Germany has more than 400 universities which offer degree programs in all different types of subjects. As an international student, you may be wondering if any of these programs are taught in English. To put you at ease, yes! About 220 universities in Germany offer programs in English that are open to all students, including non-EU students! Most of these universities are public and are free of tuition. Yes, you read that correctly: tuition-free! Additionally, if you speak German, international students are also welcome to apply to German-taught language programs.
German Universities that offer ALL programs in English
Most universities have programs that are taught in German and programs that are taught in English. However, there are some German universities whose main language is exclusively English. These are private universities and offer all programs in English. They are not the norm but if these interest you then it’s worth a look:
At MyGermanUniversity, we know that international students are eager to come and study in Germany but may not have all of the resources and information about how it works and which programs are available to them. That’s why we have taken the work out of the research process for you and compiled the largest database of English-taught study programs on our StudyFinder which has more than 2,000 bachelors and masters programs!
Whether you prefer to search through these programs by subject, city, or university, we have taken the guesswork out for you so that you are that much close to finding your dream study program in Germany. This article will serve as an introduction to universities in Germany that offer study programs in English.
Do German universities teach in English?
Yes, you can study at a German university in English. This is not a rumor, it’s not a myth, it’s a fact! Some of our study counselors at MyGermanUniversity have studied in Germany as international students from Peru or the United States and have first-hand experience at universities in Germany which teach in English.
German universities are well aware of the fact that if they want to attract international students, offering programs in English is a must. While international students are also welcome to apply to German-taught programs, it’s rare that students from abroad are fluent in German at an academic level. Moreover, universities that offer English-taught programs also usually have English-speaking staff at admissions offices, registration offices, and all appropriate and important facilities on campus.
English-taught programs at German universities are a standard and offered even at Germany’s internationally top-ranked universities. Because all of these universities are public, it means that they do not charge tuition fees, even for non-EU students! So don’t think you are settling for a second-class degree, Germany ranks third in the world for top-ranked universities, so be sure to check them out and see if one of them is right for you. For more information on tuition fees at German universities, read our article about “Tuition-free Universities in Germany taught in English”.
Do I need to know German at all?
Simply put, no! To study at a German university, you don’t need to speak German as long as you meet the minimum language requirements for your desired degree program. However, you will have more options if you consider programs that are taught in English AND German. Therefore, speaking German will give you a greater selection of study programs available to you. Furthermore, your integration into daily life will be better and you will have more options on the job market.
Generally, you should be able to get by with little to no German. However, we encourage students looking to come to Germany, to explore some free online German language courses to have some basics in German. Depending on the city you are planning to study in, you may need more German skills. Additionally, if you plan on searching for a shared flat with other students off-campus or communicating with doctors and locals, having some basic German is very helpful.
We strongly encourage international students to seek out some resources to study a bit of German but know that if you are applying to an English-taught program, that your university will have resources available to you in English regarding admissions, registration, visa details, and more. Many German universities also have German courses available which you can sign up for once in Germany. Alternatively, you can seek out courses from a German language school.
Is University in Germany free for international students?
Simply put, yes, there are free universities in Germany. There are no tricks or hidden fees, public universities in Germany are FREE. This applies to all students, even non-EU students, who choose to attend a public university. As previously mentioned, even top-ranked universities in Germany are tuition-free.
Every university in Germany charges a so-called semester contribution (Semesterbeitrag) which averages from 200 - 300 € per semester (there are also few colleges that charge higher or lower amounts). This contribution pays for administrative costs, social services, and your public transportation ticket which provides you with unlimited use of the local public transportation system.
There are some important exceptions to the tuition-free rule for you to keep in mind:
Executive study programs are professional degree programs that are offered at many universities in Germany may charge a marginal tuition fee, some examples being an L.LM, MBA, MPA, or the Erasmus Mundus joint master’s degree.
The state of Baden-Württemberg:
The state of Baden-Württemberg in the south of Germany has a mandatory tuition fee of 1,500 € per semester to all non-EU students. Some of the state’s more well known cities such as Heidelberg, Freiburg, Stuttgart, and Constance, will all charge this non-EU tuition fee at their universities.
