There are hundreds of universities in Germany that have free or very low-cost tuition programs for international students. Whether you want to study engineering, medicine, architecture or business, Germany is the place to be.
The combination of a high quality education with a unique cultural experience living in Germany is the main reason why young people from all over the world choose universities in Germany.
In this article we are going to detail you which are the best German universities and their main characteristics
Top 10 Universities in Germany
1- Technical University of Munich
The Technical University of Munich (TUM or TU Munich) (German: Technische Universität München) is a public research university located in Munich, with additional campuses in Garching, Freising, Heilbronn, Straubing and Singapore
It is a technical university specializing in engineering, technology, medicine, and applied and natural sciences, organized into 11 schools and departments, and supported by numerous research centers.
TUM is a University of Excellence within the framework of the German University Excellence Initiative, and is consistently ranked among the top universities in the European Union. Its researchers and alumni include 16 Nobel laureates and 23 Leibniz laureates.
2- Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (also known as LMU or University of Munich; German: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) is a public research university located in Munich, Germany.
Originally founded in Ingolstadt in 1472 by Duke Ludwig IX of Bavaria-Landshut, the university was moved in 1800 to Landshut by King Maximilian I of Bavaria when Ingolstadt was threatened by the French, before being moved to its present location in Munich in 1826 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. In 1802, King Maximilian I of Bavaria gave the university the official name Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in his honor and that of the university’s original founder.
It is associated with 43 Nobel laureates (until October 2020). Among them are Wilhelm Röntgen, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn and Thomas Mann. Pope Benedict XVI was also a student and professor at the university
Notable alumni, professors and researchers include, among others, Rudolf Peierls, Josef Mengele, Richard Strauss, Walter Benjamin, Joseph Campbell, Muhammad Iqbal, Marie Stopes, Wolfgang Pauli, Bertolt Brecht, Max Horkheimer, Karl Loewenstein, Carl Schmitt, Gustav Radbruch, Ernst Cassirer, Ernst Bloch and Konrad Adenauer.
LMU has recently received the title of “University of Excellence” within the framework of the German University Excellence Initiative. LMU is a member of U15 as well as LERU. In international comparison, LMU occupies top positions in the rankings and enjoys a high academic reputation.
It is currently the second largest university in Germany in terms of student population; in the winter semester 2018/2019, the university had a total of 51,606 students enrolled. Of these, 9,424 were first-year students, while international students totaled 8,875, or approximately 17% of the student population
In terms of the operating budget, the university records in 2018 a total of €734.9 million in funding without the university hospital; with the university hospital, the university has total funding amounting to approximately €1.94 billion.
3- Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
Heidelberg University, officially the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, (German: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg; Latin: Universitas Ruperto Carola Heidelbergensis) is a public research university in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Founded in 1386 by order of Pope Urban VI, Heidelberg is the oldest university in Germany and one of the oldest in the world. It was the third university created in the Holy Roman Empire.
Since 1899, Heidelberg has been a coeducational institution. The university consists of twelve faculties and offers undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral programs in about 100 disciplines. Heidelberg has three main campuses: the humanities are located mainly in the old town of Heidelberg, the natural sciences and medicine in the Neuenheimer Feld district, and the social sciences in the suburb of Bergheim. The language of instruction is usually German, although a considerable number of graduate degrees are offered in English and some in French.
As of 2021, 57 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the city of Heidelberg and 33 with the university itself.Modern scientific psychiatry, psychopharmacology, psychiatric genetics, environmental physics, and modern sociology were introduced as scientific disciplines by Heidelberg professors
Approximately 1,000 doctoral degrees are completed each year, and more than one-third of the doctoral students come from abroad. International students from some 130 countries account for more than 20% of the entire student body.
Heidelberg is a German university of excellence, part of U15, as well as a founding member of the League of European Research Universities and the Coimbra Group. Among the university’s most prominent alumni are eleven national and foreign heads of state or heads of government. In international comparison, Heidelberg University ranks at the top of the rankings and enjoys a high academic reputation.
