There are plenty of reasons to get a Master’s degree in Germany: High-quality education at world-leading universities; many tuition-free options; high quality of life at low costs; lots of career opportunities; and a very generous post-study work visa for international graduates.
Let’s explore how to apply for a Master in Germany:
There are more than 1,000 Masters in Germany that are completely taught in English. Find yours today!
One thing that makes Germany so popular with international students is that public universities offer tuition-free Master’s degrees. And unlike in many other countries, this applies to all students, regardless if they’re German, European, or from outside Europe. (Read more)
But this only applies to public universities. There are also private universities in Germany and they charge anywhere between €8,000 and €20,000 per year for Master’s degrees.
So before you choose universities and Masters, make sure that you know if and how much you would have to pay in tuition fees.
Where and how you apply to the Master(s) you’re interested in depends on a few factors: the country you’re from, your previous education, and potential programme-specific admissions restrictions.
Many Masters in Germany require certain previous grades to be admitted. This is called “numerus clausus”, or “NC” for short.
The easiest way is to ask the universities which way you have to apply. It’s going to be one of these:
You may have to pay non-refundable application fees. Hochschulstart is free of charge. Uni-assist charges €75 for the first Master’s programme you apply to, and €30 for every subsequent Master.
Regardless of which platform you need to apply through, you will need certain documents ready to submit. For example:
The standard application deadlines for Masters in Germany are 15 July to start in the winter semester (from October) and 15 January to start in the summer semester (from April).
However, at many universities, there can be earlier deadlines for some Master’s programmes - or for applicants from outside the EU/EEA. Often, these deadlines are already in early March.
A few examples:
Therefore, start researching your study choices early! If you wait too long, your options might be severely limited.
Note: If you’re applying through uni-assist, you might be required to do a preliminary review documentation (“Vorprüfungsdokumentation”, or VPD for short) before the actual deadline.
Summer intakes are relatively rare in general. Private universities might offer rolling admissions throughout the year.
Studying in Germany is generally quite affordable, but there are still many options to fund your studies and get some extra help with other expenses.
The DAAD scholarship database lists nearly 200 scholarships for students of various backgrounds, and for all kinds of degree subjects. Many institutions in Germany offer their own grants or fee waivers based on their own criteria. So it pays off to also inquire with the admissions staff, as they might have useful advice on scholarships and grants.
Good to know: If you stay and work in Germany after graduation, any tuition fees and other expenses related to your studies might be tax-deductible! So keep those receipts and as soon as you file your first tax return, you might very well get a substantial refund.
You’ve been accepted and decided to take the offer? Great news! Now, before you go to Germany for your studies, you may need a student visa.
Students from the EU, EEA or Switzerland do not need a visa to study in Germany.
Students from certain countries can travel to Germany without a visa, and apply for a residence permit once they’re there: Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, United Kingdom, USA.
All other students need to apply for a visa before they go to Germany. This usually requires an appointment in the German embassy of your country of residence. Note that this process can take a lot of time! The earlier you get started, the better. One key thing you’ll need is proof of sufficient financial resources, most commonly presented by having a certain amount of money in a blocked bank account.
Once everything else is settled you should start looking for a place to stay. In many large cities in Germany it’s difficult to find affordable accommodation, especially from abroad.
Reach out to your university for advice on where to look for an apartment or room. They might also point you to the DSW (German student union) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
All done? Then it’s time to get ready! From almost anywhere in Europe, Germany is reachable by train, and if you’re coming from further away, there’s plenty of flight connections to airports all over the country.
One of the first things you should do when you arrive is register with the authorities (“Wohnsitz anmelden”) and - if you’re from outside the EU/EEA - apply for a student residence permit.
Masters in Germany mostly take between 18 months and 2 years to complete.
Masters at public universities in Germany are generally tuition-free for all students, with few exceptions. Private universities typically charge between €7,000 and €15,000 per year.
Ready to study in Germany?