The German higher education system knows a couple of university alliances and networks. For example, excellent Technical Universities in Germany strive to achieve their goals together in the TU9 alliance. The UA Ruhr is an example of a regional alliance of universities in the Ruhr area. But did you know that seven Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) also form a network and cooperate to maintain their excellent research conditions, international as well as regional networks, and high quality in teaching?
This strategic alliance is called UAS7 e.V. and their guiding motto is “together we are stronger”. All seven partner institutions hold a strong and highly recognized position in the German education system. Therefore, many students seek to commence their studies at one of these UAS specifically. Especially interesting for international students - primarily from the USA, Canada, and Brazil - are their scholarship options and internship programs.
The following article gives you an overview of the UAS7’s activities and offers, as well as over their member institutions. We answer the question for you why these institutions do not appear in international rankings, which scholarship opportunities and support schemes the UAS7 alliance has, which English-language degree courses are offered, and what you can expect to pay in tuition fees. Finally, we also give you an overview of good alternatives.
What is UAS7?
The UAS7 strategic alliance was founded in 2005 by its seven member institutions. Its key mission is to promote the internationalization of the member institutions. Therefore, the alliance as well as its institutions are highly interesting for international students. Among the activities to achieve this goal are teaching and research collaborations, academic conferences, and workshops as well as making possible student exchange through internships and study abroad programs.
A special regional focus is put on relations between the UAS7 institutions and relevant actors in Brazil, Canada, and the USA. This is visible in the global representations of UAS7, not only through their Executive Office in Berlin but also through their UAS7 Liaison Office New York, USA, as well as through the representation in São Leopoldo, Brazil.
List of UAS7 universities
The UAS7 member institutions have in common that they are outstanding universities of applied sciences. Universities of applied sciences (German: Fachhochschule/Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften) are one type of higher education institution that exists in Germany. The other two are universities (German: Universität) and academies of music and fine arts (German: Kunst-, Musik-, Filmhochschule).
As the name suggests, a university of applied sciences does not only focus on theoretical teaching but on the application of academic knowledge. This application orientation also influences the activities of UAS7: All member institutions support each other in establishing excellent regional, as well as international university-industry connections and follow an outstanding system to train and recruit professors. Therefore, students can expect especially high-quality teaching by professors who are not only trained as researchers but also as teachers.
Another aspect under which the member institutions are outstanding is their research orientation. UAS7 institutions are the flagship centers for application-oriented research in Germany and are therefore highly interesting. Furthermore, UAS7 is an alliance that is focused on internationalization, and therefore, students at one of these institutions can expect to work and learn in a cosmopolitan environment.
The seven German universities of applied sciences that form UAS7 are (in alphabetical order of the cities):
- Berlin School of Economics and Law.
- Bremen City University of Applied Sciences.
- Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.
- TH Köln - University of Applied Sciences.
- HM Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences.
- FH Münster University of Applied Sciences.
- Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences.
Why do the UAS7 universities not appear in international rankings?
You might have noticed that universities of applied sciences rarely appear in international rankings. This might leave you wondering: If the UAS7 members are so excellent, why isn’t their status reflected in international rankings, as well?
The reason for this is simple: The most commonly cited and regarded rankings, such as the THE, QS or the Shanghai rankings often focus on research performance and other research-related indicators to rank higher education institutions. Given the particular focus on the application and practical implications of research of UAS, this type of university often doesn’t get included in the international rankings.
Do not let this discourage you: Degrees from German UAS are well recognized internationally and especially the UAS7 universities have their unique strengths in teaching quality and learning environments, application orientation in their research, and the opportunity to network with companies.
Various national rankings do list the UAS7 institutions. For example:
Furthermore, membership in the UAS7 can be and is viewed as a guarantee for the institutions’ outstanding quality in application-oriented research, internationalization and teaching.
What does UAS7 offer to me?
The UAS7 as a strategic alliance and its member institutions individually are highly interesting for international students or students interested in further internationalization throughout their study program. That is because the goal of the UAS7 network is to promote internationalization. Therefore, a width of opportunities is offered to international students looking to study in Germany or cooperate with German institutions throughout their academic or professional careers.
Students of all Canadian and U.S. American colleges and universities & students of Brazilian partner universities (UNISINOS & PUCRS)
For undergraduate students that are enrolled at any state-accredited university or college in the USA or Canada, or students who are enrolled at the Brazilian Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos or at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, UAS7 offers the Study & Internship program. Interested students have the option to choose one of three tracks:
- 6 months (1 semester) study program (only undergraduate students).
- 6 months (1 semester) internship program.
- Up to 12 months (2 semesters) study & internship program (only undergraduate students).
No matter which tracks applicants choose, they have to select one of the UAS7 universities as their place of study or internship. For the study option, students get to select courses that are offered at the respective universities. The internship includes a research internship in one of the research institutions. Exemplary topics include agricultural field robots, e-mobility, architecture and design, or other options. This testimony gives you an idea of what to expect as a participant in the program:
UAS7 Study and Internship Program at Hamburg UAS
Successful applicants cannot only expect to receive excellent education throughout their participation in the program but are also considered for a € 1,000 travel grant to cover their transatlantic travel costs. To find out more about application requirements, benefits, and deadlines, visit this website.
