Germany is world-renowned for its affordable universities, a wide variety of programs, and excellent reputation in education. These factors, coupled with the fact that there are many programs offered in English, make Germany a highly sought-after country for international students seeking a high-quality Master’s degree abroad.
First and foremost, affordable higher education is open to everyone in Germany, regardless of nationality. That means anyone can apply to a Master’s program in Germany, even if you’re not from the EU. What applicants do need is proof that they’re qualified for a program. Application requirements vary between schools and programs and can be confirmed with the university directly. But in general, you’ll need to have:
- A Bachelor’s degree
- Entry test scores (for some programs)
- Financial means to support the cost of living in Germany
- Proof of English speaking ability if not from a native country
- German proficiency up to B1 level (for some programs)
- Strong academic and/or related work performance
8 Steps to go to Germany for Your Masters Degree
1. Choose the right Master’s degree program in Germany
When deciding where to study for a Master’s in Germany, you have the option of going to a private or public university. The primary difference between the two is how they’re funded and if they charge tuition fees.
Public universities in Germany receive funding from the government, and do not charge students tuition. Rather, they charge semester student fees, which typically cost about €200 – €500 per semester. Thankfully, Germany has many public and tuition-free universities open to international students! Tuition at private universities in Germany, on the other hand, can cost €2,500 – €5,000 or more each semester.
Aspiring students must next find a suitable Master’s program that matches their background and future career goals. You’ll need to determine if the courses you took in your Bachelor’s program meet the prerequisite number of college credits to be admitted.
2. Meet the language requirements
Thankfully, it’s easy to find a Master’s degree in Germany taught in English, which means you probably don’t need to show proof of German proficiency. However, there may be programs taught in English that aren’t officially open to international students. In this case, you’ll have to show proof that you can speak German, typically up to a B1 level certificate.
3. Know when to apply to German universities
Many German universities have two application periods during the year. For winter semester admission, the application deadline is usually in the beginning of July, with classes starting in October. If applying to start school in the summer semester, applications usually must be submitted by early January, with classes beginning in April.
Be sure to contact the university for exact application deadlines. If you’re a non-EU citizen, you may only be allowed to apply during the winter semester intake, which is considered the start of the school year.
4. Collect required documents and apply to a German Master’s degree
The most time-consuming part of this entire process is collecting all the documents needed for your application. The exact documents required will vary and depend on your circumstances and specific program. To apply to an English Master’s program in Germany, you’ll probably need:
- Certified copy of Bachelor’s degree
- Official transcripts from your undergraduate program
- Certified copy of High School Diploma
- Official transcripts from High School
- Entrance exam scores
- Copy of passport
- Passport photos in German sizing
- Resume in the German format
- Proof of language proficiency for German (if required), or English (if not a native speaker)
- Proof of wire transfer of the application fee
Once you have all of your documents, you’ll need to apply both online and then by mail. The online portion usually entails selecting your desired program, and submitting your personal information. Once you’ve submitted the online application, you’ll need to send the required documents by mail.
5. Get German health insurance
Once you receive your acceptance letter, you’ll need to get German health insurance. The university cannot officially enroll you in the program without a letter from a health insurance provider proving coverage. Students under the age of 30 are eligible to enroll with an affordable public provider in Germany. Public insurance costs about €110 per month. If you’re over the age of 30, you’ll need to find a private insurer, which tends to carry a higher monthly premium.
6. Prove financial means for your studies
While higher education is very affordable, one of the biggest hurdles of getting a Master’s in Germany for international students is having the money to prove financial means. Essentially, the German government wants to ensure that all international students can support themselves during their studies.
Students must show that they have at least €861 per month, for the year, in a special bank account called a blocked account. That means you need to have at least €10,332 for each year you plan to study Master’s in Germany. A blocked account is unique to Germany and is a government-approved savings account.
7. Officially enroll in a Master’s program
After you’ve completed all the above steps and you’ve received your acceptance letter, it’s time to enroll in your Master’s program! To register, you’ll need to formally accept the acceptance, pay the semester tuition or student fees, and send additional documentation proving health insurance coverage. You must also wire the semester fee to the university to receive an official letter proving you’re a student in Germany. The enrollment letter is essential for getting a student visa!
8. Apply for a German Student Visa or Residence Permit
Depending on your nationality, you’ll need to apply for a German residence permit before entering the country or after you arrive. Students coming from certain countries can enter Germany and stay visa-free for 90 days while applying for the residence permit at the local Bürgeramt, or citizen’s office. For example, students from the U.S, Canada, and the U.K. can come to Germany first and then apply for the student residence permit.
For those coming from a country not on the visa-free list, you’ll need to apply for a student visa in your home country at your nearest German embassy.