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German universities throughout history have been noted for their enormous contributions to learning, especially during the 19th and 20th centuries. It has an ancient tradition of furthering education, with the establishment of the oldest university in Heidelberg in 1386, Cologne in 1388, Leipzig in 1409 and in Tübingen in 1477 etc.
Nowadays however, the custom in Germany of students moving from university to university during their studies, the exaggerated period of study and swelling numbers have overstretched the traditional structures; hence over the past couple of years, there has been much deliberation about the financing and organization of the future of higher education in Germany. There are over 300 institutions of higher education; of these, more than 100 are universities and technical universities, more than 150 'Fachhochschulen' (universities of applied science), and more than 50 colleges of art and music. These institutions have about 1.8 million students (one third of all young Germans).
The system has become even more attractive to foreign students, since there are now undergraduate and graduate courses in German universities that are internationally accredited, leading to Bachelor and Master degrees. Many of these courses are taught in English, including those in the fields of engineering, natural science and business studies.
There is far less emphasis on institutional reputation in Germany than in the UK, although some institutions are known to specialize more in some subjects than others. The German system is very open to foreign students, of which there are more than 160,000.


Tuition Fees

Until recently there were no tuition fees levied at German universities for either German students or foreign nationals. The situation is still under discussion but it must be remembered that educational matters including the charging of tuition fees is the decision of each individual Land. A general fee of up to €500 per semester is being introduced for all students in the summer semester of 2007 in Baden-Würtemberg, Bavaria, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North-Rhine Westfalia, and the Saarland.
In addition, Germany has one of the most extensive scholarship schemes in the world,  it sponsored over 60,000 exchanges of students and scholars between universities in Germany and 160 countries.


  • One-year scholarships which can be extended to fund a PhD program in Germany, but which can also be used for shorter MA or MSc programs;
  • Shorter (1-6 months) research grants for PhD students and junior scholars;
  • Graduate courses for students from developing countries;
  • Programs for foreign law graduates;
  • Study visits by foreign academics;
  • One-semester scholarships for university students of German;
  • Practical traineeships for students of science, engineering and agriculture;
  • Artists-in-Berlin Program;
  • Study visits for groups of foreign students;
  • Group seminars in Germany;
  • Scholarships for language courses in Germany for students who already have some German.

Scholarships are open to students and academics of different fields; scholarship holders are selected by academic committees on the basis of academic achievement.

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