) Numbeo is a useful tool.

You won’t need a visa to study in Germany if you’re an EU national or citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Otherwise, expect to pay €60 (~US$74) 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 you have, or have access to, around €8,700 (~US$10,680) per year or €725 (~US$890) 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 isn’t valid in Germany, expect to pay around €80 (~US$97) per month to cover this.

Undergraduate costs to study in Germany

Although you can study for free at public German universities as an undergraduate, there is a charge per semester for enrolment, confirmation and administration. This is typically no more than €250 (~US$290) per semester, but varies depending on the university.

There may be an additional charge to purchase a “Semesterticket”, which covers public transport expenses for six months – the price varies depending upon which Semesterticket option you choose. 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 €500 (~US$540) per semester.

Most universities in Germany are public. Private institutions are usually dependent on tuition fees for their funding (though some also receive support from foundations), and set their own fees, which can be anything up to and beyond €20,000 a year (~US$24,400).

The Federal Student Financial Aid Program (BAföG: Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) can be used by both German nationals and EU students, as well as some foreigners under select conditions. Generally, this aid is for those under 30 years old (under 35 if you’re studying for a master’s degree), but exceptions can be made depending on circumstance. The BAföG is usually split in two, with 50% taking the form of a state grant and the other half being an interest-free loan that must be paid back in instalments when the maximum period of assistance expires.

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. Tuition fees for “non-consecutive” master’s degrees, for those who have gained their bachelor’s degree elsewhere in the world, vary between universities and may be around €20,000 (~US$24,400) per year at public institutions and up to €30,000 (~US$36,600) at private German universities.

For example, Germany’s top-ranked institution, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, lists fees for non-consecutive master’s degrees ranging from €2,500 (US$3,050) per semester for a Master of Arts in American Studies up to €5,000 (US$6,100) per semester for a Master of Medical Education (MME).

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 no more than €250 or so for administration and other costs. You can find out more about studying a PhD in Germany here

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 is 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, which is updated regularly.

Figures contained in this article are averages. 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.

This article was originally published in December 2013. It was most recently updated in April 2018.

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Written by Jane Playdon
Jane Playdon is a TopUniversities.com author and blogger.

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320 Comments

Hello!! My name is Malavika and i am from India. I belong to middle class family. Soon i will complete my graduation. Then i like to complete my master degree in germany. Is there any free education for master degree.

Hello! This is Pradyasha Patro from India. Am currently pursuing my graduation in commerce and after this I wish to study in Germany. Can I go for Hotel Management or Hospitality & leisure management or Human Resource Management?

Hey! I am from pakistan. I wish to do MS in Geographical Information System From Germany I heard the education is free there .Kindly recommend me the best universities of Germany that are providing free education in MS?

 

Hey! I am from pakistan. I wish to do MS in Geographical Information System From Germany I heard the education is free there .Kindly recommend me the best universities of Germany that are providing free education in MS?

 

Hi, I would really enjoy studying at a German university, but since I am from Ukraine and had lived in Italy for more than 10 years (I am resident in Italy), am I considered an EU student or not? I have to understand if i should pay 1.500 euros per semester as all non eu citizens or not. Thanks for Your attention!

Hey! My name is Mehreen and I am from Bangladesh. I belong from a middle class family and I would like to know the costs of studying in Germany as an undergraduate and further. And all other factors so that I can talk to my parents about this.

Hi. I'm from Pakistan and I wish to do my MBBS from Germany. I heard the education there is free. Can you give me any suggestions?

Hi Biya, yes, medical degrees in Germany are free, however it's important to note that all medical courses are taught in German. You can get more information here

Hiii I am frm india.. I have done my Bsc. Clinical lab technology with 80%..nd I want to pursue my master degree in German... Can i get free education?

Hii I am from India. I have done m. Pharma. I want to do PhD from Germany. How much will it cost to me living plus food plus fee

Hello am new here, gonna be an international student soon, just wanna some new friends ahead..

hello

Good article, because I will send my son to study in Germany soon...
I will advise your <a href="https://www.topuniversities.com/">site</a> to my friends.

i wish a go to Germany if u don't mind help me some free of cost university and i apply for addmittion '

hi i am from morroco and i will get my licensee on biology and i wanna go to germany for my doctorat which university should i choose and is it free or should i pay for it and thanks

Hi. I am Omowumi and a Nigerian student. I want to study MSc in geophysics. Please,what Universities in Germany offer this course,offer scholarship opportunities or have cheap fees and a "not expensive" standard of living. Thank you

Hi Omowumi, you can search for programs in Germany using this tool on the Study-in.de website. 

I m a indian student.i want to make my career in architecture...please give me some details about abroead universities which offer scholarships to students.

hi which country and university would be better for the management studies in abroad
and the some regarding the cost of living and scholorships

Hello, ever consider Canada? Text me up

which university will be good to do MS in Business Analytics near Hannover.

Sir,I am Malaysian.Currently I am studying AAT course in Malaysia's private institute.Where should I apply in free tution fee university for international students for full time and part time degree?How much overall cost?In german ,where can apply any education ministry recognised online courses for pursue degree in Accounting in low cost /free tution fee?

sir, I want to pursue Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering in Germany. where should I apply in free tution fee university for international students? How much overall cost?

