German education system

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Planning to complete your higher education in Germany but not sure about the German education system? Don’t worry. We’ve got everything covered in this article. Read more to know everything about the education system in Germany.

German Education System

Germany is popular for its high standards of education and world-best universities with top ranks. The German education system is continuously being upgraded and reformed to remain number one in the world. One of the greatest reforms of all time is the restructuring on the Gymnasium. Also, the nine-year education system has been changed to an eight-year education system to obtain the Abitur.

The academic system in Germany has improved after the Bologna Declaration came into play and had been applied to the education system. The undergraduate degree is now called “bachelor’s degree,” and the postgraduate degree is called “master’s degree.” The tradition terms – “diplom” and “magister artium” no longer exist. These changes have been implemented to enhance the global recognition of the degrees and better the chances of employment for students studying in Germany.

Admission requirements in Germany

German students who wish to continue their higher education in Germany are required to have the Abitur (graduate degree) which is obtained after completing graduation at the gymnasium. On the other hand, international students are required to possess a graduate degree equivalent to the Abitur.

As on date, there is no common portal for applying to different German universities. As an application, you’ll have to visit universities individually and apply. Also, the admission requirements are different for each university and are usually displayed on the university’s official website.

Different types of higher education institutes

Higher education courses in Germany are taught in different universities and advanced colleges. For instance, the Colleges of Art, Music, and Film provide practical training in subjects such as arts and music. They are considered equivalent to German universities.

The Advanced Technical Colleges cater to the social and science-based subjects and focus primarily on practical skills as well as theoretical knowledge. The third type of German higher education institute – the universities offer courses in almost all the subjects taught globally as well as doctorate degrees. German universities are well-known for theoretical teaching and some of them specialize in selected subjects such as medicine (medical schools), technology (technical universities), etc.

Many German universities offer courses in English other than the German language.

Public and private German universities

Germany has two types of universities – public and private. The public universities are controlled by the government, whereas the private universities are controlled by individual companies or private organizations. The public universities do not charge any tuition fee and fall under regulatory control. The private universities charge high tuition fees since the universities are run of these funds collected from the students. Research shows that only 5.5% of students get enrolled in private universities.

There are more public universities in Germany than private universities. According to the German law, each one has a right to quality and affordable education in the country. Therefore, tuition fee has been waived off across all public universities in Germany. The non-tuition fee rule is applicable to the international students as well. Students can also seek help from different government funding organizations such as Bafog Money. International students can also leverage scholarships programs which are completed funded. Both types of universities are highly recommended as per international standards.

There are approximately 427 state-accredited German universities that offer numerous courses. More than 18000 study programs are offered by these universities for both, international and national students. Depending on your study field, the duration of your course can be three to six years.

Theoretical teaching and practical training

German universities focus more on theoretical teaching than other universities in the world. The teaching staff conducts group lectures for students of the same year and batch. There are also some exercise lessons where the theoretical parts can be practiced and applied to real life scenarios. At the end of each term, the students are graded on their work, speeches, presentations, assignments, and practical projects.

Practical education can also be obtained through internships. Some subjects require students to do an internship for a few weeks or months. During the internship period, the students are required to work for a local company or institute and utilize their theoretical expertise in real life situations to get more experience. Internship experiences help students in getting jobs at a later stage.

Degrees offered by German universities

The graduate degrees offered by German universities are accepted and recognized worldwide. The first graduate degree that you can obtain after 6 to 8 terms is a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree courses available in Germany are:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.)
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.)
  • Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.)
  • Bachelor of Music (B. Mus.)

Some of the study courses such as law, medical, veterinary, dentistry, food chemistry, and the pharmacy does not end with a bachelor’s degree. Instead, they end with a state examination or Staatsprufung. Some teacher-training programs also end with a Staatsprufung.

You can take your first state examination after completing any of the bachelor’s degree courses mentioned above. Once you clear the first examination, you can begin your practical training preparation for the second state examination and pursue a doctorate if you wish to. The state examination is not an academic degree in Germany. Instead, it is a state-recognized degree. The regulations of the examinations are governed by the federal government and not by any university body.

After the bachelor’s degree, you can pursue a master’s degree which often lasts for 2 to 4 terms. In case of both the degree, you’ll be required to pass different exams and write a dissertation. After the master’s degree, you can also pursue the doctorate.

Once you’ve obtained all your degrees, you can get employed in Germany or abroad. If you want to study and work at the same time, you can also apply for the dual studies program.

Studying in Germany

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