Study in Germany in English | Top Universities

Study in Germany in English

By Laura Tucker

Updated April 8, 2021 Updated April 8, 2021

Recent years have seen a surge in the number of international students wanting to study in Germany. It’s already surpassed its goal of hosting 350,000 international students by 2020, with a whopping 359,000 international students enrolled in 2017. Factors behind this surge include the solid reputation of Germany’s universities, living standards and economy, combined with the fact that many students are able to study for free – although non-EU students are now required to pay tuition fees to study in Baden-Württemberg.

While most programs are taught in German, there are opportunities to study in Germany in English, with a growing selection of English-language programs designed for international students.

English-language programs are already fairly common at master’s level, particularly within the social sciences and business-related subjects. They’re now also becoming more widely available at undergraduate level – so with a bit of patience and research, you too might get the chance to study in Germany in English.

How to study in Germany in English…

International students who do not sprechen Deutsch may find it hard to gather the right information on how to study in Germany in English, particularly at undergraduate level. Although many students attracted to study in Germany are motivated by the free tuition, finding free English-language programs at public universities is not easy. This is because the majority of undergraduate courses at German universities are taught in German.

The International Program search tool from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) currently finds 116 bachelor programs taught completely in English, many of which have international in their title. When the search is narrowed down to show only bachelor’s degrees with no tuition fees, only 60 programs remain.

So, you may need to pay tuition fees at a private university in order to study your chosen course in Germany in English. This is not necessarily a catastrophe – the fees may still be lower than those in other popular study destinations.

Another search tool, offered by Study-in.de, currently finds 231 English-taught bachelor’s degrees in Germany. Again, some of these are offered by private universities who set their own fees, many of which are below €10,000 (~US$11,200) per semester. 

You can now also easily search for English-taught courses in Germany with our free matching tool, which features more than 900 programs in Europe.

As an example, the private Jacobs University Bremen is the only German university to appear in the search tools offering an English-taught bachelor in mathematics program, with tuition fees of €20,000 (~US$22,200) per year. The university also offers the only English-taught undergraduate psychology degree to appear in the search, again at €20,000 per year – although you can study a business management and psychology degree for free at Furtwangen University.

You’ll notice than some subjects are more often offered in English than others. For instance, there are a good number of English-taught options in subjects such as businessEnglish/American studies and engineering.

Other options to study in Germany in English

There are alternative options. For example, the pan-European business school ESCP Europe offers the chance to study in the capital cities of three countries (London, Paris/Madrid and Berlin) on its Bachelor in Management program for €14,000 per year for EU students, or €19,000 (~US$21,280) per year for non-EU students.

ESCP Europe also offers graduate programs taught in English across all five of its European campuses (in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin and Warsaw), including the Master in Management program.

To study in Germany in English for free, you might want to look beyond the most famous universities in Germany, to consider institutions which are perhaps smaller, specialized or vocational in focus. For instance, you may consider Germany’s Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen), which offer more specialized pathways of learning to create highly skilled graduates in the science and technology sectors. This option can be good for those who already have a career path mapped out and wish to get practical skills in their field alongside a recognized degree.

Before applying, make sure to do some research regarding the institution’s reputation in your chosen field. You should also ensure that the institution offers the right qualifications for your career, as some only offer diplomas, rather than full degrees.

German universities offering undergraduate English-language programs

There are currently only a limited number of undergraduate English-language programs at top universities in Germany. Due to the scarce nature of these programs, if you really want to study at a leading university, you may have to be a little bit flexible on your choice of program.

Below is a short list of the opportunities available for undergraduates to study in English in Germany at universities featured in the QS World University Rankings®. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and new courses are being developed continuously, so it is important to conduct additional research yourself – using online searches, the DAAD, rankings, student sites/forums and other organizations offering advice and guidance.

As well as offering a range of English-language master’s programs, Universität Freiburg is also one of few German universities to offer a bachelor-level degree program taught in English, allowing international students to study for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc), depending on their major. Universität Freiburg has a strong international reputation, ranked joint 169th in the QS World University Rankings® 2020.

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, at 181st in the world rankings, offers a BSc in Molecular Ecosystem Sciences which is taught in English. The school also offers a number of international graduate programs.

You can study for a BA in American Studies and a BSc in International Physics Studies in English at Universitat Leipzig, which is currently ranked 531-540 in the world rankings.

All programs are taught in English at this University of Applied Sciences. However, you will need to pay tuition fees of €7,200 (~US$8,050). They offer programs in two faculties, Architecture and Design, plus Business Administration. The English-taught programs are: Master of Business Administration (MBA), MA Interior Design, BA Interior Design, BA Architecture, BA Product Design, BA Graphic Design & Visual Communication as well as BA Business Administration with either focus on International Management and Marketing or Organizational Psychology and Digital Business & Management as a separate program. 

A public university with an international orientation, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences offers various English-taught bachelors degrees, including International Relations, Sustainable Tourism and Gender Diversity. There are no tuition fees, so students only need to pay the semester fee, which currently amounts to €302.88 (~US$340).

Universities in Germany offering international graduate programs

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. For the full list of German universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2020, visit this page. You can also find more information on international graduate programs offered at Germany’s leading institutions on the TU9 website, which has a list of courses available at the nine engineering and technology-focused universities which comprise the TU9 group.

For answers to all your queries about studying abroad in Germany, see our list of Frequently Asked Questions About Studying in Germany.

This article was originally published in February 2015. It is updated regularly, most recently in June 2019.

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This article was originally published in June 2019 . It was last updated in April 2021

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

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Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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