In Germany there are more than 400 universities. Basically, the different types are: universities and universities of technology as well as technical colleges, art, film and music colleges and universities of applied sciences. Germany's higher education landscape is manifold and diverse. The roots of some colleges, especially the universities, go back to the Middle Ages; others were founded after the Second World War.
The range of study courses is broad, with a total of more than 21,000, most of which are bachelor's or master's degree programs.
The universities in Germany are open to students from all countries. Currently, in Germany there are about three million enrolled students, 320,000 of them are international students. With over 10 % international students, Germany is one of the world's favourite places to study!
The German university system has a distinct division of responsibilities: The universities are responsible for the academic education and the Studierendenwerke – for the economic social infrastructure around studying. Universities and Studierendenwerke are officially independent institutions, but they do work very closely together.
In Germany, there is a total of 57 Studierendenwerke some of which are responsible for several universities in different university locations. The Studierendenwerke run refectories and cafeterias, provide rooms in student accommodation, offer cultural activities, and help students with childcare and advisory services.
Many Studierendenwerke have developed special offers for international students. For example, with the Servicepaket ("service package") international students get accommodation, meals and health insurance coverage simultaneously. At some universities the Studierendenwerke run a Newcomer-Service and information centres especially for international students. In student halls of residence the house tutors help students to familiarise themselves with everyday life as a student in Germany.
How do you find "your" Studierendenwerk? That's easy! On the right hand side of the page you will see "Search for Studierendenwerk". Enter the location of your university, and straight away you will see which Studierendenwerk is responsible for you.
The Deutsche Studierendenwerk, which provides this online information for international students, is the umbrella organisation of 57 Studierendenwerke.
Facts about Germany
The Foreign Office runs a website providing information on Germany in different languages.more
The Germans are rumoured to be many things; they are a nation of poets and thinkers, but also very bureaucratic. They love organisation, are hardworking and in all their German thoroughness brew excellent beer.
And even if their reputation says otherwise, the Germans invented romance. In the 18th and 19th centuries many great ideologies started here. Unfortunately, also the horrors of the National Socialism and Second World War began. Light and darkness lie close together in German history. Many technical achievements can be traced back to German scientists. On the other hand, lots of things which appear to be typically German come from somewhere else entirely. Football, for example, comes originally from England, beer was invented by the Sumerians and it is impossible to imagine German everyday life without doner kebabs, falafel and co.
Germany is multifarious; everyone has their own personal experience with "the Germans" and what is "German". Come as unbiased as possible, be relaxed, bring with you humour, curiosity and patience. With time you are sure to settle down and feel at home in Germany.
What you are certain to notice is Germany's federal, decentralised structure. University politics is largely the business of the 16 federal states. What is true in one state might be quite different in another!