Germany’s best universities for overseas students
by Jakob Straub
September 17, 2020

Every year, more than 100,000 students from overseas and all around the world choose Germany as their destination for studying. World-class German universities, public educational institutions with no tuition fees, and English-language courses and programmes are the top reasons attracting international students. Germany’s hundreds of universities achieve high scores in international rankings, so we’ll take a look at the top ten specifically suited for overseas students.

Top 10 German universities for international students

The ranking of the following list of Germany’s best universities for overseas students is based on the QS World University Rankings, the world’s most-referenced rankings, as well as The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, THE Rankings for short, and the Shanghai Ranking, the Academic Ranking of World Universities by the Jiao Tong University. All entries scored high on all three lists for the years 2020/21.

1. Technical University of Munich

The “Technische Universität München”, or TU Munich, ranks among Europe’s top universities. Known for strong connections to other scientific institutions all around the world and to companies, the Technical University of Munich is known to excel at teaching and interdisciplinary education as well as research and talent promotion. It was one of the first German universities to receive the title University of Excellence. More than 500 professor ensure high-quality education and more than 32% of attending students come from an international background. The university’s motto is “We invest in talent. Knowledge is our gain” and the TU offers various degree programmes in the following fields:

2. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Also situated in the state of Bavaria and right in the heart of Munich, the “Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München” is an academic and research institution par excellence. Looking back on over 500 years of history, tradition and dedication to teaching and learning, academic research and attendance at the LMU has always been international as well. Roughly 15% of all students are international and benefit from the high standards in teaching and research. Thanks to hundreds of partner universities worldwide, you might be able to join an exchange programme to study in the following fields:

  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Medicine & Health  
  • Business & Management
  • Computer Science & IT
  • Engineering & Technology

3. Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg

The “Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg” offers a total of more than 160 study programmes with a broad spectrum of possible subject combinations. The university is therefore ideal for highly individual studies as well as interdisciplinary learning. Not only does the University of Heidelberg have an extensive tradition, it is also internationally oriented in teaching and research. On top of all that, the city of Heidelberg provides high quality of living to students. You’ll benefit from a comfortable, diverse and equal-opportunity environment and have the possibility to obtain degrees in the following fields:

4. Humboldt University of Berlin

Wilhelm von Humboldt founded the “Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin” to bring his vision of a new type of university to life, seeking to unify research and teaching. This approach became the model for universities the world over and today, the “HU Berlin” is held in high esteem by students and academics alike. The academic staff features a high degree of internationals, much to the benefit of the roughly 15% of international students attending the university inthe heart of Germany’s capital. You can select a degree programme from the following options:

  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Law
  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Medicine & Health

5. KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

The “Karlsruher Institut für Technologie”, or KIT for short, is both a technical university as well as a large-scale research institution. In  both research and education, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology takes on today’s challenges to provide sustainable solutions for society, industry and the environment. The interaction of students and teachers is highly interdisciplinary, covering engineering sciences, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. International students seeking to learn about and do research in the field of interaction between humans and technology will want to apply at KIT.

6. Free University of Berlin

The “Freie Universität Berlin” was one of eleven German universities awarded funding in the 2012 Excellence Initiative. The FU is striving to be a center for research, international cooperation and supporting academic talent. The research activities at the institution rely on a broad network of global academic and scientific relationships backed up by external funding. Around 13% of the student body are international bachelor students and up to 27% are international master students. Fields of study at the Free University Berlin include:

  • Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Business & Management
  • Art, Design & Media
  • Computer Science & IT
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Medicine & Health

7. RWTH Aachen University

The “Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen” ranks among Germany’s top ten universities and is dedicated to innovation. Thanks to close ties to the industry, students have every opportunity to acquire practical knowledge and benefit from sufficient research funding. Around one fourth of all RWTH students com from all over the world, taking classes and courses in the following fields:

8. Berlin Institute of Technology

The “Technische Universität Berlin” is another historic institution of learning and research in Berlin. As one of Germany’s largest technical universities, the TU Berlin is of international renown, attracting students from all around the globe. The faculties mix natural and technical sciences as well as humanities with economics, management and social sciences. You can choose from these fields of study:

  • Engineering & Technology
  • Art, Design & Media
  • Business & Management
  • Computer Science & IT
  • Social Sciences
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Law
  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics

9. Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg

Founded in 457, the “Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg” is known today for its innovation in interdisciplinary studies. The institute’s dedication to international exchange, open-mindedness and expert professors and teachers creates an ideal environment for learning and research. Undergraduate and graduate studies include the humanities, natural and engineering sciences, medicine, law, and theology. Students at ALU Freiburg follow in the line of famous philosophers, researchers and award-winning scientists. On top of that, Freiburg is one of the most livable cities in Germany. International students can dedicate themselves to one of the following fields:

10. Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

The “Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen” does not only focus on innovation and interdisciplinary research and studies, it also maintains international connections to research partners and institutions around the world. Thanks to cooperation and networking, international students are welcome here and the university ranks highly among the global competition. 500 years of tradition and dedication have earned the Eberhard Karls University the distinguishing title of “excellent”. Available fields of study are:

  • Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Business & Management
  • Computer Science & IT
  • Medicine & Health
  • Humanities
  • Engineering & Technology

Do you want to know what it takes to study in Germany? We’ll give you tips and outline the steps of how to apply for university in Germany.

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