Cost of Studying in Germany for International Students


Germany is a study destination that provides you with high rewards and world-renowned degrees. Top quality is one of the major characteristics of university programmes of Germany, whether they are undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. You can choose between learning in English or German. Interestingly, Germany also offers tuition-free education to international students. This has greatly increased Germany’s population as a destination for studying abroad – it is now the world’s third leading destination for international study.

Cost of Studying in Germany for International Students

In 2014, Germany abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public German universities. This simply means that both domestic and international undergraduate students can study at public universities in Germany for free, with just a small fee to cover administration and other costs per semester.

Cost of Studying in Germany for International Students

The overall cost of studying in Germany depends on several factors, such as the course of study, the University of your choice, and the city of resident etc. Getting a scholarship to study in Germany and other financial assistance could also cut down on the cost of study.

Tuition Fees in Germany

As a law, public universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees for Bachelor and Master programmes (except if you plan to pursue a Master’s degree that focuses on a different subject than the one you studied as a Bachelor student). The free-tuition system is available for all international students, regardless of their country of origin.

In German public universities, you are only required to pay an administration fee which usually cost around 60 – 200 EUR/year. This fee covers the Student Organisation services and your enrolment. Also, you will have to re-enrol every semester and pay this tax.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you don’t finish your degree course on time and you study in Bremen, Lower Saxony, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt or Turingia, you may have to pay tuition fees.

Tuition Fees at Private Universities

Private universities in Germany do not receive subsidization from the government and are therefore dependent on tuition fees. International students will have to pay between 3,000 and 20,000 EUR/year. Fees are set independently by institutions based on the field of study. Engineering or business degrees usually have higher tuition than education and social sciences, for instance.

Fees for Master’s Programs in Germany

Master’s courses in Germany are either ‘consecutive’, meaning that they follow directly on from a related Bachelor’s degree, or ‘non-consecutive’, meaning that they are standalone courses in a more specialized area. Consecutive courses are usually free of charge in Germany for domestic, EU and international students. Non-consecutive Master’s courses can cost up to around 5,000 EUR/year for public universities, and up to 30,000 EUR/year for private universities.

Fees for PhD Programs in Germany

For the first six semesters of study, tuition fees do not apply for Doctorate programs at public universities. However, as with Master’s and Bachelor’s options, PhD students are required to make a contribution of no more than 300 EUR per semester.

Tuition-Free Universities in Germany for International Students

Below is the list of some universities that are tuition-free for international students.

  • RWTH Aachen University
  • University of Mannheim
  • University of Bremen
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • University of Cologne

READ ALSO: How to Study in Germany for Free-Tuition.

Student Living Costs in Germany

In addition to the actual tuition and application fees, students will also incur extra fees while studying in Germany. Take a look at some of the fees below.

Costs of Living in German Cities

Germany is a pretty accessible country where you will need around 630 – 1,000 EUR/month, including accommodation, which also is the largest expense you will have.

Larger cities: Berlin, Frankfurt or Dusseldorf – total living costs of 900 – 1,400 EUR/month

Smaller cities: Freiburg, Leipzig or Hannover – you will need 750 – 1,100 EUR/month

Cost of Accommodation in Germany for International Students

As an international student, accommodation can take large chunk of your money. However, cheaper options for international students are in residence halls, or in shared private rental apartments. You can also opt for a single apartment. The main housing options for international students in Germany are:

  • Living alone: 360 EUR/month
  • Sharing with partner/child: 400/month
  • Living on-campus: 150-240 EUR/month

However, rooms in student residence halls are pretty difficult to secure, only 11% of the international students find on-campus accommodation, according to a European study. Also, 55% of the students are satisfied with the accommodation in student halls.

In addition, you will also be expected to pay for utilities around 200 EUR/month and internet pass around 27 EUR/month.

Cost of Food in Germany for International Students

In Germany, international students can spend as much as 170 EUR/month on food. Eating out in a restaurant once in a while will leave you with a 10 EUR debit. A three-course meal for two in an average restaurant costs about 45 EUR.

Cost of Transportation in Germany for International Students

According to a DAAD study, around 10% of the total monthly student budget is spent on transport.

  • A public transport pass for students is between 30 and 60 EUR/month, depending on the city.
  • You can easily get around with a bicycle throughout any city in Germany. Rates for renting a bicycle is around 15-20 EUR/day.
  • Use Germany’s Deutsche Bahn train system and visit any German city you want; fares are between 20 and 70 EUR.

Scholarships and Funding for University in Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service, otherwise known as the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst), provides support for German and international students to gain funding to live and study in Germany for free or at a more affordable cost.

DAAD scholarships to study in Germany are offered to both domestic and international students of all levels, as well as academics and researchers. To find relevant scholarships to study in Germany, you can search based on keywords, study level, country of origin and subject.

Another useful resource is the Federal Ministry of Education and Research or BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung), which hosts a site dedicated to providing information on scholarships to study in Germany.

Figures contained in this article are averages. The amount you pay will fluctuate depending on the length of your program, your level of study, the German state (Länder) you live in and whether your university is private or public.

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