Germany has a great selection of private universities to choose from. It is important to note that private universities charge tuition to all of their students (not just non-EU students), though the tuition cost is generally lower than tuition fees at other private universities abroad, averaging between 5,000 and 7,000 € per semester.
Popular Universities in Germany that teach in English
While more than 200 universities in Germany offer degree programs taught in English, there are some which are more popular among international students. This can be due to their location in large cities or their top-ranking status. Regardless, we have compiled just a few universities that students from abroad show great interest in and listed them below. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive and does not include all universities with English-taught programs.
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)
The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is located in the heart of Munich and Germany’s second largest university (in terms of student population) dating back to 1472. LMU has one of Europe’s largest medical complexes with 46 clinics, institutes, and departments, as well as 46 interdisciplinary centers covering all branches of medicine.
Technical University of Munich (TUM)
The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is a research university that has campuses in Munich, Garchin, Freising-Weihenstephan, Heilbronn, and Singapore. It is a member of the TU9, a society of the largest and most notable German institutes of Technology, and has been a “University of Excellence” since 2006. TUM has more than 60 English-taught study programs making it an ideal destination for international students which is reflected in that approximately 20% of the student body comes from abroad.
Humboldt University of Berlin
Founded in 1806, Humboldt-Universität (HU) is Berlin’s oldest university, previously called Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität until 1949. Humboldt Universität has many notable alumni including Max Weber, Friedrich Engels, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, and 55 Nobel laureates. Humboldt Universität is not only considered one of the most prestigious universities in Germany but also in all of Europe.
Free University of Berlin
While Freie Universität is still rather young, founded in the start of the Cold War in 1948, it has quickly become one of the most renowned universities in Germany and Europe, becoming the first university in Berlin to be named as a “University of Excellence”, a title it has been awarded since 2007. The Free University holds strategic partnerships with many universities abroad such as UC Berkeley, Oxford University, Hebrew University Jerusalem, and Peking University.
Technical University of Berlin
The Technical University of Berlin (TU) is one of Germany’s largest universities of Technology. TU has a full range of programs from engineering and natural sciences as well as a well-renowned faculty of the humanities which holds top institutions such as the Center for Research on Antisemitism and the Center of Gender Studies. TU Berlin is a member of TU9, an incorporated society of the largest and most notable German institutes of technology, was awarded a “University of Excellence” for the first time in 2019 (as part of the Berlin University Alliance, along with the Free University and Humboldt University).
Further ReadingGermany in University Rankings
Universities from English-speaking countries with campuses in Germany
There are now a number of (private) universities from abroad that operate a campus in Germany and award foreign degrees there. Here are some of them:
- Arden University - Berlin Study Centre
Arden University is a private teaching university based in the UK. Arden offers a variety of bachelor’s and master’s programs with blended online distance learning options. They have study centers across the UK and one in Berlin as well. They offer degrees in various topics from data analytics to finance, and psychology.
- Lancaster University Leipzig
Students can now receive a degree from a highly ranked UK university while in Germany! In January 2020, Lancaster University welcomed its first students to the new campus in Leipzig, Germany. LU Leipzig offers a range of degree programs, encouraging mobility between the UK and Germany for their students. They also will have the opportunity to apply for internships, placement, and graduate employment in both Lancaster and Leipzig.
- SAE Institute Berlin
The SAE Institute was founded in 1976 and is the largest, industry-focussed creative media program with more than 50 campuses over 28 different countries. SAE offers bachelor’s and master’s in various fields in creative media (audio, film, animation, music, etc.). Some campuses are in global hubs such as London, Munich, Paris, New York, and of course, Berlin. Programs in Berlin are taught in English as well as German.
- Schiller International University - Heidelberg Campus
Schiller International University is a private US-American university for four campuses in four different locations around the globe: Paris (France), Madrid (Spain), Largo (USA), and Heidelberg (Germany). The German campus in Heidelberg dates back to the late 1960s. The Schiller International University offers bachelor's and master’s degrees in several topics from tourism and management to international relations and diplomacy.