Updated: 2020-12-21 | Duration: 4:30 min.

European Universities Networks: The German Winners

An overview on the alliance, partnerships, and unique opportunities for students in Germany

Germany has more than 300 different universities for students to choose from when searching for their dream degree program. In order to stay competitive and to make the most of academic funding resources, many universities create alliances with one another. These universities then cluster together to form a strategic partnership. University alliances foster cooperation among institutions and consequently, many students seek out institutions that are part of a multi-university alliance.


Attending a university that is part of a strategic partnership can provide students with additional resources such as academic exchanges between universities or shared scholarly databases, for example. Moreover, these universities collaborate to stay competitive on a national and international scale with other university partnerships, investing in the development of research for their students.


The European Universities Initiative is unique in comparison to other university alliances in Germany as it is a transnational cooperation, composed of universities all across Europe. It is a transnational alliance of higher education institutions to benefit students, teachers, and society as a whole. This article will provide students with an overview of the European Universities Alliance, list German universities that are part of the initiative, and give insight into English-taught degree programs at German European Universities.

What is the European Universities Initiative

woman scratching her head thinking about something

In 2017, the European Council called on the Member States to work to strengthen strategic partnerships between higher education institutions across the EU. The intention is to encourage the emergence of some 20 “European Universities” alliances consisting of top-ranked universities in Europe by 2024 (EU Council). The idea behind the initiative is to foster cooperation among universities as well as to build up the international competitiveness of European universities.


Since then, there have been two rounds of evaluations and selections, the first in 2019 and the second in 2020. In total, 41 transnational alliances consisting of 279 higher education institutions from 32 different European countries were chosen. The alliances are organized by project topic or institution goals. Alliance topics vary from universities engaged in societal change, technology alliance, and much more. Each alliance receives up to 5 million Euros from the Erasmus+ program and up to 2 million Euros from the Horizon 2020 program for 3 years to implement their project plans (EUA). From Germany, 35 universities were chosen among different alliances, check them out in the next section!

European Universities Initiative list: the 35 German universities

A total of 35 different German universities were selected in the European Universities Initiative; fifteen universities were chosen in the first call in 2019 and twenty were chosen in the second call in 2020. The universities are split among different alliances. Because alliance universities may hold some advantages for students in regards to academic exchanges and research development, international students sometimes consider such institutions for their degree programs. In the following two sections we will highlight the German universities which are part of the initiative, as well as the English-taught degree programs from these institutions.


Further Reading

Universities in Germany: a guide

German European Universities Initiative English programs

book with a yellow cover with the words "everyday english" written on it

The European University Initiative institutions are not exclusively for EU students. Not only do they welcome international students, but they also offer a variety of courses in English. To make the search process easier for students, we list more than 450 English-taught degree programs from German universities chosen for the European Universities Initiative on our site. Alternatively, you can click on the universities below to see the English-language courses they offer:


  1. RWTH Aachen University (42 degree programs)
  2. Freie University of Berlin (25 programs)
  3. Humboldt University of Berlin (28 degree programs)
  4. Technical University of Berlin (27 degree programs)
  5. University of Bonn (30 degree programs)
  6. Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (10 degree programs)
  7. University of Bremen (22 programs)
  8. University of Cologne (26 degree programs)
  9. Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (10 degree programs)
  10. Technical University of Darmstadt (15 programs)
  11. HfBK Dresden Academy of the Fine Arts
  12. University Duisburg-Essen (42 degree programs)
  13. University of Freiburg (28 programs)
  14. Technical University of Freiburg (28 degree programs)
  15. Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (14 degree programs)
  16. Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (31 degree programs)
  17. University of Göttingen (33 degree programs)
  18. Hamburg University of Technology (13 programs)
  19. University of Heidelberg (24 programs)
  20. Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (11 degree programs)
  21. The Hertie School of Governance (4 programs)
  22. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (16 programs)
  23. University of Kiel (28 programs)
  24. University of Konstanz (19 degree programs)
  25. University of Leipzig (20 programs)
  26. Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (18 programs)
  27. University of Mannheim (14 degree programs)
  28. Mittweida University of Applied Sciences (3 degree programs)
  29. Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich (30 programs)
  30. Technical University of Munich (64 degree programs)
  31. University of Potsdam (23 programs)
  32. Ruhr University Bochum (20 degree programs)
  33. Saarland University (23 degree programs)
  34. University of Siegen  (10 degree programs)
  35. University of Tübingen (46 programs)


Keep in mind that while there are many English-taught programs available, international students may also apply for courses taught in German. Whether you are applying for a study program taught in English or German, it is important to observe the language requirements of the program carefully to ensure you meet the requirements.

Cost of attending a European Universities Initiative university

coins coming out of a glass

Public universities in Germany are free of tuition, with very few exceptions which are detailed in the table below. The European University Initiative universities are exclusively public, though some of them will have tuition fees for separate reasons. Specialized executive degree programs (e.g. LLM, MBA, MPA, etc.) can sometimes charge tuition fees.


Additionally, the German state of Baden-Württemberg requires international students to pay a tuition fee of 1,500 Euros to attend any university in the state. Keep in mind, there are exceptions to this depending on your circumstances and the university you choose. To provide a general idea, an overview of tuition costs in Germany is displayed below:

Tuition Fee Semester Contribution
Pays for study program*. Pays for administrative costs, social services provided by the university, local public transportation ticket for unlimited use throughout the semester.
Averages 5,000 - 7,000 €  per semester. Averages 200 - 300 € per semester.
Charged by private universities and specialized professional degrees (e.g. LLM, MPA, etc.)**. Charged by all universities.


*Administrative costs, social services, etc. are extra.

**In the southwest of Germany lies the state of Baden-Württemberg. Baden-Württemberg has a mandatory tuition fee of 1,500 € per semester for all non-EU students.


Keep in mind that while some programs are not tuition-free, that you shouldn’t overlook them on your master’s program search. 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. Also, be sure to refer to DAAD Scholarships for international students in Germany.


Further Reading

10 things you need to know about scholarships