Studying in Germany – What you need to know?

Benefits of studying in Germany

Why Germany?

German universities are famous for quality education and even public universities enjoy funding from both the government as well as the private sector. Graduates, especially those with a science, engineering and IT degrees are well sought after in the industry. Universities of applied sciences in Germany prepare graduates to be job-ready by putting emphasis on hands-on training. With over 400 institutions of higher education offering over 19000 courses, there is a high chance for you to find your dream course.

Germany is located in the heart of Europe and is surrounded by nine different countries. Students in Germany can visit other Schengen countries without applying for a separate visa! Can you imagine biking along the canals in Amsterdam or visiting the Colosseum in Rome and the different locations where The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg? There are so many amazing cities in Europe – Brussels, Prague, Copenhagen, Paris and Zurich just to name a few.

Studying in Germany is not as expensive as you may think. Most public universities do not charge a tuition fee even to international students and on top of that, students are allowed to work part-time for some extra allowance. Students who will need to do an internship will usually get an allowance for it as well, and that helps to cover their living expenses. This makes Germany an affordable study destination. It could even be compared to studying in a private university locally!

Germany has a reputation for good quality. Many companies proudly display the “Made in Germany” tagline. This applies to the quality of their education as well. Germany has a long tradition when it comes to education and has produced many Nobel prize winners. The German degree is well recognised around the world and graduates are sought after by big companies. In addition, German companies have a strong presence worldwide and there is a chance you will find several German companies based near you.

Should you study in Germany?

Plan Your Studies

Generally, that’s correct but it also depends on where you are studying in Germany. Public universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg impose a tuition fee of Euro 1500 per semester to international students. Public universities in the other 15 states in Germany are still offering tuition-free education to international students. There are also some courses which impose a tuition fee to students. So do check prior to applying to them.

Students do need to pay a semester contribution to their university though. The fee will depend on the universities and it varies from one university to another. Students will receive a semester ticket after paying their semester contribution. With the semester ticket, students can travel using public transportations within a certain zone where the university is located. Furthermore, students will enjoy a variety of discounts, especially for leisure activities such as a visit to the cinema or to a public pool.

There are about 400 higher educational institutions offering more than 19,000 courses. Popular courses include engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, and subjects related to computer science.

This depends on the university as well as the medium of instruction for your degree program. If your course is conducted in German, then you will need to show proof of German proficiency but if your course is conducted in English, then a proof of English proficiency is sufficient. Do check with the university you are applying to for the exact requirement. Language requirement for a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree might differ.

Applicants can apply directly to the universities or to the University Application Service for International Students (uni-assist). Do check with the university to find out.

Generally, each student will need to go through at least two steps to study in Germany. The first step will be to fulfil the university’s requirement. This will usually be a recognised pre-university qualification, an English or German language qualification, and depending on the university, additional requirements such as pre-internship and a letter of motivation.

Only when the student received a letter of offer from a university can the student apply for his or her study visa at the German embassy. Students will need to provide the letter of offer from the university and proof of financial resources (usually via a blocked account). Additionally, students might be asked to write a motivation letter and attend an interview at the nearest German embassy. Do make an appointment with the embassy as early as you can it so that there will not be any delay in getting your student visa.

Malaysian students will require a student visa to study in Germany. Students can only apply for a student visa after receiving a letter of offer from the university.

International students are required to deposit €10236 in a German “blocked account” as proof that they have enough money to support themselves. You can open a blocked account at German banks which provide this service like the Deutsche Bank or online via Fintiba. There are regional banks which offer the “blocked account” service as well.

This blocked account has to be opened before you apply for a student visa with the German embassy. Once you start your semester in Germany, you will receive 1/12 of the total sum or €853 monthly for your own expenses. This ensures that you will have enough money to last you for one year! So do budget your money wisely.

There are no age limits to undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Germany.

Generally, university application deadline is Jan 15 for summer semesters (start on April 1) and July 15 for winter semesters (start on October 1). However, do check with the universities’ website.

Do refer to the portal by the German Academic Exchange Service for the database of programmes and universities in Germany:

Do check out the DAAD scholarship database at

However, do keep in mind that most universities in Germany are tuition-free. That is already a lot of savings compared to enrolling in universities in Australia, UK or USA.

Universities are academically and scientifically oriented. They offer courses in many disciplines, from Bachelor’s degree all the way to PhD.

Universities of applied sciences are more practice-oriented and the courses focus more on application than theory. Universities of applied sciences only offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.

What else do you need to study in Germany?

Plan Your Stay

As a student, you will want to set aside €850 to €1000 a month as your living expenses. The bulk of your monthly expense is for rent. Typically, the rent in larger cities is more expensive compared to smaller university towns. For example, the rent in Berlin can go up to €700 a month while the same sized room at a smaller university town is only half that price.

There will be a semester fee of about €200 to €300 per semester at most universities. Students will receive a semester ticket which can be used for unlimited travel with public transportations within a dedicated zone.

You will need to bring the following documents to the bank of your choice:

  • Passport
  • Confirmation of registration from the Resident Registration Office
  • Student ID or letter of offer from the university

Students are allowed to work part-time up to 120 full days or 240 half days. Mandatory internship does not count to this quota. However, students with the “language course visa” are not allowed to work.

Yes! After studying in Germany, there’s a huge career opportunity especially for professionals such as engineers. Best of all, graduates can apply for an 18-month “job seeker visa”.

Medical insurance is compulsory for students and that include local as well as international students. There are a few providers in the market so do compare before deciding on one.

Liability insurance, on the other hand, is a nice to have especially for students who are independent for the first time. The liability insurance will, for example, protect students from accidental damage caused by a fire in the kitchen while cooking.

Visa application

What visa will I need?

Applying for the right visa is important. Having the wrong type of visa will cause you to be forced back to your country. The following are some typical visas. Do clarify with the embassy on the type of visa you will require and apply to the right one!

You should only apply for the student visa if you have received a letter of offer from a university. A student visa is valid for three months. Upon arriving at the town or city your university is located, you will need to make an appointment with the local foreigners’ authority to convert your student visa into a residence permit for study purposes. Click here for the list of documents to prepare.

International students who graduated from a German university will be able to apply for a job seeker visa. The job seeker visa is valid for six months. As the name implies, graduates can stay in Germany within this duration to search for a job.

Students who want to learn German in Germany should apply to a language course visa. The language course visa is valid for up to one year. Students will have to register at the language school and also show proof that they have accommodation for the duration of their language course.

Students are recommended to have at least German level A1 and then to continue from level A2 onwards in Germany. Click here for the list of documents to prepare.

If you have questions and they are not listed above, kindly email your questions to [email protected] We will be happy to assist. Hear from you soon!