Top Universities in Germany: TUM vs LMU | Top Universities

Top Universities in Germany: TUM vs LMU

By Sabrina Collier

Updated June 22, 2021 Updated June 22, 2021

Technische Universität München (TUM) and Ludwig-Maximilians - Universität München (LMU) are two of the highest-ranked universities in Germany, according to the QS World University Rankings® 2022

Both universities are likely to be popular with international students, offering highly prestigious education free of charge for all students. Both schools are also located in Munich, (München), a city known for its lively Bavarian culture, which was ranked fourth in the most recent QS Best Student Cities index. 

With so much in common, how should anyone wanting to study in Germany choose between these two universities? We decided to take a closer look at the key similarities and differences between TUM and LMU. 

 
 

Technische Universität München (TUM) 

Ludwig-Maximilians - Universität München (LMU) 

QS World University Rankings® 2022 

  • Ranked joint 50th in the world 

  • Ranked 57th in the world by academics and 21st by employers 

  • 64th for faculty/student ratio 

  • Ranked 473rd for research impact (citations per faculty member) 

  • Ranked 106th for percentage of international students and 265th for international faculty members 

  • Ranked 64th in the world 

  • Ranked 36th in the world by academics and 80th by employers 

  • 295th for faculty/student ratio 

  • Ranked 281st for research impact (citations per faculty member) 

  • Ranked 368th for percentage of international students and 291st for percentage of international faculty members 

 
 

Subject strengths* 

  • Unranked for arts & humanities 

  • Ranked 29th in the world for engineering & technology 

  • Joint 68th for life sciences & medicine 

  • 31st for natural sciences 

  • Joint 216th for social sciences & management 

  • Joint 49th in the world for arts & humanities 

  • Joint 188th for engineering & technology 

  • Joint 40th for life sciences & medicine 
    Joint 41st for natural sciences 

  • 105th for social sciences & management 

 
 

Location 

Made up of three campuses in the greater Munich area. 

Also has campuses in Garching, Weihenstephan and a branch campus in Singapore (TUM Asia). 

Main campus is in the heart of Munich, and LMU also has a High-Tech Campus to the south of the city, which houses most of the natural and life science faculties. 

Also has sites in Oberschleißheim and Garching. 

 
 

Student community 

43,356 students in 2020/21: 

20,151 undergraduates; 22,447 master’s and doctoral students 

15,548 (34%) of students are international 

53,091 students were enrolled in 2019/21 (most recent figures) 

9,392 (18%) of these were international 

 
 

International tuition fees 

There are no tuition fees charged, but students must pay a compulsory semester fee of €144.40 (~£124) 

Extra fees are charged for some continuing education programs 

No tuition fees are charged, although students do need to pay a semester fee of €144.40  

 *Based on the broad subject areas of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021

QS World University Rankings® 2022 

TUM is Germany’s top performing university this year, ranking 50th in the latest QS World University Rankings – 14places above LMU.  

TUM beats LMU in four of the six indicators used to compile the rankings, including its reputation among graduates. However, LMU achieves a stronger score for its reputation among graduate employers. 

The biggest differences between the two top universities in Germany are the scores for their research impact and faculty/student ratios. TUM is 473rd for citations per faculty member, a measure of an institution’s research impact, while LMU is ranked 281st, suggesting it might be the preferred choice if you value studying at a research-driven university. However, TUM has a much stronger ratio of faculty members to students, ranked 64th for this indicator while LMU is 295th. 

Finally, when assessing the levels of international diversity on campus, both German universities are relatively equal – ranked within the top 400 for their percentages of international students (with TUM earning the higher score) and in the global top 300 for their percentages of international faculty members (with LMU earning a slightly higher score). 

Subject strengths 

The QS World University Rankings by Subject allows us to take a closer look at which subjects each of these top German universities are particularly strong in.  

Unsurprisingly for a German institute of technology, TUM achieves a very high score for the broad subject area of engineering and technology (29th), although it achieves its strongest score for natural sciences (31st).  

LMU achieves a position within the global top 200 of all five broad subject areas, again earning its highest score for natural sciences (joint 41st), suggesting there’s very little to choose between the two universities if you’re studying a natural sciences subject.  

The table below shows how TUM and LMU directly compare for each of the 51 subjects covered in the ranking. 