I have done my F.Sc. Now want to study engineering abroad guide me

Hi, i have done Bachelor's in Software Engineering. Now i want to pursue Masters degree in it. Kindly guide me? Where should i apply in germany and how much it costs?

I learned that getting a doctorate was difficult in Germany because of the difficulty of getting Musharraf's approval
Is this true and what are the initial steps to get a Ph.D.

Hi Yasser, I can't help you with your first question I'm afraid, but here's a link to our article on how to study a PhD in Germany, which explains all the steps you'll need to take. 

hi,i m form Pakistan and i want to do bachelors in Germany how much money is require

Contact me via email

I also want to study bachlors send me ur email

HI .i want to study in germany .my question is that germany give free education for forigen students its true.because lot of middle family students cant be afford the heigher language .i want do mba in germany but i want scholarship .so what can i do. and which university is good or city

Hi Sam, free education is available in Germany, but unfortunately this doesn't apply for MBAs. Here are some links that can help you out:

Sabrina C can you plz tell me the details of bba program? Um from bangladesh. I want to go germany for my bachelor degree. Is it true that their education free for international students? If it's true then plz tell me details. Thanks in advance.

Hi.I am samaa.I come from Iran. I have master degree but I want to study Dentistry. How can I enter to the university in this field and is it possible for me or not?
Thanks a bunch

Hi I am Basavaraj from INDIA I want to compete my Bachelor's in computer science .
I want to know about my living food and fees information so plz help me out guyz

hi jane. im from india.i just completed my graduation in mechanical engineering.im in a greater confusion about doing my masters in automobile or aeronautical engineering.i wanted to settledown in european nations with a good job and good pay .so how much it costs me for study and the cost of living. how are the laws for international students i both professional and public life.think of me as amatuer who needs lot of guidance and information to complete my masters in germany and continue my living over there in european nations .

I'm from Nigeria.. I want to do my Masters Degree in Germany.. I want to know if it's free..

Hi Jane! I am from Malaysia. I finished my bachelor's degree major in English in one of the Philippines universities in 2011. I'd like to pursue my Master's degree in any related fields e.g. English courses here in Munich. However, I don't really know exactly how. And by the way, I'm currently in Munich and had just finished two months German language courses in Deutsch Akademie here in Munich. May I know what the processes and requirements are to acquire a student Visa for Malaysian? Anyway, at this time, I came here as a tourist so I didn't need visa. My other question is, how difficult would it be to acquire a student visa for Master's degree in any München university and for how long? I may or may not have issues with tuition fees and other daily expenses, though I still have to work part time job while studying. I am a copywriter by profession, would a student assistant for university be fit for me? If not, what sort of part time job would you recommend?

Thanks for taking time to read and I would appreciate if you could answer my questions.

how much master degree cost in germany?? please answer me

Hi, I'm from Bangladesh. I wanna know that can I apply for undergraduate (MD) in german?I have recently completed my 12 standard class. please inform me as soon as possible. Thanks You. :)

Hi Sistah! I'm from Bangladesh too
.candidate of Hsc 2019.
I've research on it all about Admission After Hsc from Bd.So, I've Honest Answer which one you are looking for.

In Germany There Are 2 Medium To studies are English medium & German medium.If you Wanna Study on English you have to Take a ielts for 6-6.5.

In Germany To get an a Admission after Hsc You have to Need a Foundation Course which is mandatory all over in Europe. Cz German have a Requirement That You have to show that you completed 14 class.. But you Are 12 really so you have to do it.so fulfilled the 2 class you need to do foundation course. This is 1 yr duration but sorrow of matter that This course you have to Done with Germany language so You Have To Learn German B2 Grade. Though it's to challenging but if you are strong confidence u can do it. But Please Complete ur Bachelor at least 1yr than Try to for German It's will be easy for you. That's time you can Admit in a university directly.

hi im from Bangladesh too... I'm searching for a scholarship..but i'm unable....Did you guys find anything????? Would you please help me by giving me some information...

Just completed my BBA in Insurance and Risk management. I want to study further in Germany. can u help me about degree of MBA in Germany. please guide me for student Visa. thank you

Hi Zain, you can read about MBAs in Germany over on our sister site, TopMBA.com, and we have an article advising how to get a German student visa here. Hope this helps!

What is the mode of instruction in german engineering univeristies ?

Hello team, i am from nepal . I am seeking for furthur study in foreign . As a look, germany provides free education for int.students except living costs. I need a detailed information about the IT program in bachelor in germany . Is it free or have to pay some administrative cost or enrollment? Also please do provide me about the work available for student it not there in germany? And if yes? Then does the work could help in living cost in germany for study? Please hope a guidence.

hello all

sir i want study top unversity in germany and
what are the top universities
can you list out please

Hi Phani, you can view the top universities in Germany in 2018 here

I am yilikal wondimu from Ethiopia, i complete my bsc in 2016 with water resource and irrigation engineering in arbaminch university,now i went to study either irrigation engineering ,engineering hydrology or hydraulic engineering,i hope you give this fortune,thank you