10 Top German Universities for Study Abroad in 2018-2019

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Why study in Germany? 

The climate is temperate, the scenery is from a fairytale, most fairy tales we know are German fairy tales, the language is terrifying…and the list goes on and on. In all seriousness, though, Germany is a great place to get a degree or study abroad

For decades, Germany has been enjoying a bustling economy and an almost unbeatable standard of living. Weekly groceries and rent are several times cheaper than the average costs in the United States. Public universities only charge pocket change for tuition, yet still provide top-notch, quality education. Because of these reasons and more, thousands of international students have wandered over to check out these universities in Germany that teach English and provide a comparable, if not better, education than what’s offered back home. 

Berlin TV tower at night

You’ll be on top of the world when you study abroad in Germany.

What are the best universities in Germany for international students?

Germany, dubbed “The Land of Ideas”, boasts a far-reaching history of academics, engineering breakthroughs, and intellectual renaissances. In fact, the American school system was largely shaped around a German framework for education from the 19th century that continues to dominate public schools from kindergarten and beyond. Yes, even kindergarten is a German word. 

Today, Germany is still known for some of the world’s best universities and brightest scholars. Students are arriving left and right to snag some freshly brewed education from German universities, and there hasn’t been a better time to get with the program. Because international students grace the lecture halls of universities in Germany that teach both English and German alike, there is no prototype for what the “best universities” in Germany for international students look like. What we’ve gathered is a nicely diverse mix of universities that stand among the favorites for study abroad.

If you’ve ever slightly considered study in Germany, this goody-packed read will speak directly to your poor, Germany-deprived soul. Up ahead: the 10 top German universities for study abroad!

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Best German universities for 2018-2019

1. Freie Universität Berlin (Free University Berlin)

As one of the venues where John F. Kennedy gave a speech on the reunification of East and West Germany, and being situated in the nation’s capital, it’s no wonder the Freie Universität Berlin is on everyone’s radar for study in Germany. FU Berlin excels in study and research, earning it a top position for many international university rankings. The school is definitely international student approved with about 20% of its students hailing from countries around the world. If the bustling, artsy city of Berlin wasn’t tempting enough, Freie Universität Berlin will certainly seal the deal.

Recommended study abroad programs at FU Berlin:

Flower lined, cobblestoned road with old German architecture

It just doesn’t get much cuter than this, right?

Universität Freiburg (University of Freiburg)

Black Forest cake, anyone? The University of Freiburg calls the Black Forest home, and is tightly nestled in a southwestern corner of Germany. This convenient geographic location begs for endless international weekend trips to neighboring France and Switzerland, yet you might want to stay put for a while to enjoy one of the top ranking universities in Germany. Today, the University of Freiburg has produced 19 Nobel Prize winners and offers comprehensive study and research opportunities across many disciplines, such as medicine, social sciences, law, and theology. Because the city of Freiburg is a huge leader and advocate for sustainability and environmental protection, the university also has its hands in some pretty nifty eco-projects.

Recommended study abroad programs at the University of Freiburg:

3. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich)

Found smack dab in the heart of Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, or LMU, is one of the oldest and best schools in Germany with a history spanning over 500 years. LMU blends academic tradition with modern, world-class research to bring its 50,000 students from over 130 countries a quality education. Location alone makes this school a top pick among universities in Germany for international students. Munich and its state of Bavaria are the source for many German stereotypes abroad, including its famed Oktoberfest, lederhosen, and the snowy capped Alps to the south.

Recommended study abroad programs at LMU:

4. WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Tucked away in the fairy tale Rhine River valley is WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, a tiny powerhouse business school with a name as big as its reputation. Although the student population sits at around 1,500, WHU has become well know as one of Germany’s top tier business schools in just a few decades since its founding. Its hometown of Vallendar might be a tiny village, but a tight-knit student body and convenient transportation connections make WHU ideal. With almost 200 partner schools worldwide, chances are your home university may have a partnership in place to send you to this fantastic institution.

Find out more:

Neuschwanstein Castle at sunset

Study abroad in a literal fairytale.

Universität Tübingen (University of Tuebingen)

About one in three residents in the medieval town of Tuebingen is a student, making Tuebingen a hot spot for young people around the academic calendar. Founded in 1477, Universität Tübingen has consistently ranked first in the country for its Germanic Studies department, attracting students and scholars from abroad. The unique region surrounding Tuebingen is well known for the German dialect, Swabian, and one of the most picturesque castles in the country, still largely undiscovered by tourists. If you’re interested in delving into Germanic Studies at German universities, the University of Tuebingen makes a compelling offer!

Find out more:

6. Universität Regensburg (University of Regensburg)

Have you ever dreamed about living in an adorable walled city straight out of a history book while you study in Germany? The University of Regensburg is a study abroader’s Instagram dream, located right next to the Regensburg’s Old Town and boasting over 2,000 years of well preserved architecture and curving alleyways. If you ever get sick of sipping Bavarian brews or scarfing down delectable ice creams on the Danube riverbank with your classmates (highly unlikely), the university’s campus provides the perfect modern escape. After a week full of lectures, you can easily hop on the train for a short ride south to Munich.

