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Frequently asked Questions: Studying in Germany

Interested in studying or research in Germany? This is where you can find information about the German education system, accommodation, fees, student jobs etc.

  1. Where can I find information about studying in Germany?
  2. How many Higher Education Institutions (HEI) are there in Germany?
  3. Which degrees do German HEI offer?
  4. Which qualification do I need to present to be admitted to Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Germany?
  5. Do I need to be proficient in German?
  6. How can I gain a doctorate in Germany?
  7. What is a “Graduiertenkolleg“?
  8. Do I have to pay tuition fees?
  9. How high are the monthly living costs?
  10. Do I need a visa and what must I do in order to apply for it?
  11. Can I get a scholarship or grant?
  12. How do I find a place to live?
  13. Am I allowed to take up paid employment while studying in Germany?
  14. Do Germany’s HEI offer shorter study programs or summer schools?


1. Where can I find information about studying in Germany?top

DAAD Jakarta Office is the right place to go. Our staff will gladly answer specific questions about studying and research in Germany, if the answers cannot be found in the DAAD Jakarta website. We also provide webinars which you can participate to find additional information or ask specific questions related to a specific topic that is being discussed in the webinar. You can also send us your questions via contact form or E-mail. Useful information is also provided by the following websites:



2. How many Higher Education Institutins (HEI) are there in Germany? top

A total of 324 HEI are located across Germany. The universities are built on the principle of the “unity of research and teaching” and enjoy an excellent international reputation. In their capacity as modern universities, they combine basic and applied research. Interdisciplinary cooperation agreements with multinational cooperation or research institutions are by no means uncommon and certainly serve to strengthen the competitiveness of graduates.
Germany’s large number of Fachhochschule (FH) institutions university of applied science) provide high-quality, academic professional training for those not pursuing a career in science. Apart from the theoretical knowledge which they deliver, these universities of applied science also attach great importance to the practical experience which their students gain in companies or social services organizations. You can choose from the following HEI:

  • 118 universities, including universities of technology, theological colleges, comprehensive universities and colleges of education, at which more than 1.3 million students are enrolled.
  • 52 colleges of music, art, and film, with around 30.000 students.
  • 154 universities of applied sciences, with a total student body in excess of 400.000 students.

Further information can be found on the following website: www.higher-education-compass.de


3. Which degrees do German HEI offer? top

The standard degrees offered by German HEI are the Diplom or the Diplom (FH), for example, the “Diplom-Ingenieur” for engineers or the “Diplom Sozialpädagoge (FH)” for those graduating in social education, and the Magister Artium (M.A.). The Staatsexamen is the qualification required for certain state-supervised professions, such as law, medicine, etc.
Information on these and all other degrees can be found on the following website: www.higher-education-compass.de. Germany’s universities and colleges award international qualifications, namely Bachelor's and Master's degrees, for many degree courses (more than 1000 courses and programs). Depending on the subject in question, the degrees awarded differ in title as follows:

  • “Bachelor of Arts” (BA) or “Master of Arts” (MA).
    Languages and cultural studies, law, economics and social sciences and aesthetics/art history
  • “Bachelor of Science” (BSc.) or “Master of Science” (MSc.): mathematics, natural sciences, medicine and veterinary medicine, agriculture, forestry, and nutritional science/dietetics, plus engineering.
  • “Bachelor of Business Administration” (BBA) or “Master of Business Administration” (MBA): economics and business management.
  • “Bachelor of Computer Science” or “Master of Computer Science”: computer science
  • “Bachelor of Social Work” or “Master of Social Work”: Social and social education

The full range of Bachelor's and Master's degree courses and programs offered by Germany’s HEI can be found on the following website: https://www.daad.de/deutschland/studienangebote/studiengang/en/


4. Which qualification do I need to present to be admitted to Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Germany? top

  • If you are seeking admission to a full degree course, you will need to hold a higher education entrance qualification. If your school leaving certificate (higher education entrance qualification) is recognized as equivalent to a German qualification, you can be admitted directly to higher education institutions in Germany. If not, you will be required to take an assessment test (“Feststellungsprüfung”) in Germany to determine whether you are qualified to study. For details on the acknowledgement of Indonesian school leaving certificates at German HEIs click here.
  • If you are planning to complete a course of postgraduate, extension or supplementary studies, your university degree must be qualified for admission to such a course.
  • If you wish to gain a doctorate in Germany, then you definitely need to hold a university degree which is equivalent to a degree gained at a German university. Equivalency is decided by the university in question and you should contact your chosen institution directly (www.higher-education-compass.de).
  • Some degree courses, especially in the field of art and music, require applicants to demonstrate their particular artistic talent by sitting an aptitude test (“Eignungsprüfung”).


5. Do I need to be proficient in German? top

Normally the language instruction at German universities and colleges is German.

  • If you wish to complete a full first degree course or a course of postgraduate studies, you will be required to prove that you are proficient in the German language. TestDaF, a central, standardised test modelled on the basis of the “Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)”, provides an opportunity for international study applicants to take the language proficiency test required for admission to higher education in Germany. This test can be taken in Indonesia.
    For further information please klick here
  • German language skills are not an entry requirement for study in many of the international degree courses and programs, since the initial semesters, at least, are instructed in English. However, prove of appropriate English language skills will be required.
    Therefore, please always make sure that you do inquire at the German HEI of your choice about any language requirements.
  • The language skills required for a doctorate will depend on the area in which you wish to gain your doctorate. As a rule, you need to have German language skills. In many cases, however, it is also possible to write the thesis in English or another language. Please inquire at the university in question as to precise arrangements.
  • German language skills for shorter study stays are not required (e.g. a research year or summer school). However, knowledge of the German language is always helpful.


