Online degree programs are sought out by many international students who wish to study at a German university but may not have the availability to travel to Germany. The rise of online study programs has also led to the creation of online universities that have no physical campus and instead offer all services and courses online.
Students also have the option of combining in-classroom and online courses in a blended learning approach if they are at a traditional “brick and mortar” university. Moreover, students can study at top-ranked German universities all with the ease of remote learning. There are several online course options available from great German institutions for students to search from which are taught in English! Our StudyFinder will be a vital tool in searching for the perfect program fit.
Below we break down the different distance learning options that students have via online study programs. A brief introduction to how online studies are carried out will be provided. The following will be a focus on different study program styles offered along with featured programs and universities. If you are searching for a more detailed account of online study programs instead of universities, please refer to our article on English-taught online degree programs in Germany. Alternatively, if you need a general overview first of how online learning is being done, please refer to our other article, Study Online in Germany.
Traditional German (campus) Universities with online programs
There is a significant amount of flexibility in online learning programs. For students that may miss the ease and routine of having more traditional in-classroom courses, they may be more interested in a traditional university that has a campus and in-person course options. Online learning has taken off and there have since been many traditional “brick and mortar” universities that now offer online options. Below are some universities students should consider if you are searching for an online degree from a traditional German university.
Top-ranked universities with online programs
Students sometimes crave the simplicity and flexibility of an online degree program but fear that they may be sacrificing quality in their education. This is simply not true! Students can receive a quality education from an online degree program. Furthermore, the final completed degree that is issued upon completion of studies is just the same as a traditional study program. You don’t have to take our word for it, check out some of Germany’s top-ranked universities which offer online study programs below:
Further ReadingGermany in University Rankings
Online-only Universities in Germany
In addition to traditional universities that offer a selection of online study programs, there are also some universities that are either fully online or have most of their courses online. This means that the courses offered will be fully online courses with no in-person or in-classroom interaction. Below we feature a handful of universities that are either fully online or offer a high selection of online degree programs.
IU International University of Applied Sciences
IU is one of the most unique universities in Germany in that it is a fully online integrated institution. This means that you can study almost all study programs 100% online - or go for the "flexible" option (which allows you to switch from online to on-campus learning as you like). Don’t worry though! If students wish to have a graduation ceremony, there is one held in Germany at a location reserved by the IU for students who wish to travel to Germany.
While at the moment the IU is leading in online universities as it is currently the only one that is fully integrated online, it is setting a path for future universities to follow. Currently, there are a limited number of online programs offered by more traditional universities but this is quickly changing, especially in light of the current situation. Therefore, be sure to view all English-language online study programs on our page to find something for you!
Online course styles
Whether students are enrolled at a traditional “brick and mortar” university or a fully online university, also influences the styles of online courses they will have available to them. Generally, there are two different structures to online study programs: full online studies or blended studies. Full online means that there is no in-person interaction in the program. The blended learning can include in-classroom studies in combination with online studies. The two structures are elaborated below.
Full online learning
For students who are interested in studying remotely, there are some different styles their online program may follow. Distance learning means that all of your courses are done online and that you have no in-person interactions. Below are two different teaching structures that online degree programs may follow:
Online group learning programs are modeled more closely after traditional in-person learning styles. This can involve course participants attending online courses and at the same time interactive among one another. Additionally, instructors can give lectures to the class online and provide time for group discussion. These live-streamed lectures and virtual classrooms are examples of what a group learning course would look like.
Online independent learning programs provide an added amount of flexibility to students. There may be a more limited amount of live interactions with the rest of the course and the instructor. Lectures are typically pre-recorded for the student to watch on their own time. Participants can study at different times and go through assignments at their own pace and along with their own schedule.
This form of online learning is exactly what it sounds like in that it bled online learning with traditional “in person” or “in classroom” learning. This means that students may have some courses which are either only online or mostly online and meet in-person every so often. Blended learning programs are popular in online study programs as they combine the benefits of both learning styles. Keep in mind that this option would not be suited for students who are interested in studying remotely i.e. 100% online.
Further ReadingStudy Online in Germany as an international student
Cost of attendance
As you may have heard, education in Germany is free for all students. In Germany, public universities do not charge tuition. Because most online study programs are specialized degree programs, these are typically not tuition-free. Online study programs are likely to charge a decent tuition fee as it takes more equipment to maintain an online course (e.g. purchasing access to only platforms to make the online learning possible). Tuition fees vary among degree programs, however, below is a general overview of tuition fees in German higher education:
- Most online programs have a tuition fee; only 2% of online programs are free.
- Tuition fees for online study programs average 3,000 € - 5,000 € per semester.
- Fees vary among study programs; even universities may charge different tuition fees depending on the online study program.
- Especially private universities with online programs may charge higher fees (e.g. up to 10,000 € per semester).
Remember to search for programs that are best suited to you and your study interests, so don’t skip over the tuition charging programs. Many private universities offer scholarships for students to put towards tuition costs. Should you be interested in a program that charges tuition, keep your many funding options in mind. There are many scholarships available for international students.
Online study programs are a very attractive option for international students to study at a German university from the comfort of their home country. Whether it is due to family, a job, or any other reason, online studies provide students the flexibility to learn at their own pace. Some things to keep in mind:
- Universities and online studies: Traditional universities have now begun to offer some degrees available online or a combination of online and in-person courses. There is also the option of attending a fully online university that offers all study programs online as it is 100% online and has no campus.
- Online course styles: Depending on the type of university students choose, there are options for the structure of their online course. Whether it is half online and half in-person of a fully online course, there are study programs for every student.
- Cost of attendance: Be aware that while public universities in Germany are tuition-free, online study programs typically charge a marginal tuition fee. This is because online-degrees are specialized and also require equipment and technology to maintain the course (paid access to online platforms, extra data security, etc).
Universities in Germany offering Online Degree Courses in English
Program Fees: 5,213 € - 9,150 €
M.A. (Master of Arts)
MBA (Master of Business Administration)
Program Fees: 2,640 €
M.A. (Master of Arts)
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