Study Abroad in Germany
What to Know Before You Study in Germany
German universities are famous for their tradition of strong research, but students there also have many other choices for higher education. After German students take their higher education entrance exam, called an Abitur, they can follow several different paths.
If you study abroad in Germany, you can too.
Types of Universities in Germany
Students can attend public universities that offer a wide range of subjects to study. They can also attend more specialized schools, such as:
- Universities of applied sciences. Students learn skills for work in specific fields, such as technology, business and management, media and design.
- Colleges of art, film and music. Spots are limited and students often must complete a portfolio and entrance exams.
- Private universities. Tuition is sometimes higher (between US $2,500 and $7,000 per semester) and students must make sure the institution is recognized by the state.
- Others: Church-maintained colleges and institutions for education, applied administrative science, armed forces and cooperative education.
Classes When You Study Abroad in Germany
Professors who are both researches and teachers often lead courses. German university classes, like those in America, have a professor or lecturer who speaks while students take notes. Many professors give assignments, and students are expected to review their notes at home.
Tutorials, usually hosted by graduate or post-graduate students, give students time to discuss topics more thoroughly. Faculty can also review materials in seminars.
Those who study abroad in Germany may be able to take courses or programs in English.
Semesters and Diplomas in Germany
German universities have two semesters, one lasting from about April to September, and the other from October to March. About one-third of that is school breaks, but professors can schedule exams during that time.
The traditional awards of higher education in Germany are the Diplom and Magister Artium (master of arts). The degree is supposed to take eight semesters to earn, but it can take longer in some fields.
Students at German universities of applied sciences can graduate after six semesters and earn a Diplom.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees have recently been introduced and should mostly replace the traditional German degrees by 2010. Students will spend six to eight semesters to earn a BA and another two to four for an MA.
Tuition to Study Abroad in Germany
German university tuition used to be free, but that is becoming less common.
Tuition was first required for long-term students, those visiting from other universities and students in postgraduate and master’s programs. Now some undergraduates are paying fees of about US $700 per semester. Graduate students can pay up to several thousand dollars per semester.
German universities can also charge students whose studies take more time than is expected.
The opportunity for research convinces some students to study abroad in Germany. The country’s importance in nanotechnology, engineering and other fields will continue to draw scientists there from around the world. However, students looking for higher education in fields from art to theology will also find many options.
Study abroad in Germany and experience both a world-class education and a culture rich in history.
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