Top Universities in Germany by City 2015/16 | Top Universities

Top Universities in Germany by City 2015/16

By Sabrina Collier

Updated April 17, 2021 Updated April 17, 2021

**Click here to discover the top universities in Germany in 2016/17.

The results of the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16 are out now, featuring an impressive 43 top universities in Germany. With affordable costs, great teaching quality and vibrant cities, it’s not difficult to see why Germany is such a popular choice for students from all over the world.

Below are some of the most popular German city destinations for students, along with details of the top German universities each urban center has to offer. 


Germany’s capital is both a popular tourist destination and a diverse student city with a rich variety of opportunities and experiences for students. It’s currently ranked 16th in the QS Best Student Cities index and is home to three of the top universities in Germany:


Germany’s second-largest city is a cosmopolitan transport hub with the nation’s busiest port, on the River Elbe. It is also a major media and industrial center, characterized by a variety of architectural styles. Its university, Universität Hamburg, is ranked joint 219th in the world and 13th in Germany.

München (Munich) 

The capital of Bavaria and third-largest city in Germany, Munich is currently ranked 14th in the QS Best Student Cities index, beating even Berlin. It is home to the famous Oktoberfest beer festival, as well as two more of the top German universities.


The capital of Saxony, Dresden is a cultural, educational, political and financial center which contains many tourist attractions, such as the beautiful Zwinger Palace. Its university, Technische Universität Dresden, is ranked 227th in the world and 14th in Germany.


Frankfurt is the largest city in the federal state of Hesse, and home to the Messe Frankfurt, one of the world’s largest trade fairs. It is a diverse urban hub, and a major center for business, culture, education and tourism. Its university, Universität Frankfurt am Main, is ranked joint 243rd in the world alongside the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and 15th in Germany.


Famous for its stunning cathedral, Cologne is a major cultural center for the Rhineland. Its university is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. Universität Köln (the University of Cologne) ranks at joint 331st in our world rankings, alongside Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, placing 21st in Germany.


Bonn is one of Germany’s oldest cities, and holds the distinction of serving alongside Berlin as the seat of government, as well as being the birthplace of Beethoven. Its university, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, is ranked 210th in the world rankings and 12th in Germany.


Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, and is home to the world-famous annual Cannstatter Volksfestbeer festival and traveling funfair. Its university, Universität Stuttgart, is ranked 251st in the world and 17th in Germany this year.


The largest city in Saxony, Leipzig is well known for its musical tradition, with its St Thomas Church famous for being the place where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a Kapellmeister (cantor.) Its main university, Universität Leipzig, is one of the oldest in Europe and is ranked joint 384th in the world and 27th in Germany.


Nuremburg is famous for its complex history, and this comes through in the rich culture it has to offer, including a selection of museums and a beautiful medieval castle. Its university, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, is ranked 292nd in the world rankings and 19th in Germany.


Germany’s westernmost city, Aachen is located on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. It is famed for its technological innovation, and its university, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, reflects this. Ranked 145th in the world and 8th in Germany, RWTH Aachen University is a founding member of the IDEA League, a strategic union of four prominent universities of technology in Europe.

A selection of smaller cities to study in Germany:

HeidelbergRuprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Heidelberg University) ranks 2nd in Germany and 66th in the world, and with a population of around 150,000 is ideal if you would prefer to study in a smaller city. 

Karlsruhe – This city’s university, KIT - Karlsruher Institut Für Technologie ranks at joint 93rd in the world and 4th among top universities in Germany. The city, located in Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, has a population of 293,000. 

Freiburg im Breisgau – Also located in Baden-Württemberg, this city is home to Universität Freiburg, which ranks at joint 133rd in the world and 7th in Germany. The city is the sunniest and warmest in Germany, according to meteorological statistics.

Göttingen – This small city in Lower Saxony has a population of 116,000 and is famous for its university. The University of Göttingen is a public research university, founded in 1734 by the British King George II, currently ranked 168th in the world and 9th in the list of top German universities.

This article was originally published in September 2015 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, 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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