Recommended study abroad programs at the University of Regensburg:

7. Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich)

Another strong contender among the research-fueled engines and one of the best German universities, the Technical University of Munich enjoys connections with some pretty important global companies and scientific institutions. The best scientific minds from around the world will find a perfect fit in TUM in a variety of academic departments. With a fourth of the student population from abroad, you’re bound to find a cozy community. Situated in Munich, this school is a juicy temptation just for the weekend shenanigans alone!

Recommended study abroad programs at the Technical University of Munich:

River and canals at dusk in Hamburg, Germany

Italy was so last season, now it’s all about Germany.

Universität Heidelberg (Heidelberg University)

The granddaddy of all universities in Germany, this old timer’s claim to fame is being the country’s oldest university in existence dating back to 1386. Heidelberg University frequently tops the charts of international university rankings and has claimed 2nd place in Germany in the Times Higher Education Ranking in addition to having a reputation for its strong research orientation. The charming town of Heidelberg is a tourist favorite for its hillside castle and winding paths, and has been inspiring students for over 600 years!

Recommended study abroad programs at Heidelberg University:

9. Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (University of Göttingen)

The University of Goettingen is deeply rooted in academic tradition and affiliated with many notable figures. If you grew up with stories like Hansel and Gretel and Snow White, the name Brothers Grimm might ring a bell. Apart from writing fairy tales the two brothers taught and had political involvement at the University of Goettingen. Making it even a more attractive among German universities for international students, the region is known for its crystal clear, dialect-less German.

Find out more:

10. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Humboldt University)

Humboldt University was established in Wilhelm von Humboldt’s vision of a higher education model that combined study and research. Today, this same model is mirrored in universities around the world, largely lending to scientific breakthroughs and successes. If that doesn’t speak to the prestige of this institution, then maybe having been chosen as “University of Excellence” among 11 other German universities will. The only other thing you need to know is that it’s in Berlin. Sold yet?

Recommended study abroad programs at Humboldt University:

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How to study in Germany in English

You may be thinking, “This all sounds great, but I don’t speak German”. Having a grasp on the wonderful German language is always advantageous even just for everyday life, but not everyone has the time and patience to learn words that are oftentimes longerthanthealphabet. The sheer number of international students flocking to German universities hints at the fact that there may be more at play than students around the world picking up fluent German just to study there. 

street corner in the morning, Prenzlauer, Berlin, Germany

Walk to class in the early morning bustle, but you’ll never be late.

Luckily, there are numerous top universities in Germany that teach in English to cater to this international student body, and an increasing push for globalized curriculums for native German students. Degree programs or select courses entirely in English, and even English speaking universities in Germany are becoming more common, especially for English, American Studies, and Business programs. While this is truer for graduate programs, undergraduate degrees are also catching on.

Among the droves of English offerings, we’ve pulled a short list of English universities in Germany:

The fact of the matter is you really don’t need German to study abroad in Germany. Many universities with study abroad program affiliations will usually provide special English courses anyway. 

Next steps to attend German universities

One of Germany’s special characteristics is its love for all things bureaucracy and methodical procedures. During your first few weeks in the country as you navigate legal paperwork and bank accounts, you will grow intimate with the teeth-clenching feeling and headaches. In honor of this tradition and to start the acclimation process early, here are a few boxes to check as you set out on this journey to study in Germany.

  • Decide where to go. Figuring out where to study abroad isn’t easy, but then you remember that one country with giant pretzels and castles, and it’s pretty much a done deal after that.
  • German or English? You don’t have to be a German Language or Studies major to benefit from learning a new language. Germany has the fifth largest economy in the world, which means A LOT of business, science, and media is done in the language. Learning German is a great investment that could get you hired.
  • Choose from the best schools in Germany. Pay attention to past participants’ reviews, university reputation, location, and available programs when choosing a university. Some schools may even provide contact info for student ambassadors or past international students.
  • Plan your finances.  Sort out funding before you go to afford daily essentials and splurge in travel (in addition to program costs and airfare). Do your research to have an idea of how much your study abroad program will cost.
  • Talk to your home university. Getting all your ducks in a row is largely dependent on what your home university requires. Talk to a study abroad advisor or the equivalent at your university to see what choices are available to you. 
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

You’ll never overdo it on the Cologne.

Who knew finding universities in Germany for international students was as easy as finding pretzels?

Because virtually every sizeable university in Germany has a webpage available in English, it’s a breeze looking up all the info you need. Germany’s no stranger to international students, and you’ll be welcomed into a warm, diverse student body swimming with ideas and voices from students from around the world!

Search and compare more programs to study in Germany