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Types of Universities in Germany: Public Universities in Germany, Private Universities in Germany & More

Yocket Editorial Team

Planning to study in Germany? There is a list of things you need to know before you pack your bags. One of the main things on your list is the type of German university you should study in and the course you are interested in. This is one of the crucial factors of studying in Germany. The type of course and university influences your German expenses, tuition fees, the recognition of your degree and the type of degree you will be awarded. Let’s discuss the types of universities in Germany, their subtypes and other educational factors of Germany in this article.

Table Of Contents

Understanding the Higher Education System in Germany

Higher  education sector is regulated partly at the central and predominantly at  the state level. This education is catered by a number of institutions primarily by the universities. These grant degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. They also provide other types of professional and vocational certification to students.

Universities in Germany are separated on two distinctive factors. One, on the basis of their specialisation and the other, based on their funding. Since you are going to study in Germany, both of the factors play an important role and you must understand them. By understanding the types of university in Germany and their courses, you will be able to choose the best course type, university and degree you wish to secure from Germany.

Suggested: A Complete Guide to Higher Education System in Germany

Types Of University In Germany: Based on Specialisation 

As discussed above, based on the different areas of specialisation, universities are divided into three types:

1.  Universities (German: Universität)

German Universities focus on your academic soundness. The key factors of Universities in Germany are the knowledge-based and the research-based learning systems. By studying at a German University, you can be assured to theoretically master the subject as a whole.

Nature Of Universities:

  1. Academically sound
  2. Research-based learning
  3. Offers recognised Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees
  4. In-depth study in various fields such as Medicine, Law etc

Who should opt to study in Universities?

Students keen on achieving overall theoretical knowledge on a particular subject; or students interested in research, doctorate degrees or one’s aspiring to be experts in their fields must study at Universities.

Furthermore, if you want to pursue a PhD in the future, then this is for you.

In case you are also wondering about Technical Universities in Germany, Tutoring Universities etc. These are sub-type of Universities. Branched under Universities, they focus on specialised topics to expertise.

Some of the Sub-types of Universities are:

  1. Technical University (TU)
  2. Theological University (Theologische Hochschulen)
  3. University of Education (Pädagogische Hochschulen)
  4. University of Public Administration

Top Universities in Germany:

  1. Heidelberg University
  2. Leipzig University
  3. University of Bonn
  4. University of Stuttgart
  5. University of Freiburg
  6. Technical University of Berlin
  7. Technical University of Munich
  8. Philipps University, Marburg
  9. Dresden University of Technology
  10. Humboldt University of Berlin

2.  University Of Applied Sciences (German: Fachhochschule / Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften)

Universities of Applied Sciences in Germany offer a practical approach to learning. Courses at the University of Applied Sciences in Germany are practice-based along with basic theoretical knowledge on the particular subject. To implement the same, you will need to take up internships, projects and collaborations in Germany to successfully complete your course.

Nature of University Of Applied Sciences:

  1. Practical-based teaching
  2. Includes working at various companies to complete the course.
  3. Offers Bachelors and Masters degree (Cannot offer a doctorate degree)
  4. Provides first-hand experience in various fields such as Business, Engineering etc.

Who should apply to a University Of Applied Sciences?

Students eager to work must take up courses in these universities. If you are interested in learning on the job and want to gain practical experience while you understand the theory of subjects, the University Of Applied Sciences is for you.

Top Universities of Applied Sciences in Germany:

  1. RWTH Aachen
  2. FH Aachen
  3. HTW Berlin
  4. Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences
  5. Fachhochschule Lubeck
  6. Leibniz Universität Hannover
  7. Esslingen University of Applied Sciences
  8. Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
  9. Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin
  10. Hochschule Hannover

Dual Universities: These are a special type of institution among the universities of applied sciences that combine study and training on the job to teach students.

3.  University of Art, Film and Music

Art colleges in Germany specialise in teaching art, music and other creative subjects. Artists polish their skills and become artistically sound from these Universities in Germany. Students enrolling in these universities will have to make a portfolio and submit their work to German art colleges to be chosen.

You might also have to learn German C2 level since most of the courses at art, film and music courses are taught in German. A few universities offer English-taught courses however, they are few in number. 

