Study and Research


80 billion Euros for research and development...

Research environment

Germany is one of the world’s most important scientific locations. More than 400 universities and schools of applied science offer a wide range of research opportunities. The four main non-university research institutions play a key role:

» Fraunhofer Society
» Helmholtz Association
» Leibniz Association
» Max Planck Society

German companies are important research locations as well. They finance the majority of research and development in Germany and invest more than two-thirds of the total sum of around 80 billion Euro per year. The international European Union research programmes are becoming increasingly important too.

2.6 million students and
17 500 courses

Studying in Germany

German universities have an excellent reputation all over the world. They excel in both quality and variety, their qualifications are recognised internationally.

There are around 17 500 courses and 2.6 million students at more than 400 German universities. These are financed through public funds, so tuition fees are non-existent or minimal. Germany is one of the most popular study destinations in the world for international students.

The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst; DAAD) provides advice worldwide regarding all aspects of studying in Germany. In universities the most important point of contact for international students is the International Students’ Registry, also frequently known as the International Office.
» German Academic Exchange Service

The first step towards a successful research career...

Postgraduate studies

Germany offers ideal conditions for starting a scientific career. There are two routes leading to a doctorate:
With the individual doctorate the candidate chooses a mentor at a university, under whose guidance he works independently on his dissertation.

The structured doctoral programmes are similar to the PhD system in English-speaking countries. In this approach, a team of mentors looks after a group of postgraduate students. They are part of an interdisciplinary curriculum that teaches social and communicative skills as well as subject-specific ones. The working language is usually English.

In Germany there are currently around 700 doctoral programmes, for instance the International Max Planck Research Schools, which are offered jointly by Max Planck Institutes with universities and other research establishments.

» DAAD: postgraduate studies in Germany
» Research in Germany
» International Max Planck Research Schools

More than 50 000 scholars a year from all around the world receive funding...


Artist, journalist or scientist? Degree, work placement or research residence? Germany has a wide range of scholarships available.

Annually the German Academic Exchange Service provides funding for approximately 120 000 scientists, of whom over 50 000 come from abroad. Over 70 information centres and around 450 lecturers offer individual advice.
» DAAD scholarship database

The German embassies and consulates can either offer advice or redirect queries to the appropriate point.
» German Foreign Office

There are 160 Goethe-Institutes in 94 countries that award scholarships for German as a Foreign Language. They offer language courses and examinations at all levels. German skills improve your chances of being awarded a scholarship.
» Goethe-Institut

However there are many more: scholarships are also awarded by foundations and churches, the universities themselves, the European Union, art studios...

1901: The first Nobel Prize in the world goes to Germany

Internationally renowned researchers

Many German scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize, the most important science prize in the world, for their outstanding research work. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and Emil von Behring were not only the first Germans to receive the coveted award – they were the first ever Nobel Prize winners in the fields of physics and medicine in 1901. Since then over 80 more Germans have won this top award.

» Full list of German Nobel Prize winners

Deutsch lernen (learning German)

German or English?

Anyone wanting to study in Germany needs good German skills. You have to pass an exam before you can register as a student.

In the international courses – there are around 1700 of these – English is the language required most frequently. English is also the working language at many research organisations. But German skills are certainly helpful: this is the only way you can really get to know Germany, its culture and its people.

The Goethe-Institut offers German courses in more than 85 countries worldwide, including Germany. You can gain internationally-recognised German certificates here. If you are not in a position to attend a classroom-based language course, you can also take a distance-learning course to learn German.
» Goethe-Institut

The TestDaF examination is especially designed for students. You can sit the exam in around 450 test centres around the world.
» TestDaf