4- Humboldt University Berlin
Humboldt University Berlin (German: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, abbreviated HU Berlin) is a public research university located in the central Mitte district of Berlin, Germany
It was founded by Frederick William III on the initiative of Wilhelm von Humboldt, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) in 1809, and opened in 1810, making it the oldest of Berlin’s four universities
From 1828 until its closure in 1945, it was named Friedrich Wilhelm University (German: Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität). During the Cold War, the university was located in East Berlin and was de facto split in two when the Free University of Berlin was opened in West Berlin. The university received its present name in honor of Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldtin 1949.
The university is divided into nine faculties, including the medical school it shares with the Free University of Berlin, has an enrollment of about 32,000 students and offers degree programs in some 189 disciplines, from the undergraduate to the graduate level
It is known worldwide for pioneering the Humboldtian model of higher education, which has greatly influenced other European and Western universities.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries it was considered the most important university in the world in the field of natural sciences, as its professors, such as Albert Einstein, made important advances in physics and other sciences
Among the university’s most distinguished professors and alumni are 57 Nobel laureates (the most of any German university), as well as eminent philosophers, sociologists, artists, lawyers, politicians, mathematicians, scientists and heads of state; among them are Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Otto von Bismarck, W. E. B. Du Bois, Angela Davis, Arthur Schopenhauer, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Walter Benjamin, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Karl Liebknecht, Ernst Cassirer, Heinrich Heine, Eduard Fraenkel, Max Planck and the Brothers Grimm.
Humboldt University Berlin, one of Germany’s most prestigious institutions of higher education, has been awarded the title of“University of Excellence” under the German University Excellence Initiative.
5- Free University of Berlin
The Free University of Berlin (German: Freie Universität Berlin, often abbreviated as FU Berlin or simply FU) is a public research university in Berlin, Germany. It is one of eleven elite German research universities that are part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative and is consistently ranked among the top ten universities in Germany overall, with particular strength in political science and the humanities. It is recognized as a leading university in international university tables.
The Free University was founded in West Berlin in 1948 with U.S. support during the early Cold War period as a de facto Western continuation of the Frederick William University, or Berlin University, which was in East Berlin and faced heavy Communist repression; its name refers to West Berlin’s status as part of the Western Free World, in contrast to the Communist-controlled university in East Berlin.
In 2008, in a joint effort, the Free University of Berlin, together with the Hertie School of Government, and the WZB Social Science Research Center Berlin, created the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies.
6- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; German: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie) is a public research university in the German state of Baden-Württemberg and a national research center in the Helmholtz Association which is one of the largest educational institutions and the largest research institution by funding in Germany.
KIT was established in 2009 when the University of Karlsruhe (Universität Karlsruhe), founded in 1825 as a public research university and also known as the“Friderican“, merged with the Karlsruhe Research Center (Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe), which had originally been established in 1956 as a national nuclear research center (Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe, or KfK).
It is a member of TU9, an incorporated society of the largest and most notable German technological institutes. As part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative, KIT was one of three universities to be awarded excellence status in 2006. In the following“German Excellence Strategy“, it was awarded as one of eleven “Universities of Excellence” in 2019.
It ranks among the top technical universities in Germany and Europe and established the first German faculty of computer science in 1972. According to different bibliometric rankings, KIT is the German university with the strongest research in engineering and natural sciences.
In the university part of today’s KIT, science-based mechanical engineering was founded in the mid-19th century under the leadership of Ferdinand Redtenbacher, which influenced the founding of other technical universities, such as the ETH Zurich in 1855. On August 2, 1984, the University of Karlsruhe received the first German email in history.
As of 2018, six Nobel laureates are affiliated with KIT. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is known for many inventors and entrepreneurs who studied or taught there, such as Heinrich Hertz, Karl Friedrich Benz and the founders of SAP SE.
