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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 though. In December 2016 it was announced the south-west state of Baden-Württemberg will be reintroducing tuition fees for non-EU students, starting from autumn 2017, and it’s possible other states will follow suit in the coming years.

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 €10,800 (~US$11,645) per year. By comparison, the average annual living costs in Germany are around €9,600 (~US$10,350).

Rent will be your largest monthly expense, though this is cheaper if you live in a shared flat (average rent of €298/~US$320 per month) or a student hall of residence (€240/~US$260 per month).

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

  • €165 (~US$180) for food
  • €52 (~US$56) for clothes
  • €82 (~US$90) for transport
  • €33 (~US$36) for telephone, internet and TV license
  • €30 (~US$33) for work/study materials
  • €68 (~US$73) 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 around €60 (~US$65) 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$9,390) per year or €725 (~US$780) 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$86) 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 €300 (~US$320) 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 €20,000 a year (~US$21,560).

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 €5,000 (~US$5,400) per year at public institutions and up to €30,000 (~US$32,410) 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$2,700) per semester for a Master of Arts in American Studies up to €7,000 (US$7,560) 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 no more than €300 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 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.

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 updated in February 2015 and again in March 2017.

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

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220 Comments

Hi my name is sharmake from Somalia please help me how to get free education for germany

Hi Sharmake, our complete guide on how to study abroad in Germany contains all the information you need to help get you started. :)

hi, I'm studying in +2 . how to get scholarship in europe for free.

Hi Tesin, please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in Europe - each external link should contain full details on how to apply. :)

Hi, My son is in Grade 8, and I want to explore his UnderGrad opportunities in Engineering area . Can you guide me , how to go about ? What preparations? What are the scholarships? Which are the best ones? I am from India. Thanks

Hi Richa, a good start for your son to get prepared to study in Germany is by reading our complete guide on how to study abroad in Germany, which includes information on admission requirements, visas, student cities, costs and more. Your son might also like to check our latest World University Rankings by Subject to find the best German universities in his chosen engineering subject.

Your son can study for free at any public university in Germany (with the exception of universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg from autumn 2017) but we've listed a range of scholarships to study in Germany here.

Hello my name is haytham alqaisi am 24 years old in my 3rd year majord in business administration am planing to get my MBA from Germany I saw a lot of artical concerning this subject and I got lost actually I have a few questions and if any one can answer me his/her help will by highly appreciated

1) requirement for applying for MBA in germany ?
2) the requested GPA to be qualified ?
3) the cost and tuition for MBA as an international student ?
4) is it true that MBA in germany are for free and if yes can you please provide me with a list of universities that offers a free / low tuition MBA programs ?

Please any information you can provide me with will be a great help but please I need it to be a confirmed information

Thank you so much

Hi Haytham, you can find detailed information on studying an MBA in Germany over on our sister site, TopMBA.com. I'm afraid MBAs in Germany are not free, but you may be able to find a scholarship to help with costs.

respected web developer , i'm
Milan Ghori , i wanted to know , is there education free in Germany for master degree ??? because i read in many newspaper that education is free in Germany ... and German government didn't want to get any profit from education...

Hello my name is abhishek I wanted to know the overall cost of study for masters in Germany

hello i am Dani from Eritrea. i have a degree in chemical Engineering and i would like to continue it in a master level. Would u please guide me and 10Q very much for your consideration

Hi Dani, please take a look at our article on how to apply for a masters in Germany. Hope it's useful!

Hello, I want to know about the living expenses which would deposited in Germany before getting the visa. Could you tell what Is actual amount to deposit ?

Hello,my name is sandeep I have completed my b.tech in 2015 and i am interested in higher studies in germany.Please recommend me a degree to do in english

Hi Sandy, please take a look at our article on how to study in Germany in English. :)

Hi my name is Cedron, from Rwanda Africa. I just wanted to know if it's possible to study in Germany in English Literature faculty. If yes what could I do. What's necessary and low-cost Schools thank you

Hi!
My name is Fernanda, I'm from Mexico. I have a degree in Law and I'd like to study an LLM (master of laws) or master in business law in Canada. Could you tell me about the scholarships I could get? And wich is the best and cheapest city to go and study.
Thank you!

Hi Fernada, please take a look at our list of law school scholarships around the world, which includes LLM scholarships. You can get an idea of some of the more affordable Canadian cities (marked in green) here. Hope this helps! 

hy every one i am shahbaz ia am from pakistan i am doing my high school diploma will i apply for undergraduate program in germany please you guide me

Hi Shahbaz. Our guide to studying abroad in Germany should help you get started!

Hello!
Thank you for writing a very informational article.
I'm currently in year 10 (class 10) and would like to study year 11 and year 12 in Germany, and if possible I will pursue my higher studies in Germany as well.
I would like to Inquire about average high school fees of Germany. Please enlighten me with the highschool fees and is it necessary to pay fees lump sum? I'm seeking for a low-cost highschool. Few more things I would like to know about is, are public schools aka government schools (idk what they are called in Germany) are any less than private schools in terms of study standards? Are public school certificates valuable? Lastly, do government/ public schools even accept international students to enroll in their schools?

Hello, I am from Bangladesh and currently doing my last semester in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from a reputed private university here in Bangladesh. I have been planning to pursue my Masters Program in Germany. My query was whether there is any scope for a free or minimum cost masters program in Germany?

Hi Sukanta, masters degrees in Germany usually aren't free but you might be able to find a more affordable program using this search tool by the DAAD. You could also look for a scholarship to help - we've listed a range of scholarships to study in Germany here. :)

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?

I was wondering the same thing. Can someone tell us the answer to this question?

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,
thanks for providing help to the students around the world. I have question currently if someone has done MPhil in management sciences ( without thesis) is there any chance of getting admission in PhD in Germany. Can international PhD student can do full-time job in Germany. @sabrina collier

Hi Syed, I think you would probably be eligible for PhD study in Germany, but you could always check this by contacting the university or universities you're interested in. As a non-EU international student, you're usually limited to working for up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year, but if you take a job as a research assistant at your university then it's usually no problem to exceed this limit. You must inform the Alien Registration Office in this case. Hope this helps!

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!