Technische Universität München (TUM) and Ludwig-Maximilians - Universität München (LMU) in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 

 
 

TUM  

LMU 

Accounting & finance 

101-150 

-- 

Agriculture & forestry 

32nd 

-- 

Anatomy & physiology 

-- 

=47th 

Anthropology 

-- 

51-100 

Architecture 

=23rd 

-- 

Biological sciences 

48th 

=26th 

Business & management 

=99th 

149th 

Chemistry 

30th 

46th 

Classics & Ancient History 

-- 

8th 

Communication & media studies 

-- 

=25th 

Computer science & information systems 

=35th 

=79th 

Dentistry 

-- 

=39th 

Earth & marine sciences 

151-200 

51-100 

Economics 

 

=50th 

Education & training 

101-150 

101-150 

Engineering (chemical) 

59th 

-- 

Engineering (civil) 

51-100 

-- 

Engineering (electrical) 

17th 

-- 

Engineering (mechanical) 

23rd 

-- 

English language & literature 

-- 

54th 

Environmental sciences 

=71st 

201-250 

Geography 

-- 

101-150 

Geology 

151-200 

101-150 

Geophysics 

151-200 

101-150 

History 

-- 

26th 

Law 

-- 

41st 

Linguistics 

-- 

60th 

Materials science 

49th 

101-150 

Mathematics 

56th 

=117th 

Medicine 

=67th 

43rd 

Modern languages 

-- 

=40th 

Pharmacy 

151-200 

=43rd 

Philosophy 

-- 

15th 

Physics & astronomy 

=22nd 

=22nd 

Politics 

-- 

101-150 

Psychology 

-- 

=69th 

Social policy & administration  

-- 

51-100 

Sociology 

-- 

=78th 

Statistics 

40th 

51-100 

Theology, divinity & religious studies 

-- 

30th 

Veterinary science 

-- 

=24th 

See the full QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 

Location 

Technische Universität München and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München both have their main campuses in the centre of Munich, with further campuses and buildings elsewhere in Bavaria (and beyond, in the case of TUM, which runs a satellite campus in Singapore: TUM Asia). TUM also owns the Rechts der Isar university hospital, which is considered one of the best hospitals in the region.  

TUM’s largest location is its campus in Garching, a small city located 20km (12.4 miles) to the north, which hosts more than 12,000 students in five faculties, and has several research centres. The Garching campus is easily accessible to Munich via a Metro line, making day trips easy. 

Towards the southeast of Munich, in the adjacent districts of Großhadern and Martinsried, LMU’s High-Tech Campus is located, hosting most of the university’s natural and life sciences. This includes the Klinikum Großhadern, the largest hospital complex in Munich. More LMU buildings are found in Oberschleißheim and Garching, with the former hosting the university’s faculty of veterinary medicine. 

Munich itself has been ranked fourth in the latest QS Best Student Cities index, receiving its highest scores in the desirability and employer activity indicators used to compile the rankings. Munich is known for its proud, characteristic Bavarian culture. Munich has been rated one of the most expensive cities in Germany to live in, but nonetheless receives a high score for affordability, thanks to tuition fees being either low or non-existent. 

Student community 

TUM and LMU are both large universities. LMU is the larger university, with 53,091 students. TUM has a total of 43,356 students as of 2020/21, with a fairly equal number of undergraduates to postgraduates. 

Both schools have a high proportion of international students. However, TUM earns a higher score than LMU for its percentage of international students, with around 34 percent of TUM’s students coming from outside Germany, while the percentage at LMU is 18 percent. 

Tuition fees and funding 

If you’re interested in studying at either of these top German universities, there’s good news: both universities do not charge tuition fees to students of all study levels and nationalities, although TUM charge extra fees for some continuing education programs. 

You will only need to pay a compulsory semester fee of €144.40(~£124) at both universities, which covers the basic student union fee and the basic semester ticket, which allows you to use the entire Munich public transport network at evenings and weekends. There’s also an optional semester ticket, the IsarCard semester, which gives you unlimited travel on the network at any time. This costs €201.60 (~£172). 

Although there are currently no tuition fees, both TUM and LUM offer scholarships and other funding opportunities to help students fund their education.  

TUM, for example, offers scholarships for international students on behalf of the Bavarian government, which are awarded to students at both undergraduate and graduate level. The amount awarded is between €500 and €1,500 (~£429 to £1,288) per semester, and students must show both academic merit and proof of financial need. Other scholarships offered by TUM include the Nicolaus Scholarship Fund and the Loschge Scholarship for thermal engineering students. 

Scholarships at LMU include the LMU Study Scholarship, also funded by the Bavarian government, which is aimed at international and doctoral students. To be eligible, students need to demonstrate academic excellence, knowledge in  their field of study, and financial need. The scholarship awards €650 (~£560) per month for four months. The university also offers scholarships for third-year bachelor’s and master’s students, and the Study Completion Scholarship, which is for international and doctoral students with a history of academic excellence. 

You may also be eligible to apply for external scholarships offered by the German government or other organizations. One such option is the Deutschlandstipendium, which awards talented international students a grant of €300 per month (~£260) and does not consider your personal income or nationality. You can browse more scholarships to study in Germany here

Which of these top universities in Germany would you choose? Tell us in the comments below and let us know which universities you’d like to see compared next! 

This article was originally published in July 2017 . It was last updated in June 2021

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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