Studying in Germany

A mainstay of the media coverage about studying in Europe is promoting the idea that students can study in Germany, in English, for nothing (or next to nothing).

However, the reality is a little more complicated.

Firstly, there are relatively few of these cheaper courses at the undergraduate level that are taught solely in English, fewer than 100 at the time of writing, most in universities were the vast majority of course are taught in English. There are, of course, some excellent private options: the Carl Benz School in Karlsruhe and Jacobs University in Bremen being the stand-out options.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is the fact that to enter German public universities students need to be able to fit into the German equivalent of A Levels, the Abitur. As a result of this, entry to German public universities with A Levels is really hard.

In brief, A Level students applying to Germany will typically have to be taking four A Levels, to include a language and a science or maths (even if the course being applied for doesn’t seem like any of these subjects would be necessary) . The German education ministries also don't recognise lots of A Levels as being academic enough, so it’s entirely possible that even with four A Levels, you might not qualify.

The maths that is taken must be to at least AS if not at A Level, though there is a test students can do instead.

As a result, many German students who are taking A Levels in British schools end up having to do a foundation year first because of this. Unfortunately, many British schools accept German students onto A Level courses without realising the very complicated requirements. It is perhaps partly for this reason that universities like Maastricht and Groningen in the Netherlands are full of German students.

Despite all of this, there are some great options to be found in Germany, but forward planning is needed to make a success of this route.

David Hawkins