Nature of Art, Film and Music Universities:

  1. Talent based learning
  2. Offers Bachelors, Masters, Doctorates and other Artistic degrees.
  3. Exceptionally talented individuals elected for the course
  4. Need to know German

Who should apply to a University Of Applied Sciences?

Talented artists can apply for this course. To specialise in your art pursuing courses in these universities will give you a recognised degree and polish your talent. 

Various Universities Of Art, Film and Music in Germany:

  1. Bauhaus University, Weimar
  2. Berlin University of the Arts
  3. University of the Arts, Bremen
  4. Braunschweig University of Art
  5. Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences
  6.  University of Fine Arts, Münster
  7. State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart
  8. The Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig

The above-mentioned universities are devised based on the specialisation. Here is a quick summary at the three :


University of Applied Science

University of Art, Film and Music

Knowledge-based and the research-based learning systems

Practical approach to learning

Artistic and training-oriented,

Grant Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees

Grant Bachelors and Masters degree (Cannot grant a doctorate degree)

Offers Bachelors, Masters, Doctorates and other Artistic degrees

Cover a wide range of subjects from humanities to science.

Subjects taught are specific to science & technology, economics, social work or media.

Subjects taught focus on Music, media, art, performing arts, theatre, films, etc.

Types Of University In Germany: Based in Funding

The other type of university in Germany can be segregated by the funding and management of the universities. Most German Universities are state-funded and this facilitates a major part of the German higher education system. Considering the funding aspect,  universities in Germany are of three types: 

1.  Public universities in Germany

Public universities are state-funded and state-owned and hence, are very inexpensive. Most public universities don’t charge a tuition fee. And so you will have to pay a small administrative fee every semester. Although, it costs only about €200 - €350 every semester.

Some of the Public Universities in Germany are:

  1. Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  2. Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
  3. Heidelberg University
  4. Humboldt University Berlin
  5. Freie Universität Berlin
  6. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  7. RWTH Aachen University
  8. Technische Universität Berlin
  9. Technische Universität Dresden
  10. University of Freiburg

Suggested: All About Public Universities in Germany

2.  Private universities in Germany

Private universities are state-recognised German universities that are managed by private institutions. Most Universities Of Applied Sciences are private universities and thus, you might have to pay a fee to study at a private university in Germany.

Some of the Private Universities in Germany are:

  1. Berlin School of Business and Innovation
  2. Jacobs University Bremen
  3. Cologne Business School
  4. EU Munich Business School
  5. International School of Management (ISM)
  6. EU Business School, Munich
  7. SRH Hochschule Hamm
  8. Dresden International University
  9. Schiller International University- Heidelberg
  10. FOM University of Applied Sciences for Economics and Management

Suggested: All About Private Universities in Germany

3.  Religious Funded Universities

Universities funded by the Church or other religious institutions come under Religious funded universities. Despite the fact that these universities are funded by the church, students from other faiths can too enrol in these universities too. However, the subjects taught at these universities are philosophical and religion centric. Thus, anyone wanting to get close to spirituality can study here.

Some of the Religious Funded Universities in Germany are:

  1. Friedensau Adventist University
  2. Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg
  3. Lutheran University of Applied Sciences Nuremberg

Here’s a quick overview of the above stated  three types of universities:

Public University

Private University

Religious Funded University

Managed by State/ Federal Govt.

Managed by Private Institutions

Managed by Church or Other Religious Institutions

Highly Subsidised tuition fee ranging from 0-1500 EUR per semester.

Tuition Fee can range between 10,000 - 30,000 EUR per semester.

Tuition Fee can range between 5,000 - 20,000 EUR per semester.

Cover a wide range of subjects.

Cover subjects mainly Management, Economics and Applied Sciences.

Cover a limited range of subjects including theology

Which is the best type of university to study in Germany?

The best University to study in Germany will certainly be a Public University. Public Universities are not only the top ranked universities in Germany but will be the best if you are looking for frugal options. 

Along with this you should consider course type and the degree should be opted for based on your future prospects. If you’re interested in research and aspire to do a PhD, you are recommended to pursue a Masters degree in a Public University with a research-oriented teaching methodology. Some of the private universities are also well renowned for management and can prove beneficial to the students.


Frequently Asked Questions About Types of Universities in Germany

What are the different types of universities in Germany?

What is the Difference between University and University of Applied Sciences in Germany?

What is the Difference between University (TU) and Fachhochschule (FH)?

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