Additional opportunities for all international students
UAS7 provides all international students the opportunity to take part in a wide array of summer and winter schools in Germany. These programs cover many different topics, in particular industries, on management strategies, and other innovative courses. The courses last around three weeks and are hosted at one of the seven UAS7 campuses in Germany. A fee is charged for the summer and winter schools that vary from program to program but may end up somewhere between € 500 - € 2,000.
Note that due to the covid-19 pandemic, many summer and winter schools were canceled or moved online.
Furthermore, all UAS7 universities welcome applications from internationals as degree-seeking students, meaning you apply for a full bachelor’s or master’s program. To apply to a UAS7 university, similar conditions apply as to any other bachelor’s or master’s program in Germany. Interested students who want to learn more about eligibility criteria can read this article. If you are hoping to get your full degree funded through a scholarship, please use these resources to find a funding opportunity for yourself.
For further information on UAS7 universities and their study programs, you also have the opportunity to contact the UAS7 offices in Berlin, New York, or São Leopoldo. This also applies if you are interested in participating in one of their conferences or workshops.
Students at one of the UAS7 institutions
Students who are enrolled at one of the UAS7 institutions profit from all quality standards and services by the respective institution. One unique aspect of the UAS7 institutions is that students can opt to profit from the international partnerships and networks the UAS7 alliance holds. Students from any of the UAS7 institutions can apply for a study abroad period or research internship at any of the U.S.-American or Brazilian partner universities and therefore, internationalize their studies in Germany even more.
All UAS7 institutions have entrepreneurship centers that students can profit from. Furthermore, UAS7 maintains a strong alumni network to help you stay connected and in touch with fellow graduates and your experience and network in Germany.
Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D.
One defining characteristic of universities of applied sciences, in general, is that they do not have the right to award doctorate degrees. This is traditionally reserved for universities (German: Universität). However, given the flagship status that universities of applied sciences - and UAS7 institutions in particular - have for application-oriented research, they may be of high interest for graduate students looking to pursue an academic career and obtain a Ph.D.
While it is not possible to obtain a Ph.D. at one of the UAS7 institutions directly, these seven universities of applied sciences cooperate with research universities, so that students can join cooperative Ph.D. formats and thus pursue a Ph.D. While the Ph.D. will be awarded by the research university and not the university of applied sciences, the doctoral candidate conducts their studies at the UAS and is supervised by UAS researchers. Thus, students can engage with the top-notch application-oriented research conducted at the UAS7 but still obtain their Ph.D. To read more about details and quality standards, check out this position paper published by the UAS7 alliance.
If you need a little more background on the different types of universities in Germany, we recommend you read this article.
Which programs can I study at UAS7 institutions?
All UAS7 universities welcome applications from international students looking to start or continue their studies in Germany. While they offer a variety of courses in German-language that are also open for international students who speak sufficient German, they have a range of English-taught degree courses that are especially interesting for international students. To make the search process easier for you, we list all of the English-language programs at UAS7 universities here on our site. Alternatively, you can click on the universities below to see the English-language courses they offer (no. of courses: October 2020):
- Berlin School of Economics and Law (23 programs).
- Bremen City University of Applied Sciences (15 programs).
- Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (9 programs).
- TH Köln - University of Applied Sciences (20 programs).
- HM Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences (4 programs).
- FH Münster University of Applied Sciences (3 programs).
- Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences (5 programs).
How much will I have to pay?
Like most universities in Germany, the UAS7 institutions are public, and therefore largely do not charge any tuition fees at all. That makes studying in Germany pretty much free of charge. Students are only expected to pay a small semester contribution amounting to € 200 - € 300 per semester. To learn more about the cost of higher education in Germany, check out this article.
The International UAS7 network
The UAS7 network places a particular focus on the relationship between respective institutions in their network as well as important players in the US, Canada, and Brazil. This is evident in how the UAS7 is represented on the global stage. The UAS7 holds offices in many key cities around the world. Berlin, for example, is home to their executive office and New York and Sao Leopoldo house liaison offices. To read more about the international network of the UAS7, click here. The UAS7 office locations are posted below:
German Executive Office (Berlin)
North America Office (New York / USA)
South America Office (São Leopoldo / Brazil)
Are the non-UAS7 universities of applied sciences a good alternative?
Did you know that there are around 240 universities of applied sciences in Germany? While the UAS7 institutions present 7 flagship examples, it is definitely worth considering the other alternatives, too. Many of the features that we love about the UAS7 universities also play a role at the other institutions. Some examples include the application orientation, great opportunities to network, and many study programs taught in English. At MyGermanUniversity, we strongly believe that the best university for you is the one who offers a program that is right up your alley. Therefore, while it does make sense to give the UAS7 a special look, our recommendation is to also consider other alternatives and do not consider membership in UAS7 a make-it-or-break-it criterion.