6. How can I gain a doctorate in Germany? top

As soon as you have chosen a topic area, you need to find a professor, who will act as your academic supervisor. Once you have an academic supervisor for your doctoral thesis, you will be required to enroll at the relevant university for a number of semesters and attend certain courses. Please inquire as soon as possible, whether the degree you currently hold is qualified for a doctoral program.
German universities are increasingly creating special programs for foreign doctoral candidates which have been specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of international applicants. These special measures primarily involve preparation, guidance-counselling and the provision of favourable research conditions. Not only can the thesis often be written in English or another world language, but study-integrated German language courses also help students overcome the language barrier. Such program includes:

  • PhD support programs
  • Binational doctoral arrangement
  • Graduate Schools

Information on these programs as well as the addresses of all HEI and all doctoral programs and doctorates can be found on the following website:www.higher-education-compass.de


7. What is a “Graduiertenkolleg? top

A “Graduiertenkolleg” (Graduate College) is a university facility which aims to promote high quality graduate students in a post graduate doctoral program. As a rule, a Graduate College will be made up of between 15-25 students working for a doctorate in a topic chosen from the college’s respective research field or for some other advanced qualification. While at the college, the graduate students are supported by a special course program and additionally receive guidance and counselling from a professorial team.
For more info about "Graduiertenkolleg" please visit: www.dfg.de


8. Do I have to pay tuition fees? top

Almost all HEI in Germany are state-maintained institutions; their costs are almost completely covered by the German public. So far, German and international students have been able to pursue their studies and research without having to worry about tuition fees. This situation is changing now, universities in Germany are starting to invent tuition fees. Whether and how much fees one has to face depends on the policies of the respective Federal State. In any case these fees will in the near future be considerably lower than in other western countries.

Private HEI are an exception to this rule. They often charge fees for tuition in accordance with the international standards.

For detailed information on other fees and costs which you must budget for- such as semester contribution, mandatory semester ticket, administrative fees- please visit the following website:


9. How high are the monthly living costs? top

The living cost, which includes rent, food, clothing, laundry, personal hygiene, travel, study materials and other expenses for health insurance, telephone and leisure activities-generally, averages between EUR 670 per month (EUR 8040 per year). The following average values provide a rough indication of the breakdown of costs:

  • 30% for rent
  • 20% for board
  • 10% for clothing, laundry and personal hygiene
  • 10% for travel
  • 5% for study materials
  • The remainder is used for sundry cost.

Please note: the above figures are average values. Depending on your personal situation, your actual costs may differ from these average values. For example, you will need more money in major cities, such as Munich or Hamburg, than in smaller university towns. You will be able to find assistance and advice on all questions relating to economic (financial), social, health and cultural issues from the “Studentenwerk” (student services) by going to the following website: www.studentenwerke.de


10. Do I need a visa and what must I do in order to apply for it? top

Indonesians who want to study in Germany generally need a visa. You must apply to the German Embassy in Jakarta for a student visa. Among other things, you will be required to :

  • 1. Present your notification of admission to the doctoral program, to the degree course, to a preparatory/foundation course (“Studienkolleg”), or to a language test
  • 2. Prove that you will be able to finance your study, for more info please klick: www.jakarta.diplo.de


11. Can I get a scholarship or grant? top

HEI do not normally award scholarship or grants. However, there are numerous organisations to which you can turn regarding the possibility of getting financial support. The most extensive financial support program is provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). These scholarships are largely awarded to advanced students and graduates for masters and doctorate degrees. For details click here . Other scholarship-awarding organizations are each responsible for setting their own specific award conditions. Besides access to a scholarship database, the following websites also provide the addresses of other scholarship-awarding organisations:


12. How do I find a place to live? top

German HEI does not generally operate student accommodations. This means that you must look for public and private accommodation that is offered on the market. You will find private accommodation offered on the notice boards in your university or college at the “Studentenwerk” (student service), at the offices of the student representations (students union, etc.) or at the “Akademisches Auslandsamt” (international office). A very promising flat-hunting strategy involves studying the small ads in local papers. Those who want to get student hall of residence (a place to live with reasonable price and state subsidised) have to contact the student services as early as possible.
If you want to start hunting for a flat from home, you will generally be able to find a link to student services (“Studentenwerk”) via the homepage of the university or college of your choice through online registration. If you would rather live in private accommodation, you can try an international flat sharing agency, such as the “Mitwohnzentrale”: www.mitwohnzentrale.de
By the way, shared flats (“Wohngemeinschaften” / WG in short) are very popular among students in Germany. For more Info, please visit:


13. Am I allowed to take up paid employment while studying in Germany? top

Yes, you will be allowed to take up employment. However, if you are not a citizen of an EU country or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you will only be able to work full-time for up to a maximum of 120 days per year and part-time for up to a maximum of 240 days per year without a work permit.
Please remember that it is not easy to find a job.
If you are a DAAD scholarship holder and would like to earn some extra money besides studying, you will first need to get permission from the DAAD.
Detailed information on “student jobs” is offered on the following DAAD website:


14. Do Germany’s HEI offer shorter study programs or summer schools? top

It is certainly possible to complete a shorter stay at a German university or college. Research stays or other study periods lasting one or two semesters, such as those offered within the scope of university cooperation agreements are very popular. A list of the 14,000 and more international cooperation programs involving German HEI can be found on the website of the Association of Universities and other HEI in Germany (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz –HRK) : www.higher-education-compass.de

Many German HEI also run summer schools. Besides courses covering aspects of German language, literature and area studies, the range of programs is growing all the time in all manner of subject areas. The DAAD annually publishes brochures presenting the range of summer courses offered in Germany. A web-based database makes it easier to find the right course: