Now more than ever, students are pursuing alternative options to carry out their dreams of studying in Germany. The rise of distance-learning study programs and online courses has been an option for many international students who are unable to travel to Germany to study. But does studying online mean your degree will not be valid? No! International students can study remotely from their home country at a German university and receive an accredited degree.
Studying online does not mean that students will have to sacrifice any quality in their education. Even top-ranked German universities offer some degree programs online. Students who are not sure they would like to study all courses online are also welcome to seek out “Blended Learning” study programs which combine in-classroom classes with online classes. For more information regarding types of distance-learning, be sure to consult our Guide to Online Degree Programs in Germany.
This piece will provide an overview of the different online degree programs available to bachelor’s and master’s students. It will briefly touch on application procedures and highlight key differences in online programs from traditional in-classroom study programs.
Online bachelor’s degree programs
In Germany, there are significantly fewer bachelor’s programs in English offered than master’s programs. Therefore, it may be more difficult to find an online bachelor’s program in your study subject that is taught in English. Students should keep in mind that they are also eligible to apply to online bachelor’s programs which are taught in German should they have the respective language skills.
The limited availability is not to say that finding an online bachelor’s program will not be possible. Many universities, especially in light of the recent global crisis, are adding online programs or switching existing study programs to online study programs. Therefore, keep your eye on our StudyFinder to see which programs taught in English will be added in the future. Below we feature two great programs from a university that is 100% online!
Online master’s degree programs
Germany has a great selection of master’s degree programs available as online study programs. The subjects vary and students can choose from computer science to business degree programs to take part in online. Students can feel confident in selecting an online program and knowing that they are not sacrificing any quality in their education as even top-ranked universities in Germany offer online degree programs.
Due to the nature of some topics, there may be a more limited amount of degree programs available for a certain subject group. For example, more technical programs that require the use of a laboratory and in-person work may not be available to study online. Keep this in mind on your search and be sure to search through the diverse master’s programs available on the StudyFinder! Below we feature just a select few of the online master’s programs available. For all online master’s programs, click here.
Online degree programs with a year-round application
In addition to the flexibility of online studies, students also have the option to apply to an online study program with a year-round application period. Yes, that’s right! Skip the added stress of meeting an application deadline! There are a variety of online degree programs with year-round applications meaning that there is not a designated date to apply or begin the study program. Study around your own schedule and begin online courses when you are ready. Make sure to see the full list of online study programs with a year-round application period! Alternatively, you can preview a few of them below:
How online study programs differ
There are some clear differences between online study programs and traditional in-classroom studies, however, some key points are often overlooked. Students should keep in mind that they will need access to a reliable internet connection and have the appropriate technology to successfully participate in an online course; for in-depth information regarding this, see our Online Study Programs in Germany Guide. Here are some key points where online study programs differ from traditional programs at a German university:
- No visa application hassle.
- No blocked-bank account requirement.
- Likelihood of marginal tuition fees.
Online study programs generally will not require international students to apply for a visa. Since the student participates in the program remotely from their home country, there is no need for students to apply for a visa. This eases the application process for many students as applying for a visa can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the application process.
No blocked bank-account
The lack of requirement for a visa makes a blocked-bank account a moot point for students. A blocked bank-account is required for students to receive a student visa to enter and study in Germany. Because online degree programs do not require students to apply for a visa, they therefore also are not required to have a blocked bank-account with a minimum amount of funds.
Decent tuition fees
In Germany, public universities are generally tuition-free. With few exceptions, the norm is that students can enroll at public universities without having to pay for their studies. Online study programs from German universities generally do charge tuition fees since they have to pay for services that maintain the courses online e.g. access fees to virtual classroom programs, special software, cybersecurity programs, etc.
If the last point seems like a deal-breaker to you, remember that students enrolled in online programs save the hassle of opening a blocked bank-account which should have 10,236 € in it for each year the student is in Germany. Ultimately, it may even be more economic for a student to pay tuition for an online study program than to travel to Germany to partake in a traditional study program that charges no tuition fees. More details on attendance costs are discussed in the following section.
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 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:
- Online degree programs: Our StudyFinder offers a wide selection of online degree programs for students who are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. While some study topics are more difficult to convert to an online study course (i.e. a technical course which requires a laboratory), there are still alternative options for students who wish to study at a German university remotely from their home country.
- Year-round application periods: Online degree programs are incredibly flexible and provide students with advantages that they do not have in traditional study programs. Many online programs accept applications year-round and therefore have no deadlines or start dates, allowing students to apply and study on their schedule.
- How online studies differ: 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). However, students also save the hassle of applying for a visa or opening a blocked bank-account as these are not required for online degree programs.