7- RWTH Aachen University
RWTH Aachen University (German: Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen) is a German public research university located in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
With more than 47,000 students enrolled in 144 study programs, it is the largest technical university in Germany. In 2018, the university ranked 31st in the world university rankings in the field of engineering and technology, and 36th worldwide in the natural sciences category.
In 2019, RWTH Aachen came out on top in the finals of the third federal and state excellence strategy. The university will be funded as a university of excellence for the next seven years. RWTH Aachen was already part of the federal and state excellence initiative in 2007 and 2012.
Since 2007, RWTH Aachen has been continuously funded by the DFG and the German Council for Science and Humanities as one of eleven (formerly nine) German universities of excellence for its future concept RWTH 2020: Meeting Global Challenges and the follow-up conceptThe Integrated Interdisciplinary University of Science and Technology: Knowledge, Impact, Networks, also receiving grants for associated graduate schools and clusters of excellence
The university regularly accounts for the highest amount of third-party funding among all German universities, ranking first per faculty member and second overall in the most recent 2018 survey.
RWTH Aachen is a founding member of the IDEA League, a strategic alliance of five leading European technology universities, as well as its German counterpart TU9. It is also a member of the DFG and the Top Industrial Managers for Europe network.
8- Technical University of Berlin
The Technical University of Berlin (official name in both English and German: Technische Universität Berlin, also known as TU Berlin and Berlin Institute of Technology) is a public research university located in Berlin, Germany. It was the first German university to adopt the name“Technische Universität” (Technical University).
The university’s list of alumni and faculty includes several members of the United States National Academies, two recipients of the National Medal of Science and ten Nobel Prize winners.
The Technical University of Berlin is a member of TU9, a society of the largest and most notable German technological institutes, and of the Top International Managers in Engineering network, which enables the exchange of students between leading engineering schools.
It belongs to the Conference of European Schools of Advanced Engineering Education and Research
The TU Berlin is home to two innovation centers designated by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy has called the university “the entrepreneurial university” (“Die Gründerhochschule”).
It is notable for having been the first to offer a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management (Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen). It designed the degree in response to requests from industrialists for graduates with technical and management training to run a company. It was first taught in the winter term of 1926/27 and is one of the oldest programs of its kind.
TU Berlin has one of the highest proportions of international students in Germany, almost 27% in 2019.
In addition, the is part of the Berlin University Alliance, has received the title of“University of Excellence” under and receives funding from the German Universities Excellence Initiative.
TU Dresden (for German: Technische Universität Dresden, abbreviated as TUD and often mistranslated as “Technische Universität Dresden”) is a public research university, the largest institute of higher education in the city of Dresden, the largest university in Saxony and one of the 10 largest universities in Germany with 32,389 students in 2018.
The name Technische Universität Dresden has only been in use since 1961; the university’s history, however, goes back almost 200 years to 1828. This makes it one of the oldest colleges of technology in Germany, and one of the oldest universities in the country, which in German today refers to institutes of higher education covering the entire curriculum
It is a member of TU9, a consortium of the nine leading German institutes of technology. The university is one of eleven German universities that were successful in the Excellence Initiative in 2012, thus earning the title“University of Excellence“. It was successful in all three rounds of the Excellence Initiative of German Universities (Future Concept, Graduate Schools, Clusters of Excellence).
10- Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen
The University of Tübingen, officially Eberhard Karl University Tübingen (German: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen; Latin: Universitas Eberhardina Carolina), is a public research university located in the city of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
It is one of eleven German universities of excellence. The University of Tübingen is especially known as a center for the study of plant biology, medicine, law, archaeology, ancient cultures, philosophy, theology and religious studies, as well as, more recently, as a center of excellence for artificial intelligence
Notable alumni of the university include presidents, EU commissioners and judges of the Federal Constitutional Court. The university is associated with eleven Nobel laureates, especially in the fields of medicine and chemistry.
Discover the best universities in the world
If you are thinking of studying abroad or are simply curious to know which are the best universities in the world, here are some lists of the best universities in different countries: